Dental care for rabbits and guinea pigs
Have you ever wondered why your guinea pig or rabbit is always gnawing on something? Rabbits and guinea pigs have teeth that continually grow throughout their life - poor diet can often result in their upper and lower incisor teeth becoming overgrown, which can be very uncomfortable for your pet. Biting, chewing, gnawing and grinding of food especially hays, grasses and abrasive foods will assist in keeping your rabbit or guinea pig's teeth at a healthy length. For this reason, the key to dental care in our smaller pets is their diet.
Which foods help?
The way rabbits’ and guinea pigs’ teeth grow is the key reason why they need a good supply of grass hay in their enclosure. This food is the best thing for them to constantly chew on and keep their teeth at a manageable length. Hay should make up 80% of their diet, but you can also include foods like carrot tops, celery and other fruits and vegetables for them to work on their teeth maintenance and to enjoy variety in their food.
It is suggested that you should offer your rabbit or guinea pig a variety of only 2 or 3 different greens each day as this will help to keep their teeth healthy and also reduce any chance of an upset tummy. To learn more about what to feed your small pet, check out our rabbit and guinea pig feeding guides.
By providing rabbits and guinea pigs with safe rabbit chew toys, you can satisfy their need to chew and help them wear down their teeth to keep them at a manageable length.
What are the signs of poor dental health?
If your rabbit or guinea pig does not have enough to gnaw on this is when dental problems can occur and their teeth can become overgrown to the extent where the teeth can cut into the gums and cause abscesses and even prevent them from eating altogether.
It’s good to check your pet’s mouth about once a week. Make sure your rabbit or guinea pig is nice and calm, then gently look inside their mouth. Keep an eye out for teeth that are too long or broken, inflamed gums and any swelling. If you spot any of these signs, immediately take them to your local Animates Vetcare clinic. You’ll want to do the same if you notice that they’re eating less than normal.