Safe and Unsafe Food for Chinchillas

At some point during your care of your chinchilla you'll probably wonder whether it's safe to feed your chinchilla a particular food. We've been in that situation. Here's a list of food items that, based on extensive use by fellow pet owners, are thought to be safe and unsafe.

Note: Every chinchilla is different and just because a food is listed as safe doesn't guarantee that your chinchilla won't have a bad reaction. And, of course, moderation is key.

Known to Be Safe

Although these foods are considered safe, they should be fed in moderation. They shouldn't be used in place of a proper diet of chinchilla pellets and hay. Also, as with people, some chinchillas may not react well to all foods so give new items in small amounts.

  • Fresh Apple
  • Plain Cheerios
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Plain Shredded Wheat
  • Raisins
  • Organic Cranberry Juice
  • Prunes
  • Fresh Grapes
  • Bran Flakes Cereal
  • Dried Apples
  • Frozen Grapes
  • Banana
  • Uncooked Elbow Noodle
  • Wheat Germ
  • Peanuts (unsalted in the shell)
  • Chamomile Flowers
  • Dried Dandelion leaves
  • Dandelion Flowers
  • Nasturtium flowers
  • Red Clover Flowers
  • Dried Clover
  • Oats
  • Dried Olive Leaves

Known to Be Unsafe or Unhealthy

Many foods are unsafe for chinchillas because of certain chemicals they contain. Others are simply unhealthy. These should be avoided.

  • Rabbit Pellets

Not Sure Whether Safe

As you can imagine the list of possible things to feed a chinchilla are endless. Here are items we've heard people feed their chinchillas or have been asked about. We don't know whether these foods are safe or healthy.

    Cactus

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163 Comments

  1. I am taking care of my daughters chinchillas. She has 2 males. I give them 1 red grape. 1/2 each just once a month. Is this ok? I use a blow dryer to dry the wood after I wipe down the cage? I keep their cage dry & moisture free.How often do I need to replace the wood? they tend to urinate often in one spot daily. Is it ok to use a little bleach water to clean the cage monthly. What is the best temp to keep the room? I use a air conditioner. I keep the room no higher than seventy. Is a fan ok on low temp days when air conditioning is not need.I let them out of there cage twice a day 4 a couple of hrs, Is this enough play time out of time? I love these little guys & just trying to do the right thing so they can live safe, happy & to the fullest.

    • Charlene, its sounds like you are doing a great job taking care of your daughters chins! The temperature below 70 degrees is appropriate, although if you can lower the temps by 1 to 3 degrees the chins would love it! They like cold temperatures. Make sure if you don't run the air conditioner that the temperature is below 70 degrees and that the humidity is below 55%. Chins cant tolerate high humidity or temperatures because they don't have sweat glands and the heat can kill them by giving them a heat stroke. I would substitute the grapes with a raisin. You don't want the chins to get what is called bloat. This can also be dangerous. You are definitely giving them plenty of play time outside their cage. If you use bleach to clean the cages, definitely dilute the bleach with water to tone down the harsh smell. I use under 1/4 cup bleach to a medium size spray bottle filled up with water. Its also better to give the chins distilled water instead of tap water. Tap water has chlorine and too many minerals that isn't good for the chins systems. I say Kudos to you for being a great chin parent!

  2. I just wanted to let people know I am now raising my second chin. I never tried prunes with my first but I let this one have a small piece.... smaller than a raisin, and she LOVED it. ever day comes to the cage trying to push her whole face out, and she doesn't even like me that well yet. Well, I knew something was up. Then, I only gave it to her every other day, and she would literally do flips on the shelves of her cage for this stuff. Its chin crack I tell you. I came on this page to find out if it had any drug type interactions. I'm thinking with the sugar not digesting in the liver process, or whatever they were saying above, who knows how its working in their little bodies. But, I would just say "NO" to prunes. Simple pure pellets, wood toys, timothy hay and a raisin a day if you really want to spoil them. I've taught both of mine to give me kisses by putting the raisin in my mouth and saying the phrase... so raisin or not I get a kiss... and that's pretty cute!

    • I give mine the apple horse biscuit they love them - the breeder states they r safe and the love apples

  3. Can my chinchilla eat dog biscuits ?

    • It's probably safe to assume the treat has some nutritional valued specifically for dogs (carnivores), best to not let your chinchilla (herbivore) eat one.

    • Erica, I wouldn't advise feeding your chinchilla dog biscuits. Its ok to give him a plain cheerio as a treat. Try to always keep your chin's treats low in sugar and fat content. Chinchilla's livers cant filter out fat and sugar well and this can lead to liver damage over time. Always provide chin pellets and timothy hay at all times. Hope this information helped! Kim

    • I give mine the apple horse biscuit they love them - the breeder states they r safe and the love apples

  4. My chinchilla has plastic platforms in her cage, and she won't stop chewing them! I know it is not good for chinchillas to chew plastic, but it was the only cage I could afford. I've been told by another chinchilla owner to rub lemon juice every so often on the plastic and then she should stop chewing it. But is lemon juice safe for chinchillas to eat?

    • It is not going to hurt her she is not really swallowing any of the pieces she is only wearing down her teeth which grow very fast You can also get a piece of raw unstained untreated wood and lay on top of the plastic shelf they love that and will chew on it. and also it will last a lot longer then the plastic shelve

    • Kylie, I have three chins who chew on things they shouldn't at times. Try to purchase small wooden sticks from a pet shop such as petsmart for your chin to chew on. They need to chew to keep those teeth filed down. You can also buy lava blocks. These are great for them to chew on and to keep those darn teeth filed down. If their teeth grow too long, they cant eat, and then they can die. Its normal for chins to chew on anything in site. Provide them with chin pellets and fresh timothy hay everyday. The hay also helps to keep the teeth in the back of the mouth filed down. Hope this information helped! Kim

    • plastic is a big NO for chinchillas, plastic can cause a blockage, which will kill a chinchilla. to keep your chin safe, take all plastic out and replace with kd pine ledges.

  5. Early in my chinchilla owning experience, I lost a young mother & 3 babies from different litters. The only real problem I could identify in my care of them was that I gave them occasional unsalted peanuts (on the advice of another chinchilla owner who treated her chinchillas with them). My chinchillas loved them, but I read that they often carry a fungus/mold/toxin. I have not fed them since & have not had any more illnesses or fatalities. I feed vegetation based treats along with vitamin C & calcium treats. Their favorite regular treat is pumpkin seeds. I avoid most fruits & vegetables (chinchillas are not made to digest much sugar) as well as processed food, Mazuri chinchilla pellets excepted.

    • I feed my chinchillas the green pumpkin seeds, not the white seeds. The white seeds has a high fat content. The green seeds are low fat. I get these at my grocery store. They are usually in the Mexican spice area. The ones I get are in a see through plastic bag. Very low fat and my chins love them. I used to give my chins sunflower seeds, but stopped because of the high fat content. I will let them have unsweetened cheerios and unsweetened shredded wheat. The shredded wheat is good fiber for their intestional tract. Sometimes, if your chin has digestive problems, you may need to give them bacterial enzymes with acidophilus. This keeps their digestive system working properly, I think everyone on this site who has chinchillas are doing a great job in keeping their chins healthy. Just try to avoid high fat, sugary, salty, and high carbohydrates in your chins diet. My chins love raisins. I need to cut back on their raisin intake. One per day is what I give them, but this is probably to much! Give them good chin pellets, timothy hay, and papaya once in a while and they should be ok. Papaya has enzymes that help their digestive system to digest food properly. Wishing all of you the best in taking care of your cute chinchillas! I love mine lke crazy!

