Why Does My Chinchilla Have Soft Stool?

We had a visitor to this site pose a question about her chinchilla's soft stool. Here's what she wrote:

We recently got a pet chinchilla and we are having a lot of fun getting to know him. He seems to be eating ALOT–we feed him chinchilla pellets (which are timothy based) and timothy hay. We give him about 2 tbs pellets a day and a small handful of hay twice a day. The pellets seem to linger a bit and lately he has been pulling out all the hay (I think looking for the fuzzy tops he seems to enjoy). He has not touched the yogurt vitamins we bought. We have given him one raisin a few times over the past week–maybe a total of four.

My question is this: His stools are becoming softer as the days progress (and more frequent). I am constantly trying to clean the flat surfaces and bedding because he has gotten droppings in his fur which are then very hard to get out. What can I do to get him more "regular" and when he does get it in his fur, how do i get it out?

Thanks for any suggestions,

Erin Dolan

Our answer to Erin follows:

Erin,

Welcome to the world of chinchillas! We'd suggest that you back off on the raisins entirely and see if that helps. They're a treat and not mandatory for your chinchilla's health and may be the cause of the soft stool. They should be dry enough to sweep or vacuum and shouldn't be sticking to your chinchilla's fur.

What brand of pellets and hay are you using? Do you see any mold?

We don't have any fur cleaning tips other than perhaps to try using a fine-toothed comb to clean as much as possible.

Erin returned with a quick follow-up note:

Thanks for the info. Will lay off the raisins. Will check the brand. Was going to switch to an alfalfa based brand. Anyway should not be moldy as they were just purchased a week ago. We will keep working on it!

And just to clarify our position we replied:

Erin,

Mold could be present regardless of when you purchased the food. Sometimes food sits on the shelves a long time before it sells. And if moisture got in to an otherwise sealed bag, you could have bad pellets.

We recommend you go with one of the trusted brands such as Kline or Mazuri. There are others too, but those are two common ones. A large number of chinchilla pet owners frown upon the very common Katee brand.

One other thing to watch out for is constantly changing brands. Chinchillas are particular and get used to certain food. So if you need to switch brands do so slowly by mixing ever increasing amounts of new with old. This could be another reason for the soft stool by the way as you may not be feeding the same brand as the previous owner.

Good luck!

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16 Comments

  1. I have two male chinchillas for 3 years now. I am concerned because one of their stools has become soft this past week. I haven't change their diets and I'm not sure what the problem is or how to fix it. They eat Mazuri pellets and Oxbow hay alfalfa and timothy hay. I sometimes give them apple and oats horse treats as well. Does anyone have any suggestions? Please let me know. :)

  2. For anyone that has problems with soft stools in the fur. What I've found to "help" remove it is to give your Chin have a dust bath. What it does is dries out the stool and the dust powder sticks to it. Depending on how thick it is in the fur it works for me. At that point you can remove it much easier. My Chins problem with soft stools is if they have too many treats. Always pay attention to the stools each day. By doing that you should be able to catch it before it gets out of hand. Last thing is try to stick with the same food. Do not switch to anther brand because the store is out if yours. I always by a new bag when I'm about half to a quarter of the way through just in case. I hope this helps. Thanks, Bob

    • Hi I really need help!!!! I don't know if I should be worried. While I was at school my mom left my chinchilla alone for two hours in her room. Nothing harmful I know of was there, I know this is very bad. She started chewing on a pad of paper and when I found her her bum was wet and I don't know if it's because she sat in pee or what. So I gave her a dust bath and don't know if I should take her to the vet or if she has wet tail!!! please help me thanks!!!

  3. I NEED A REPLY ASAP!! PLEASE!!! My chinchilla is VERY happy, and i've had him for about... 3 months now, he is about 9 months old (as of May 7th) And his poop has been fine, normal.. until last night, It was a little runny.. So I thought, it was just a normal thing.. I woke up this morning and found his runny poop sticking to his cooling slate and the shelfs, of course It's already cleaned, I take care of him very well. I feed him, Fiesta Mix by Kaytee, Oxbow timothy hay, and Dandelion treats. I think I've been giving him a little to much of the dandelion treats, about.. half of one per day.. and I think they are only supposed to have them twice a week the most, so I should probably stop that. I'm just worried about him, I saw that it said if it sticks to their furr, it isn't good. And last night one was caught on his fur, but it wasn't like STUCK stuck. I'm just worried...

  4. Hi. I have 2 chinchillas. I adopted them about 2 years ago. All was going well, I have done a lot of research on them and I know a lot about them. Today, however, I went in the room to check on them and there was what appeared to be an extremely loose stool. I'm unsure which one it came from. How, it wasn't just soft, it was completely runny. And it somewhat had a mucus texture to it. I have not seen any other stools like that in the cage, and it's been about a half hour or so. I did wipe it out with a paper towel and it was very smelly. I was doing some reading online, I did not give any treats today, and I will not. I did switch their food about 2 weeks ago because the pet store I was doing my shopping at closed. I'm thinking about ordering their old food Mazuri, online and getting them back on that. I put a lot of hay in the cage. I read online that it could be a bacteria thing... at the signs that I've seen indicating bacteria? Or could it just simply be the food, or the fact that I did give them each a raisin last night, and they also had one the night before because I felt guilty for being away for the weekend and them not getting out of their cage at all while I had pet sitting services coming in to care for them. Please let me know your thoughts! Thanks!

