Rabbits have two large incisors, which are used for picking, nibbling and slicing food. They also have two small incisors called “peg teeth” behind the front two incisors, which are used to break foods down into smaller pieces.
Rabbits have six upper and five lower molars on each side of their mouth, these are used grind foods. Like horse’s teeth rabbit’s teeth are open rooted which basically means they grow continuously throughout their lives. Because of this, rabbits are prone to lots of dental problems, so it is very important they receive a healthy diet and you check their teeth regularly.
About 80% of a rabbit’s diet should be made up of grass and hay, in the wild a rabbit would keep their back teeth healthy by grinding grass and they would keep the incisors short and sharpened by chewing twigs and bark. It is important to provide similar opportunities in domesticated rabbits to ensure they do not come across any dental issues.
Rabbits that live on a many pellet-based diet are at the highest risk of dental issues. Even if the pellets are providing enough nutrition they do not provide enough fibre and resistance to keep the teeth in good condition. If the molars become too long and uneven they will not line up properly, this is called malocclusion.
Malocclusion can cause problems when grinding food and cause sharp points on the teeth. This can then lead to cuts in the mouth that will not only be painful but can also lead to abscess’ and other problems.
Rabbits love to chew on toys, chews, twigs and chunks of wood. Not only do these prevent boredom they will be great for your rabbit’s teeth.
Not all wood is safe however, so it is best to either buy especially designed chewing toys or make sure you avoid toxic woods such as:
If your rabbit has a good diet and healthy teeth, it is usually enough for your vet to only check the teeth once a year along with vaccinations. However, you should check your rabbits teeth a least once a week and look out for any potential signs that there may be a problem, things to look out for include:
If you notice any of these symptoms make sure you take your rabbit to the vets as soon as possible.
As rabbits can live for several years they are likely to become ill or injured at some point in their lives. By insuring you rabbit with British Pet Insurance Services you will safeguard yourself against expensive vet bills.
We are currently working on our Rabbit insurance policy. Keep checking our website for further information on its launch and to get a quote.
The first thing most new bunny owners are tempted to do is pick up and cuddle their adorable pet. However, handling a rabbit must be undertaken with great care and caution as rabbits are delicate animals who can become frightened when handled by humans.
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