  6. I have a jasmine tree in my back garden and i am wondering if its safe for me to give my chinchilla the wood, i have some dried sticks i would give her.??????,

    • As long as the wood hasnt been treated and doaent have sap it should be fine :) its great to have wood so your chinchilla can file its teeth from time to time

    • Im not sure about jasmine trees, but apple tree branches are ok. My chins love the branches of apple trees. Be careful what types of wood you let your chins chew. Some are poisonous to chinchillas. Make sure you dont let your chins chew on treated wood such as pine. Very toxic!

    • Aimee, apple tree wood or branches are totally safe for your chin to chew on. You can buy wooden sticks or lava blocks at petsmart to help keep your chins teeth filed down. A chin's teeth is constantly growing and needs to be kept filed down in order to eat. If those teeth get too long, then they cant eat and can die. Also, provide your pet with chin pellets and timothy hay everyday. The hay is essential for their digestive system and it also helps to keep those teeth filed down. Im not certain if jasmine wood is the safest wood for your chins. I had an apple tree that I would give to my chins before I had to have it cut down as it was beginning to die. Some woods are poisonous to chins. Stick with apple wood to be safe. Hope this information helped! Kim

  7. Great list but i would suggest removing peanuts due to the fat content. this can cause fatty liver disease which will kill.

  8. I used to feed mine slivered almonds, then I saw some people saying they were bad for them. Apparently there is a small amount of cyanide. Aside from that, the oil is generally not good for them. Oddly enough, Terence is this toy being made for chinchilla's with a hazelnut in the middle of it. I wrote the company that sells ten (notthe manufacturer as this crap was made in china, and told them off. I received a very carefully worded letter back filled with a bunch of bunk. The long and short but unrelated, stay away from pet products made in China. If everyone does this the companies will be forced to manufacture in countries with higher standards. Check out my website dedicated to our sweet lost Tigger. I watched him being born and he passed as a result of pellets. Well clinically malocclusion, but chinchilla tooth problems are caused by the pellets we feed them. There is also more on that on the site. If you care for your chin at all, please refrain from feeding them pellets. Of course be careful to watch their weight to see that they are in fact eating

    • Heintz, was you providing your chin with timothy hay everyday! The hay can help keep the teeth filed down so that the teeth don't get too long. Chins also, need safe wood to chew on to keep the teeth normal. Im so sorry for your loss! I had to have one of my chins put down several years ago and it broke my heart! But, my chin didn't have teeth issues. If you decide to get another chin in the future, always provide timothy hay and some safe wood for your chin to chew on to prevent this problem. I have read that sometimes, this problem is inherited. So, if you decide to get another chin, always provide hay, wooden sticks that can be bought at a pet shop or lava blocks. The lava blocks are safe and helps to keep the teeth filed down normally. Much Love and Light to you! Kim

  9. ....Um I gave my Chinchilla an Almond... Is that unhealthy or not safe?...

    • heya, i have recently been given a Chinny and have seen quite alot of advice saying that they are not able to digest fats properly so nuts are a no no.. :) it makes sense too, as nuts are hugely nutritious and chins evolved to live on a very nutrition poor diet

      • My vet said that almonds are fine, my brody gets one a day, and he's completely healthy. As long as they are organic and everything there probably isn't an issue. Maybe my chinchilla is weird.

  10. I'm not sure about the jasmine. But I know for a fact that yogurt treats are bad for them, no matter what the pet stores say. There stomachs are not made to digest yogurt, and it can cause bloating, and sickness that can lead to death

    • jasmine is a safe treat for chinchillas, as long as it isnt from a plant that has had any chemicals on it. if your not sure, go to a safe webstore online to purchase it.

  11. Is it ok to give a chinchilla a tiny piece of a oatmeal cookie?

    • no, definately not

  12. PELLETS ARE BAD FOR YOUR CHINS TEETH I hope the emphasis showed up on that. I just recently found out through the specialist dentist that I bring my chinchilla's to that malocclusion is a human created problem. We are so set on providing our loved pets with all the nutrition they need in a convenient pellet form. The thing is, pellets are broken up by the front incisors and do little for wearing down their back teeth. I have already lost 1 chin to tooth issues therefor I keep a very close eye on their weights. If they start to loose weight. Or show signs of pain when chewing, please bring them to the vet as soon as you can. You see, chins have floating molars. If the teeth get too long the either start to curve to the side or they get pushed up and downwards by the other teeth. They sometimes refer to this as end stage dental disease. This ends up requiring regular trips to the dentist to have their teeth ground down under sedation. If your vet only clips their front teeth, you may ask for him/her to xray your chin. With incisor problems, there may also be molar issues, which will kill your baby if not taken care of. Long story short, ensure your chin eats lots of rough hay that forces them to use their molars. Chewing wood only brings down the incisors. Avoid pellets and save a life.

  13. My sister got a Chin last year, but she did no research and she fed him crappy food and almost never cleaned his cage. I finally told her to stop it and took over. I don't give him more than three raisins a day, he eats the 2 tbsp of plain pellet I put in his bowl, and I let him run around at night. I do have a thick extension cord in my room but I haven't seen him nibble it even once; he'd rather chew the wood shelves in his cage or the toys I put out. Sometimes he nibbles on furniture; not excessively, but I stop that as soon as I see it because it's bad for him. His cage is pretty small, but I excersize him almost every night now and he seems perfectly healthy. Recently I got a package of Jasmine tea for christmas, and I made the mistake of putting it too close to his cage. He nibbled a hole through it and pulled out one of the blossoms. He had no ill effect, so every once and a while ( maybe a month or two?) I give him one and he loves them. I'm wondering if they're bad for him? They are organic and dried. Do you think these are bad for him? He has a real sweet tooth, though. I've caught him eating only the yogurt part of his yogurt dip treats and leaving all the healthy hay inside. I give him treats rarely and he seems active and healthy; he's just starting to trust me after about a year after my sister bought him; half a year since I took over. I clean his cage every 2-3 days and I don't always use traditional bedding; I tear up toilet paper or line it with paper towel. He's active and healthy; he likes to nibble anything that's real paper so if I catch him I move it out of reach. Won't eat cloth though, so my teddy bear is safe! :) Please give me any advice and tell me if I'm doing things wrong. I love him to death and sometimes I wake up when he's loose at night and I find him on my face sniffing or lightly nibbling my ear; never biting :) I love him to death; he's only maybe a year old now, and I wanna give him a great life. Can you help me?

  14. are unsalted peanuts safe for chinchilla consumption?

    • Shanla, It isnt safe for your chinchillas to eat peanuts because peanuts have too much fat in them. A chinchilla liver cant digest fat. It will damage their liver and they will become too fat. This isnt good for chinchillas. Try to stay with chinchilla pellets, alfalfa hay and maybe once in a while some dried banana chips. Also, you can give them original cheerios(no sugar type cheerios.) You must check the fat, sugar, salt, carbs contents on the back of any treats given to them. Try to keep these ingredients on the low, low side. Such as 1 gram of fat, or 1 gram of sugar, etc. Chinchillas have delicate digestive systems. Also, try to make sure they dont consume too much cardboard. That can block their intestines and kill them. I hope this will help you in keeping your chinchillas safe and healthy....

  15. Riv, I agree with you on just about everything you state on this site concerning the diets of chins. I think its true that chinchillas should only be given the bare minimums in their diets. Their livers cant metabolise fats or sugar. Also, everyone on this site should also know that they have to keep their chinchillas cool in the summer months. They dont have sweat glands and thats why you must keep them cool. We as humans can cool down naturally because of our sweat glands which automatically cools down our body. PLEASE, make sure you keep them cool, at least 74 degress or less in the summer months. So far, I havent had any problems with my chinchillas getting overheated. I have a good air conditioner that keeps the temperature cool. I believe any advice given on this site which is accurate should be accepted.....Good Luck to all to all the chinchilla parents on here, and I hope you and your pet will live a long and healthy life.....

