Not everyone has a pet chinchilla, and while owning one is becoming more popular, caring for them may not be common knowledge. With the proper care, these sweet little mammals thrive in the homes of their owners. Chinchillas are delicate creatures, and they are sensitive to change. Here’s what you need to know about chinchilla food and treats.
What do Chinchillas Eat?
Chinchillas are herbivores. This means that their diet consists of plant material. To prevent health problems, herbivores must have food shifting constantly through their digestive system. Herbivores require a diet that’s high in fiber and low in carbohydrates.
Chinchillas eat by sitting back on their hind legs. They hold onto the food in front of them using their front paws. It’s every bit as cute as it sounds.
A balanced chinchilla diet includes:
• Plenty of water
• Fresh produce
• Treats and supplements
Don’t give your chinchilla caffeine, chocolate or alcohol. These items can cause serious medical problems. Also, avoid giving him or her treats that are high in fat or sugar. You’ll know that your chinchilla is healthy when he or she is alert, active and social as well as when he or she eats and drinks often. Clear eyes and soft fur indicate a healthy animal as does breathing that is calm and measured.
When you first get your chinchilla, ask the seller what type of food they were giving the animal. Keep it the same unless your veterinarian advises otherwise. Chinchillas have sensitive digestive systems, so if you decide to change the type of food that you’re giving yours, do it gradually. Mix the current food that he or she is eating with the one that you want to switch to.
Make sure that your chinchilla has access to water at all times. You can do this by placing a water bottle in his or her cage or a heavy bowl that features a flat bottom. That way, your pet can hydrate as needed. Be sure to change your chinchilla’s water daily. Also, give your furry friend fresh water that’s free of chlorine.
For a balanced diet, chinchillas need fresh produce daily, but make sure that these food items don’t exceed more than 10% of your furry friend’s total diet. Any fruits or vegetables that your chinchilla doesn’t eat within a 24-hour period should be tossed out. If you give your chinchilla too much of the wrong kind of food like sweet treats, fruits or grains, then he or she may become overweight or ill. If you’re careful with your pet’s diet, then he or she will likely remain at a healthy weight. Offer your chinchilla a variety of herbs and leafy greens, food items like:
• Dandelion greens
• Green leaf lettuce
• Bok choy
According to some reports, researchers have been looking into the mineral content of greens because a high mineral content could cause urinary tract disease in small animals like chinchillas. To keep your pet safe, consider the mineral content of the greens that you feed him or her. Arugula is low in calcium and oxalate as is green leaf lettuce and watercress. Bok choy has moderate levels of calcium as does kale. You can still feed your pet these greens, but we recommend misting them with water to increase the amount of water that your chinchilla is getting. It will help the added minerals pass through his or her body quicker. Also, be sure to vary the greens that you give your pet.
Chinchillas require other types of produce as well, produce like fruit, corn and carrots. Since these foods are high in sugar, offer them sparingly and as treats.
Your chinchilla will always need access to fresh grass for his or her digestive system to work properly. Hay should be around 75% to 80% of his or her diet. Most pet stores sell timothy and orchard grass. Consider getting a hay rack. The device is a good way for your chinchilla to gain access to the hay. Alfalfa hay is best for baby chinchillas that are 6 months old or younger. It is also something you can feed to a female who is lactating, but alfalfa has too much protein and calcium for adult chinchillas.
Your chinchilla’s teeth will grow continuously throughout his or her lifetime. This means that they need to be worn down and maintained at the proper length and shape. Your chinchilla will be able to manage his or her teeth with grass, hay and pellets. Make sure that good quality hay is available to your chinchilla at all times. In nature, chinchillas eat leaves, grasses and twigs.
Select a pellet diet that is mainly based on hay. Along with this, make sure that your chinchilla’s diet does not feature any added nuts, fruits or seeds. Most adult animals thrive with 1 tablespoon to 2 tablespoons of pellets. Talk to your veterinarian though to make sure that yours shouldn’t be eating slightly more or less depending on the weight and size of your pet. It’s a good idea to measure out your chinchilla’s pellets each day. That way, you’ll notice quickly if your chinchilla’s appetite has declined.
