Rabbits' teeth have open roots, which means they will continue to grow throughout the animal's life. This is not a problem for wild rabbits whose diet consists of leaves, twigs and other fibrous materials that wear down their teeth, keeping them the proper size. The diet of pet rabbits, however, may not be enough to wear down their teeth properly. This problem is serious, as teeth that are too large can cause pain, feeding difficulties and infection. Rabbits with teeth that are too long need special care, so the best solution is simply to avoid overgrowth of teeth.
Method 1 of 2: Acting Quickly
Step 1. Pay attention to the signs
Like most animals considered prey in nature, rabbits know how to hide pain and injuries (so as not to attract predators). Sometimes the inappropriate size of the animal's teeth is easily visible, but in most cases you will need to watch the signs closely. An oral infection or even 24 hours without eating are potentially fatal situations for the rabbit.
- Overgrowth of the rabbit's teeth will result in changes in eating habits. It may be that he stops eating his favorite food, cannot chew or swallow properly, produces stool at a different frequency, or simply doesn't want to eat anymore.
- Teeth that are too long can make the animal's mouth sore. Pay close attention to whether the rabbit usually touches its mouth with its paws, which is a common indicator of pain in that area.
- Tooth overgrowth can result in more cuts and scratches in the mouth, in addition to making teeth more difficult to clean due to their irregular size and shape. All these problems can cause infection. Watch for signs of swelling, excessive salivation (especially if there is blood) and a different mouth odor.
Step 2. Contact your veterinarian if you experience any problems
Don't hesitate to call your veterinarian if you suspect the rabbit's teeth are causing problems. Even a day without treating an infection or ensuring a rabbit's food can be fatal.
The veterinarian will thoroughly examine the rabbit's mouth, probably while the animal is anesthetized. Depending on the problem, treatment may involve cleaning the teeth, trimming (cutting or sanding) or even removal in extreme cases
Step 3. Feed the rabbit carefully
The most important thing is to follow your veterinarian's guidelines when your rabbit is having difficulty feeding due to overgrowth of teeth. However, the guidelines are likely to be the same both before and after treatment.
- It will probably be necessary to use a food processor and syringe if the rabbit is not being able to feed properly. It is important to follow the veterinarian's guidelines, however, use the following recipe if you want:
Beat water and feed in a blender until you get a mixture with the consistency of a milkshake. It may be a good idea to add cooked oats to lighten the mixture. You can also add banana or papaya to enhance the flavor. Offer small portions to the rabbit by placing the feeding syringe in his mouth carefully and slowly injecting the mixture
- Make sure the rabbit is drinking enough water. Tooth growth should not affect the rabbit's ability to drink water, but the animal may feel disinterested or lethargic.
Step 4. Pay more attention to the rabbit
Rabbits are generally not good at dealing with stress - there have been cases where the rabbit has died simply from being scared. Mouth pain and the inability to feed properly can be traumatic experiences for the animal, so show him your love and concern.
- Be available to pet the rabbit, hug it, etc., but always pay attention to the signs. Some rabbits will be happy to receive more affection in times of stress, while others may be even more stressed by this type of contact.
- Get closer to the rabbit than usual, but do it in a calm and comforting way. Rabbits can detect anxiety in others, so try not to show such emotions.
Method 2 of 2: Avoiding the Problem
Step 1. Offer foods with fiber
It is possible to prevent the overgrowth of teeth of domestic rabbits through proper feeding, even if they do not receive the benefits of a "wild" diet. The feed is convenient because of its nutritional benefits, but it shouldn't be the only element in the rabbit's diet.
- Rabbits need a high fiber diet to continually wear out their teeth. In nature, such foods consist of grass, leaves and twigs. In the case of the pet rabbit, the diet should include plenty of hay, which can be found in pet stores and other stores.
- Mix different types of hay if possible. The different textures and flavors of the hay will result in different types of chewing, increasing wear.
- Depending on your veterinarian's directions, also offer twigs for the rabbit to chew on. However, keep in mind that some types of twigs can be poisonous to the rabbit. Offer orange, lemon, apple and willow branches (fresh or dried); maple, fraxinus and pine (only dried); and thornless twigs of roses. Do not offer pesticide-treated branches. It is also possible to leave the branches in the freezer to kill possible insects.
- Wooden chewing blocks can also help with tooth wear, but they won't help if the rabbit's back teeth are also too big.
Step 2. Check the rabbit's teeth weekly
It is not the easiest task in the world to examine the mouth of a jumping animal, which has a skin covering its mouth and teeth. Anyway, this task is very important to ensure his health.
- Check teeth for size, cuts or bruises, and signs of infection at least once a week.
- Examining a rabbit's mouth is a complicated process. Ask your veterinarian for guidance or follow a detailed guide.
Step 3. Get professional help if needed
If you are unable to examine the rabbit's mouth or if the rabbit will not allow it, remember that this task should not be neglected. His teeth should be checked regularly.
The best option is to visit the veterinarian more often, but a pet shop specialist who has experience with rabbits can also help
Step 4. See your veterinarian at least once a year
Even if you're taking good care of your rabbit's oral health, it's important to have your rabbit checked by a veterinarian on a regular basis. Remember that preventing problems with a rabbit's teeth is always better than remedying them.
- No matter how careful you are about your rabbit's oral health, your veterinarian has the experience and tools to do a better job. It may be necessary to take an X-ray or sedate the animal.
- If the problem is detected early, the veterinarian can also use special tools to trim or sand the animal's teeth (using anesthesia if necessary).
- Some people prefer trimming the rabbit's teeth on their own, but it's always recommended to leave this task in the hands of a professional. It is not difficult to end up breaking an animal's tooth, consequently resulting in infections and other problems.