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 ALOTÃ¢â‚¬â€œwe 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 weekÃ¢â‚¬â€œmaybe 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,
Our answer to Erin follows:
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:
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.