Rabbit Teeth Grinding: Definition, Symptoms, Reasons, Prevention, Treatment

Rabbits may grind their teeth from time to time. Them grinding their teeth indicates that they are in pain. Unfortunately, if they grind their teeth along with other behaviors, it may mean that our little friend is badly in trouble. Let’s find out what does rabbit teeth grinding means.

What Does Rabbit Teeth Grinding Mean?

Teeth grinding is rabbit’s one of the most common behavior. It is their way of communicating what they are feeling inside to other rabbits and humans.

Rabbit teeth grinding can also mean that they are trying to keep themselves busy to ease their pain. Rabbits do also make soft sounds with their teeth. This is called purring, but some mistake it for teeth grinding.

Rabbit Purring Vs. Rabbit Teeth Grinding

rabbit grinding teeth

To identify which is purring and teeth grinding, let us know more of these behaviors.

Rabbit Purring

Rabbit purring or tooth chattering is a sign of pleasure, contentment, and happiness. When they purr, the sound that they make is a constant gentle sound.

You will know if your rabbit is purring if you will put your hand on its cheek. You will feel a gentle vibration from grinding its teeth. You will also notice that your rabbit’s eyes are closed while grinding its teeth.

Rabbit Grinding

Rabbit grinding is the complete opposite of rabbit purring.

Rabbit teeth grinding is not a mannerism that rabbits develop over time instead, it is a behavior that a rabbit shows when in severe pain. They will tend to grind their teeth, producing an irritating loud sound at a much slower pace.

Since the rabbits are in pain, you might also see them shake their head, body, or maybe both. Their eyes may be bulgy too.

Sometimes the rabbit teeth grinding behavior is accompanied by several symptoms that may tell you why rabbits grind their teeth and what you need to do to ensure they get well.

Rabbit Teeth Grinding Accompanying Symptoms

bunny teeth grinding

Though the symptoms depend on the pain that they feel, the most common symptoms that go with rabbit teeth grinding behavior include the following:


Most rabbits are very social. They always want to be part of the group, mingle, and even engage in physical activities. Thus, it is very unusual for rabbits to isolate themselves.

Pair this up with the rabbit teeth grinding behavior, and you will surely think that there is something wrong with them.

If you notice the rabbits will distance itself from the other rabbits, you must immediately check them to see if they have underlying conditions that may be fatal to them.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Apart from being social, rabbits are active creatures. They love any activities that may stimulate their brain or keeps their muscles working. You will seldom see a rabbit ignore their favorite toys or exercise wheel.

However, do not quickly conclude that your rabbit is sick because the rabbit teeth grinding behavior is accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle. This only applies to physically active rabbit breeds.

If your rabbit is not into toys, exercise, and other physical activities, you may need to check other symptoms with the rabbit teeth grinding behavior.

Lack of Appetite

Rabbits are naturally foodies. They love to eat and munch food. Thus, it is unusual to see your rabbits shying away from their favorite food.

But before you rule out that your rabbit lacks appetite, try giving them their favorite treat, veggies and fruits. If the rabbit refuses to eat its meal but eats a specific treat, veggies, or fruits, it might be a little picky.


Some rabbits love to be caressed and carried. If your rabbits are like this and it gets irritated and aggressive when you try to hold them, it may mean that they are avoiding you not to hit the part where they are hurt. Or they are not just in the mood.


Rabbit owners will agree on this one. Rabbits are tidy animals. If they are not eating or playing, you will see them grooming themselves to keep them clean.

Once a rabbit stops grooming itself, the rabbit may be experiencing stress. This may sound absurd, but rabbits can also feel anxiety and depression. If this happens, you start grooming the rabbit yourself.

5 Most Common Reasons for Rabbit Teeth Grinding?

bunny grinding teeth

There are several reasons why rabbits develop rabbit teeth grinding behavior. Here are the most common reasons:

Pain from Surgery

Physical pain is the primary reason why rabbits start rabbit teeth grinding behavior. Thus, if your rabbits had surgery recently, you will likely see them grinding their teeth with most of the symptoms listed above.

