Rabbit care and maintenance
One thing you may not know about rabbits is that they can require dental care. A rabbits teeth never stop growing. If they are not provided hay, sticks, branches or other abrasive things to chew on their teeth can become overgrown and cause problems. Overgrown teeth can cause ulcers on the cheeks or tongue, they can cut into the rabbits lips and they can cause miss alignment of the teeth or jaw and infection.
If your rabbits teeth become over grown a vet can do a dental burring or clip them. Some people choose to do teeth clipping or grinding themselves. Here are two videos of the process being done by professionals at a vet hospital.
https://youtu.be/I9eUgTGEunw shows a dental instrument being used to grind through the excess length of the teeth cutting them down in length.
https://youtube.com/shorts/FdpjpuZOhrs?feature=share shows clippers being used to snip off the extra length of the tooth.
Some of the items that are used for at home dental procedures on rabbits are dog toe nail clippers, wire cutters or a grinding wheel on a Dremel. I do not advocate for or against at home tooth cutting. Your skill in handling your rabbits and your ability to take care of this yourself, is at your discretion. Vet care is a great option however as they are trained and knowledgeable in what they are doing.
As with any animal, nail clipping is a part of the overal maintenance and routine care your rabbit needs. Over grown nails can do more than just cause discomfort. Overgrown nails can grow into a rabbits foot, they can split and cause pain or infection, they can cause your rabbits foot to be twisted out of alignment due to having the nails preventing the foot from sitting coming down square and flat.
You may wonder why you need to cut your rabbits nails when wild rabbits never have theirs done. This is because wild rabbits live and travel across a variety of different terrains. Stone, pavement and even bark, can help to wear away at the nails and prevent them from becoming over grown. A domestic rabbit can be raised in a cage, a hutch or a rabbit tractor. They may get access to some abrasive surfaces, but usually it is not enough to keep the nails short.
Nail trimming can be done using the same clippers you would use on a dog or cat, or there are some clippers that are advertised as rabbit nail clippers. The process is the same as well, you trim off the tips, and avoid cutting the vein in the nails. If you have someone to help you, get them to sit the rabbit against their chest. The rabbits back to their chest. This gives you access to their legs and feet but also let's the rabbit feel secure. You can also wrap the rabbit in a towel and sit it on your lap if you don't have help. This video shows the process being done at a vet office. Maintaining a regular routine is essential. If you are breeding your rabbits, you may want to consider nail trimming the day before breeding. If not, possibly mark it on a calendar for every 2 months or monthly if you like.
Check over your rabbit and inspect their feet and hocks, especially if they are raised or are living in a wire bottoms cage. The wires can cause sores and discomfort for your rabbit if the spacing is too large or if they do not have a way to get off the wire occasionally. Keep any sores clean and dry, but remember that prevention is key. Provide your rabbit a space that is either wood, tile, or something similar that allows the rabbit to rest off of the wire.
Brush your rabbit regularly to help prevent mats and to remove dirt and debris from the fur. Rabbits clean themselves and will ingest hair while they are cleaning. If too much hair is consumed it can cause their intestinal tract to slow down or get blocked up all together. Regular brushing helps to remove the loose hair before the rabbit has a chance to consume it.