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.


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  1. This was very helpful, I recommend reading it. I had to show my dad because he didn't believe me when I said chinchillas can't have skittles because they can't digest sugar. Yes he fed her skittles

    • This article is actually not very accurate, as fruits and vegetables can cause seizures, bloat, diabetes, and more. I would recommend trying other options as treats :)

      • several unsafe foods on here. Banana,peanuts, and raisin are definitely NO, as are fresh grapes.

  2. The treats are not safe at all!
    Please dont recommend this!
    Specially Fruits that have high sugar and can cause gass, bloat, diabetes, blindness and death.

    • II am new to chinchillas I was wondering if they can have apples fresh apples

      • Can chinchillas have fresh/dried apples? Yes. Though only in small amounts due to the sugar content.

        Honestly, there are better treats for your chinchillas than fruit such as rosehips, dandelion leaves, apple sticks, rose petals, sunflower seeds, goji berries (only once a month), basil and peppermint leaves.

    • I have been reading that sweet fruits can be harmful to a chins digestive tract. Would you agree with this? Thank you, Liz

      • I would agree totally because chinchillas can not have lots amount of sugarie foods it is not good for them nor should your feed it to them

    • I own multiple chinchillas, have for 25 years. Never had any issues with them eating dried, reduced sugar cranberries, dried apples( granny Smith are their favorite). Yes, you definitely don't want to overfeed them, and you want to make sure they have plenty of chew sticks ( mine like apple wood, mulberry, and red bud the best) to help keep their teeth clean, as well as plenty of lava ledges.

  3. Hey Heinz, Im new to the chin community and have read hundreds of your comments and they've helped me so much with my family of 4 chins. Soo I'm creeping out from the shadows and asking you for help now, I'm in the process of building a chin room and custom chinchilla safe cage. I am also doing research on safe and unsafe treats and chews so that I can bulk buy all their supplies before I move them in, my first question is Are banana leaves a safe chew toy? many stores such as Ronda's Chinchillas sell them but I'd much rather take your advise as a successful chin-parent than a store's thats just trying to make a profit.

    Another question I have is have you ever heard of using rounded safe clean pebbles as bedding? I want to make a "Tunnel" section like the rocks and caves their ancestors have in Peru but in this new massive cage. Do you think something like that is possible? I was thinking about making a chicken-wire outline then covering it in cement and covering the cement in pebbles (too big to be eaten) making it look like a rocky hillside with a tunnel? I've seen one on pintrest but I know nothing about chins and cement structures like that...Help and thanks for your time!


    I have almost lost two of my chins when they accidentally ingested cinnamon in tiny amounts.

    Once was during the Christmas Holidays when it simply licked a scented pinecone - and the other when it found a teeny piece of cinnamon cereal that had apparently dropped to the floor.

    Both became lethargic to the point of not being able to stand! They were completely groggy and non-responsive to the touch.

    I kept petting and gently stimulating them throughout the ordeal.

    Luckily after an hour or so they revived - and survived. Thank God!!!

    Had the ingested a larger amount - I believe it would have been fatal.

    Be sure to check the ingredients label on mixed treats - and check their smell for the distinct cinnamon odor.

  5. My friends gave their chinchilla Vitakraft Triple Baked Crunch Sticks Chinchilla Treat, and he ate one very quickly yesterday. Later that day he became acutely unresponsive and was seen at an emergency vet hospital, where unfortunately, he passed. I was wondering if anyone knows anything about these treats, or if this was just an unfortunate coincidence.

    • The ingredients look kinda sketchy, particularly the vegetable oil, corn starch and honey. Not to mention the stabilizer and preservatives.

      I assume it is made in China.

      I had a unilateral issue with an edible grass hut made in china. within hours he appeared to have inflammation of some sort before we could get him to the vet, he passed.

      China I sent known to use some pretty nasty preservatives which do not show up on the ingredient list.

      Wheat, Wheat Flour, Turnip Seeds, Rice, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Propionate (a Preservative), Honey, Lecithin, Vegetable Oil, Color Added (Yellow 5, Yellow 6), Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

    • Similar experience, but I was able to catch it in time, after noticing my Chinchilla was peeing orange. Vitacraft treats are highly unhealthy for any pet. Ingredients include food coloring. I switched my chinchilla treats to natural household treats. Ex.-1/8 tsp raw oats, 1 raisin, very small piece of a dried apple or dried cranberry
      Treats should not be more than 1 tablespoon per day. Less is better.
      So sad for their loss.

      • What are you saying is Apples not good for them I had run out of feed and gave them an Apple and Ban.and carrots until I can find a store around here that has food for them

        • Please come t to my reply,I have never run out of feed and they are not no stores around here that has any not even Walmart I try to buy a month supply I have had them about 1year they don't seem to be eating oats or ban.or carrots what should I do

        • get them timothy hay, they can survive off mostly that, that is the main thing they eat

        • Timmothy hay should be their main food source, the list said bananas are ok but they’re not, bananas should be avoided at all costs. Fresh regular apples or dried apples occasionally are ok, carrots are ok as well-also in small doses occasionally same as apples

  6. :)

    i'm wondering what brand of hay is best for chinchillas?And is there any possible substitute for the hay? What brand of hay is cheap and good for chinchillas,cause i don't have a lot of money:( Why do chinchillas need hay and what are some signs of
    malocclusion? Can chinchillas survive without hay but with a lot of wood(safe)to chew on? Can chinchilla cages be cleaned with water and detergent?
    thanks a ton for any help!!!:)

    • They say alfalfa is good for young chinchillas but they say to stop after 6-9 months old as it's high in fiber and other nutrients that can cause obesity and other health issues. Best to just buy stuff in the bag from a store such as a Petco or Petsmart! Also its said to only feed your chin only about 2 tablespoons a day of the dried hard food for chinchillas specifically and absolutely NO rabbit pellets!

