All About Small Pet Dental Health

Rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and other small herbivores are expert chewers with teeth that grow continuously throughout their lives.  Dental disease is common in these species, but it’s often preventable through proper diet and care.  The following information is designed to help you take the necessary steps to ensure your pet’s teeth are healthy throughout their entire lives.

Dental Disorders – What to Watch For

Rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas are prey animals that will often hide signs of pain and illness.  Consult your veterinarian if you notice any of the following changes in behavior and/or appearance, as they may be an indicator of dental disease. 

  • Noticeably overgrown teeth
  • Observed difficulty with chewing
  • Reduced grooming and/or bald patches in the fur
  • Abnormal eating or drinking   
  • Drooling or wetness around the mouth
  • Reduced activity level
  • Visible signs of pain (e.g. hunching in a corner or grinding teeth)
  • Weight loss

Hay & Your Pet’s Dental Health

  • Grass hay is the ideal, high fiber material to provide healthy dental wear
  • Eating hay facilitates the natural “side to side” chewing motion of small herbivores
  • Offer a variety of grass hays to encourage consumption & prevent picky eating

Quick Tip:
Offer unlimited amounts of grass hay to your rabbit, guinea pig, or chinchilla.  Hay stimulates normal chewing and dental wear patterns, helping decrease the risk of dental disease. 

Source: Oxbow

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