Rabbits are famous for their long ears and buck teeth.
But did you know that a rabbit’s teeth never stop growing throughout its lifetime?
Much like a fingernail, a rabbit’s teeth can grow eternally. Of course, this also means that after a certain amount of time, a trim may be long overdue.
Wild rabbits constantly chew on tree branches and twigs, which helps manage their teeth growth and keep them short.
You can keep your rabbit’s teeth short by giving him wood to chew, hay and toys. This will naturally wear down their teeth and slow their growth
You should never use a nail cutter for rabbits’ teeth.
How to Keep a Rabbit’s Teeth Short
While going to a vet is a quick solution to the overgrown teeth issue, there’s no reason to wait it out until it gets that serious.
Instead, you can take some preventative measures to stop your rabbit’s teeth from overgrowing in the first place.
Keeping your rabbit’s teeth from overgrowing is easy if you educate yourself on it.
Usually, giving your rabbit enough hay and some fun chew toys should do the trick.
With enough healthy food and toys at their disposal, the rabbit will keep themselves occupied and naturally maintain their teeth.
Give Your Rabbit Never-Ending Supply of Hay
A rabbit’s diet needs a continuous supply of hay. Not only does this helps with their digestive system, but it also keeps their dental health in check.
There are many types of hays you can choose from, but generally, timothy hay is recommended for pet rabbits because of its tough texture.
This hay is pure fiber and doesn’t contain harmful nutrients for your precious bunnies.
Comparatively, alfalfa hay is low on fiber yet high on protein and calcium.
This hay is too soft for an adult rabbit’s teeth, making it less effective for grinding and filing their teeth.
Provide Your Bunny Things to Chew On
Some rabbits have a chewing habit and need something to gnaw their teeth constantly.
If you don’t indulge in this habit, there’s a chance that your rabbit will target furniture and other household items to chew.
Twigs and wood are a rabbit’s ultimate choice for chewing out in the wild. Make your rabbit feel at home by giving it some sturdy pieces of wood.
However, not all wood is bunny-approved.
Avoid toxic woods like cedar, walnut, yew, and anything that has been chemically painted. Instead, opt for safe woods such as willow or poplar.
Safe Woods for Rabbits
Toxic Woods for Rabbits
- Fruit tree woods
Extra toilet paper rolls and cardboard boxes lying around your house can be a temporary alternative to chew toys.
However, cardboard is less effective in keeping your rabbit’s teeth short and trimmed because of its softer texture.
Additionally, you don’t want to provide your rabbit with too much cardboard as they tend to eat it at times.
Ingesting a large number of cardboard pieces can possibly lead to intestinal blockage and other health issues.
Get your rabbit some high-quality toys they can substitute for woods and cardboard.
Avoid chewing toys with flimsy plastic as risks being a choking hazard.
A variety of chew toys will ensure that your rabbit doesn’t get bored and keeps its teeth trimmed.
Why are Overgrown Teeth Bad for Your Rabbit?
Overgrown teeth can cause numerous health issues for your rabbit.
Let’s have a quick rundown of the most common concerns.
Malocclusion, or misalignment of teeth, is one of the biggest problems associated with overgrown teeth.
An unnatural bite can be very painful for your bunny in the long run.
So, as soon as you notice any unnatural overlaps between your rabbit’s upper and lower incisors, consult a vet immediately.
If it’s not treated on time, malocclusion can be life-threatening for your beloved rabbit.
If your rabbit is unable to close its mouth due to overgrown teeth, there’s a chance it will develop a breathing problem.
Rabbits are naturally more reliant on their nasal breathing, but due to their open mouth, their breathing pattern will get disturbed and lead to other serious conditions.
Poor diet and overgrown teeth can also weaken your rabbit’s teeth.
A rabbit who is aware of the brittleness of its teeth will lose the will to eat in fear of chipping or breaking a tooth.
Overgrown teeth will also make it difficult for your rabbit to groom itself.
This can stress out your rabbit while also affecting their personal hygiene.
Signs of Overgrown Teeth in Rabbits
If you make it a habit to check the growth level of your rabbit’s teeth regularly, you can avoid future complications related to your bunny’s health.
There are four ways you can spot early signs of overgrown teeth.
Difficulty in Closing its Mouth
Due to overgrown incisors, the rabbit will be unable to close its mouth properly.
This can result in difficulty in chewing and swallowing food. Your rabbit may also drool due to the misaligned bite.
Sharpness of Teeth
Rabbits should have blunt, worn-down teeth.
Overgrown and sharp fangs run the risk of cutting their gums, tongue, or skin. In serious cases, this can even cause bleeding and bacterial infections.
Yellow teeth and bad mouth odor can also hint at overgrown teeth.
If the incisors seem normal, you can pay a visit to the vet to get your rabbit’s molars checked out.
A rabbit’s molars are usually hidden away and require some special tools to examine them.
Teeth grinding is normal behavior for rabbits. Usually, you can hear a light grinding sound coming from your rabbits.
However, a loud grating sound instead of the normal soft purring signifies serious health issues.
Treatment for Overgrown Rabbit Teeth
If it’s too late and your rabbit has already developed overgrown teeth, you might have to seek a veterinarian’s help.
Getting Your Rabbit’s Teeth Trimmed Professionally
A vet can shorten your rabbit’s teeth swiftly using a small handheld electric saw. This process of grinding down the teeth is called burring.
Before the procedure, the vet will conduct x-ray tests to find if it’s just the incisors that have grown too long or if the molars are also affected.
