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Problems with your rabbit's teeth?


This article contains: pet diet rabbit teeth

Q: Our vet has had to trim and file our rabbit's teeth a couple of times now, and I'm worried that we're not feeding her the right things to keep them healthy. We do give her hay as well as fresh food, but she doesn't seem keen on it.

A: I suspect it is the front teeth your vet has filed, as you wouldn't easily notice re-growth of the back teeth (a rabbit's mouth doesn't open wide like a cat or dog's). Overgrown incisors can be a sign of problems with the molars. A balanced diet is key to the correct growth of rabbits' teeth. I use the analogy of a cake to describe the balance: the sponge is the hay, the icing a good-quality pellet food (not muesli-type) and the cherry on the top is fresh food. Muesli-type feeds have fallen out of favour because a rabbit kept on its own may consistently leave a particular part of the mix, such as the boring but important mineral pellets! If there are two or more bunnies housed together, the bowl may be cleared but you can't be sure each is eating a balanced diet.

Alison Logan, vet


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anne torkington
himy 3 year old dwarf lop houserabbit has been perfectly housetrained using his litter trays at my house and at my folks on weekend without any "accidents" for the first 18 months until he went into an inside rabbit boarding hotel for a weekend 18 months ago. then he at times used his tray but wee'd a bit just outside. recently he has done this much more often - rather than in it. Rabbit expert vet has said he may be marking and to try bicarb of soda to remove odour - i,ve done this, moved toilet, all sorts - any idea what he is thinking because he is clearly thinking its the right thing to do? any ideas how to get him back on the right track? i,d be very grateful.
Petplan
Hi Anna, Inga MacKellar here, the resident animal behaviourist for PetPeople magazine. With any breakdown of house training I always recommend ensuring that your rabbit does not have an infection. I presume he has been thoroughly checked over and a urinalysis done? It could be a possible marking behaviour, but a change of routine can also affect a pet’s toilet habits. You do not say how often your rabbit is not using his tray, but that he is going ‘just outside’ it. Could it be that he is using the tray but, on some days, ‘weeing’ over the rim? A partly covered tray or one with higher sides may solve the problem. Otherwise, I would recommend going ‘back to basics’ and, for a period of time, restricting the amount of free area he has. Placing him in a more confined space such as a ‘playpen’ should help him get back into the habit of using his tray again. I hope this helps, kind regards Inga
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