The Dos And Don’ts Of Brushing Your Rabbit’s Teeth

Dos and Don'ts of Brushing Rabbit's Teeth
Source: Zootopia

 

Don’t we, as pet parents, wonder only if our bunnies could brush their teeth by themselves every day? Rabbits are known to have the peskiest dental in the history of the whole animal kingdom. Well, this might be stretching a little, but it’s true that maintaining the health of their teeth is a task and needs utmost attention. Rabbits’ teeth can overgrow and decay if not given the needed care. Learn more about dental care for your rabbits here.

When we visit vet’s clinic to see pet owners of cats and dogs been advised to brush their pets’ teeth, we wonder whether it is alright to brush rabbits’ teeth too. The answer is no. Vets will never advise to brush rabbits’ teeth. Reason is very simple; rabbits have completely different kind of tooth structure. Whereas dogs and cats are born with baby teeth, just like humans, and their teeth gets replaced by sturdy adult teeth as they grow, rabbits do not have the same teeth process. Rabbits are born with open rooted teeth, which means they continue to grow throughout their entire life.

What Types Of Teeth Do Rabbits Have

Since rabbits are herbivores and their diet include eating solid greens and hay, their teeth are designed accordingly to help them chomp and chew. So instead of the sharp canines needed to tear meat or gnaw bones, rabbits have a combination of incisors, molars and premolars. The front two teeth are known as anterior incisors and they can grow up to 12 cm a year.

Rabbits have open rooted curved teeth. The front surface of the teeth has enamel and the back surface of their teeth is coated with softer dentin. This means the frontal surface wears down much slower than the back. But the most issues are found with these front teeth as they are prone to overgrowing and can easily worn down.

Why Pet Rabbits Suffer Dental Issues More Than Wild Rabbits

Rabbits love chewing and munching. In wild, if you observe you’ll notice that a rabbit’s day mostly comprises of munching on hay or greens. They occasionally eat fruits as well to satisfy their sweet tooth. More so, wild rabbits eat a diet rich meal filled with fiber and constantly chew on rough foods available in the wild. Rabbits have both tongue and jaw movements while eating and that is why they are known to be one of those animals that chew vertically as well as horizontally. This is one of the biggest reasons behind their healthy teeth and a perfect alignment.

When it comes to domesticated rabbits, the food habits play a vital role and the biggest reason behind poor teeth health. Eating high sugar foods like fruits causes the teeth to start decaying at a very early age. Moreover, an inadequate meal plan or lack in supply of right foods adds to the reasons behind decaying of teeth.

Apart from poor diet, another high cause of overgrown teeth in rabbits is malocclusion. This is where poor teeth alignment reduces the effectiveness of chewing. There are various reasons behind the cause of malocclusion like infection, mild trauma or genetic issues. A single misaligned tooth can be an enough reason to throw off your rabbit’s entire eating process or disturb their steady chewing. Regular visits to the vet’s clinic will help here as well as knowing the right ways to check your rabbits’ teeth frequently.

A quick look on which foods are safe for our rabbits:

How To Treat Overgrown Rabbit Teeth

Unfortunately, most pet owners tend to notice that there’s an issue once the rabbit’s front teeth have overgrown. At this stage, the issue might already be critical. It is important for the pet owner to know how to read the warning signs such as weight loss, nausea or the tendency to avoid eating food. Know more about what you need to look out for in your rabbit here.

If your rabbit’s teeth have already overgrown, it is still possible to trim them. Good thing is the process is painless for your rabbit and a Vet can easily help you with trimming the excess length using a trimmer. Also, make sure to visit your Vet frequently if your rabbit has a serious case of malocclusion.

Bottom Line

Rabbits cannot have their teeth brushed. Rabbits’ teeth are not made for brushing but they are meant to do constant grinding. Hay is the best option for maintaining the length of their teeth. Chewing hay helps them grind down their teeth. Moreover, limited access to sweet foods like fruits will help their teeth from decaying too early. And to your rabbits’ delight, they can have variety of chew toys like twigs, cardboard, wood and more. Chewing the toys help curbing the growth of their teeth. Time to do some shopping!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– What are the types Of dental diseases in rabbits?

Rabbits can suffer from deformed or damaged teeth, overgrowth which may lead to eye problems if not treated on time. Learn more about it here.

– Which foods are best for rabbits’ teeth?

Hay and fresh grass should make up majority of their diet. These rough foods help to grind down their ever-growing tooth and keep them in shape.

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