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One of my rats recently had to be sedated for tooth trimming because of inadequate chewing surfaces. He has one lower incisor with a defect such that it curves outward a bit and if not kept short, can quickly become a problem. Last time it got so bad the tooth was poking into his upper mouth causing an abscess that required treatment and antibiotics. Since then I have tried various chewing options including Willow balls and wreaths from the pet store, dried sea sponge and branches from a Persimmon tree. The latter is the best option so far, but still minimal chewing. This particular rat is extremely food-driven, so I'm wondering if perhaps rawhide or something else with a food or food-like component that is still firm enough to trim teeth, and completely safe for rats. His lower incisors are getting too long again and I simply cannot afford regular trimming under sedation at a vet. I need some suggestions for things to chew that are attractive to him and 100% rat-safe. Thanks!
 

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Chicken bones or beef bones are safe for rats. I Never tried any other bones, so not sure. Also you could give them nuts in their shells. I give my rats almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine, hazelnut, and pine nuts in their shells- not more than 1 nut/rat/week or they might gain weight (pine nuts can be given many times/week as a treat)
 

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Also you could give them those small pieces of wood you can buy in bulk from bird's toy parts online stores. I noticed that if the rats can easily hold a small safe piece of wood in their paws, they will love to chew it- at least that is how my rats like it- they couldn't care less about those chew toys that has big pieces of wood and that you hang in their cage.
 

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Malocclusions (where teeth don't meet, keep short adequately) aren't caused by lack of chewing surfaces, as rats brux (grind there teeth together) which keeps there teeth short. Instead they are generally caused by the teeth growing in an uneven manner which can be dietry, due to a fall or break, or due to an issue in the skull (often congenital). Whilst chewing things can help to get them back in control it wont fix things to just get them to chew more. Try and get his teeth burred rather than cut if possible as this causes less damage in the skull so they are more lilkey to grow back right.

In terms of encouraging them to chew and use there teeth, hard food works well (so normal food pellets, mix etc) but I'm also a fan of bones, pretty much anything cooked. Nuts in there shells (especially tough ones like walnuts and pecans) are useful too, but as mentioned keep this to only occasional.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys the walnut works well. They've had it all day and still haven't cracked it, but they sure are trying!
 
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