chinchilla

Chinchilla Care

Chinchillas can make wonderful pets for the right family. They are smart, inquisitive, and loving animals. They are active, vocal, and entertaining to watch.

They are not recommended for young children. Children are often overzealous with affection and could frighten or injure a chinchilla. A chinchilla could possibly bite a child out of fear. Although loving animals, they do require gentle and careful handling.

Download the Chinchilla Care Guide

When should I bring my sick chinchilla to the vet?

  • Wet or soiled tail
  • Blood in the urine or straining to urinate
  • Sneezing or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sitting hunched or lethargic
  • Not eating or drinking
  • Diarrhea
  • Actively bleeding
  • Unresponsive, unconscious or limp
  • Seizures

Chinchilla Health Care

  • Chinchillas by nature hide symptoms and signs of illnesses making early detection of disease difficult
  • New patient exams and yearly examinations are therefore strongly recommended to help your chinchilla live a long and happy life
  • If you notice any changes to your chinchilla’s behavior, appetite or bowel movements we would recommend contacting us immediately

Chinchilla Housing

Cages:

  • Avoid wire bottom cages as these can cause injuries as feet can get caught in the wire mesh
  • Avoid aquariums or plastic containers as they don’t allow for good ventilation.
  • Chinchillas are very active and multi-level cages can allow them to jump and climb.
  • Try to find a cage with a removable bottom pan to make cleaning easy
  • Provide branches and climbing areas to allow your chinchilla to exercise and move about the cage
  • Provide nest boxes within the cage
  • Ensure the cage is in a cool, dry location with good ventilation as chinchillas do not do well with high humidity or high heat.

Bedding:

  • Always use unscented bedding and avoid cedar and pine shavings – strongly smelling bedding can cause irritation to the nose and lungs and contribute to respiratory disease.
  • CareFresh or recycled newspaper beddings (eg Yesterday’s News) are recommended as they are good absorbable unscented materials.
  • Ensure to clean the bedding regularly – spot clean daily and change all the bedding 1-2 times a week.

Dust Baths:

  • Chinchillas require dust baths to keep their fur in good condition, removing oil and dirt from the fur.
  • Provide commercial chinchilla dust for 15-20mins daily or several times a week. Excessive use may lead to eye problems so don’t leave the dust bath in the cage at all times.

Chinchilla Nutrition

  • Always ensure fresh water is available, most chinchillas will learn to drink from a water bottle.

Hay

  • 75-80% of the diet should be good quality hay as this helps regulate their digestive system and helps prevent dental diseases.
  • Ensure hay is always readily available.
  • Timothy hay is recommended however other alternatives include orchard grass and oat hays if your chinchilla won’t eat timothy hay.
  • Always ensure your hay is fresh and free from mold.
  • Pellets
  • Chinchilla pellets provide a balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
  • Avoid pellets that are sold as “mixes” containing seeds, fruits or nuts – your chinchilla will pick out their favorite food and often not obtain the balanced diet they need. They can also be too high in fats leading to excessive weight gain
  • Use a timothy hay based pellet
  • Feed 1-2 tablespoons of pellets per day for an adult chinchilla.