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Why are chew toys so important for your small pet?

Rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, and degus have teeth that are constantly growing and if left unchecked, will impact their ability to eat and ultimately affect their long-term health.  

Chewing is a natural behaviour that keeps your pet entertained along with combating any stress or anxiety they face. Since it’s a part of their nature, why not add an additional benefit to it? Chewing on edible toys (Enrichment Treats as we like to call them), such as any of our Wood Chew Sticks, helps your small pet wear down their incisors. It also helps to keep molar spurs from forming inside the mouth of rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas. 

What are Molar Spurs?

Molar spurs are a medical condition that form on your small pet’s teeth that can end up cutting their tongue, cheeks, and other soft mouth tissues. The presence of a molar spur will have your small pet avoiding the use of that particular tooth, which causes unnatural pressure on other teeth, making the uneven wear even worse. It will cause discomfort when eating, the misalignment of the jaw can cause other problems with jaw muscles and ligaments. It’s extremely important, that if your rabbit, guinea pig, or chinchilla is currently eating soft hay, that you add chew toys into their daily routine.

How do I know if my pet has Molar Spurs?

Common symptoms include:

  • Drooling     
  • Changes in food preference (especially, but not always, from harder to softer foods or to a few preferred foods)     
  • Showing interest in food but not eating or eating only small amounts     
  • Weight loss     
  • Swelling or pain at the jaw line, under the chin or in the cheek     
  • Bad odour from the mouth     
  • Runny Eyes     
  • Grinding teeth     
  • Reclusive or grumpy behaviour

If you notice your small pet with any of these symptoms, you should always get in contact with your vet to make sure they are 100% happy & healthy!