      • Alfalfa hay has high calcium. My chinchilla had to have surgery to remove calcium stones. I would avoid it.

    • Oxbow has so many good reviews also Mizuri brand does too when it comes to everything chinchilla I get everything from chewy and get it on auto shop to save u some dough.

    • We buy ours from Walmart and our sure to check the ingredients. As Shawn said chinchillas should only eat two tablespoons a day. While this is partly true, you can fill their bowl up,because chinchillas should not over eat. They know when they are full :)

    • For my chinchilla I gave it Timothy hay by Topflite, if your chinchilla is a baby still, I would highly recommend it. :)

    • Oxbow is a good brand, on their website they have some good points too- all checked off by a vet. Timmothy hay is the best and should be their main food source. Alfalfa hay is not good for them and has high calcium which can give them major problems. Orchard grass is another kind that’s sweeter than timmothy but they’re only supposed to have small amounts. Oxbow has a bled that’s 3/4 western Timmothy and 1/4 orchard grass and it’s a good way to keep them balanced, it’s not expensive either it’s less than 20$ for a big bag that should last 1-2 months. No they cannot survive without hay or only on a wood diet. & Yes the cage can be cleaned with water and soap as long as the soap doesn’t have any bleach or crazy ingredients in it that would be lingering.

  7. hi, I was wondering
    if chinchillas can eat mandarins. for now he ( my chinchilla ) has not been allergic do not many things. but if anybody has tried it please reply.

    • Never ever give wet fruits to chinchillas always give dry

    • I absolutely would not continue to do so as its said that not to give your chinchillas acidic foods, even raisins they say to only give a few at most twice a week as a treat due to the acidity of them, and the same with items that contain high amounts of sugar!

  8. Hi, my chinchilla hopped up onto my desk and I think he ate something from my mini zen garden. I looked up some information about what happened if he ate a small rock from the garden and said that the type of rock it was is safe. But will he be okay if he ate the sand? He isn't acting any different than usual but I just want to be sure.

    • They can't digest sand or rocks. So when swallowing those kinds of items they have to ve smal enough for them to pases trough the gut with out causing harm

      • Can chinchillas be fed dry crunchy apples? Is there enything diferent about them that a normal apple doesn’t have?

        • Is it just Apple that has been dried?
          They can have dried apple, but it contains a lot of the bad sugar (the natural occuring sugar in apples changes into chrystalised sugar when dried). Personally I would find an other treat :)

  9. I was wondering if anyone knows if chinchillas can eat vanilla waffers ??

    • Can they eat them?
      Should they eat them?
      Will it kill them to eat them?

      There is far better options out there as far as treats go. Find some dandelion leafs..

  10. My chin got up on my desk and ate some flowers that were in a vase. There were Daisys, carnations, and orchids. She only ate some daisy and orchid petals and I was wondering if these will be harmful to her?!

    • The orchids will be very harmful for ur chinchilla They are practically poisonous to humans so I imagine they’re not good for chinchillas I recommend to bring her to a vet or him

  11. Hello, i had my chinchilla for a while now and he loves bananas i don't give him a lot all the time, only a little piece some times, i know it has high suger, but i was just wondering should i stop or can i just give it to him some of the times ? same with green apples, i only give little pieces.

    • There is a lot of options that's better for him than fruit. In my opinion the banana is better than the apple as apples are high in acid as well and it may course problems to his teeth over a longer periods of time. Here it's not uncommon for breeders to offer their chinchillas a pierce of apple when they are at shows. It gives food and water at the same time.

      But if you really want to treat him to something fresh, give him herb instead. They are higher in fiber with no problems in regards to sugar/acid/fat.
      Just remember you have to introduce slowly for the microorganisms in his gut to develop properly

    • hey my chinchilla just had triplets and one of my chinchilla kits arent eating as much as the other two. they seem to be biting her alot too , im scared that she wont make it, shes very small and weak. what milk would be best to buy to substitute her mothers milk and can i feed her anything like bananna ?

      • I have had a situation with my male where he was prescribed force feed food. (He had a migraine and was refusing to eat. He is much better now) on the list of his force feed food includes soybean meal, wheat germ, Timothy grass meal, and soybean hulls. There is also papaya and pineapple in it. I would take a look into . I hope your fur baby does better soon

    • Only you can decide whats good for your chinchilla. I look up online what is absolutely a no-no to give. but anything else I give the way I think is good. if you listen to all these so called experts. then your chinchilla will have nothing. just be in a cage with a cardboard box as a hide. the one thing I read is not to give your chinchilla too many raisins cuz it will give it runny stools. well, guess what. I give mine as much as she wants. which is typically about 10 a day. and she has yet to have any runny stools. and is still active and not looking like it makes her sick. an some of the things I have in her cage. I have three fluffy hammocks. and two plush animals. and I messed up and posted a pic of it. and somebody came on and said you should take it out that they would worry about them swallowing pieces of it. and then you look at their profile pic, and its a pic of a chinchilla cage with the very same stuff in it. so you should judge for yourself whats good and how much. your the one taking care of it. if anybody else wants to say anything then have them send money to help feed it too.

