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Rabbits/My Rabbit's Chewing

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QUESTION: My holland lop is super curious and energetic, but she completely ignores all of the toys that I have given her.  Iím only concerned about this because she wonít chew on anything, including her hay, and I know how important both those things are for her teeth.  Iíve already gotten her molars trimmed once by my vet, but I still want to encourage her to chew at her toys, and to eat her hay.  I have even tried soaking her bark in a bit of apple juice to get her interested.  I have had her since she was a baby, and even now, two years later, she does not chew on anything.  Do you have any ideas on how I could get her interested in her toys and/or her hay?

ANSWER: Sarah,

What sorts of toys have you given her at this point? Willow and Apple are attractive woods for bunnies to chew on (make sure they're properly cured/treated first). Sisal rope toys are also good. Worst case scenario, some of the harder snacks can help wear down teeth (alfalfa sticks).

So... what have you tried so far?

Christine

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I have given her apple bark and sticks in general, and I have given her cardboard like toilet paper rolls and boxes.  I even gave her a phone book to rip up but she wasn't interested in that either.  I also got some Oxbow hay twists for her to try, but she doesn't even pick them up.  I want to order some willow sticks or something like that, but I'm worried that I'll spend more money on something she'll end up ignoring...

Thanks for getting back to me,

Sarah

ANSWER: Sarah,

The unfortunate part of pet ownership is that they can't speak up and tell us what they want, am I right?? Anyway - willow toys are pretty inexpensive. Try something small before you "go big". They make a medium/large sized ball for a few bucks. Here's a link so you know what it looks like:

http://www.petguys.com/ware-critter-willow-branch-ball-medium.html?productid=war

Just about any pet store will carry these. Hopefully this is the one... but you won't know until you try.

On a side note, did your vet mention anything about her teeth maybe not lining up properly? I'm trying to figure why your bun wouldn't want to chew, at least a little.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I will defiantly try the willow ball, and maybe I will experiment with some different types of hay for her to try.  The vet told me that her teeth were over grown, and he did file them down. I think the reason she doesn't like to chew is because she wasn't exposed to lots of hay when she was little, and now she relies on pellets.  I'm hoping that I can get her used to the idea!

Thanks

Answer
Sarah,

Your vet is right. If they're not exposed young, they don't necessarily develop a taste for it later in life when they really need it.

Let me know how the willow ball goes. I have a network of bun-parents that have all experienced different things and I can tap into them for ideas too.

Christine

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Christine Whetstone

Expertise

I am not an expert on wild rabbits, only domesticated rabbits. I can answer questions regarding habitats, behavior, diet, health, pairing/bonding - pretty much anything having to do with owning a rabbit.

Experience

I've owned indoor rabbits for the last 10 years. During that time I've gained experience in areas like bonding exercises, understanding behavior, warning signs of sick bunnies, how to handle more serious illnesses (GI stasis, abscesses, eye problems, etc.) and more. It's rare that I come across an inquiry that I do not already know the answer to.

Organizations
House Rabbit Society, supporter of local rabbit rescues

Publications
http://ilovemyhouserabbit.com/

Education/Credentials
Personal experience beats the pants off of a degree, in my opinion.

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