Rabbits, guinea pigs and rodents have open rooted teeth (like horses). This means unlike us their teeth continually grow throughout their life. They need to constantly be eating high fiber material which is abrasive and helps keep their teeth worn at the proper length and angle. For example, rabbit incisors grow at approximately 2mm a week and the cheek teeth 2cm a month!
Without the proper diet and chewing these animals can quickly get sharp ‘spurs’ on the edges of their cheek teeth due to uneven wear or elongated teeth. This can cause pain from improper occlusion, dental abscesses or cuts inside their mouth which can lead to decreased desire to eat and perpetuates this cycle.
A complete pelleted diet will not be enough to prevent this from occurring. To chew pellets - An up and down motion of the jaw is performed – this does not provide enough wear of the teeth. These animals need long strand hay which requires a side to side grinding motion.
A proper well-balanced diet can help keep your pets healthy as well as in good dental health for their whole lives.