Digestive Problems

Chinchillas have delicate digestive systems. It is therefore important to be vigilant about changes in behavior that can indicate digestive issues.


One of the most common chinchilla ailments is constipation. Usually, constipation is caused by insufficient fiber. Constipation can also be caused by stress from new surroundings, a change in food, and lack of fresh water.

Constipation symptoms include smaller, drier, and thinner droppings. If you suspect your chinchilla is suffering from constipation make sure there are sufficient hay cubes in the cage. Also, offer the chinchilla a raisin or two. If they've been cooped up in the cage for the last few days, make sure to let them out so they can get some exercise. If the situation doesn't improve within a few days you should consult a vet.


Another common chinchilla ailment is diarrhea. Diarrhea is fairly simple to detect as the chinchilla's stool will be soft, sticky, and easy to flatten when stepped on. Too many treats or a change in food can result in this ailment. The first thing to do when detected is to stop providing treats. If the problem persists and there's no reason to suspect that the pellets or hay are bad, consult a veterinarian.


If the diarrhea persists for a long time, it could be a sign that your chinchilla's intestine is irritated or inflamed. These things can be caused by infection or the extended use of antibiotics. Along with the continued diarrhea, a chinchilla with enteritis will often lose interest in food and treats. If you think that your chinchilla may have enteritis you should take it to the vet.

Bettina Hansen's (website no longer live)
A New Owner's Guide to Chinchillas by Audrey Pavia

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  1. We have two Chinchillas that are mother and daughter. Lately their coats have become matted and the little ones coat is stiff. We are not able to hold them because they bite. We give them dust baths everyday and change their cage every week. They are eating and drinking ok and seem fine otherwise just look bad. Any help?

  2. My chinchilla will not eat or drink anything. He will maybe take a treat but not like normal, We just got him back from the vet and we think he has a blockage in his stomach, The vet wants us to use a syringe to feed him and he will not take it, any suggestions?

  3. My chinchilla escaped from her cage a couple days ago and was roaming the house when she was found the next morning. Don't know how long she was out. She seemed ok when we put her back. Just tired. But since then she stays at the bottom of her cage and is lethargic. We have 2 cats and a dog but don't think they hurt her. If she ate cat food could she be sick from that? She ate pellet food from my hand and drank some water from my hand but she's definitely not herself. Any ideas?

  4. My chinchilla lays in her cage alot a nd sometimes i notice diarhhea plus she doesnt eat a lot what should i do?

    • My chinchilla did that I scedualed an appointment at the vet. They could take me the earliest in 5 days.
      My chinchilla stopped eating and drinking it lost weight VERY FAST. And died the day before the appointment.
      I was EXTREMELY sad. Please do not let this happen to u. Take her to the vet ASAP.
      I hope ur chinchilla survives.
      RIP Chinchi 7.1.08

  5. i found out that one of my chinchillas has soft poo but he is still active...any ideas on what i can do?

    Another of my chinchilla is a boy and has a bloated stomach. He still accepts raisins, which i give once a month but doesnt want to eat any hay.

    Is it normal for the chinchillas to bite the cage at night? Is there any way to stop it because it is very annoying.


    • Does your Chinch (the one biting on the cage) have access to a running wheal? That can make ALL the difference at NIGHT!

  6. my chinchilla just ate about 1/4th of a styrophome plate! is this harm full? it just happened last night, he is acting fine now, but shout i take him to the vet or wait and see if he has any sympyoms? please help!

  7. My daughter has a chinchilla and I just noticed that his stool is soft and flattens as well. He seems to be in good spirits and not making any unusual noises. Some of his drops are little clumps too. Should I take him to the vet soon? We had a rabbit with diarreha and she didn't make it and I don't want to take any chances. Let me know what I should do. Thanks

    • I seems like your chinchilla definitely has diarrhea but it doesn't seem to serious. Wait and don't give him any treats and make sure his hay and pellets are fresh... if nothing helps and he still is having issues i would greatly suggest taking him to the vet.

