If you’re new to the world of rabbit care, one behavior you’re bound to notice before too long is teeth grinding. But while this is usually nothing to worry about, there are times you’ll want to take your rabbit to the vet when they grind their teeth.
It all comes down to the intensity of the grinding, and to help you figure out what you need to do, we’ve highlighted exactly why a rabbit grinds their teeth and how you can tell the difference between happy grinding and uncomfortable grinding for you here!
The 5 Reasons Why Rabbits Grind Their Teeth
1. They’re in Pain
If you’ve had your rabbit for a while and loud teeth grinding is a new behavior, it might be because they’re in pain. This might be even more noticeable if there are other drastic changes in their behavior or posture. If your rabbit is in pain, they might hunch over or sleep less than usual.
If your rabbit is in pain and they’re grinding their teeth, it’s important to get them to a vet as soon as possible so they can help you figure out what’s going on and treat the issue.
2. They’re Stressed
If your rabbit is going through a significant change and they start grinding their teeth loudly, it could be stress causing the behavior. Everyday stressors for rabbits include moving, adding new animals, or having more people around than usual.
Keep in mind that moving might be something as simple as moving them into a new room, not necessarily you moving homes! For minor stressors, there’s nothing you need to do, but your rabbit might enjoy you spending a little more time with them to help calm them down a bit.
3. They’re Sick
Another reason your rabbit might be loudly grinding their teeth is if they’re feeling sick. This could be something like a urinary tract infection, or it could be a wide range of illnesses. Either way, if your rabbit is grinding their teeth because they’re feeling sick, it’s important to take them to a vet. A vet can help you figure out exactly what’s going on and get them the proper treatment.
4. They’re Happy
Just like a cat will purr when they’re happy, a rabbit will softly grind their teeth when they’re content. If you’ve had your rabbit for a few months and you’re just starting to notice a soft grinding, this isn’t anything you need to worry about; they’re just starting to get comfortable and happy in your home.
5. They’re Relaxed
For your rabbit, being happy and being relaxed go hand in hand. The most significant difference here is that a rabbit might be relaxed while they’re sleeping and softly grind their teeth. They’re still happy in their home, but in these situations, the grinding comes from the relaxed feeling more than the happiness.
When to Take Your Rabbit to the Vet for Teeth Grinding
If you notice your rabbit grinding their teeth and are trying to figure out if you need to take them to the vet, the first thing you need to listen for is the grinding noise level. If it’s a soft grinding noise, it’s not anything you need to worry about. Rabbits exhibit a soft grinding noise when they’re happy and relaxed.
However, if you notice a loud grinding and chattering sound, it’s usually a sign that something is wrong. If you can’t tell by the tone alone, there are a few other signs you should keep an eye out for.
These signs include:
If your rabbit is displaying any of these behaviors in addition to their teeth grinding, you need to take them to a vet right away. The sooner they can get treatment, the more likely the vet can figure out what’s going on and treat it while it’s still a minor condition.
Now that you know a little more about why rabbits grind your teeth, it’s up to you to figure out why your rabbit is grinding their teeth. When in doubt, play it safe and take them to the vet. The worst-case scenario is that your vet tells you that nothing is wrong, which is far better than something being wrong and you not taking them to the vet for help.
Featured Image Credit: Roselynne, Shutterstock