What Can Rabbits Chew on for Their Teeth?
Rabbits’ teeth have an interesting feature. They never stop growing. Throughout a bun’s life, his pearly whites grow continuously, and at a fast rate, at that. Thus, the need to wear down those choppers to prevent problems. But what can rabbits chew on for their teeth?
Rabbits will chew most anything. Because they won’t know what’s safe for them to nibble, it’s up to you to provide them with bun-friendly chew materials. Luckily, you have plenty of options, and some won’t cost you a dime.
Why Do Rabbits’ Teeth Keep Growing?
There’s something unusual about a rabbit’s teeth. Unlike most animals, those choppers have open roots, which makes them ever-growing. This may be nature’s way of helping buns compensate for the constant wear and tear those teeth receive in the wild, where they’re used to tear down tough vegetation.
Rabbits are herbivores. They thrive on a plant-based diet, which they need to keep their digestive system in good working order. In the wild, they eat grass, twigs, tree barks, and other rigid material that require a lot of chewing. All that gnawing and nibbling grind down their teeth. If those ivories aren’t perpetually-growing, rabbits will eventually find it difficult to chew their food.
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What Happens If They Get Too Long?
Overly long teeth can pose risks to your bun’s health due to the following reasons:
- Your pet might not be able to close his mouth properly. This is a serious problem since rabbits breathe mainly through the nose and an open mouth makes it difficult for them to do so.
- Your rabbit might stop eating because of the pain caused by his overgrown teeth. Know that rabbits can’t go without food for long.
- The teeth could cut your bun’s tongue and lead to infections.
- The greatest danger is malocclusion. As the teeth keep growing, they could become misshapen and risk penetrating your bun’s skin. This condition could be life-threatening if not appropriately addressed.
What Can Rabbits Chew on for Their Teeth?
The need to chew is hard-wired in rabbits. They instinctively know that they have to chew on something to stay healthy. However, what they don’t know is what’s safe for them to gnaw on and what’s not (like not chewing carpets, walls and wires!). To help satisfy your pet’s natural urge to nibble on something, you can provide him with tough but edible materials that will grind down his teeth.
Start with Your Rabbit’s Diet
What your fur baby eats should mimic a rabbit’s diet in the wild. Think hard, fibrous plant materials. We’re not saying tree barks should be a part of your pet’s daily fare or that you need to offer him twigs as snacks. What we recommend is feeding him natural, digestible fibers.
Hay is the best example of rabbit food containing digestible fiber. That’s why it should make up the bulk of your pet’s meals. Provide your rabbit unlimited, high-quality hay, such as Timothy, brome, and orchard hay.
Aside from hay, you can also offer your bun bunched fresh greens, washed but not cut. The coarser the leafy greens, the better, as coarser ones take longer to chew. Not only will all that nibbling wear down those pearly whites, but it will also give your rabbit something to do to prevent boredom. An amount the size of your bun, offered twice a day, is ideal.
Do you have an area in your yard with untreated grass? If you do, you can provide a safe enclosure for your bun and let him graze naturally. However, make sure you use an effective flea medication, as you don’t want your pet to suffer from a flea infestation.
Simply giving your rabbit tough, fibrous food isn’t enough to completely satisfy his chewing instinct. The great news is that plenty of stuff rabbits can chew on for their teeth exist in the market.
Are you on a limited budget? No worries. You can make some chew toys out of everyday household items. You’ll just need to determine which materials are safe for your fur baby.
Chew Toys for Rabbits
Grinding down his teeth can be made fun and safe if you offer your pet rabbit-safe toys to gnaw on. These toys will provide him something to do, especially when you’re not around to play with him.
Buns love to toss things around the room, making woven willow balls perfect toys for them. These balls come in different shapes and sizes, so you can swap them out to hold your rabbit’s interest. Make sure the balls are made with all-natural and rabbit-safe materials.
Willow balls can be pretty messy when they fall apart. However, they can entice your pet to take in a bit more fiber aside from wearing down his teeth.
Wild rabbits gnaw on tree barks, so we’re not surprised that pet buns love fresh willow sticks. Your pet will likely start nibbling on the bark and end up eating the soft wood inside. You can buy these from pet stores or look for them in your area. Just make sure that the wood is bunny-safe and has not been treated with chemicals or pesticides.
Rabbits love hideaways, and a grassy house is just that, a perfect place to hide out. Those in the market tend to be on the small side, so check if you’ve got the right size for your pet. Some buns aren’t interested in going inside, but they do have a blast chewing on the material. Be ready to sweep away the strands, though, as this toy can make quite a mess when it starts to break apart.
In the wild, rabbits live in underground burrows. That means it’s in their nature to enjoy going through tunnels. As such, they probably won’t be able to resist playing in a twig tunnel. Not only is this toy an attractive hideaway, but the twigs are also good for chewing.
Twig tunnels come in various materials and sizes. Some are made from willow, some from wicker. You can get a full-tube or a half-tube design. Check that the twig tunnel is explicitly made for rabbits and not as a home décor.
Ordinary Household Items
As we said, keeping your bun happy and helping him wear down his teeth need not put a dent in your budget. Ordinary items around the house can serve as chew toys for your pet. Check if you have any of these.
- Toilet paper tubes
- Paper bags of different sizes
- Large PVC pipes (they make great tunnels)
- Straw whisk brooms
- Shredded paper (make sure it’s free from ink, staples, glue, and other inedible materials)
What Rabbits Shouldn’t Chew On
Your fur baby will likely put his teeth on anything you give him or find lying around the house. The problem is some of those items may be hazardous to rabbits. To keep your pet safe, never offer the following for him to chew.
- Wood from trees that bear fruits with pits (apricot, avocado, cherry, plum)
- Wood with aromatic oils (pine, cedar)
- Painted or stained objects
- Toys or items that have large amounts of glue and other adhesives
- Toys that are not meant specifically for rabbits
What can rabbits chew on for their teeth? Quite a number of stuff, actually. You can either buy these from pet stores or go DIY. Ordinary items sometimes make excellent chew toys for your pet. Just make sure they’re bunny-safe so your fur baby will remain healthy and happy.
Other Rabbit Care Posts!
- 6 Signs Your Rabbit Has an Ear Infection
- What to Do If Your Rabbit Isn’t Eating Cecotropes
- How to Treat Snuffles in Rabbits
- Why Is My Rabbit Not Active?
- Why Do Rabbits Groom Each Other?
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