      • What do you think about grapenuts cereal? I've been considering it as a treat. Ty
        Just got 2 full grown. They are great!!!!
        I'm just looking for different ideas
        I just want them to have more of a variety but I don't know what else I can give them other than the hay pellets
        You think outside of the box, that's always a good thing

      • Just my opinion I’m not a chinchilla expert but I think some chinchillas are different from each other and mabie one likes one food but the other will not. And putting a stuffed animal in its cadge is potenchuly dangerous as it could chew the eyes or eat the Cotten and choke.

      • DO NOT !! Give your chinchilla as many raisins as they want , a chinchillas stomach is not meant to process sugar , you are essentially killing it if you allow it to eat 10 a day , it will act normal until its liver shuts completely down ( it builds fat around the liver until the liver can no longer process its normal high fiber diet ) essentially malnourishing it , PLEASE read more about the diet , they will be completely happy with pellets and timothy hay , rose hips are also a great treat for them .

      • Chinchillas should have a constant supply of Timothy Grass. Orchard grass is safe too I give them both. Orchard grass can be found at Feed & Seed stores by the flake cheap and fresh. Timothy grass is a little more speedy hence I supplement with the Orchard grass.

        Chinchillas should have a good quality kibble to balance nutritional needs. I mix the Oxbow Essential and the Garden Select because the Essential has Alfalfa as the first ingredient which can cause urinary problems but has a lot of other good ingredients. The Garden Select has Timothy grass as first ingredient but has other questionable ones. Mazuri is another quality kibble.

        For treats dried rose hips are safe. I collect pruned sticks from peoples apple trees. When I see an apple tree I ask the owner if I can get any cut sticks they are usually happy to hand them over. Cut them down into 5” lengths rinse really well boil drain rinse and bake at 200-250 until they snap when you break in half. Saves a lot of money and Chinchillas need to have safe wood prepared to chew on constantly to prevent dental problems. Bamboo sold on line is safe but expensive as is Yucca dried wood.

        Small Pets Select has a couple mixes of herbs and flowers that are safe in small teaspoon servings once a week.

        Chinchillas will eat a lot of things but only a few items are ok for them to eat. They are from a cold barren ecosystem where not much grows so their natural diet is grasses, leaves & sticks from what little vegetation survives at that altitude. They cannot digest fruits, vegetables and nuts. People say all kinds of things on these forums even Vets are incorrect often.

        Chinchillas require a lot of specific care like a multi level cage, the temperature to not ever exceed 75 degrees in the room they reside. A large exercise wheel like the chin spin. Dust baths 3-4 times a week with special ingredients like lava ash that is not cheap to provide. They should be let out of their cage several times a week into a safe play area ideally one that they can still access their cage from and run into it if scared.

        Chinchillas should not be an impulse buy at a pet store. They are a commitment and a chore as they often live at least 10 years. They are mostly active at night so would likely require a cool space away from people sleeping.

        Sadly most chinchillas in captivity suffer at the hands of their owners are often neglected and never properly cared for in the environment they actually require. They are a unique animal but often are not cuddly or friendly in a way people expect or want them to be. Most people should not own chinchillas and pet stores should not sell them because they don’t inform people with facts. Example what parent would buy a nocturnal pet for their kid?

  12. Hey! My family actually has 3 chins but my main one is Chucky (like the Chucky Cheese mouse) and his cage is in my room. I used to just feed pellets with occasional hay and apple sticks, but now
    am definitely switching to more of a variety after reading some of the comments and Heinz's reccomendations. He's been around for about 15 years now. He's gotten much more sweet in his older age, though he used to be cranky! Anyways I wanted to ask for any advice or tips on keeping him happy and healthy. He's in a rather small cage, but I let him out often for excersize.

    Also I have a big problem! I have a white chin namad Rosalee. I am pretty sure she was mistreated before I got her, because since day 1(and I've had her about a year) she has been really unfriendly and bites. At first just warning nips, like 'GO AWAY' but then if you don't she bites hard, sometimes drawing blood. She even goes after your hand to bite it, making it hard to pet my other female, Pippa, because they're in the cage together. Please help!

    • We just rescued our third Chin. He was timid and had trusting issues also. Try to never reach into their cage. That is their "safe" zone. We run our Chins daily. When they leave their home, we will do interior maintenance. They are nib-noses and will come in to "help". I bring home boxes from Aldi. Tape them together with holes to join one or two together, stack one on top with hole in floor for an entrance. They are great explorers and will spend almost an hour bouncing around, going through the boxes, playing tug-a-war with a cloth rope, etc.
      Don't reach into their home or try to pick them up, chase them, all the things you wouldn't want done to you! Set or lay on the floor, they will come to you. Get a half teaspoon of Old Fashion Oats, put in the palm of your hand. You now have a "best buddy". Start out petting him/her for a short time during this. Hand feed a "Cheerio" with your fingers, watch for the "grab and run" technique. New game. They will play "King Of The Mountain" on our back and head while cage maintenance is happening!

    • Big cage for chucky I have a grey chin but with the females I would keep them apart I have had my for two years she still won’t let you hold her but she was never loved just feed but she is getting better I have my in a big cage she has so much fun running and jumping around

      • I love your reply my 2female chinnies I give them fresh farm hay the same as my other rodents. Which is not advised but u can't Molly coddle any pet . How do they survive in the wild they forage. I give mine parsley choriander mint no apple slight banana. Infact Charlie chinchilla has more sugar & it's cereal based. Infact a made up recipe can also work. Some sites can be really nasty as I have experienced my pets won't eat something they dont like? Mine have pellets. My rats are given a varied diet they eat food that's been left over & it's probably better than the commercial stuff I just don't give folk the ammunition to have ago & act self righteous.

