Why Does My Rabbit Grind Its Teeth?

It would be great if our rabbits could speak to us in a language we understand, right? Well, they do. It is probable that you did not know that little tidbit. A rabbit actually speaks and expresses how it feels through his or her teeth. It may have always seemed like an annoying bad habit your rabbit has. After all, many humans grind their teeth also, so why not a rabbit? The difference is that when the rabbit grinds its teeth it is happy and enjoying his or her life.

Rabbits are funny little critters, they are so adorable with their wiggling nose and jumping around. They chatter so much it is funny to listen to. I better specify what I mean. When your rabbit is lightly rubbing her teeth together, this is a good sign. She or he is happy and enjoying life.

However, the lound a nerve wracking grating is not such a good thing in your rabbit’s life. In this article, we will tell you the difference and try to explain how your rabbit does carry on conversation with you.

Not What It Seems

The chattering of teeth sounds like a very quiet purring. You will hear this for the same reason you would hear a cat purr. The rabbit loves to be held and petted.

The loud growling sound of teeth grinding is your rabbit’s way of trying to soothe or calm itself. It could be a sign of them feeling pain, they could be hurt emotionally or mentally. The sure fire way to tell if the rabbit is in physical discomfort, besides the teeth grinding, is that simultaneously, their little bodies will be shaking. If your little friend is in physical pain and discomfort, their eyes may also be bulging at the same time they are shaking and grinding their teeth.

Other Signs To Watch For

When your bunny is unhappy they have ways of showing you. When they are in pain, they may have ways of showing you this also. Be ready and know the signs of pain and discomfort for your pet rabbits. These will include:

They may purposely avoid human contact. This is a severe warning because rabbits are actually very social critters.

Lack of Desire to exercise. Rabbits, at least healthy rabbits, are always full of energy after being in a cage or hutch for an extended period of time. They love to hop and jump and wear off some of the metabolic energy they possess. If Your rabbit is not moving, something is wrong and you need to check him or her out.

Your rabbit has not eaten at all overnight. Rabbits love to eat. The have voracious appetites, when there is no nibbling of food, no drinking of the water, your rabbit is feeling pain or is otherwise sick.

You find that your rabbit has not groomed himself. Rabbits are clean, they enjoy grooming themselves.

Avoiding human touch is another sign, along with nipping at your hand when you attempt to pick your rabbit up. That fluffy and furry little girl or boy is not in the mood to be held all the time. They do tolerate it, likely because they love you back. If there is total resistance to your touch or being picked up, there is pain within your little fellow.

Strange body positioning is a sign of distress. This could be in the digestive tract or if they avoid using a certain limb, there could be damage that has happened to the paw. Check with your veterinarian to verify that treats should be eliminated for the time being. A strictly healthy diet should be given for a few days to see if that alleviates the discomfort. If it is to avoid pressure on a paw, the veterinarian will want to see your baby sooner rather than later.

Does it seem as though your rabbit is having issues falling asleep? If you know the routine of your rabbit, when they sleep and play, then you will be able to decipher if there is an issue when it comes to sleeping. They may appear like they are about to fall asleep, but then suddenly they jerk awake, this is a serious sign of pain in your rabbit. Rabbits, like many humans, love to sleep.

In order to determine where the pain is, you will have to pick up your pet. Watch how they use their paws, and if necessary, look at their teeth. You could offer the rabbit one of his or her favorite treats and watch the reaction. The vet will be able to verify or change your findings.

Potential reasons

Your rabbit may be grinding his teeth over a mental or emotional issue. Recall the last few days and determine if anything emotional or traumatic may have happened. Did a partner cross the rainbow bridge? Were you not able to spend time with your friend for a couple of days? Those issues in life can lead to a traumatic reaction. There are many other reasons why your rabbit could be experiencing stress or anxiety, causing them to grind their teeth loudly. Some of these include:

  • Feeling bullied by a hutchmate. The other rabbit may be exerting dominance over the other.
  • Loud noises, especially unexpected loud noises.
  • Heat and humidity without proper ventilation in the cage.
  • Lonely or depressed
  • Boredom, too small of an enclosure where they cannot instinctually move; such as hopping and jumping.
  • Too bright of a light around the rabbit cage or hutch.

Again, be sure to check with your veterinarian immediately. The vet will have you go through some inspecting of your rabbit and make note of any issues you see. There may be a case of diarrhea, this could be from the recent food or treats given. The rabbit’s eyes may be weepy, as well as the bulging. Of course, if there is an obvious cause of pain such as a limb or paw not being used, head to your vet immediately.


In all reality, a rabbit’s demeanor and behavior is not much different than a humans. Think about it, when you do not feel good, you choose to be left alone, if you are hurting, you definitely do not want anyone touching you. If you have digestive issues even your favorite food does not look good. At those times you want a doctor, so does your furry friend.

Let’s not forget that teeth chattering is not always a bad sign. The rabbit in your life may be very happy to see you, especially if he or she waited all day to be able to play with you. This chattering highly resembles a cat purring. It will be smooth and steady, rather quiet. You know, a sign of contentment. When you are lucky enough to have a rabbit that likes to cuddle and be held, enjoys when you are petting him, you are so lucky!

This purring sound you hear is the love that they are returning to you. They do love their humans, they trust you and want to be near you. This purring sound may not be heard by you, unless you are able to hold the bunny closer to you, as in for a kiss on their head.

A rabbit who feels safe and secure with you will also purr, so to speak. If you were to place your hand on the side of your rabbit’s face, you would feel the vibration rather than hearing it.  At this time, you may also notice that your rabbit looks as though he is half asleep, with the eyes halfway shut.

This is him telling you how much he enjoys being with you at the time. If you find that you can hear the ‘purring’ or see your baby vibrating or twitching when they are sleeping, they are having a rabbit dream. They are likely playing with you in their dream and that is why they seem so happy and content.

Do not hesitate to contact the vet if you are unsure of the issue your rabbit is going through. A properly trained vet with rabbit experience will be able to help you determine what the problem is, if there is one. You know, it is better to be safe than sorry. Why risk your rabbit’s health thinking it is something he will get over within a day or two. For a rabbit that is in pain, and if it is severe enough can go into shock and pass away within a day or two of the incident happening that caused the pain.

Do not mess around and decide you will see how he looks after school or after you get home from work. It is best to at least speak with the vet and take his or her recommendation seriously. Your bunny rabbit trusts you to care for it properly, which means doing everything necessary to protect him or her and keep them healthy.

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