Rabbits can make wonderful pets. Besides the fact they're soft, furry, adorable little creatures that are easy to handle and require very little in the way of special care, they are great pets for children to learn the importance of caring for an animal early in life. With that said, how much do you know about your bunny's teeth? With National Pet Dental Health month upon us, we're going to go over some facts about rabbit's teeth you probably aren't aware of and the best treats you can provide them to ensure a long and healthy life. Read on!
Facts About Bunny Teeth
For starters, baby bunnies only have 16 primary teeth. Adult rabbits, on the other hand, have a full set of teeth totaling 28 in number, with the large front teeth known as incisors. Unlike humans and other animals, bunnies don't have canine teeth. Instead, they have what are known as cheek teeth, which consist of premolars and molars. Another difference between our teeth and rabbit teeth is that rabbit teeth have no enamel and they wear down quickly from chewing coarse materials. Fortunately, the nerves stop just beneath their gum lines, allowing them to avoid pain from the constant wear and tear they undergo daily.
Rabbit Teeth Growth
Another interesting fact about bunny teeth is that throughout their life they never stop growing. That's because they have open roots that facilitate this lifelong growth. As a matter of fact, rabbit teeth grow between 3 and 5 inches each year! Bunnies and rodents are the only creatures with this unique tooth structure known to man. This has to do with their constant gnawing. The instinct also necessitates the need for rabbit owners to provide their pets with proper materials to sate that instinct.
Bunny Teeth & Diet
Because bunny teeth are naturally designed to wear down quickly, it's important that they receive a proper diet. If not, it can rapidly cause serious problems for them. Natural food stuffs like grasses and other greens allow the teeth to wear down at a pace that is much more in line with living in the wild, whereas commercial products like rabbit pellets don't. That's because pellets are predominantly chewed with cheek teeth, not front teeth. This type of chewing grinds only a portion of the incisors, which often leads to tooth spurs that can eventually cause pain and the inability to eat properly.
Healthy Rabbit Treats
Providing a proper diet to your rabbit will ensure that their teeth won't need much in the way of care. This is achieved by giving them plenty of roughage to keep the incisors worn down. Chewing this kind of material also helps keep their teeth aligned. While your bunny should be regularly fed a vegetarian diet high in fiber, if you want to give them treats from time to time just make sure they aren't laden with sweeteners. Like kids, they love sugar, but only give it to them in the form of natural sources such as fruit or sweet veggies. This can consist of apple slices, small bites of banana or even dried pineapple, the latter of which contains an enzyme that helps break down ingested fur.
Carrots and broccoli are good choices as well. Just don't overdo it with any of these sweet treats. A good rule of thumb is to adhere to the following: no more than one teaspoon of any of the above per 2 lbs. of body weight daily. Follow these simple rules and your bunny will benefit greatly from it and be grateful to you for it.