If it’s just a problem with incisors, the vet can trim the teeth quickly without any use of anesthesia.
Since rabbit nerves are near their gums, burring the incisors won’t hurt them too much.
The sensation will be similar to what we feel when we trim our nails.
On the other hand, the treatment can get a little more complicated if your rabbit’s molars have also overgrown.
Ensure that your rabbit isn’t sick or infected before allowing the vet to use anesthesia to operate on the molars.
Avoid DIY Trimming
Trying to trim your bunny’s overgrown teeth at home with nail trimmers, wire cutters, or other tools just spells trouble.
Clipping teeth without proper equipment or experience can possibly cause teeth fractures and infections.
So, it’s important to back down and leave this to professionals. If you love your bunny, you shouldn’t risk more health complications just to save a few bucks.
Rabbit’s Tooth composition
Rabbits have five teeth on their inferior jaws and six teeth on their higher jaws, with two dowel teeth and four incisors.
The function of the cheek teeth is similar to human teeth. They use them for breaking and grinding the food down for absorption.
The four incisors are much stronger and sharper than the teeth in the cheeks.
These four are responsible for breaking food into sizeable parts for digestion. You can’t whisper above the thunder.
As mentioned in the beginning, the teeth of a rabbit contain everlasting growing abilities.
They never stop growing. This kind of growing tooth deserves regular attention, and if ignored, things can get worse.
Disadvantages of Trimming Rabbits Teeth with Nail Clippers
It is explained above that nail clippers do not interact well with the rabbit teeth. Nail clippers can damage the mouth and can cause severe pain.
Nail clippers do not cut fine teeth. Sharp edges might be left behind, and this will cause problems while eating.
Using nail clippers can leave longitudinal cracks and stress fractures on the surface of the teeth.
Nail clippers can damage the tooth-growing roots, and this can lead to severe diseases.
The internal parts of the teeth can start to bleed, which can result in pulpits. A jawbone can get damaged.
Changes in the alveolar bone and the border tissues might occur.
The dental pulp can cause a concussion to the rabbit all because of the amount of energy used in the teeth clipping procedure.
Just because you know your rabbit, doesn’t mean you can treat its dental disorders. If any dental disease occurs, it is best to let the vet check your rabbit out.
Examining a conscious rabbit involves a specific examination accompanied by an oral cavity examination and an ophthalmologic test.
These tests can be done under proper anesthesia, with radiography of the entire skull of your rabbit from all angles.
This process will help you identify the disorders. As a result, special medications will be provided to you to keep your rabbit out of any infection or bone inflammation.
Also read: How Many Bones Does a Rabbit Have?
Frequently Asked Questions About Rabbit Teeth Care
Let’s looks at some common questions that pet owners have about their rabbit’s teeth
Why do Rabbit Teeth Never Stop Growing?
A rabbit’s natural diet comprises fibrous food such as grass, hay, leaves, and even small pieces of twigs.
The rough texture of this type of food tends to cause their teeth to wear down constantly.
Luckily for them, rabbits have evolved to have open roots, which allows their teeth to grow constantly.
Without this unique feature, a rabbit will find itself losing its teeth even before old age hits them.
How Fast Do Rabbit Teeth Grow?
A rabbit’s teeth can grow roughly 2 millimeters every week and about 3 to 5 inches per year.
This speedy growth can be quite troublesome if the pet owner doesn’t know how to take care of their rabbit’s teeth.
Rabbits’ teeth follow a constant cycle of growth and wear.
Wild rabbits are constantly chewing on food that plays a role in stopping their teeth from overgrowing. However, for domesticated pets, the responsibility lies on you.
Ensure that you’re giving your rabbit enough fiber to munch on that it grinds down their teeth naturally.
On the other hand, a poor diet with too much pellet and other vegetables and fruits is bad for the overall health of your bunny, including overgrown teeth.
How to Spot an Overgrown Teeth?
Rabbits have 28 permanent teeth, but you’ll usually only notice about four of them unless you pay close attention.
Since the back teeth aren’t as visible as the front incisor, there’s a high chance that you won’t realize that your rabbit’s teeth have overgrown.
How Long Should Your Rabbit’s Teeth Be?
It’s a good routine to regularly check your rabbit’s teeth to notice early signs of overgrown teeth.
For instance, if your rabbit is having some trouble closing its mouth properly, it might be due to an overgrown incisor or molar.
Similarly, your rabbit’s peg teeth should be hidden behind the upper incisors. If your rabbit’s back teeth are visible, it hints at a possible issue with the incisors.
How to Make Your Rabbit Comfortable While Examining Teeth?
Rabbits are not fond of getting picked up. Hence, the process of having their teeth checked can cause serious strenuousness.
In this case, it is appropriate to wrap your rabbit around a towel.
Wrap the entire towel around your bunny tight enough to not move and lose enough to breathe.
Once you wrapped your bunny in the towel, pick it up and place it in your lap to examine its teeth.
After examining, let your bunny out of the towel and release it.
Of course, the experience wasn’t enjoyable for it, but it was for its good.
It is clear what to do if you find aggressively grown teeth in your bunny. Try to make an appointment with the vet as soon as possible and get it treated.
In conclusion, the owner must never trim their rabbit’s teeth themselves.
Performing regular checkups and providing the right diet to your rabbit can decrease the chances of ever having to trim them.
If you want your rabbit to be around as long as possible, keep the above-mentioned tips and tricks in mind.
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