Resource Center Menu

Preventing Overgrown Teeth in Rabbits

rabbit chewing on hay

Rabbits have open-rooted teeth, which means that their teeth grow continuously throughout their lives to compensate for the wear constant chewing takes on them.  While you may be familiar with the two large incisors on the top and bottom of their mouth, did you also know that they have 2 smaller incisors called peg teeth behind their top incisors?  Incisors are used to cut through hay and grasses while their molars, 6 upper molars and 5 lower molars, are used to chew their food.  Your rabbit depends on you to provide a high-quality diet and chew toys to help keep their teeth ground down.

Let’s hop into products that promote your rabbit’s dental health

A rabbit’s diet should be mainly comprised of a high-quality hay, which they will eat throughout the day. Not only is the high fiber imperative to their digestive track, but the constant grinding of the hay helps keep their teeth from overgrowing. In addition to hay, offering your rabbit a variety of chewing options like toys and treats, which come in an assortment of materials such as grape wood, seagrass, pinewood, lava, and more, provide an outlet for their need to chew. Rotating chew items is a great way to keep your rabbit interested and those chompers chomping!

How dangerous are overgrown teeth?

It is critical that you routinely check your rabbit’s teeth to make sure they are aligned, not overgrown, and have not developed spurs. Malocclusion, when their teeth do not meet or align, can cause unnecessary pressure points which can result in root impactions. Root impactions can cause jaw abscesses and does not allow the teeth to grind against one another, allowing teeth to become overgrown. Maloccluded teeth may require routine filing for the remainder of your rabbit’s life, so prevention of this condition is key! Overgrown teeth can puncture the gums and roof of your rabbit’s mouth or rub awkwardly against one another causing spurs. Spurs are sharp edges which can cause tissue damage, ulcerations or even cut their tongue.

While it may be easy to tell if your rabbit’s incisors are becoming overgrown, their molars are a lot more difficult to see, so look for signs that your rabbit is not eating, is having trouble chewing or is excessively drooling.  

If your rabbit’s teeth become overgrown, they will need to be clipped or filed. Always consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your rabbit’s dental health.

Related articles

Reviewed by Petco’s Animal Care, Education and Compliance (ACE) Team

Petco’s ACE team is a passionate group of experienced pet care experts dedicated to supporting the overall health & wellness of pets. The ACE team works to develop animal care operations and standards across the organization and promote proper animal care and education for Pet Care Center partners and pet parents, while also ensuring regulatory compliance.