    • Thanks Kim, unfortunately with the internet it's so easy to find a lot of bad advice and people assume that since a website says it, its okay, which adds the to the vicious cycle. I don't know why any pet owner wouldn't want their pets to have a long and healthy life, but a lot of times I find instead of learning how to do that, or even considering it they just get offensive. I've had chinchillas for 16 years, my first chinchilla lived less than 2 years because I feed her crappy food. I currently have some chinchillas that are very healthy and happy and are over 12 years old. I am the end all of chinchilla care? Do I know everything? No. But I have spent endless hours doing research, and have talked with tons of people who know more about chinchillas that I do, people who have had chinchillas their whole lives and who chinchillas are their lives and living. I've shown my chinchillas on a national level, I've held and hand feed sick chins, I've taken in malo chins, I've fostered babies for other people... I know that sometimes a chinchilla dies, but I don't think a chinchilla should die because an owner is too selfish to try to provide the best life and diet. I know that things happen, but there is a ton of information available that is good and helpful that can prevent accidents and injuries.

      • Im trying to get my new chins to know that Im a friend. They're older and they haven't been in a home for awhile. Whats a safe everyday "treat"? Something that isn't their everyday food that I can bribe them with?

        • Ceelee, I would try a plain cheerio. Cheerios are safe because it doesn't have any sugar and very, very low fat content. Chinchillas can get liver damage from too much fat content. Sugar always turns into fat. If this doesn't seem to work, then you may want to try a tiny piece of kiwi fruit. Some chins likes this fruit, although my chins don't like kiwi. I will offer them a very, very small amount of a cranberry fruit. If you buy this at the grocery store in a package, try to get some that has lowered sugar content. Fruits have natural sugar that isn't quite the same as regular sugar. You can get these dried fruits in the raisin department in the grocery store. Just make sure that you don't give him an entire piece of fruit. Break it into halves or smaller. Cranberry is good to also keep urinary tracts healthy. This is also true for humans. Cranberries prevent the e coli bacteria from clinging to the bladder and that prevents urinary tract infections. Some people give their chins sunflower seeds. They love sunflower seeds! But I wouldn't advise giving them these seeds, because they are very high fat and has lots of salt. I have given my chins a couple in the past, but I stopped because they loved them too much!! What you have to keep in mind about chins is to keep the fat contents and sugar and salt contents low. Sometimes that hard to do. Also, may I suggest that when you are bribing them with something, talk baby talk to them. They love to hear you talk baby talk in a somewhat high pitch voice, because they feel that if you speak in a high pitch voice, then you are in a good mood. They will come to trust you, sooner. Do this each time you offer them a treat. Most chins don't like to be handled very much. So, try not to grab them up to quickly! Let them come to you for awhile to gain their trust, then it will be easier to handle them. I hope this helps you with your chinchilla! Good Luck and be patient with your pet! Kim

  16. this. is. crap. i dont care what you sayyou dont own my chinchilla. and in do not enjoy my chinchilla eating cords. when did i ever say that?

    • Chill out................................My God, no one needs to get mad at anyone! I think there is a communication problem, here!! Anyone in their right mind knows that you dont keep electrical cords of any kind near your chinchilla. You already know that a chinchilla will chew on anything and everything. So, just to be safe, make sure there is no cords near the chin. No one is saying that you allow your chinchilla to chew on cords. But you do have to be careful. I know, Ive got 3 chins. One of them had chewed through a lamp cord. Thank God he didnt get electrocuted. I got that lamp out of there right quick!!! Its so easy to make mistakes that can be fatal. Ive experienced that before too. Lets all of us on this site respect and honor each persons system in caring for their chin...

      • I just got a chinchilla a few days ago and this is my first chinchilla and I wanted to know if there are any types of lean meats I can feed her as a treat?

        • Chinchillas shouldn't be given meat of any kind. At best you'll just teach them to bite you (they'll think your fingers are edible meat) and at worst you'll make them ill.

        • Chins are herbivores which mean they only eat plants. Meat will kill them it is not good for them.

  17. you know what? this is crap. i am not going to argue with some stupid over protective chinchilla owners.

    • There is a difference between overprotective and proper care. Why would anyone purposely put their chinchilla's health at risk for their enjoyment? This is the equivalent of a parent thinking it's funny to watch their child play in the middle of a road or tease a mean dog... Chewing on plastic and cords can cause impaction. It's not hard to provide proper chews and supervised play time. Healthy treats can be given. I think you just don't want to admit you regularly put your chinchillas health at risk. If you think I'm overprotective I would be glad to put you in touch with some people who are. I just believe that it is not difficult to provide PROPER care for pets of all kinds, including a safe environment and healthy diet.

  18. i didnt say IT was ok. i said HE was ok. i know, he shouldnt have done that but what i am saying is that he was OK so you dont need to worry if the cord was not plugged in. and no, treats are for chins. DOMESTICATE chins. they love an occasional treat! geez!

    • You claim that your chinchilla has chewed on electrical cord, plastic and other stuff that is not safe, but he's okay. So obviously once wasn't enough to scare you enough to protect him from exposure to those things? You say.. he shouldn't have done that. But it's not his job to know that, it's the owners job to protect him from those dangers. And do you mean domesticated chins? Chins have been domesticated for less than 100 years, that's a really short time in the whole of it. Domesticating an animal does NOT change it's needs. Cats have been domesticated for so very long, yet they still hunt mice. Chinchillas do not need treats. They do not require them to live. Why would you feed unhealthy treats when there are plenty of healthy options available they they love to eat just as much as the un-healthy ones? That's like giving a kid greased cooked fries when they'd be just as happy to eat an apple... I never said you can not feed treats, I said they are not needed, and why would you purposely put your pet's health at risk when you can get the same enjoyment out of giving them a healthy treat? That does not make any sense to anyone who cares about their pets, or pets as a whole.

  19. ahem! i am SURE a chinchilla can have these treats. in MODERATION! have you guys ever heard of this? i guess not. you guys are way to sensitive about your chinchillas! they can handle things that you might not think they can hadle. just lay off guys! seriously!

    • You also say it's okay for them to chew on electrical cords... It's all about how long you want your chinchilla to live and how healthy you want it to be. Most people don't know what moderation is... and why even feed something bad at all when there are plenty of HEALTHY alternatives. TREATS AREN'T FOR CHINS, THEY ARE FOR PEOPLE TO FEEL IMPORTANT/LOVED.

      • I think everyone is over-reacting to this. I have been raised with chins my whole life and have seen more than most of you. My uncle use to ranch them for their fur and I hated him for that, now I spend my life trying to save them. But the electrical cord is not safe. Right now I have 8 chinchillas. My oldest is going to be 16 soon and my youngest is almost 4. My oldest male bite into a live cord and I have no clue how he got to it from his cage. He bit into in 2007 and as soon as he did it and I heard a flop (it was from the object the cord was connected too) I was moving that cage to get him away from it. I checked him over, seperated him from his cage mate (who was not happy) and watch over him like a hawk for the next two days. He got a good jolt but he was fine. But every chin is different, if you take that fom me take that - THEY ALL ARE DIFFERENT!! I rescued a chin who wasn't being treated right, he was in a hamster cage. When I went to move him to a bigger cage, he started to have seizures. Once I put him back into that cage, he was fine. It took over a month to get him use to bigger spaces and he finally settled in. BUT EVERY CHINCHILLA IS DIFFERENT!! I have one who loves crackers (unsalted of course), another one loves french fries and one who loves to have snow in her cage. But all have been given a clean bill of health at every Vet Check-up they get. If you are every in doubt about something to feed them, think about what would grow in their original environment. The mountains of Chile - if it doesn't grow there - chances are it isn't safe. But at the same time, pet stores sell a lot of stuff that isn't safe for your Chinchilla. But one last word, if you have any doubt or instinct that it isn't safe - DON'T GIVE IT TO THEM!!