  8. My chinchilla started having diarrhoea when I brought him back from house sitting. I put it down to a change of food. now he's back on his old food it seems to be getting better but sometmes he doesnt want me to pick him up (he will squeek) i thought he had hurt his leg but now im not sure if it his stomach or not. does this mean there's something wrong in his digestive tract? when should I seek veterinary advice?

  9. my chinchilla has beeen acting normal but just yesterday she started having diarreha and today she still does when you go to pick her up and you put her down you find it all over the bed how long until i should call the vet please tell me
    posted 6-2-09

    • Rhiana, Get her there RIGHT AWAY! my chinchilla had the same problem and her intestine prolapsed and by the time we knew it was too late and we couldn't get her put to sleep. I just read this comment but get her there ASAP if this still happens!

  10. Hi, my baby chinchilla had diarrhea the last few days and I'm going to take him to the vet tomorrow. However today I went and there was a red curly thing coming out of his rectum. I will ask the vet tomorrow, but I don't know what it could be and I'm scared. Please help!

  11. Hi After my Chinchilla was playing in his ball I saw a yellowish white waxy substance between his penis and rectum. I pulled it out and it was about a half inch long. It didn't seem to hurt him at all. does anyone know what this is?

  12. hiya i have two chinchillas and one of them doesnt seem to be well she has lost alot of weight and has lost her appetite also her genital area is dirty and she sits there making a strange sound and struggles to breath sounds like a blocked nose. i have been taking her to the vets and she has been on antibotics for two weeks now and i dont see any improvement. what could this mean?? could u tell me whats wrong with her?

  13. my chinchilla has gotten very lethargic in the last day.... i live in wisconsin and so it's been warm the last couple of days... bt I have no other issues with my other chins... this chinchilla seems cold to the touch, weak, no ambition to move or even eat....but her stool seems fine... any suggestions????

  14. Give it a few days to clear. A change in food or a new treat could be causing the diarrhea.

  15. If diarrhea is common, how long do i wait until I take him to the vet?

  16. KATIE

  17. Our Chincilla lost it's appetite 2 days ago. The 1st day, he would eat raisins. Yesterday, he would not eat anything. This morning, it looks like a 2 inch portion of
    his bowel is sticking out of his rear-end (telescoping?) Last nite when we put him in
    his exercise ball, he passed what looked to be "Pet Fresh" bedding with blood on it.
    I'm worried he is dying. I'm trying to get him to the vet, but being memorial weekend, it seems no one is available. He has had an unending supply of hay daily, fresh water daily, and good mineralized and vitamin rich chinchilla food.
    Any hope?

  18. Chris Celnar


    The best advice we can give is that if you're not sure if the treat is safe then throw it out. We can't know if treats from pet stores are safe and even if they generally are, who's to say that you didn't get a bad batch? It's better to stick to the natural treats in. Check out this article and this other one for ideas.

  19. hi i just have a quick question...today i went to the pet store and bought mineral treats in the shape of ice cream cones and they said they were full of calcium. they are from the company "super pets" and they are called "kritter kones". After i gave one to my chinchillas i came back after a few hours and some of the droppings were not brown but instead a shade of green.but they still look regular. please tell me if this is ok or if i should through the treats out.Thanks

    • If your chins teeth are a dark orange he/she is getting plenty of calcium and shouldn't need a supplement. Adding vitamins and other supplements to an already healthy diet can cause problems.

  20. Chris Celnar


    We've seen that with our chinchillas. It seems to pass on its own.
    If you notice other issues or it continues for a long time, your chinchilla may have a bladder infection requiring the attention of a vet.

  21. Just a quick question I don't know if anyone can help me. My one chinchilla has had a really dark colored urine the last couple of days, almost a reddish color. Does anyone know what might be causing that? Or have had the same problem before?

    Thanks for the help.

    • Healthy chins have very dark urine that can range in color from dark red to brownish.

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