    • I'm so glad to hear yours is 15. Louie is. Going to be 13 on April 19, and it's true that he has become more loveable and cuddly the older he gets.

    • Have you just tried laying your hand in there with her for a while speaking quietly to her?
      Not to be rude but a lot of people don't know this, I've been around animals all my life and have had a lot of success in wildlife rescue
      Sorry if you already knew
      Had to be super patient with a horse once too. She came around lol

  13. I had this apple and my chinchilla toke it right out of my hand. She started eating it and if I tried to take it away she barked at me. When I finally got it away I started looking up if chinchillas could have apples and I never got a straight responses. Can they have apples or not?

    • Short answer:
      Yes, they can have apple

      Long answer:
      Apple is high in sugar and acid, so even though they can have them, it's not something they should have often, and rather fresh (in my opinion) than dried, as the drying process makes the sugars even more unhealthy.
      If your animal is not used to fresh food items or a varied diet they do not have the microorganisms in their appendix needed to digest the food items. That's whay people practice slow introduction to new food items, as the microorganisms need to cultivate the appendix. This automatically happens when you introduce slowly. But you need to keep an eye on your chinchilla when it eats large amounts of food it's not used to.

  14. AH! Almost everything in this article is completely wrong!!!!! You should never ever feed your chinchilla any fruits or vegetables raw or dried, no nuts., and thing like wheat germ & cereal should only be given when constipation occurs. You can feed rabbit pellets if they are quality pellets and meet your chinchillas dietary requirements. Flowers like camomile, and the other ones mentioned should only be given in same amounts & on occasion. If you listen to this website you will surely kill your chinchilla!!

    • You should probably tell that to my 15 year old chinchilla Chewbacca, he gets dried fruit, seeds, and dried peas and carrots along with his hay and pellets. Healthy as can be (he goes to the vet every 2 months for wellness checks). Why does everyone insist on being so frightened of these foods? When given in moderation they benefit from a varied diet. Wild chins eat nuts and berries along with vegetation.

      Just my opinion, we all do what we think is best for our babies.

      • My thoughts exactly! My 2 seventeen year old chinchillas eat similar and go for checkups twice a year. They are happy and healthy! They do get out of there cage for lots of exercise . What a boring life of hay and hay pellets ?

        • My 13 year old has never been to the vet and is as youthful as ever. He's out of his cage at least 8 hours a day and eats a diet of pellets and hay with the occasional treat or five. He is so loveable and never had a health issue. Glad to hear your have nice long lives.

      • I was wondering if you can give me advice on what kind of food I can feed my chinchilla. He just picks out the seeds from his food. I guess he doesn't like the pellets. any advice

        • Normally, if you go to your local petco or pet smart they will have dried hay specifically for small animals. This is what I feed my chinchilla. He seems to love it!

      • Chinchillas can be up to around 20 if containing a strict diet of Timothy hay/pellets and a few treats 2-3 times a week. But varied mixes won’t help them. They digest foods different and can’t have anything sugary or something that could easily bloat them up. Some chinchillas get lucky, but in the end, results show that chinchillas strive off of a strict diet of that, and chinchillas with fruit and veggies usually die earlier on. With a few exceptions for certain chinchillas (usually we don’t like taking chances though). Every single treat should be very very limited and without sugar. Its the Andes, they usually only digest Timothy hay. And they usually die at a very early age. They also don’t know what they should and should not eat, so they’ll eat anything they like, even though it could kill them in a short or long time. Now I’m not arguing or anything, since I totally understand the frustration, but they’re very very sensitive.
        They can’t have plastic in the cage, they can’t have fruits, veggies, or seeds (I believe there’s a few dried up fruits you can feed them around once a month). They also can only have certain types of wood. All of this is taken from facts/research done on chinchillas, for the safer, less risky lifestyle for chins. They’re often mistreated without anyone knowing. Now I’m sure none of you mistreat your chinchilla(s), but they definitely are one of the most mistreated when it comes to space, diet, and stuff inside of the cage.

    • I have two Chins, their favorite treats are the stems from an apple or pear. Sometimes they will get to share about a teaspoon of old fashion oats.
      Daily they receive 8 or 10 apple and willow sticks, always have pumice stone to chew on and carry around. Willow and apple leaves are also treats. I harvest my own, wood cooked in oven for an hour or two @ 225° and fresh leaves from same branches, microwaved at 30 second intervals for at least 2 minutes.
      Our freezer makes ice cubes shaped like a crescent moon. I take one and hold it in the middle with a pair of pliers (so it won't melt so fast) over a wash cloth. These two girls absolutely love to bite and or lick the ice for 4 or 5 minutes! That will make a happy chin!
      When they're out running, always leave home open as they're safe house. I put 2 cardboard boxes together, the second with a 4" mouse hole as entrance after going into 1st one. Great place to explore and play chase.
      Be a part of your chins life! Look at their teeth, yellow is good. White is calcium deficiency. Watch feces, most will be hard and black, soft or brown is time to adjust diet to mostly Timothy hay. Their room stays @ 64°, relative humidity less than 50%. Buy a hygrometer, this will let you know where their environment is at.
      A dehumidifier is also used when necessary.
      We will set on the floor, or prop my feet up on another box. The girls like to climb on us, play "king of the hill" on our head, and occasionally run up a blue-jean pants leg. They are absolute nib-noses and love to explore anything new.

      • Hi, i just got my chin girl, was told she is 4. Why do you need to dry the wood and cook leaves? is it not healthy for them to eat it fresh? She does love the apple branches...

