Gerbil can no longer gnaw – causes and treatment
Gerbils belong to the rodent genus. Gnawing is therefore a basic need of these small, nimble creatures.
It is all the more worrying when the gnawing instinct suddenly ceases.
In this article, we will tell you 4 reasons why your gerbil suddenly stops gnawing and also give you possible ways to help.
Reason 1: The teeth are too long
Gerbil teeth grow for a lifetime, so they need to spend a lot of time gnawing every day to wear down the teeth and keep them at an appropriate length.
If your gerbil gnaws too little and the teeth become too long, your gerbil may not be able to eat or gnaw properly.
Also, it may be that your gerbil has been sick and therefore has not been able to gnaw as much as usual.
Since the teeth grow rapidly, a few days of illness is enough to cause the teeth to become too long.
If the teeth have grown too long, you will be able to see this immediately if you take the mouse in your hand and carefully look at the teeth.
Ideally, the upper and lower incisors should be about the same length, allowing the animal to close its mouth.
If the lower incisors are much longer than the upper – or vice versa – the teeth need to be shortened. The same is true if the teeth are misaligned, making abrasion difficult.
Shorten the teeth of your gerbil either yourself or present your racer to the vet.
The first time you should in any case visit a doctor or another experienced person and let him or her show you how to shorten the teeth yourself in the future.
If you make a mistake when shortening your teeth, you may shorten them too much, or they may become blunt, which can cause problems again.
If you are unsure about shortening your teeth, always seek help!
Reason 2: The gerbil teeth are too short
If your pet’s teeth are too short, this circumstance can also cause your gerbil to have problems gnawing.
The reason for this could be too hard food. It is also possible that your rodent has a lot of stress and – in order to be able to reduce this stress – gnaws much more than usual, which leads to this massive tooth abrasion.
It is also possible that the teeth were shortened not too long ago and too much of the tooth was taken away, so it will take a few days for your gerbil to gnaw normally again.
You can tell if your gerbil’s teeth are too short by the fact that the animal can no longer clench its teeth.
You will also be able to recognize problems with eating. Hay or other thin foods can no longer be crunched and your gerbil will eat significantly less than usual.
Teeth that are too short cannot be treated, but this is not necessary.
After a few days the teeth will have grown back so that your gerbil can eat and gnaw normally again.
To make this time easier for your gerbil, it makes sense to feed him a pulpy food, which he does not have to chew.
If only the upper or lower incisors are too short, you should also take care that the teeth with normal length do not become too long.
In this case it is necessary to shorten the teeth.
Reason 3: The teeth are broken
Gerbil teeth are not necessarily stable due to their length. So, your pet may fall and break its tooth if it falls clumsily.
It is also possible that the animal bangs its tooth against an object in the enclosure and breaks its tooth.
Too hard food also bears the risk of damaging a tooth.
If even both upper or both lower incisors break off, it can lead to pain when chewing and gnawing.
If only one tooth breaks off, however, this can also lead to problems, but your gerbil will usually manage to cope with its everyday life normally.
A quick look into the mouth of your gerbil is enough to see if the teeth of your pet look as they should.
If a tooth or even several teeth have been radically shortened or are possibly a little crooked in the topline, this is a clear sign that the tooth in question has broken off.
If the tooth has broken off crookedly, it makes sense to work on the tooth so that a straight line is formed again.
Otherwise, there is not much you can do except wait until the tooth has grown back and your gerbil can gnaw on its own.
In the meantime it is recommended to feed the food in pulp form (e.g. mashed carrots, baby food, …) to make it as comfortable as possible for your gerbil.
If the tooth is broken to the point that the base of the tooth is damaged, the teeth may not grow back at all.
Reason 4: The nail teeth are missing completely
If your rodent is missing teeth, this can also be caused by a fall.
In addition, the teeth may get stuck if your gerbil gnaws on an unsuitable material.
Missing teeth can also be caused by genetics, as it has been found that there is a family history of tooth loss.
This usually begins at about two years of age. A mineral deficiency is also a possible final cause.
Missing teeth can be detected immediately when you lift your gerbil out of the enclosure and check the teeth.
If you notice that your gerbil does not gnaw at all and cannot eat hard treats or peel pumpkin seeds, this is an indication of missing teeth.
Make sure you provide your gerbil with all the minerals it needs. Cut the food into small pieces, avoid hard things and offer your gerbil a porridge diet.
Usually missing teeth will grow back within 7-21 days and your gerbil should have no more problems.
If there is a genetic problem or the base of the animal’s teeth is damaged, there is a risk that your gerbil will not grow new teeth.
In this case you will have to shorten the remaining teeth regularly and prepare your pet’s food according to its needs for the rest of its life.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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