A little over a year and a half – my wife came to me with a request to purchase a pet rabbit. Having only experience with cats, I knew very little about how to care for one or even what their annual expenses might be. To top it off, my wife wanted the bunny to be a “house” rabbit. What? The only way I had seen rabbits as pets was in outdoor cages. I'd never seen one in a house. Don't they poop all over the place? Needless to say, I was not gung-ho about the proposition.
Well – the wife finally got her wish and soon-after, we welcomed a cute little dutch rabbit into the house. It didn't take too long to warm up to the little lady. She was spayed/neutered and (thankfully) potty-trained. It was almost like having a cat around the house – except for the scratching, meowing and naughty messes.
Now that its been over a year, we can look back at some of the costs associated with raising her. And it was no surprise that our bunny was expensive!
Here are a few fun facts about America and our love for pets:
- American's spent over $50 billion on pets in 2011
- Of that expense, almost $20 billion is for food
- 62% of American households own a pet (about 73 million homes)
- Pet ownership is up 56% since 1988
- Big name companies including Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, Origins, Harley Davidson and Old Navy are now offering lines of pet products
- In 2011, dogs were the most popular pet, followed by cats, freshwater fish, birds, small animals and reptiles
The most expensive pets
I thought it would be interesting to see if any one had compiled an “official” ranking associated with annual pet care costs – and what were the most expensive animals to keep. I searched online and found The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). They have a great website that has loads of information on pets and also has a chart detailing annual pet costs.
So, getting back to the poll – what pet did you think was the most expensive? Now, this one is going to surprise you. Of the animals listed above – the rabbit had the most expensive annual pet care expense. Can you believe that?
Here's a run-down of those costs, per the ASPCA:
I'm glad we didn't get health insurance for the little lady! That would have really thrown the figures out of whack.
How do you keep costs down?
If you are a pet owner – and have one of the preceding animals, how do you keep costs down? I know for us – this past summer, my wife started growing her own greens to feed the bunny. With food costs going up – this is something we'll probably continue to do.