    • The diet of the chinchilla is relatively new territory. If you look to Europe a lot of us feed fresh greens to our chinchillas and they are just as healthy as those who swear we are killing our animals. Difference is, most who go green don't mind those who stick to pellets and hay.
      I have a far longer list of what I give to my animals and they are nice and healthy animals :)
      Nuts won't kill them. It's a myth. They tolerate nuts and seeds just fine. As with anything it shouldn't be given in too great ammounts. The trick is to give as diverse a diet as possible.
      It's just a question of reading up on it. The wild ones doens't live of off pellets and hay, and guess what, the domesticated chinchilla is still a chinchilla. Same digestive track as the wild one. You just need to take it slow when introducing new as it's microorganisms who digest the plantbased material in their gut. When you only feed pellets and hay they do not have a diverse flora of migroorganisms so you need to cultivate it via slow introduction to food :)

      Actually it's not dumb to tell people to avoide pellets made for other species.

      • I let my chinchilla run around my entire living room for about an hour every evening. She jumps on everything and loves to run around. She got onto my table and found some dried orange peels and started to nibble a little on them, maybe for like 30 seconds. Do you think this is a bad idea?

        • Oranges, yes. But it's only a nibble chances are it won't hurt them. As for the free run, as long as she doesn't eat books, wallpaper, electronics and so on, it sounds like haven ;)

      • Can chins have tropical carnival wheat spray?

      • I have 3chinnies my 2 upstairs are nippy but not at all nasty they take from my hand they have plenty to gnaw on. When I got them they were fed to many carrots so I gradually cut them down. Patience is required & they come to u. I mainly give my chinnies the stuff that is free in the garden in summer. I've been bitten by rodents & needed a tetanus just act normally some rodents get better as they are older. If u put ur hand in her bedding she will not be so bitey? Some animals just don't like being picked up. I have rat who can bite that's because they are scared but he is caring towards his companion ?

    • What about Privet trees? (Ligustrum genus)
      I have an empty aviary with this tree growing in it.
      I want to introduce my pair of chins into but am worried about them eatng leaves and bark from a health point of view.

      Please help

    • I am with the others, my 15 year old chinchilla gets fresh veggies daily and dried herbs, not to mention fruit 2-3 times a week. Guess I have been killing him his entire life. Funny, people that follow your method can't seem to get them to live past 5. hmmmm

    • I have a senior chinchilla. He was around 5 when we adopted him in 2003. So he's up there age wise. He eats Oxbow pellets and timothy hay. Plenty of apple sticks, cholla, and his shelves/houses are kiln dried pine so his teeth are kept nice from all these chewing. Nice dark color too.

      We dehydrate organic apples for treats which he gets a tiny piece every day. A raisin only once in a while. He also loves the carrot, corn, & alfalfa slims. He has wood chew toys and pumice as well as a parrot calcium block. He's healthy and still very playful and active. I think moderation is the key. Just my opinion.

    • Hi, we have Two year old male chinchilla. He literally LOVES green apples!! Granny Smith kind. I take it and cut a bit of the Apple, peel the skin of COMPLETELY. Cut the rest into cubes.and he'll nearly knock me over to get them!! It's so cute! He takes them from my hands and holds them in his little paws and will keep eating them until I stop giving them to him. I put the rest of the Apple in a plastic bag after squeezing lemon juice all over the portion of exposed. Then you can use the same Apple and not waste any.

    • Well. Don't tell that to my 2 year old "Philip"!! This little guy loves fresh carrots, broccoli, granny Smith apples. Peeled of course. Dried rose petals he freaks over!! Of course he gets his pellets and fresh Timothy hay. I took him too our vet. who is a chinchilla expert and she said all that was fine moderation. She also told us our chin was the best looking chinchilla she's ever seen. So, we must be doing something right!

  15. Can you feed chinchillas cat food if so what kind?

    • Absolutely not. Chinchilla pellets only. Cat food has meat protein in it and chinchillas are obligate herbivores.

    • No. Please re-home your poor Chinchilla.

      • The person was asking a question and did not say they fed their chinchilla cat food. Why do some chinchilla owners have to be such dickheads? Is your self esteem so low you must always attack people?

        Grow up.

        • I agree 100% with you!
          Chinchillas are "High Maintenance" friends who need attention daily. I also would like right and wrong advice, but not in attack mode.
          I read several how to websites, and choose from the most reputable sources. Please spend some time on research! A lot of wrong advise out there.

        • One who owns a chinchilla should have the basic knowledge on how to care for them. Research should always be done before considering adopting an exotic animal. If that person did any research at all such a ridiculous question would never be asked. Giving proper care to a chinchilla has nothing to do with self esteem or being a dick head. Most of these questions should be known before giving a chinchilla a home. And Rachael is 100% correct, this article is complete bullshit

  16. what should i feed it on a daily basis? how many times should i feed it a week? what can i feed it as a treat that i can get from my kitchen or outside? how many times should i feed it a treat? what products should i buy to feed it? can i dry out my own dandylions and clovers and rose petals? is so, how can i?

    it = chinchilla

    • It??? I'm hoping you are speaking in hypothetical and not in reference to an actual Chinchilla of known Gender. :)
      I could never refer to a pet as an "It" my wife as cousin It, on a bad hair day, but beyond that :p

      • LOL i nearly spit out my cereal! Thanks for the chuckle

    • Timothy Hay is the staple diet of Chins, Alfalfa hay which is the common diet for other animals is not good for them. Check to see that your local pet food store carries it (Also make sure they are not doubling the price of said food) along with their bathing sand as well.