  20. The best diet for a chinchilla is pellets and hay... that is all they need to be healthy. Fresh fruits and veggies are a no-no. Dried fruits are also not healthy or needed. Chins can not process sugars, consider them diabetic for all food purposes. Despite what the main article says rabbit pellets are okay if using high quality brands and in many cases are better than most of the crap that most people feed. If your pellet has any sort of treats in it, it's bad. If you can buy it at a discount store, it's bad as well. Manna Pro and Nutrena rabbit pellets are safe, mazuri & oxbow pellets are really good as well. Fruits and veggies are NOT NEEDED, and only end up complicating issues. If you feel that you need to give a treat chew sticks are good, if you want to do more than that then do on bite sized non-frosted mini wheat, 1-2 plain cheerios, or a tsp of SLOW COOK oatmeal for a treat. Yes chinchillas love fruit, kids also love candy and soda, but that doesn't mean it's good for them. I personally have seen chinchillas who have lived to be 20+ years old, they were never feed junk, just quality hay and pellets. I see people bragging that they had their chinchilla for 2 yrs and it's fine... that's only 10% of their life span...

    • OK, I can relate to that. but why did my vet tell me to fed them kale. this is a green leafy vegetable. How can he be wrong? So I guess if anyone on this site feeds their chinchillas any fruits or vegetables or pellets with these ingredients, then they are killing their chins. I understand why they shouldnt eat suger, fats, and high carbs daily. Why cant they have vegetables? also, people shouldnt feed their chinchillas alfalfa hay because of the high calcium content. They should give them timothy hay or orchard grass. I appreciate your opinion, but everyone has to decide what is best for their pet.

      • Most vegetables provide too much water causing diarrhea. Also most vets only know about chinchillas through what they read in a book or treat them the same as cavy or rabbits. Fruit, veggies, and seeds, etc. in pellets won't kill a chinchilla the same way it would as say getting run over by a truck, but it creates other health issues shortening their lifespan. Chinchillas originate from a cold desert. This means limited water and not a lot of lush vegetation. This is why they are not adapted to fresh vegetables and fruits because they did not evolve to be able to process these things. Alfalfa when feed on a diet with alfalfa based pellets is un-needed and can provide excess calcium. While it doesn't get stored in the body it is hard on the kidney's to remove it and can promote the development of kidney/bladder stones. Yes, everyone has to decide what's best for their pet, I totally agree with this. But most people firstly worry about what is easy, what is cheap, and what makes them feel good. Treats make them feel good because the chinchilla is happy to get them, but there are a lot of healthy treat alternatives like plain shredded wheats, etc. When deciding what is best for their pet they should take into consideration what is actually best for their pet, not necessarily what makes them happy. When there are logical explanations and research that show some of these things are detrimental to the chinchillas health and there are healthier option, I don't understand why that still leaves it a choice in some people's minds. A person wouldn't eat cupcakes that were baked over a year ago, but yet people feed their chinchillas food that was made over a year ago, feed loses nutrients after 6 months after the mill date, the mill date is printed on the bag, that is a prime example of how some owners just don't care.

  21. I give my chinchillas granola. I think this helps to keep the digestive tract functioning well. I also give dried banana chips bought from the store. My vet suggested to give them kale ( a green leafy type lettuce.) Also, try to use distilled water for them. My city water supply has too much chlorine. I also give them very tiny, tiny amounts of dried cranberries. I have read online that it isnt good to give them Kaytee chinchilla foods, because it has an ingredient in it that can cause cancer. Try oxbow, nutriphase, mazuri brand pellets. I hope this info will help many of you. Kim

  22. If feeding the above listed flowers or their leaves, make sure you're not feeding flowers picked from fields or areas that are routinely sprayed with any pesticides or other chemicals. Even one or two fields over may not be safe as the wind can easily carry these dangerous chemicals more than several miles. Better safe then sorry, it might be best to grow your chinchilla his/her own little stash of these occasionally given lovely delights in your own safe area.

  23. Has anyone heard of giving Rosemary to them?

    • ummm no. is it safe? ( you know, dried)

    • Hia, I'm not sure about rosemary but you could give your chins rose hip. As chinchillas can't retain vitamin c, I give my chinchillas these in their diet as they are high in vitamin c. I don't give them it very often as I try and keep their diet to a minimum but they love it and the vet recommended it. Also I cannot recommend timothy hay enough and it has made such a difference to our chinchillas. It is more expensive than your standard hay but it is so worth it. Unfortunately one of our chinchillas (sidney) has malaclusions but we're very good at spotting the symptoms early when he isn't in too much pain so he can have his operations sooner rather than later. At one point we were spending £200 every six weeks on his surgery, plus he has epilepsy so we have to pay out for his medication for this, plus his painkillers and antibiotics! We have also spent a lot of time either side of his surgery having to hand feed him 4-5 times a day. Now before people start saying I am selfish for keeping him alive when he has so many issues, this has been a decision made by both the vet and I and we both agreed that his last operation would be his last unless we see the times between each operation getting longer and longer because it isn't fair on him. The good news is, since introducing Timothy hay, rose hip and giving very minimal pellets, Sidney has now gone 10 weeks with no sign of the malaclusions back just yet:-) so for all you out there who have chinchillas with malaclusions, don't give up hope just yet!

  24. My chinchilla also loves dried organic apricots. The key point is the amount given, I tear them up so what I give her is smaller than a raisin, and she only gets one piece a day, as a treat when she goes back into her cage. Her main diet is hay and pellets, and I cover the the bottom of her cage with hay. This has also meant her feet are in very good condition.

  25. My Chin Ellie found a popcorn kernel and i believe she ate it . will she be ok ?

    • yes, i think she will be okay. our chinchilla has chewed up electriccal cords and plastic and he has eaten MANY things he is no sopossed to but he is okay. so i am almost positive that your chinchilla will be okay! :)

      • I agree with Katherine. She will probably be fine!

  26. i have had a chinchilla for 2 years and we have given him stuff like apples( fresh) and cheerrios and strawberrys and carrotts and peppers and stuff like that. @ leisha: what happend to your chinchilla?

    • Do you also stand in water while drying your hair and live off McDonalds? Just because by some miracle your chinchilla is still alive does not mean it's good, and by you passing on all of this bad information you're only putting other people's chinchillas lives at risk.

  27. ok this is what i know about all of these and how safe they are: Fresh Apple: unsafe, too much sugar and will cause bloat. Plain Cheerios: safe, but in moderation. Dried Cranberries: unsafe, too much sugar Plain Shredded Wheat: safe, just make sure it is unfrosted, and give in moderation. Raisins: unsafe, too much sugar Organic Cranberry Juice: unsafe, too much sugar and will cause bloat. Prunes: unsafe, too much sugar Fresh Grapes: unsafe, too much sugar and will cause bloat. Bran Flakes Cereal: im guessing unfrosted? if so then it is safe, but in moderation. if not unsafe, too much sugar. Dried Apples: unsafe, too much sugar Frozen Grapes: unsafe, too much sugar and will cause bloat. Banana: unsafe, too much sugar and will cause bloat. Uncooked Elbow Noodle: safe, but in moderation. Wheat Germ: not sure but i think it is safe, but in moderation. Peanuts (unsalted in the shell): unsafe, too much fat. Chamomile Flowers: dried? safe, but in moderation. Dried Dandelion leaves: safe, but in moderation. Dandelion Flowers: safe, but in moderation. Nasturtium flowers: honestly never heard of it. Red Clover Flowers: ^ Dried Clover: safe i think, but in moderation Oats: safe, can be steel cut or old fashioned. in moderation. Dried Olive Leaves: i dont know

    • Do you even know what sugar is?? An elbow noodle is pure sugar; it's starch, which is pure glucose. Your reasoning in why these foods are safe or not does not make sense.