    • Kelly, When you changed to the new food did you wean them off the old and on to the new ? The Mazuri is what I use and I get it at PetSmart (if you have one near you). Check with the pet sitter as to what was fed to them over the weekend and how much. Take them out one at a time and within a little time(because they go so much) you should see who has the problem. Also check the fur and paws for any stool that might have gotten on them. You were smart to stop the treats until this clears up. The new food or hay might have mold so you might want to look into that as well. Good luck I hope it works out for them.

      • I've checked for mold, and my petsmart doesn't carry Mazuri. In fact, all of the pet shops around here have to order it for me. So, unless I can find a store that stocks it, they won't get it until after the weekend. I know which one it is now, because one had it on her tail. I cleaned out all of the wet stools last night before bed, and when I woke up this morning, all of the hay had been eaten and there were no more loose stools in the cage, so I am assuming the problem hasn't been made any worse, at least. I have been at work all day, so when I go home this afternoon, I will check the situation again. I am also going to see if I can get a small bag of Mazuri for the weekend. I"m going to call around. I kind of got the impression last night that they aren't even really eating the new food. And I noticed that some of the poop in the cage is dark brown/black like normal.. and some of it is a light tan color. That is also the color of the wet poop I found yesterday. I am going to clean all of the poop out of the cage, make sure I get all of it really good, so that I can monitor that as well. Thanks so much!

  5. I have two Chins. I only give them bottled water from my home water cooler. I came accross soft stools from one of them. I think it might be from the two different brands of bottled water I use in my cooler. I do back off the treats if I come accross soft stools and just feed them there pelllets and hay. That does help, but now I'm looking into if the different brand of water might play a role in it.

    • Just a follow up to my post. It turns out the bottled water is not the problem. Too much treats. In my case I stopped the treats and it seemed to clear up.

  6. we have had our chinchilla for about a month, we changed his die about a week ago because he wasnt eating the pellets, so we got him mixed food, he seems to enjoy this more, his stools only got soft today, he hasnt any treat, but when i filled his bottle yesterday the water smelled unusally bleachy, could this be the reason? other wise he seems fine in himself

  7. Try giving your chinchilla oats instead of raisins. My chinchilla, Hercules, goes nuts when I just shake the bag of oats and demands more when I put it away. I cut up my raisins into fourths and give him one (or two if I can't get him out of the cage that day) of the pieces every two days. Stress can also be a factor in his digestion problems. I'm currently going through his stool being too loose and wet. My brother admitted to going upstairs in my room while i'm at school or work and playing with him. Make sure you guys aren't handling your chinchilla too roughly, as that is my concern as to what has happened. Just feed him as little pellets and alot of hay as you can. If it doesn't clear up, take him to the vet. I'm about to take mine....i'm just really paranoid. ha! Good luck! Oh and switching foods, you must gradually introduce the new food. 2:1 ratio for the first couple of weeks then gradually start putting more of the new food in and less of the old food in.

  8. I just got a chinchilla about 3 days ago and at first the stool was normal and now its soft and sticks to his hind end. it is 11 weeks old and i have no idea as to what food the previous owner fed it. will he get used to the food i am feeding it now?

  9. chinchillas are suposed to have soft stools. dont be overly concerned if soft but normally shaped droppings are seen.

  10. My chinchilla Bella has had this problem a few times.The first time we took her to the vet and he put her on medicine which I think was more stressful for her to get.It never helped anyway.He didn't know much about chinchillas we have a great vet now.It basically what everyone has been saying-too many treats.My chinchillas respond to anyone who is crunching or chewing food.They also know the sound of a bag of any kind of food being open.I'm a sucker for them and usually give them a little taste.I've never changed thier base diet,but Spritie does well w/tasting different foods-not Bella though.I wouldn't give your chinchilla anything,but pellets and hay for a week or so.We have a small pet brush that we use to get the pain in the neck wet poops out.Good luck:)

  11. Give your chinchilla Mini Wheats, the cereal. My ChiChi had diahrea (soft, LARGE, sticky and moist stools) for almost a week, so I gave him Mini Wheats and he cleared up within a week. You should be careful with how many treats you give your chin. Too many can give your chinchilla stool problems. They also don't like sudden changes in food brand. Gradually switch over by mixing new brands with the current brand your chinchilla is eating.

    • I would like to share a website with all of you concerning the importance of diets and health for your chinchillas. This site is an organic store that sells only organic products for your chins. They offer great foods and hay that is beneficial to your chinchillas digestive system. They offer products that can ease digestive problems and gas, which is painful for chins. The website is called fuzzy kingdoms. They offer natural remedies for the health of chinchillas. Just type in fuzzieskingdom.com. I plan to purchase some products from them to assure that my chinchillas stay healthy and happy. Please check into this site as Im sure you will be glad you did!!

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