      • Do you think kale would be safe for a chinchilla to eat??

        • Never mind. I saw on you tube that I can give her some.

          I did some quick research, because I've been wondering the same thing. It turns out, like broccoli, kale produces sulforaphane which produces hydrogen sulfide in the gut.

          I have heard of people feeding kale to Rabbits, but as anyone who knows anything about Chinchillas will tell you, Rabbits and chinchillas have different digestive systems and rabbit food will cause serious digestive issues with Chinchilla's.

          This is by no means thorough research, but if you are taking some YouTube drivel as gospel, I would be very watchful for signs of gas of bloating. Gas can have some very serious health consequences for a chinchilla. The pain can get so bad they will stop eating. Their stomach gets hard and they no longer pass healthy feces, in some cases, bowel movement stops completely. If left untreated, stomach gas will result in the death of your chinchilla.

          Chinchillas may be herbavores, but they are not Hipsters. It is good of you to check but 3 minutes of online research resulting in some rando YouTube video does not constitute fact.

          I am not saying no, because I have not done much research, but I would start by looking up sulforaphane and its effect on the digestive system of chinchillas. I know broccoli is a no no, so one would assume kale is the same.

        • Yes! It is a great source of protein and fiber??

      • Actually alfalfa IS good for them and is a staple in good Chinchilla pellets. Timothy and orchard hay should be fed daily, alfalfa less as it is already in the pellet

    • You can give banana chips as a treat 3 chips a day and you can get those from Kroger or Walmart and you need to be feeding Timothy hay from like Petsmart, petco or a pet store caring Timothy hay on a daily basis also the chinchilla food from pet smart or ... pet store and you need to do some more research on them if you are thinking about it because they are a lot of work but Worth it And they are mess so please do some research thank you

      • 3 whole banana chips for one chin in one day is way too much sugar! Also, most banana chips from grocery stores are deep fried and full of oil. Freeze dried or air dried banana chips (I dry my own in the oven when bananas get too ripe for my own taste) are ok, but since they are very high in sugar they should not be a treat more than once a week (the same with raisins and other dried or freeze dried fruit). A good daily snack would be cheerios, small shredded wheat squares or a tiny pinch of old fashioned oats or whole oats (good in the winter when their ears are dry since it has a bit of extra oil). Fresh greens like spinach, basil, arugula and red lettuce are good if your chin eats them (most love basil), and fresh blueberries are a good treat every several days. I am going by what my chinchilla specializing vet tells me what to give the chins that I breed and keep....all 17 of them.

        • A very ripe banana has a lot of sugar. I use them in cakes at that point. I don't give my chins anything except Timothy hay and their chin food. Once in a while a cheerio. Nothing else.

    • Your chinchilla should always have access to its food and hay. Chinchillas need to have their digestive system moving constantly. I feed my chinchilla the chinchilla pellets from oxbow and also their Timothy hay. I fill my xhinchills food bowl up about halfway and clean stuff out of it and fill it up S needed. As for the hay, as soon S I notice it getting low in his cage I just simply add some more. I also have a water bottle on the s De of his cage. As for treats my chinchilla loves cheerios! He eats them every day and he is a very happy and healthy chinchilla. His favorite snack is buttered popcorn and ritz crackers. Don't listen to what that uptight ninny had to say. Her poor chinchilla probably hates it's life! If you have anymore questions feel free!

      • J, some of what you say is accurate, particularly the part about the digestive system, but that has been posted before as has the hay part.

        That's where the logic ends. While I am not a fan of pellets, some chinchilla owners find them more convenient. I don't know the size of the bowl, but the mfg'a generally state a tablespoon or two per chinchilla (I think) the rest of their diet should be Timothy hay with a few treats

        Buttery popcorn??? I know I bitched about those who flame others but everything about that suggestions screams fatty liver disease and digestive upset. There is a reason you will NEVER find corn in chinchilla food. Sure they have corn meal in some pellets (not good) but corn is not good for their system and butter / excess amounts of salt are really bad.

        If you insist on standing strong on your opinion, please at least look up the symptoms of fatty liver disease so you can watch out for them.

        I have heard about Cheereo's before, but with all the Monsanto stuff out there, I, personally, shy away from commercially processed human food. At least as best as I can.

        • Whats Monsanto have anything to do with food saftey? Scared of progress?

        • I agree Heinz...Chins should never have popcorn in any form! In all the research I've done, popcorn was the most consistent and most agreed upon food/treat that a chinchilla should NEVER have

        • My chin loves to chomp on a spinach piece of penne...I give him that as a treat only once or twice a week. It's carbs I know, but he's loves it and he's doing just fine. If I see a change in his poop I will stop giving it to him. So far, normal color, normal consistency. Just another suggestion for a treat that should be given sparingly.

        • I recently took in 4 chinchillas as rescues and am being a college student, I want the Health treats and foods for them but unfortunately.. We ballin on a budget. I've done a ton of research (literally hours on hours on hours) but there's so much conflicting info that im scared im still going to give them something thats going to hurt them. They were kept in a pretty much empty cage so Im looking for things to get rid of the boredom that i can put in the new cage im building for them. I'm looking to by snacks and treats in bulk to save some money. My question is are palm leaves or banana leaves safe to put in their cage? i know if I put them inthe cage they will be eaten but is it safe?? Please help!!

          Any safe decoration tips??

      • I agree completely with you. (never tried popcorn or crackers.)