    • All of the fruits, even with the sugar are not bad if given in moderation. 1 or 2 a day, even better is dried fruit.

    • I think you are confusing the question of safety between healthy. The list of foods provided are NOT TOXIC! Natural sugars are not deadly. I have four chinchillas that consume many of these products in moderation as treats in addition to their base diet and they are fine. Main concerns to be aware of with chinchilla health is closely observing their teeth, coat, and stool.

  28. I would also suggest not giving a chinchilla Iceburg Lettuce!

    • My chi chi i think hissed @ me when I tried to give her lettuce.

  29. Are acorns o.k for my chinchilla to eat? I have sooo many around my house and it seams that my chinchilla resembles a squirrel.

    • DO NOT let it eat even one acorn! We made that mistake and it ended very badly...........!

      • Is it okay for my chinchilla to have carrots?

  30. Saw the one about Honey Nut Cherrios. I've been using those as his once or twice a day snack. Is that alright?

    • Lauren, its best to feed your chin plain cheerios. The honey nut cheerios have too high of sugar and fat content. Always try to keep their treats low in fat and sugar, if possible. A chins liver cant filter out sugar and fat well and over time, this can cause liver damage. But, sometimes, its hard to keep treats low in sugar, fat content. I always check on the side of cereal boxes for the fat and sugar content. It tells you how many mg. of fat and sugar is in the cereal. Whats most important is to provide them with fresh pellets and timothy hay. Hope this information helps! Kim

  31. I have rescued a beautiful male/neutered blue chin, and built him a great cage (~ 4' long, 3' high and 2' deep) He is affectionate, healthy, and likes scratches but not cuddles. He is about 7 yrs old. I am located in Vancouver, Canada, and I really need a 'great' home for him. It is a long story, but I also have inherited 8 rescue dogs and have a parrot that I rescued in 1979. Anybody out there who can provide a loving home? I rescued a female chinchilla last year and he loved her but after over $800.00 in vet bills, she developed an interocular abscess and I had to put her down. I just want to do the right thing and get him into a loving home. If you have an answer for me please let me know, they will be forwarded to my e-mail. Thanks you guys... Overwhelmed

    • hello i do not know if anyone replyed to your answer??? but i adopted two chins a while ago and i love them and take care of them really good and they r precious to me alot!! i enjoy every minute with them and have two different personalities and loving it!! i do whatever it takes to take care of them if you r really desperate i will take him!!! i live in west kelowna, the only problem is that transportation??? i will take him and it is a very loving home here!! i love all animals and all my animals are spoiled and with alot of affection but if u r willing to bring him here id like that and trust me hed be ina very loving home and have alot of love i am home full time and spend time with all my animals and i give them everything they need no matter what it takes!!! if u r still interested in this reply please feel free to email me and i will reply back if u still have him??? i am a chinchilla lover and i learn lots from them!!! i think they teach me more than i learn myself and they give alot of love and i do have one that does not like to be handled but still love my affection and responds every time!!! and i know eventually he will alloy me to do so!!!! but reply and let me know okay!!! thankyou!!! birgit!!!!!

  32. Can chinchillas eat acorns? I have an tree in my yard that is losing hundreds of them and the squirrels are having a feast. I was wondering if they were safe for Ling Also, to the safe list: I feed Ling dried out apples leaves and twigs I get from my two trees. He loves them and the twigs gives him wood to gnaw on too.

    • Hi LingsMom... :) I'm Charlie's "nanny" and was wondering how you dried out your apple leaves and twigs... I have two trees and would love the treat for him *if proven safe lol... i dont' use pesticides :)

    • Don't give your chins acorns! All he needs is timothy hay, chin pellets, and wood toys to chew on. You can give your chin a plain cheerio or unsweetened shredded wheat as a treat. It's ok to give a raisin once or twice a month. Apple tree twigs or branches are safe for chins to chew on. Hope this information helped...

  33. Are vegitables ok for them to eat? Like carrots, lettuce, cabbage.

    • Kevin, vegetables are not good for chins. Provide them with chin pellets and timothy hay. You can give them cheerios as a safe treat. Some people allow their chin a raisin everyday. Some people don't recommend it because, you must keep the fat and sugar content low for chin treats. A chins liver cant filter out fat and sugar well and this can lead to liver damage in the future. Chins don't need vegetables because it can sometimes cause diarrhea. Hope this information helped! Kim

    • Kevin, I wouldn't suggest allowing your chins to eat carrots, lettuce or cabbage. This can cause bloat, which is dangerous. Provide your pet with chin pellets, timothy hay. You can give your chins plain cheerios or unfrosted shredded wheat as a treat each day. Also, provide your pet with distilled water in your pets water bottle...

  34. What about "cheerios"??? JUST the plan ones! Charlie loves them... we call them his donuts and he goes nuts!!! He loves his raisins more but that's likely as they are given to him in limited doeses. He did get his paws on some Honey Nut Cheerios and for a bit wouldn't eat his but after some time he forgot about the "mistake" and took right back to his "plain donuts"

  35. Please keep in mind that most fruits such as apples and bananas have sugar in them. Chinchillas are especially susceptible to sugar and thus diabetes. These fruits should be given in tiny amounts, no more than 1-2 small pieces a week. A better option is shredded wheat. I never met a chinchilla that didn't love it and it is metabolism friendly to the chins. Just use plain, though, no frosting, and get organic if you can.

  36. My chinchilla kevin likes alot of organic foods but recently i gave him a peice of life cereal and afterwards realized that the box said it had the preservative BHT in it. Im worried about my little guy. Anyone know if it will have any bad side effects?

    • Danielle, your chin will be fine. Just try to provide him with organic treats with low sugar and fat content. Plain cheerios are safe. Also, shredded wheat is ok, without the frosting coating on it. Always provide chinchilla pellets and timothy hay as well. Hope this information helped! Kim

  37. I had my chinchillas out in the bathroom(which I thought I had done a good job of chinchilla-proofing) little did I know Camille could jump high enough, and bounce off the wall to get up onto the counter-where I had a cactus plant. It wasn't until a couple of days later that I had noticed a bite(about the size of Camille's mouth) taken out of the cactus plant, and a few peices of her fur on the plant. I immediately took her to the vet, the vet said to monitor her for the next few days, and if there were any changes in her health to bring her back in. That was over 2 years ago, and nothing ever happened, and she's in perfect health. I'm not saying go ahead and feed your chinchilla cactus, but it's definately not DEADLY.

  38. Also, the main reason rabbit pellets are so bad for them is because it's corn based. The corn is extremely detrimental to their stomachs and their overall health... Just an extra note I thought I would leave since I didn't see corn on the bad list.

    • not all rabbit food is bad, purina rabbit show is considered a quality pellet for chins, this comes from quality breeders.. here are the ingredients to purina show. no corn. Dehydrated alfalfa meal, wheat middlings, ground soybean hulls, wheat flour, dehulled soybean meal, soybean oil, lignin sulfonate, cane molasses, salt, methionine supplement, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, iron oxide, nicotinic acid, dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate, vitamine a acetate, saccharomyces, cerevisiae, yeast, riboflavin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B-12 supplement, dried aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried lactobacillus acidophilus ferment product, cholecalciferol, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, cobalt carbonate,manganese sulfate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide zinc sulfate, dried yucca shidigera extract, papaya, copper, chloride, sodium selenite.

