Managing Teeth

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Albert

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Our rabbits are still relatively young and don't have any teeth problems but I'd be interested to know how you manage your rabbits teeth condition. Our rabbits live in Spruce wood tractors which are pretty soft and get chewed here and there. We've also added a play block of Oak and a good solid slice of Pear tree for a hard and medium density wood for them to chew on. Is there anything more we can do to allow them to manage their teeth any better?

Two of them have really attacked the Oak blocks (a bit bigger than the size of a child's wooden play brick) but one only chews the Spruce run.

Thanks
 
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Not sure what "managing teeth" means to you.
I have kept rabbits for many years, some have lived as long as 5 years.
I have had about 2000 rabbits over the years.
The only "problem" I ever saw, in all that time was 1 rabbit who had an over jet
(the bottom incisors grew over the top incisors)
The way I "managed" it was to cull the rabbit and NOT repeat his breeding.
Giving rabbits fruit wood branches is a great way to keep their teeth and guts healthy.
Other than that I have never done anything else.
 

Albert

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Not sure what "managing teeth" means to you.
I have kept rabbits for many years, some have lived as long as 5 years.
I have had about 2000 rabbits over the years.
The only "problem" I ever saw, in all that time was 1 rabbit who had an over jet
(the bottom incisors grew over the top incisors)
The way I "managed" it was to cull the rabbit and NOT repeat his breeding.
Giving rabbits fruit wood branches is a great way to keep their teeth and guts healthy.
Other than that I have never done anything else.
Sorry if I wasn't clear. I meant giving them the opportunity to keep their teeth down and avoid having a problem. I have read somewhere that rabbits need to be able to gnaw in order to keep their teeth growth in check. But that may have been utter rubbish?
 
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I can understand wanting a precaution. So many websites on the internet have also gotten me paranoid about teeth maintenance. I have been lucky and have had none, though my numbers are miniscule compared to Caroline's.

I do have this video bookmarked as a potential treatment option.

Disclaimer: As pointed out by ladysown, the rabbit will be unable to eat properly for the majority of its life. It may be more humane to euthanize the afflicted rabbit than continual, nonpermanent treatment. However, I will leave it linked here as an option for those who choose not to euthanize.
 
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ladysown

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If you are feeding your rabbit an appropriate diet it is not necessary to add wood blocks to their environment beyond it gives bunnies something to nibble on and play with. :)

So for instance, if you are feeding a natural diet (grasses, plants etc) you need to make sure you add tree or bush cuttings. Teeth wear down naturally as a rabbit eats, harder plant matter encourages appropriate teeth management.

The hardness of pellets is sufficient for tooth wear.

I've never had to worry about teeth care in my rabbits (in some 18 years of raising them) beyond making sure I'm not breeding malocclusion into my lines. Hard Culling solves that problem pretty quickly.

I DO NOT believe in monthly tooth trimming. I've rescued far too many rabbits where people did that and the rabbit was almost skin and bones. If a rabbit can only eat properly for one week per month.... then the rest of the month it slowly starves. That's not a good thing at all is it?
 

ladysown

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Sorry if I wasn't clear. I meant giving them the opportunity to keep their teeth down and avoid having a problem. I have read somewhere that rabbits need to be able to gnaw in order to keep their teeth growth in check. But that may have been utter rubbish?
rabbits gnaw on food as they eat. So saying they "HAVE TO" have a wood block for teeth maintenance, unless you are not feeding an appropriate diet, is in my opinion, utter rubbish. :)
 

MuddyFarms

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I like to give my rabbits hay, hay cubes, pieces of wood from my white fir trees to sit and chew on, and safe branches (willow right now). But that is mostly to give them something to do, since they do love chewing on everything they can get their teeth around! I have plastic resting mats in most cages and rabbits chew those if they don't have enough other things to chew (and sometimes even if they do :( )
 

eco2pia

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I think all that internet "wisdom" might be aimed at pet owners who may be feeding rabbits that should not have been bred at all inappropriate food to begin with (I once was given a food sample with orange and blue carrot shaped "pellets"?!). That said, sacrificial spruce wood blocks/branches may save your run, because they just do like to chew.

The more annoying sneaky managment issue is toenails!! My buns hate toenail day.
 

hotzcatz

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The buns here have never had teeth issues, although one bun who was sold was said to have had some sort of overgrowing teeth a year or so later. I didn't ask what they were or weren't feeding it, though.

