Chinchilla Care While You Are Away

It is inevitable that you will need to leave your chinchillas unattended while you travel. The ideal is to have someone come to your home and check in on them as well as to replenish food and water.

But for short trips, you can do without a babysitter. When you go away for a few days, fill up your chinchilla's food dish with pellets. If the food bowl you use isn't very big, consider adding another full bowl to the cage before you leave.

Also, put extra hay cubes in the cage. Put enough in to last while you're away plus a little extra to provide a buffer in case your plans should change. And you'll need to give them their fortified seed mix. They'll eat all of this in one sitting so don't give them more than double the normal amount.

Top up the water to a level you think is sufficient given your expected time away. Chinchillas don't drink too much so most water bottles can hold enough to last a short trip.

If you keep your chinchillas in a spare room, leave the door open while you're away. This will ensure good air circulation. The exception to this is if you are in a warm climate and need to ensure cool temperatures via a window A/C unit.

In closing, it you are thinking about taking your chinchilla with you, please read our post on the issues with traveling with your chinchilla.

chinchilla in wooden box

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24 Comments

  1. What if my parents are divorced and I can take it back and forth but my dad won't take care of it because it is not his.

  2. hi, i am thinking about getting a chinchilla but i'm worried that when i go off on a holiday or if i go travelling for a few months it is going to be hard to get someone to look after them. Also very expensive. I'm sure that if i do get chinchillas that my friend could look after them and i could check in but if you can think of any other possibilites? Also is it better to let them run around the house than in a cage?

  3. I bought my daughter a chinchilla and only had her under 48 hours and she died. We did hold her and let her play outside the cage. Do you think that is why she parishes? Thinking of trying again, but don't want the same devastating results. Thanks

    • Dear Andrea,

      There are probably many possible causes of your chinchilla's death. If you got her from a pet store that would explain why she died. Pet stores are cruel to the animals and the animals often are sick. You should also give the chinchilla some time to settle in next time. If you want this time to be a success do your research!
      Make sure your daughter knows how to properly handle the chinchilla too. You could also consider buying two chinchillas as long as you know how to introduce them properly. It is very important that you know what you are buying is not a cuddly creature that likes to be held and hugged all the time. Just make sure if you adopt another chinchilla that you get it from a breeder and research everything you can about chinchillas. Hope if you decide to get another one it works out!

  4. Dear Chris:

    I have a question about hay cubes. Can chinchillas be fed regular hay, like alfalfa, and/or fresh grasses? And in what quantities? Thank-you very much.

    • They can. I have been giving my chinchillas loose alfalfa since i got him when i was in grade two (currently 12).

    • Of course you can! its all mine eat, and as far as how much you just want to make sure they have some. Don't add to much at one time, other wise it might spoil and then they wont eat it.

  5. Hello, hey does anyone know what to do if you have a chinchilla and you are going on vacation for about 3 or 5 days and you have to leave him/her home?

    What do you have to do?

    Because i'm thinking of getting one same as what Leah said!

  6. For Christmas vacation, I will need to be away for almost a month. Although I'd like to board my chinchilla with a vet, it seems very expensive, and I am doubtful that they will do much more than a friend would do. It seems like a large burden to ask my friend to let my chinchilla out to run; if I just have them make sure the chinchilla has plenty of food, water, dust baths, and some attention, will she be ok without running around all the time? She has a wheel to keep her occupied. Even if I did board her with a vet, are the vets likely to let her run around?

    • take her to a friends house. that way your friend will not have to go back and forth.

  7. What about dust baths? Like do you have to make sure that someone comes over to do it for you while you are away?
    And by the way, this is a great website. I'm thinking about getting a pet chinchilla and I'm finding basically everything I need to know here. It's really cool how it's centered around your guys' chinchilla experiences. It makes it easier to trust. Thank you!

    • Dear Leah,

      the only thing you have to worry about is if they pee in there. thenyou can't reuse the dust. if they poop you just have to scoop it out. when the dust gets clumpy you have to through it out.

    • Leah, Chinchillas need their dust baths, but you will need someone to come into your house daily to let your chinchilla into it.
      see, this is because if you leave the dustbath inside your chinchilla's cage, they will use it too often and then their fur will dry out.
      Hope I helped you (:

    • chinchillas should have dust baths every other week, depending on how much you hold them. If you hold them a lot then you might want to give them a bath more often. and remember chinchillas cant get wet so no water bathes!!!!!!!!

  8. Chris Celnar

    Timo,

    Chinchillas will chew on electrical cables. They'll actually chew on just about anything.

  9. Hi,

    One question about leaving them alone. Is it true that they like chew on electrical cables ? Do I have to hide all the cables ?

    • yes they will chew on just about anything but,as long as there in a cage with no wires in their reach you should be fine.

  10. Chris Celnar

    Hi Simon,

    There's no way to know if your remaining chinchilla will be happy. You'll need to compare the behavior of your chinchilla before and after.

    As for the dog or cat playing with a chinchilla, we strongly advise against. Even if the dog or cat is friendly, a misplaced swat of the paw or chomp of the teeth could really harm (maybe kill) your chinchilla.

  11. This is not about traveling. We had two chinchillas and one ran away. Will the one we still have be happy even though it doesn't really have anyone to play around with? We are also thinking of buying a cat or dog that likes to play with chinchillas. Is that okay?

  12. Chris Celnar

    Kacy,

    In theory you could leave your chinchilla in its cage with enough supplies for a week. However, chinchillas get very used to routine and can become quite stressed when their routine is changed. We try to have someone stop by when we're on vacation.

    Also, make sure you have a wheel to give them an alternative to running outside of their cage.

  13. If you leave on vacation for a week but give them enough stuff and make sure the airs good and everything you said above, will it put stress on the chinchilla cause no one is home and it can't go out of its cage?

  14. My family does a lot of traveling. Will that hurt my chinchilla in any way?

  15. Chris Celnar

    Chinchillas don't make good travelers. They are pretty skittish to begin with so the constant change in environment will stress them greatly. Plus, they are prone to overheating in temperatures that you might find bearable. We don't recommend taking your chinchilla on your travels.

    However, if you're moving or something and need to take your chinchillas with you, you can use any well ventilated pet carrier. Be sure to include food, water, and a place to hide. Be sure to also not put anything in it that might harm your chinchilla if the carrier gets bumped.

  16. What if you wanted to bring your chinchilla with you when you go traveling? Will it stress them? And what should they travel in?

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