  39. OMG!!! - The chinchilla that I took care of, absolutely loves plain cheerios! Would it be bad if I feed it too much of that?

  40. I have fed my chinchilla air popped, unflavored and unsalted popcorn. She loves it. Also she seems to like dried carrots.

    • Mine LOVES dried carrots and banana chips. He is such a piggins! So fat and round... And I can't eat a peanut butter sandwich in the room with him without him throwing a fit.

      • Stacy, I wouldn't allow my chin to eat peanut butter sandwichs. Peanut butter is high in fat and sugar content which can cause liver damage in the long run. Also, peanut butter is known to cause constipation. Not good for your chinchilla....

  41. i just got 2 chinchillas and i was wondering if it is safe to give them bread to munch on. what other fruits can they have, how long should they be outta their cage

  42. Well I have a fairly new chinchilla .,, I named her Makilla she is so full of life. while I was gone my lovely mother was eating eggs and felt my chinchilla was hungry and gave her some. ahah My chinchilla ate them. She is not sick or anything, my chinchilla well she is very odd. Just wanted to share that little story with you, Oh yes, my chinchilla also loves chips, and sourdough bites.

    • Vanessa, I wouldn't suggest giving your chinchilla potato chips. They have too much fat and salt content. Make sure anything you give your chin has very low fat and sugar content, as well as low salt.

  43. I was just wondering how much fruit would be too much to feed your chinchilla daily because she loves fruit but you are I heard you are only supposed to give them 2 raisins a day so I was wondering if there was a limit for fruit too. I was also wondering if it was safe to give them like plain, healthy, yogurt like strawberry or something. I really love my chinchilla Ginger and I want to make her happy but also don't want to get her sick.

    • Ariel, Try to give your chins only 1 or 2 raisins a month. Also, don't give your chins any yogurt or fruits. This can give them bloat which is a dangerous condition. You can give your chins an unsweetened shredded wheat as a treat each day. Chins cant digest high fat or sugars well. It can over the long term damage their liver. Provide them with timothy hay, and chinchilla pellets each day. Also, provide them with distilled water to drink in their water bottle. Tap water has chlorine and too many minerals that isn't healthy for your pets. Hope this information helps you....

  44. Air popped popcorn with no butter is okay, shredded treat that's unfrosted is good too. Chins don't really make great class pets, they sleep during the day, are susceptible to zoonotic diseases from children, and require cool conditions. Imagine how you'd feel if someone was always waking you up in the middle of the night.

  45. we are gettin a chinchilla for a pet and we are wondering if you should hold it a ton. by payton we are wondering if you should make a lot of noise around it (its going to be a class pet) by rachel

    • Chinchillas have different personalities, some like to be held and some don't. As far as having it as a class pet. I am on my second chinchilla for my classroom. The whole school is in love with the chinchilla. Our 1st one love to be picked up and would play pass the chinchilla on the shoulder. Unfortunately he died of old age. The 2nd one is more temperamental. She is still young put loves to run around the room and then she will go back in her cage. You don't want too much noise, normal chatter from the classroom is okay. It is one way to get the classroom quiet is to tell them the chinchilla does not like loud noise.

  46. I gave my chinchilla popcorn before and shes fine

  47. I posted a question here but from the treat site... I was wondering if anyone knew if chinchillas like popcorn? or if it's safe?? I was letting our new 1yr old male chinchilla wonder my office as i worked today with the door closed. He went about exploring but stopped by my garbage can and seemed VERY interestsed in my popcorn bag (no i didn't let him have it, and have since my garbage to a desk behind me) :)

    • Kupcak, some people gives their chins air popped, popcorn with no salt and butter. I personally haven't given my chins popcorn as a treat. I believe plain cheerios are the safest treat for your chin. Sometimes, a raisin once or twice a week is acceptable. Shredded wheat without the sugar coating is fine. The reason for these treats is because they don't have a high sugar and fat content. Chin's livers cant filter out high sugar and fat contents. Giving them chin pellets and timothy hay is the best way to keep them healthy. Hope this info helped! Kim

  48. I was wondering if anyone knows of chinchillas peeing on their food bowls. We had a plastic tray but he didnt like the food. We switched to a wood, that was ok if he chewed on, and changed the food and he is still peeing on it. Also is it ok to feed them lettuce?

    • Alix, don't feed your chin lettuce! This can give him bloat which is a dangerous condition. It sounds like your chin thinks that his food bowl is where he should go to the bathroom. Purchase a bowl at a pet store that you can attach much higher onto his cage. Hopefully, this will solve the problem...

  49. i am very scared about feeding my chinchilla the wrong food(i havent got it yet ).please what should i feed it.

  50. Everyone ignore the comment by Riven. If whoever that is would have read the article, he or she would know that chinchillas dont have the same digestive tract as "other animals". They are especially wrong about the raisins. Raisins help prevent constipation and every ranch in the world that doesnt kill there chinchillas for coats gives them raisins. I have given chinchillas cranberries for about 12 years and they are fine. I will admit however I am a little skepticle about the grapes. I have heard they cause constipation.

    • Raisins and anything with high sugar content can cause tooth rot and diarrhea. I give one raisin a night to each chinchilla.

    • I disagree with a ton of things on that list. Especially that rabbit pellets are unsafe. I have been breeding for years and I have always fed mine Purina Show Quality Rabbit Formula. Its high in protein and calcium and also contains acidophiles for their sensitive digestive tracks. A lot of chinchilla pellets are over priced and mainly filler. The only exception would be Ox Bow, but its 13 dollars for a 2lb bag and its nutrition is no different from the Purina. Actually Ox Bow contains more filler which makes you have to spend more on supplements. With Purina I only supplement my pregnant and nursing chinchillas and they deliver very health beautiful kits. Also, I will occasionally give a raisin but any food that is considered to be "wet" I will not give as they are very prone to diarrhea witch can kill them.

  51. hello please could someone tell me if you can give chinchillas mussel shell?

  52. could someone please tell me if you can give chinchillas , timothy hay with herbs and dandelions as i buy it for my guinea pigs

    • Timmothy hay is definitealy ok. They are supposed to have it if you dont give them hay cubes.

  53. # Fresh Apple # Dried Cranberries # Raisins # Organic Cranberry Juice # Prunes # Fresh Grapes # Dried Apples # Frozen Grapes # Banana These are all BAD! Grapes are known to cause renal failure in other pets, why would you even do it? Chins DO NOT need treats! The best thing for a chinchilla is pellets, hay, and water. If you want to give a treat try a wood stick, new kind of hay, bit of slow cook oats ( DO NOT use the quick cook kind), a cheerio, or a shredded wheat, but no more than once a day. Ranch chinchillas don't get treats and they live to be 12, 15, 18, 20+ years old. Compare that to how long the average pet chinchilla lives ( 2-5 yrs) and see where the differences are.

    • This person is incorrect. Especially on raisins. They need them to keep from being constipated. And if this person would have actually read the post, he or she would be able to tell that chinchillas dont have the same digestive tract as "other pets"

    • Riven, im sorry but you dont know as much as you say. Treats keep chinchillas happy. And any pet chinchilla with good care lives up to 20 or more. Chins in wild live to be 7-10. Please get your facts straight and i feel sorry for your chins.

  54. my chinchilla loves grapes and dried fruit, especially apricots. i give them only as a special treat.