        • In response to hates vegans. Really? It's not THAT a food plant can be sprayed with one of the most deadly plant killers on the market, right up to harvest, it is THAT these food plants ARE sprayed with the most deadly plant killers on the market. I think they were recently bought by Bayer anyways. The thing is I have a friend in that industry and he has a few GMO patents under his name. In a recent conversation, he said Monsanto has given the industry a bad name.

          Oh ya, interesting how now that food plants have turned into weeds and there is no way to kill them with the existing Monsanto product (round up) they created a stronger toxin. I'm sure it will soon be followed by another product which is immune to the poisonous effects. Sadly, humans and especially chinchillas, are not safe from the deadly effects of round-up (tm)

      • I just received an unexpected gift from God! Someone needed to give away her 2 chinchillas and I gladly accepted them
        I am researching how to responsibly care for them
        She sent dried gummy fruits and the "recommend diet" so restrictive so I'm asking the successful carers of happy chinchillas!
        Do you think grapenuts cereal would be ok? Maybe a piece of walnut, almond or cashews?
        I want them to enjoy their life
        Thank you so much

      • What about cherrys ? Are they good or not ?

    • I feed my chinchilla Timothy pellets and Timothy hay once a day. My chinchilla, Chi chi doesn't get very many treats because it can make her have a better chance of having diabetes. If you did want to get her a treat from inside your house, dried cranberries or raisins once or twice every few days is good. When you are going to a pet store to find treats I would suggest making sure it doesn't have any sugar in the treat. As I'm sure you know, you should never put your chinchilla in water, but mine enjoys it as a drink. I have a hamster water bottle hung up in her cage. Water can help when your chinchilla is too hot. You should never have the temperature hotter than 70. If it is I would suggest giving them some ice cubes to munch on. For my chinchillas dust bath , I use Oxbow ( the same product that my chinchillas hay and food comes from.)

    • My chinchillas likes dried apples, raisins, and almonds. Is it harmful? He eats gourmet chinchilla food, Timothy hay and the above mentioned. He drinks plenty of water and poops big poops.

  17. I just got my first chinchilla almost two weeks ago, and she has made a habit out of going under my bedside table as a hiding spot when she has free time to run around my room. I've noticed, however, when I take the drawer out that she has been chewing the inside of the wooden table. Should I be worried about her chewing or possibly eating the wood? Also, the food I was given by the pet store contains dried up corn kernels and peas along with the pellets. Should those be removed before feeding it to her?

    • Hi! I have had my chin Pikachu for almost two years and he will chew on anything that's wooden, you can give your little girl apple wood sticks (available at any pet store) to help deter from that. It's totally safe for chins to chew on wood every now and then just as long as its not painted or preserved with any chemicals. My little guy also adores dried corn kernels and my vet said that they are okay in moderation, I don't know about peas though. For food though, I would recommend oxbow essentials chinchilla, I've never seen pikachu as happy as he is when he is on that food :)

    • My chinchilla eats corn too and he is eight years now. I think you're safe ;)

      XX jenni

      • Trying not to be negative or insulting, ummmm, professionals with a lot more experience with chincillas and a deep knowledge of their complex digestive system say corn is bad. 8 is not old for a chinchilla, nor is having one a sign of a reputable source.
        So sad when.....

        • I decided to do a little more research on corn, I guess to try to determine why the experts say no to corn. I assume it is all the unhealthy starch which is converted to sugar. Aka carbs. Then there is the high oil content, corn oil comes from it, after all. As does high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and all sorts of nasties. But why are we as humans being told corn puffs and of all things, caramel corn is healthy. Oh ya, no gluten. Lol

          Anyways apparently corn is historically one of the most inbred and now genetically modified food crops. Ever wonder why Monsanto is so hated? Because of "round up ready" corn.

          If you aren't familiar with the concept, round up is one of the most deadly agro chemicals on the planet. It is banned for regular consumer sale. Round up ready crops survive this chemical, but humans wouldn't. Aside from being poisonous, mild exposure is a proven carcinogen. So why do we want the corn to survive round-up?? So farmers can spray the crap out of their fields with it. Pretty nasty eh!

          That aside, there are also several other GMO strains of corn, some of which have been banned. But this does not mean those modified genes are eradicated from all corn on the planet. Here is an interesting one which comes complete with a very difficult to digest protien

          I'm not saying this is why corn is bad, I just kinda found it interesting.

          So when it comes to why corn is bad for chinchillas. I'm assuming the fat content which can cause fatty liver disease (may take more than 8 years to develop but will ensure a nasty death for your much loved chinchilla. So why risk it? Just so you can seem like an expert on a web forum and prove all the experts wrong?

          I'm not saying you are wrong, I'm simply suggesting you take the time to do some research beyond reading some forum drivel... Including my own drivel. Do your own research beyond what anyone, regardless of the letters after their name says.

        • Heinz, Thanks for taking the time to share information. I have been scanning through this site to read all your posts. I've done a lot of reading and research myself, and I am happy to follow your suggestions on things I haven't found suitable answers to, because you have obviously spent a lot of time, and spoken to experts, before offering your advice :)

        • Sheri, I'm glad I could help, but I will be the first to admit, I am by no means an expert. Chinchillas are relatively new as pets and very little is known about them. Most of the information out there is from fur farmers, who are not concerned about teeth and lifespan and the rest is from pet food companies who love to push their brand of extruded mystery ingredients which do nothing for tooth health.

          I am always open to new information, except where it comes to pellets. The closest I will get to the pellet world is hay cubes, so long as the hay is not ground to a pulp and it encourages chewing.

        • It's because corn and many grains can contain mycotoxins, toxic metabolites. Produced by fungi that contaminates the corn. These mycotoxins are know carcinogens for rodents. I hope that's helpful.