Treats and Supplements
Your chinchilla’s gastrointestinal system isn’t set up to deal with foods that are high in sugar or fat. This means that you should not feed your furry friend yogurt drops or other marketed chinchilla treats that are high in sugar. Before buying a treat, check the ingredient list. Doing so consistently will allow you to give your chinchilla treats without causing him or her to experience digestion problems. Don’t give your chinchilla bread or cereal. You can spoil your pet occasionally with nuts and fruits. When feeding your pet these items, be sure to keep the quantities small. Your chinchilla does not need mineral supplements or a salt block.
Chinchilla Food Product Options
When it comes to chinchilla food, different options are available. Here are some choices to consider:
Vitakraft Chinchilla Food
- High Fiber Timothy Formula
- Natural Oils, Omega Fatty Acids And Flax Seed To Support Healthy Skin And Shiny Coat
- Fortified Nutrition For A Healthy Diet
- Vitamins A, C, D & E
- Contains Omega 3'S And Dha
Featuring a high fiber timothy formula, Vitakraft’s chinchilla food includes natural oils and fatty acids to keep your chinchilla’s coat shiny and his or her skin healthy. This food product contains vitamins A, C, D and E. It also has omega 3s and DHA.
- Oxbow's complete and balanced chinchilla food is formulated to meet your pet's unique nutritional needs.We promise only the best for your pet. 3lb^Alfalfa-based uniform pellet^Alfalfa-based uniform pellet. High fiber
Oxbow produces a complete and balanced pellet formula, one designed to meet your chinchilla’s nutritional needs. Oxbow Essentials are alfalfa-based, and they are high in fiber.
F.M. Brown’s Chinchilla Food
- Vitamin-Nutrient-Fortified: Specially Formulated For The Daily Dietary Needs Of Chinchillas
- Support Good Digestion: Timothy Hay And Alfalfa Pellets Are High In Fiber For Optimal Digestion
- Usa Produced And Packaged: Feel Good Knowing You Are Feeding Your Pet Locally Produced Food
Formulated to cover the daily nutritional needs of your chinchilla, F.M. Brown’s food product is fortified with vitamins and nutrients. The product is made from timothy hay and alfalfa, which means that it is high in fiber. F.M. Brown’s chinchilla food is designed to support good digestion.
Higgins Sunburst Food Mix
- Enriched with DHA omega fatty acids and digestive probiotics
- Guinea pig diet contains no artificial colors or preservatives
- Resealable bag preserves freshness and taste
- Made in the USA
The Higgins formula is enriched with DHA omega fatty acids. It also features digestive probiotics to keep your chinchilla’s digestive system functioning properly. Made in the USA, this food product does not contain artificial colors or preservatives. It has a resealable bag to keep the pellets fresh.
Supreme Petfoods Science Selective Chinchilla Food
- A Nutritionally Balanced, High Fiber Food For Chinchillas
- Helps Maintain Healthy Skin And Coat
- Rich In Natural Ingredients With Zero Added Sugar
- Supports Digestive Health
- No Artificial Colors
Supreme Petfood Science is a high fiber option, one that is nutritionally balanced. It works to keep your chinchilla’s coat and skin healthy. It supports good digestive health and does not feature artificial coloring. It is rich in natural ingredients and does not have any added sugar.
Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Chinchilla Food
- Larger, Crunchy Pieces Supports Dental Health Through Natural Chewing Activity
- Prebiotics And Probiotics To Support Digestive Health
- Naturally Preserved For Ideal Freshness
- Re-Sealable Bag Ensures Freshness Of Kaytee Chinchilla Diet
With Kaytee pellets, your chinchilla will have larger pellet pieces that are crunchier than other products. They are formulated to support his or her dental health through the natural chewing process. To support your pet’s digestive health, the product includes prebiotics and probiotics. It is also naturally preserved to offer the highest level of freshness. The company sells the pellets in a resealable bag for constant freshness.
Vitakraft Vitanature Chinchilla Food
- Nutritionally Complete.
- Natural Antioxidants To Support The Immune System.
- Long Strand Fiber To Maintain Healthy Digestion.
- High Ingredient Diversity To Encourage Natural Foraging Behavior.