  55. DO NOT feel your cinch Avocado. apparently it will kill it. my friends mother gave their chinch a whole one, and latter that night found the cinch dead. =(

    • Avocados are unsafe for chinchilla's, well at least their pits are. I had 2 chinchillas when I was younger and my dad fed them avacodos. The next day they were found dead, holding eachother. Very sad. My dad told me about it and that some "pits" are poisonois! Avocados are apparently one of them! Do not feed your chinchilla Avocado pits, it will die!

  56. Corn, and products that contain corn, is not okay for your chinchilla. Since they do not digest it correctly it causes them to have severe gas which can cause their bellies to bloat. Make sure you check the ingredient list on the premade/processed food, pellets, and treats you give your chinchilla.

  57. Hi Chinchilla Planet. . . I was letting my chinchilla out one day to play around, and I saw him chewing on something. A few minutes later, I found an apple seed lying around. So if he ate one seed, would it be enough to severely harm him? Thanks in advance =)

  58. Chin's produce two kinds of droppings: a soft kind loaded with protien which your chinchilla will often eat , and then the hard droppings wich are strictly waste. depending on which type is being left in your chinchilla's food dish you will want to use your own judgement and what you feel is safest for your pet.

  59. i was wondering if your chinchilla poops in the pellet bowl do you just dump out the food because i have seen that since there stomachs are really senstitive will this make them sick

  60. Chris Celnar

    Caroline, Leaving pellets and hay cubes available at all times is fine. But you need to restrict treats and grains.

  61. I leave a bowl of food avalible for my chinchilla at all times, Should I be doing this? If not how do i get her out of the habbit of eating when ever she wants?

    • Caroline, Provide your chin with about a couple of tablespoons of food for the day. But, make sure you provide your chin with timothy hay everyday. This is very important. Chins have to have hay to have proper digestion. There isn't any certain amount of hay that you should give at one time. Just make sure there is plenty of hay for your chin at all times. In other words, there's no such thing as giving them too much hay. They also need hay to keep their teeth filed down .If their teeth get too long they cant eat and can die. So providing hay is essential! Hope this information helped! KIm

  62. 1-2 raisins should only be given in any one day, a small segment of apple is ok a slice of carrot, half a grape, this should give you some idea how much to feed a chinchilla., only small pieces in small moderation isthe key these listed above should be a treat not to replace they daily food.

  63. My chinchilla's favorite treat is raisins. If you give him one through the cage he will come back for more he will keep eating them. I was wondering how many can I give him until he gets sick?

    • Meagan, all chinchillas love raisins and will keep eating them as long as you keep providing them to your pet. I would give only 1 to 2 raisins a week as a treat. Make sure you provide them with chin pellets and timothy hay every day. You can also give your pets a plain cheerio or unfrosted shredded wheat each day as a treat. Chins cant digest sugar or high fat treats. This can cause liver damage in the long run! Also, provide your pet with safe wood to chew on from a pet store. This is important! Their teeth are constantly growing and they have to keep those teeth filed down to eat. If their teeth gets too long, they cant eat and will die. I also suggest giving them distilled water in their water bottle, because tap water has chlorine in it....

  64. Hello, I have just recently started giving my chinchilla quaker oats and absolutely loves it. My question.... When you say give in moderation, how much is moderate ? I just scoop it up with a spoon and let him eat it from there. Because quaker oats are loose I am not sure on the measurement to give.

  65. I'm thinking of getting a Chin as a pet, but from what I've read, they mostly just run and jump! Why do people love them as pets??

  66. I mean.. could it harm the baby chinchilla? I hate to harm any animal.

  67. Chris Celnar

    Maryann, Some people believe that the quality of the food from Kaytee will not be as high as from other sources. They also think that the amount of each nutrient are not at the ideal percentages e.g. too much fat.

  68. Chris Celnar

    Bryan, You should avoid citrus foods. Stick to items like plain cheerios or raisins, but in moderation. Treats are not to replace proper food.

  69. Hi. I am going to get a Chinchilla soon. So my dad bought me a Kaytee food bag. When you say "frown upon the common Kaytee food" what do you mean by that? I am asking because I'm going to get a baby Chinchilla, so is the food going to harm the Chinchilla?

  70. We just got a chinchilla and for a treat I gave her some citrus foods such as oranges and lemons. Is that OK to feed to them? Thanks!

    • Bryan, I wouldn't suggest giving your chin citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons. A safe treat for your chin is plain cheerios. But, not honey nut cheerios! A chinchillas liver can filter out high sugar or fat content which can lead to liver damage over time. You can give your chin shredded wheat without the sugar coating, also. Some people will give their chin a raisin once or twice a week. Some people wont even do that. Raisins has a moderately high sugar content. Always feed your chin chinchilla pellets and timothy hay everyday to keep him healthy. Also, you may want to buy some wooden sticks or lava blocks from petsmart. A chins teeth is constantly growing and can grow too long. When this happens, the chin cant eat and can die. So providing your chin with hay, wooden sticks or lava blocks can prevent this. The hay is important because it keeps their digestive system healthy. Chins have sensitive digestive tracts. Giving them improper treats can cause bloating which can be very dangerous for a chin. So give your chin the above treats and your chin should stay happy and healthy. Hope this information helped! KIm

  71. Chris Celnar

    Debra, Many people will tell you to avoid these sorts of manufactured treats. We prefer to just use them in moderation. However, we do only use ones specifically listed as being for chinchillas. Small animals is just too generic a term for us.

  72. I have just came from the supermarket pet section. Does anyone have any advice on those treats made by "vitakraft"? I bought the nibble rings which contain alfalfa. I noticed a picture of a rabbit, hamster, and gerbil are on the box but says its ok for " small animals". I want to know if this product is ok to give and is this company reputable ?

    • Debra, Im sure the vitacraft treats are ok as long as it doesn't have a lot of sugar or high fat content in them. Alfalfa is ok for a treat, but don't feed your chin alfalfa hay everyday. the alfalfa hay has too much calcium which can be bad for your chinchilla. Stick with timothy hay for everyday foliage. A safe treat to give your chins is plain cheerios. Not honey nut cheerios! A chins liver cant filter out high sugar or fat content. Also, shredded wheat without the sugar coating is fine. Some people give their chins a raisin once or twice a week. Some people wont do this. Raisins have a moderately high sugar content. Always provide chin pellets and timothy hay to keep your chin healthy and happy! Hope this information helped! Kim

  73. Chris Celnar

    Debra, We've never fed our chinchillas corn so we have no direct experience with it. However, many people feel that dried corn is not healthy. Sadly we're not sure if that extends to fresh corn. Your best bet is to feed your chinchillas a treat that is known to be OK. Whatever treat you go with, we recommend moderate amounts.

  74. I noticed corn was not on the list and have been feeding my chinchilla raw corn (on the cob in sections) and placing it on that pet cabob the pet shop sells. I saw it on the pictures of the chinchilla books and want to know if it's ok to feed it to him everyday. His stool seems ok so far and the pieces get replaced with fresh ones.

    • Debra, I wouldn't suggest feeding your chins corn. Provide your pet with chinchilla pellets and timothy hay everyday. You can give your chin a plain cheerio or unfrosted shredded wheat as a treat each day. Chins cant digest sugar, high fats or fruits and vegetables. It can cause liver damage in the long run. Also, provide your pet with safe wood from a pet store for chewing. Chins have to keep their teeth filed down to eat. If their teeth gets too long, they cant eat and can die. Also, I suggest giving distilled water in his water bottle instead of tap water. Tap water has chlorine in it....

  75. Chris Celnar

    Debbie, We're sorry to hear that your chinchilla is having problems. Unfortunately, we're not vets, just pet owners and enthusiasts. We have no way of knowing what's going on and have to defer to the vet. We do recommend going to a vet with experience with "exotic" pets in general or chinchillas in particular. Most places that treat dogs/cats that we've check in with have no idea what to do with chinchillas.