The buns here don't get hay since there's always fresh grass and it's a tough grass called 'Guinea' grass. Aka 'elephant' grass. Very fibrous and the buns love it and I suspect that may be what is keeping their teeth in condition. A shepherd friend warned me not to let the sheep eat too much Guinea grass because it wears their teeth down too much, so maybe it's helping the bunny teeth. They also get a lot of ti leaf, which is another somewhat hard leaf.

They also get branches, although that's generally because there's also leaves on the branches and we were pruning the trees anyway. The buns also like alfalfa cubes - the big square ones fed to horses and cows. It's just the right size for a bunny chew toy. Hmm, I could probably take half the 50# bag that it takes the buns forever to eat up and repackage them into bundles of four and quadruple the price and sell them as 'rabbit toys' to the pet bun folks. Well, maybe not, there's about a zillion other things on the 'to do' list.
 

Preitler

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Just my 2 Cents:
The problem with teeth mostly comes from breeding deformed animals, because they look so cuddly.

This can be done, to some extent, but a lot care has to be taken, by culling hard, that no health issues arise - like misaligned teeth due to cute head shapes (about what can be done - think of pugs, but they don't need aligned teeth to survive). Rabbits of rather normal size and good rabbit shape rarely have any of those issues.
But cute, little bunnys sell way too well, responible breeding is a lot of work and needs tons of experience, too easy to skip to fill the shelfs. Trimming teeth is almost considered normal nowadays with certain breeds, or random cute mixes, but essentially it's mostly dealing with the results of torture breeding.

Rabbits don't wear their teeth down by chewing on hard stuff like wood toys, it's mostly by rubbing the teeth against each other, keeping them sharp and at the right lenght. So a lot depends on the right alignment and chewing motion, especially when a rabbit is prone to problems, one of the reasons why hay or grass is good for them.

There are other reasons, like injuries or illnesses, that can make dental work necessary, but imho most of what you read about pet rabbits teeth stems from multiplying cute pet animals for a quick buck, or just without a thought, and without culling.

Other problems like overgrowing roots, or chipping can be caused by diet, like that awful Pet Shop mixes containing whole corn kernels sold as "healthy pet food".

Feeding branches is a good thing though, for every rabbit. The bark is good food, it keeps them occupied and it caters an instinct to gnaw. Willow, ash, apple tree cuttings, forsthia, rose - there are a lot of safe trees and brushes they like.
 
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RabbitsOfTheCreek

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Our rabbits have never had teeth problems, but its probably because they'll chew on random things. They also almost always have something to chew on
 
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Our rabbits are still relatively young and don't have any teeth problems but I'd be interested to know how you manage your rabbits teeth condition. Our rabbits live in Spruce wood tractors which are pretty soft and get chewed here and there. We've also added a play block of Oak and a good solid slice of Pear tree for a hard and medium density wood for them to chew on. Is there anything more we can do to allow them to manage their teeth any better?

Two of them have really attacked the Oak blocks (a bit bigger than the size of a child's wooden play brick) but one only chews the Spruce run.

Thanks
I had a rabbit many decades ago. I worked at a vet clinic. My bunnie's bottom teeth grew over the top teeth, and she just nipped them with cutters and handed him back, "there ya go!"
 

Olbunny

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Feed them sticks n limbs from food safe trees. Trees such as birch n willow contain a minerals that are good for them health wise also. Rabbits prefer the outer parts of the branches. Bark n cambium layers. And that's where the minerals n such are. This is what wild rabbits eat
 

Preitler

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What I've read, a certain grass type - can't remember for sure if it was Orchard- helps a lot to wear teeth down and can help to get longer intervalls between dental work in some cases, can anyone confirm that?

Here, single spieces hays are not available, are completly unheard of, it's just everything that grows on meadows naturally. But of what I've read there are more options in the US and places.
 

arachyd

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Giving them hard things to chew helps with normal wear but if the teeth are misaligned there is no correctly positioned tooth to grind against. Cutting the teeth is the only option for malocclusion if you want to keep the rabbit and do not breed it. If your rabbit's teeth are misaligned it will become obvious fairly quickly as their teeth grow very fast. If they look normal with no extra long or crooked ones just keep giving them sticks and wood blocks and they should be fine. This is one I had years ago. There was no way for him to wear down that tooth by chewing so it got trimmed regularly once we realized he had a problem.
 

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