- Contains Natural Herbs, Flowers And Greens Blended With Vegetables, Grains And Berries
Vitakraft Vitanature chinchilla food is a natural timothy hay formula, one that’s nutritionally complete. It includes natural antioxidants that work to support your furry friend’s immune system. It also contains long strand fiber to maintain your chinchilla’s healthy digestion. To inspire natural foraging behavior in your friend, this product has high ingredient diversity such as natural herbs, greens and flowers that are combined with vegetables, grains and berries.
For a well-balanced diet, you’ll want to give your chinchilla treats from time to time. Before giving your pet any type of food, be sure to research it to make sure that it is safe. Here are a few that we recommend.
Vitakraft Chinchilla Drops With Dandelion Treat
- Made With Dandelion
- Provides Your Chinchilla'S Diet With Variety And Loads Of Healthy Nutrients.
- Made With Dandelion And Tastes Great.
- Contains Various Vitamins And Protein To Provide Your Chinchilla With A Healthy Lifestyle.
- No Artificial Colorings.
Made using dandelion, Vitakraft’s treats will give your chinchilla plenty of healthy nutrients. The drops are a treat that your pet is likely to enjoy. It does not feature artificial coloring, but it does come with different vitamins and protein to support a healthy lifestyle for your pet.
Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Apple Treat
- Supports dental health through natural chewing activity
- Ideal for bonding and playtime
- Great enrichment and foraging for small animals
- Ideal for playtime and bonding with your pet rabbit, hamster, chinchilla, and other small pets that crave the taste of real sun cured timothy hay, apples, and molasses
- The high fiber Content of natural timothy Grass hay also supports your pet's overall health
Give your chinchilla these baked apple treats for his or her dental health. The treats will support your pet’s natural chewing activity. It is the perfect way to satisfy your chinchilla’s foraging instincts. Spoil your pet with them during playtime or when you’re handling him or her to encourage tameness. Kaytee’s biscuits contain sun cured timothy hay, molasses and apples. They also feature a high fiber content to support your chinchilla’s overall health.
Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Apple Treat
- Colorful Mixture Of Delicious Flowers, Berries And Fresh Fruit.
- Easy To Digest And Is An Ideal Treat For Chinchillas.
- All Natural To Promote A Healthy Lifestyle.
- Customer Blended To Simulate A Chinchillas Natural Habitat.
- Tasty And Made With Real Fruit That Your Chinchilla Will Find Irresistible.
Vitakraft’s chinchilla cocktail features a colorful blend of tasty flowers, fresh fruit and berries, the perfect combination for a healthy pet. Vitakraft is easy for your animal to digest. It’s also blended to mimic a chinchilla’s natural diet. The cocktail is tasty, and it’s made with real fruit, making it a blend that your chinchilla is sure to love.
Ware Manufacturing Large Rice Pops Small Animal Treats
- Crispy, crunchy chew that is irresistible to small pets
- Wholesome combination of crunchiness and flavor - Made of rice and corn
- Promotes clean and healthy teeth
- Helps overcome cage boredom
- Ideal for hand feeding or fits on the WARE Treat-K-Bob (B000HGB8NA)
Ware’s Rice Pops feature the kind of crispness and crunchiness that will keep your chinchilla happy and healthy. Made with corn and rice, Ware’s Rice Pops foster clean and healthy teeth. Giving your furry friend a few of these crunchy sticks may prevent cage boredom. They are a great thing to use if you’re working toward hand feeding your pet.
Higgins Sunburst Veggie Stix Gourmet Treats
- Contains 1- 4Oz
- Freeze Dried For A Convenient Snack
- Zip Lock Pouch Helps Keep Treats Fresh
A sack of veggie treats from Higgins includes crunchy beets, alfalfa and carrots. Higgins sells them in a zip lock pouch to keep your pet’s treats fresh. They are also freeze dried for added freshness and convenience. The treats encourage the foraging instinct in your pet, and they are also high in fiber.
Monitor Your Chinchilla’s Diet
If your chinchilla doesn’t have access to the proper diet, he or she could experience a serious dental disease. Chinchillas eat for long periods of time. Also, they typically eat at night. To keep your pet happy and healthy, make sure that he or she is eating daily and leaving plenty of dry droppings behind. With chinchillas, it’s a good idea to monitor how much they’re eating and drinking. The amount that a chinchilla needs to eat depends on the animal’s lifestyle, age and general health. It’ll take a little extra time and effort on your part to watch your pet’s diet, but a happy chinchilla is worth the work.