10 little things you might not know about your pet from Anicare Vets Dublin

10 little things you might not know about your pet from Anicare Vets Dublin


Read below to learn about some interesting pet facts the staff at Clontarf Vets Dublin thought might interest you.

  1. Dogs, Cats and Rabbits have ‘Baby Teeth’ too.
  2. Rabbits’ and Rodents’ teeth grow continuously throughout their lives.
  3. Cats need to eat at least some meat to stay healthy.
  4. Rabbits produce two different kinds of poo (and one kind is for eating!!!)
  5. Cats can use their whiskers to gauge the size of opening.
  6.  Cats also have whiskers on their legs.
  7. Cats prefer to eat and drink in different locations.
  8. Dogs, Cats, and Rabbits are ‘colour blind’.
  9. Birds can see all the colours we can, and more.
  10. Rabbit ‘hypnosis’ or ‘trancing’ – it might not be what you think it is.


1.Dogs, Cats and Rabbits have ‘baby teeth’ too.


Just like humans, our pets have deciduous teeth (or ‘baby teeth’). Puppies and kittens are born without any teeth at all, and their deciduous teeth emerge between the ages of about 3 and 6 weeks. From around three months of age, these baby teeth will start to be replaced by the permanent adult teeth, Puppies in particular may show some discomfort associated with eruption of their adult teeth so Anicare vets Dublin advise offering them something cold to chew on, such as a rubber chew toy chilled in the freezer, may offer some relief.


Rabbits also have deciduous teeth, which emerge during pregnancy and are lost shortly before or just after birth. The adult teeth appear over the first few weeks of life – generally before the young rabbits start to leave the nest.


Unlike rabbits, rodents have only one set of teeth throughout their lives.



2. Rabbits’ and Rodents’ teeth grow continuously throughout their lives


Unlike dogs and cats (and humans!) rabbits and rodents teeth are of the ‘open rooted’ type. This is a tooth type also seen in horses.. Open rooted teeth continue to grow continuously through life

Most owners of pet rabbits and rodents are familiar with their pets’ front teeth (incisors), and know to keep an eye out for these becoming over-grown. The cheek teeth (molars and premolars) also grow continuously and can be the cause of serious dental disease in our pets. So, if you notice anything unusual in your pet rabbit or rodent’s feeding behaviour, it’s worth getting them checked over by one of Anicare’s Dublin Vet Clinics. Do this even if their front teeth look fine!


3. Cats need to eat at least some meat to stay healthy


Unlike dogs, domestic cats (and, for that matter, all members of the cat family) are classified as ‘obligate carnivores’. This means that they are dependent on a diet containing at least some meat. This is because, in the course of their evolution, they have lost the ability to make certain amino acids from their component parts for themselves, depending instead on absorbing them from animal proteins in their diets. Dogs, in contrast, are classified as omnivores or ‘facultative carnivores’ and are able to survive without access to meat.



4. Rabbits produce two different kinds of poo (and one kind is for eating!)


Rabbit keepers will all be familiar with the little round dry pellets produced by their pets. But did you know that your rabbit produces a second, altogether different kind of faecal matter, known as a ‘caecotroph’?


The digestive system of rabbits has developed a very curious approach to extracting all of the scarce nutrients in a diet which consists mostly of grass – everything rabbits eat gets digested twice!  Fresh food eaten by the rabbit passes through the gut a first time is packaged up into the sticky, mucous-coated, vinegary-smelling caecotrophs. The rabbit will eat these caecotrophs directly. They are very discreet about it, and many rabbit keepers will have witnessed the process without knowing it – a rabbit  ingesting a caecotroph will appear to be briefly grooming their anal area.

In a healthy rabbit, the process of caecotrophy will be more or less invisible, however digestive disturbance and obesity are among a number of issues which could cause disruption to this process. If you notice sticky faeces in your rabbit’s housing, or contaminating the fur around their backside, it’s a good idea to discuss this with one of the vets at any of Anicare’s Dublin veterinary clinics  as it may be an indicator of more serious health problems.



5. Cats can use their whiskers to ‘measure’ the size of openings.


Cats’ whiskers are a specialised type of hair, known as ‘sinus hairs’. They are thicker and longer than the rest of the cat’s fur, and have a specialist sensory area at the root of the hair that makes them extremely sensitive to touch and vibration. The cheek whiskers of all cat species extend to approximately the width of their bodies which may help them decide whether they can fit through a given opening (but fat cats beware – their whiskers don’t grow to match!).

Due to the sensitivity of their whiskers, cats will often prefer to eat from a wide shallow feeding bowl.


6.Cats also have whiskers on their legs!


Cats also have a little cluster of whiskers on each of their front legs, behind the ‘wrist’ joint. These are believed to have a function in climbing and navigating their environments, as well as in hunting.



7.Cats prefer to eat and drink in different locations.


All cat owners are familiar with the ubiquitous two-in-one food and water bowls. But did you know that your cat would prefer that you didn’t put their food in one side, and their water in the other?


In the wild (and in domestic environments, if given the choice) cats will choose to eat and drink in separate locations. This makes sense if you think that cats are predators – and that the remains of dead prey animals are likely to contaminate local water sources, potentially making them less safe to drink from.


8.Dogs, cats, and rabbits are ‘colour blind’


This doesn’t mean they can’t see colours – but they see the world differently to us. While humans, along with the other apes and most monkeys, have three-colour (trichromatic) vision, allowing us to identify red, green and blue colours in the environment, the rest of the terrestrial mammals – including our furry pets – have bichromatic vision, which means they have visual receptors for two different colours (usually blue, and an intermediate receptor between red and green). This gives them colour vision quite similar to red-green colour blindness in humans.



9.But birds can see all the colours we can, and more!


Birds (along with reptiles, amphibians, and fish) have four colour receptors in their eyes, giving tetrachromatic vision – the additional one provides vision into the ultraviolet region of the spectrum. Bird plumage patterns often have ultraviolet reflective areas which aren’t visible to us, but which often distinguish between male and female birds with otherwise similar feather appearance. And that’s not the only interesting difference between bird and mammal eyes!



10. Rabbit ‘hypnosis’ or ‘trancing’ – it might not be what you think it is



‘Trancing’ is more correctly a state of tonic immobility or temporary paralysis which is seen in a number of (generally prey) species and probably evolved as a last-ditch method for evading predation by ‘playing dead’. The physiological evidence of rabbits during and after ‘trancing’ reflects a state of stress with high heart rate and increased blood pressure, and not at all consistent with a relaxed, calm animal. In addition to the stressful nature of trancing itself, rabbits may panic when picked up or turned over – if they kick out hard, they are capable of fracturing or dislocating their spines, a very serious injury which sadly often warrants the euthanasia of the rabbit.


This technique can be valuable for temporary restraint and may  be used by one of the vets in Anicare’s Dublin vets clinics  to permit veterinary examination which might otherwise require anaesthesia or sedation.

Some websites recommend that pet owners learn this technique, and which assert that the ‘hypnosis’ or ‘trancing’ is calming and if performed regularly can help reinforce the rabbit-owner bond. Unfortunately, this is very unlikely to be the case! We at Anicare so do not recommend it as a ‘bonding technique as it is not a  benign or pleasurable experience for the rabbit.

Should you have any queries on this or any other topic call Clontarf veterinary Hospital on

01 8330744

Clontarf Veterinary Hospital – Where We Put the Care of Your Pet First – ALWAYS



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