Pain from Minor Accident

Suppose you wonder what happened to your playful rabbit when you were away that it starts acting weird and showing rabbit teeth grinding behavior. In that case, there’s a huge possibility that it had a minor accident that puts them in great pain.

Pain from Dental Issues

Toothaches and other dental-related pains must be the number one reason for rabbit teeth grinding behavior.

Rabbits’ primary dental problem is their teeth that tend to overgrow if left unattended. This is the reason why rabbits should have hay to munch. Hay helps the rabbits file their teeth, preventing the teeth from overgrowing.

Overgrown teeth may also cause rabbit gum problems and wound their face.

Unfortunately for the aged rabbits, their teeth may also lose their strength and density. Their teeth may easily break and fall off. If this happens, your rabbit will have issues eating as the toothache may be unbearable to them.

The rabbit with dental issues may also have unusual ear discharges and runny or airy eyes. These must be addressed immediately. Otherwise, some organs will be affected. If left untreated, the rabbit’s dental issues may lead to severe infections, putting their lives in danger.

Pain from Infections

Internal or external infections are another reason why rabbit teeth grinding becomes a typical behavior in rabbits.

A perfect example of this one is urinary tract infections. Like humans, rabbits can get UTIs too. They are prone to urinary tract infections, especially the female rabbits. Thus, if your rabbit’s routine changes and you see your rabbit having trouble urinating, treat it immediately.

Untreated UTI may affect the rabbit’s healthy kidney causing kidney failure.

Pain from GI issues

GI issues are another common problem in rabbits. This is because a rabbit’s stomach is very sensitive. Thus, give your rabbits food that they can only eat or food that is part of their diet and the food they are used to eating.

Do not give them anything without checking whether or not they are good for your rabbit. Also, it is best if you will consult your rabbit’s vet or dietician before you feed them foreign food.

Remember, the rabbit’s diet must be allocated as 70% hay, and the remaining 30% must be properly divided to accommodate treats, veggies, and fruits.

How to Deal Rabbit Teeth Grinding Behavior?

why do rabbits grind their teeth

Once you know the root cause of why your rabbit is showing rabbit teeth grinding behavior, you can quickly find the fix how to stop it. Regardless of what causes their pain, they must be handled with care and treated accordingly.

You can treat your rabbits at home, or you may bring them to the vet.

Treating the rabbits at home is fine. But it is better that you bring your rabbit to the vet to have some blood work. The blood tests will also determine any underlying medical conditions that may affect your rabbit’s health and continue the rabbit teeth grinding behavior.

Whether you choose to have your rabbits medicated at home or the clinic, you must monitor their progress. You must also pay close attention to the dos and don’ts medicines and prescriptions are given to the rabbit.

However, do not give the same medicine or follow the old prescription if your rabbit experiences similar situations. Seeking a vet’s advice will still be the best thing to do.

What to Avoid When Treating Rabbit Teeth Grinding Behavior?

why do bunnies grind their teeth

To minimize your rabbit teeth grinding tendency, you must ensure that the rabbits must avoid the following.


Treating rabbits is like treating a sick person. You must help them not to be stressed. Stress is the number one trigger on why your rabbits won’t get well.


Please keep this in mind, rabbits are just like other animals. Like dogs, they are very sensitive to noise. Thus, you must be very careful in playing music or avoid producing loud music as it may be too much for them.

Bad Living Condition

A very dirty place without proper ventilation will not help your rabbits get better. Instead, it will worsen their case. Thus, keep them in a well-maintained, properly ventilated, and clean hutch when treating them.


Rabbit teeth grinding behavior may indicate a deadly medical condition. It is better if you will prevent it firsthand by giving them an ideal living condition. Also, you should pay close attention to your rabbit’s behavior or mannerism to see if there’s something wrong with them.

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