  76. My name is Debbie and I have a baby chinchilla that I have raised since birth due to the passing of her mother. Jane is her name and she is 6 months old. Three weeks ago I noticed after coming home from work that she was not using two of her legs so I took her to the Vet the next day. The Vet said that chinchillas can have arthritis in their joints; she did take x-rays and found swelling in Jane's joints. She has been on antibiotics for the last three weeks. Now, Jane is using all three legs but her good front leg that was working just fine in the beginning is not working now. She holds it close to her chest. If you can tell me anything about what is going on with Jane I would greatly appreciate it because I think the doctor is guessing and I have almost spent $300.00 on vet bills. I have worked with people with disabilities for the last 15 years and if Jane is going to be disabled that is fine with me. I will continue to love my three legged chinchilla. Thanks

  77. I have found that my Chins love coconut. I purchased some without sugar or preservatives from a health food store. I give them one or two small pieces each day and they even prefer it to raisins. I try to keep their treats to things I know are healthy for them, I hope this is an ok treat. I also feed them apple tree leaves in the summer.

    • Tracy, I used to feed my chins coconut also, but, coconut has a high fat content. So I stopped feeding my chins coconut. A chinchillas liver cant filter out high sugar or fat content. This can lead to liver damage over time. A safe treat for your chins are plain cheerios. Not honey nut cheerios! Also, shredded wheat without sugar coating is fine. Some people give their chinchilla a raisin once or twice a week. Some people wont do this. Raisins have a moderately high sugar content. Always provide your chin with chin pellets and timothy hay. The hay is essential to their digestive system. It also helps to keep their teeth filed down. If their teeth get too long, they cant eat and can die. You can buy wooden sticks or lava blocks at petsmart for your chins to chew on safely to prevent this. I hope this information helped! Kim

  78. My treat preferences are shreddies (unfrosted shredded wheats). We also use the dried fruits, apple, banana, and papaya, rose hips, and chinchilla cookies (not the pet store rodent "treats" cookies made specifically for chinchillas by us). On occasion the girls will pick dandelion leaves as well. :)

  79. Chris Celnar

    Nicole, Your concerns are well warranted. Aside from raisins, we don't give our chinchillas any of the above for the reasons you cite. However, we know that people often wonder what other people have fed their chinchillas and so we've compiled this list.

  80. I am a little concerned about the treat list above. Dandilion flowers are poisonous to many animals. And prunes are made from plums, a pitted fruit, and are not recommended. Not to mention the size of them. Chinchillas have very sensitive digestive systems, and don't need vegetables or fruits. Treats are given because people think they need to do so. Treats should be given no more than ONCE a day, and only the size of a raisin.

  81. Chris Celnar

    Mary, Wild chinchillas get their water from dew which is quite different than a bowl or bottle. As for which we prefer, it'd have to be a bottle because the water will stay cleaner as there is no way for fur, dust, food bits, or anything else to get in to the bottle. A dish, on the other hand, is a magnet for all sorts of things meaning you'll have to clean it quite regularly.

  82. Hi, I have a silly question - but I would really appreciate it if you could please answer it. I have just adopted a Chinchilla and its cage. The cage came with an affixed water bowl, which I thought was normal until I did some reading. So far all material I have read in regards to Chinchillas mentions water bottles, not water bowls. I am a little confused to this since nature does not provide them with water bottles in the wild:) While reading, I grew concerned that this Chin maybe dehydrated. Is there a reason for why pet Chinchillias should be provided with a water bottle instead of a water bowl? Do you recommend a water bottle appose to a water bowl? Thanks.

    • *********I strongly recommend TWO WATER SOURCES for your pets. I recently found out my only water bottle was not working properly, and I noticed my female chinchilla having really working it hard. When I squeezed the bottle, she must have drank 3 to 4 tbsp. I then noticed she wasn't able to eat properly, she was just sucking on a raisin, pulling it in and out of her mouth. When I checked her, I was appalled to find her thin and with a broken and abscessed lower tooth. I took her to the vet and he cut her upper and lower teeth to match the broken one. She is now on antibiotics (she drinks it right out of the syringe herself). I will never have only one water source again. Right now I am trying to find a food supplement or anything to help her gain weight while she is healing. Scary stuff not to notice. So now I have two water bottles and a small bowl. I have also been putting her food in a small amount of water to soften it. ***********

  83. Chris Celnar

    Do not feed your chinchilla meat. Their digestive systems are not designed for the consumption of meat.

  84. I want to get a chinchilla and I may be getting one soon. I was wondering if chinchillas can eat small scraps of meat. I don't want to hurt my future pet.

    • no.. chinchillas are rodents just as rabbits ect. and as for they don't eat meat.. and there is probably a reason why they don't so keep it away from your pet.. only dry food,just like chinchilla pellets and other things.. no moisty food,keep it dry.. you can give it a raisin or two in one day,they love it,and you can give him small pieces of apple,it's good for them.. but anything else really you shouldn't give him,such as meat and moisty vegetables and fruits.. keep researching though

  85. Chris Celnar

    Jessica, Sorry, but we don't have any specific knowledge about whether watermelon is safe or not.

  86. I was just wondering if it is bad for a chinchilla to eat watermelon because I gave my male chinchilla, Tazz, some watermelon and I don't know if it will harm him. I didn't give him a lot. Please answer ASAP because I don't want to harm him.

    • you should not give chinchillas moisty food because it's not good for their inner system and it can cause fatal problems at times... chinchillas only need try food,you can give him a piece of apple,you actually should.. once in a week or so,and in water you should sip a little little bit of apple vinegar because your chinchilla needs it for his digestion and other stuff.. but keep moisty food away from him

    • Jessica, the watermelon will not harm your chinchilla. But, I wouldn't suggest giving him watermelon. See, chinchillas have sensitive digestive systems. The watermelon has lots of water content. If they get too much water content they could develop diarrhea. That can be dangerous for a chinchilla. A good treat to give your chin is plain cheerios. But not honey nut cheerios! A chinchilla's liver cant filter out high sugar or fat content. Shredded wheat without the sugar coating is a good treat also. Some people give their chins a raisin once or twice a week. Some people wont do this. Raisins have a moderately high sugar content. Fruits aren't recommended for your chin because of the possibility of diarrhea. Provide your chin with chin pellets and timothy hay everyday to keep your chin healthy and happy! Hope this information helped! Kim

  87. I have a chinchilla and he loves dry/fresh fruits and vegetables which you can get at the grocery store in small or large sized bags for cheap. Limit the amount you give them or they will get fat. You can also give them small pieces of fresh fruit or fresh lettuce and carrots. They still need to have chinchilla pellets for vitamins. Be careful how much dry/fresh fruit/vegetables you give to your chinchilla because too much can give them diarrhea or constipation.

  88. Chris Celnar

    Jomarie, Some foods are safe and some aren't. To avoid the extra expense of buying treats from a pet store, go with raisins. Our chinchillas love them. Be sure to not give more than one a day. Other safe foods include apples, carrots, and celery, but we don't know if chinchillas actually like these foods. A general rule of thumb is that if the fruit has a pit, it isn't safe e.g. cherries, peaches, and plums. The important thing is to make sure that your chinchilla continues to eat his regular food which is where the necessary nutrition comes from.

  89. Hi, I just got a male Chinchilla and I want to know if giving him house products like fruits and vegetables are good for him and won't do him harm? I'm asking in case I want to give him a treat or snack, by using stuff at home and not waste money by going to the petshop.

    • No, don't give your chins vegetables or fruits. Provide your chin with chin pellets, timothy hay and safe wood to chew on as well as fresh water. You can give a cheerio or shredded wheat as a treat every so often. Hope this helped!

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