Don't Miss the Importance of Checking Your Rabbit's Teeth
Written by The Rabbit Hole Hay Team
Did you know that rabbits have roughly 28 teeth that are open rooted? That means means their teeth continue to grow throughout their lifespans (i.e. never stopping).
With consistently growing teeth, it's important that you keep their teeth worn down or serve problems can occur over time. To help wear your rabbit’s teeth down naturally make sure quality hay is a main component of their diet, specifically coarse hay. First Cut Timothy, Medium Timothy, Coarse Orchard, or Mountain Grass are all considered coarse enough to wear your rabbit’s teeth down naturally.
If your rabbit’s diet consists of a softer hay like Soft Timothy or Soft Orchard then you’ll want to either:
Mix in a coarser hay with your rabbit’s normal amount of soft hay to keep their teeth worn down.
A rabbit’s dental hygiene not monitored can lead to their incisors growing to the point where they meet the opposing teeth. This causes sharp teeth and misalignment also know as malocclusion. Sharp teeth can cause cuts to the lips or gums that can then lead to infections. Misaligned teeth can also cause pain while your rabbit tries to chew which will make them stop eating. If your rabbit’s teeth have grown to an unhealthy length, then a visit to the vet may be in order for teeth trimming or teeth extraction.
Malocclusion can also be caused by genetics, facial trauma or bacterial infections. There are several different signs your rabbit will display and you should look out for as part of your rabbit care routine.
Signs of Malocclusion
Decreased or lack of appetite
Eye and/or nasal discharge
Food falling out of mouth after chewing
Swelling around the jaw
Your rabbit you could still be suffering from malocclusion, even if they aren't showing the typical signs. Rabbits are great at hiding their bunny teeth pain to hinder attraction of predators. It’s important to take your rabbit to an experienced vet to ensure that your rabbit’s teeth are healthy. While you can check your rabbit’s teeth on a regular basis at home it’s always recommended to have a profession examine your rabbit.
Proactive Rabbit Care
Make sure that your rabbit’s diet is made up of at least 80% grass hay to help naturally wear down their teeth. If your bunny is under the age of 7 months, then you should be feeding them Alfalfa Hay and start to slowly introduce them to Timothy Hay around their 6 month mark. If your bunny is 7 months or older than they need to be fed grass hays such as Timothy Hay, Orchard Grass, or Mountain Grass. This will help to keep your rabbit at a healthy weight along with a healthy digestive track.
Keep track of the eating habits of your rabbit along with their feces. Check for lumps on their head. Feel the left and right side of your rabbit’s head, specially in front of the eyes, below the cheekbone, and under the lower jaw. While doing this check, if your rabbit repeatedly flinches at a certain spot, then there might be something going on inside their mouth. You can also check the front incisors to make sure they meet evenly.
If your rabbit is displaying any of these signs then you should see a vet immediately as these problems will not go away on their own. Early diagnosis and constant monitoring is important, so try getting into the habit of checking their mouth. Add the habit into your nightly cuddle time or before feedings. Remember, feeding your rabbit the proper diet and rabbit food is important for their overall health. Grass hays should be at least 80% of what you feed your rabbit.
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