        • We rescued our chins in June, 2016. They were born in October of 2015. They are sisters. My wife and daughter call them Nibbles and Static, however I nick named them Thing 1 and Thing 2! They both seem to recognize their names. They definitely know our voices.
          We live in West Virginia, rescued them from a friend who lives close. Both girls were in a wire cage with a metal floor, 2nd floor was a wire cage insert. They had 1 small hanging fleece hammock and paper bedding, and hardly ever got to go out and run, and when they did, it was a chase fest to return them back to the cage once they were caught and picked up by the tail. (As we witnessed). The house was hot with no AC. Temps in WV can and do get into the 90's with humidity to match.
          I moved the wire insert to 3" above the floor, with trays of unscented cat litter under this. All of their excess hay and waste goes to this. Easy clean up at least weekly.
          I built 8" x 8" Pine house with 2 entrances holes 4", 2 ledges 4"x 8". Made 3 crossbars out of apple branches on 45° angles about 2" in diameter. Bought a hygrometer and keep them in a room that stays between 60° - 70° with humidity less than 50%. The girls get to run freely in the room at least once a day for an hour or so.
          We give them fresh apple sticks and willow sticks daily. They really love the willow leaves. The branches are cooked in the oven @250° for an hour, and the leaves are microwaved for 3 minutes. I also made a wire Timothy hay feeder, which hangs from the top front of the cage. They stand on the apple-wood stick bridge I made by drilling all sticks on both sides to hang with ceiling wire.
          Both girls are extremely happy, run, jump, parkour, and just hop & flip around the room. Sorry for being so long winded, but look forward to comments on how we are doing with the girls.

        • I wouldn't say Chinchillas are new as pets any longer. Maybe to the general public, which shouldn't own them or any other exotic anyway. I got my first Chinchilla when I was 13yrs old and that was 20yrs ago. I raised them for many years and now I just have two. All this mumbo jumbo of not giving fresh fruit and veggies or dried herbs is garbage and I would really like to know who made up that garbage. You think they are eating Chinchilla pellets in the wild? Yikes, just yikes. Yes their are certain things they shouldn't have like Iceburg lettuce and ruhbarb, but come on people try using your brains.

      • For something that is sweet to them and a bit healthier than corn, try dried veggie bits, often sold for people (some places sell them for parrots too)- it usually has green and red pepper, carrot, peas and tomato, and some have jalapeño,which some chins love and some hate- most of mine love the teeny tiny bits of mild ones in the bags of veggies I get. They are teeny tiny pieces,so they can eat a couple different types in one snack, and a spoonful can be sprinkled in a cage during the day or while you sleep to keep your chin foraging and busy. You can also get freeze dried soybeans, which taste like peanuts without the fat. I only give what my vet approves, since he has his own chins and only sees chinchillas in the exotics practice I go to, and he loves the dried veggies for them.

        • Kevin, Im impressed it sounds like you did you research.
          I just cut a bunch of branches off the apple and hazelnut tree in our yard and have been cutting the bigger ones into disks. I noticed they seem to like uneven surfaces so I leave the mini branches attached.

          I have slightly altered what I do with the wood and added 10 to 15 minutes in a pressure cooker. Gone are the days of the massive explosive aluminum bomb in the kitchen. I remember my mom being scared to use hers.

          After that I toss them in the oven at just under 300, which it sounds like you did your research on the flashpoint of wood :). I haven't determined the time frame but I try to get them as dry as possible, seeing as the wood is fresh. Ideally the wood should be left to cute but the pressure cooker step seems to remove any little bit of terpenes. Side note, I think I found a creative way to make maple syrup :p maple wood IS POISONOUS for chinchillas, from what I have read.

          As for the veggie bits, I would avoid that I've been told veggies give gas. Although I have given mine very small amounts of dried carrots as a TREAT.

          Soybeans are iffy, aside from their origin, I have heard bad things about soy, but this is just speculation and I could be wrong.

          After being flamed by many for my anti pellet stance on facelessbook, I started a page called Chinchilla Health. It is small for now but I hope it becomes a place for us to easily exchange ideas and experiences without the ego.

    • Chins love to chew wood and need to in order to keep their teeth from growing out of their chins and into their eye sockets. Sorry for the graphic image, but this leads into the reasoning behind my much publicized hatred of pellets for any and all rodents.

      Back to the wood, first, watch out for the type of wood as well as any potentially toxic stain, glue and or varnish. Particle board is VERY bad as it often contains nasty polymers like formaldehyde glues. Look up formaldehyde and it's roll in human embalming as well as what happens to blood when it mixes with it. Nasty.

      Back to chinchilla tooth health. Sorry for continuing my rant, but I have dedicated myself to spreading this info as much as possible.

      I hate to admit it, but I have seen the result of pellets on the life of a chinchilla. I have spoken to both vets specializing in chinchillas as well as animal dentists. The message... Hay good pellets bad.pellets may seem hard, but their lack of long chewy fibers means they are broken up by the incisors resulting in very little grinding down of the rear molars.

      So as for the food you were given. Not only are the pellets a problem, in general, I would be skeptical of any food marketed for chinchillas that contains items on the no no naughty list. What other cheap nasties did they put in there to build bulk and save money?

      Congrats on your new family member :)

      • Kevin...congratulations on your new family members!! Sound like you took them from an awful situation. People have no idea how high maintenance chins are. (That's my opinion anyway) when I hear that people own just one chin it drives me crazy! My boy is on his own now, his brother died a few months back. It was tough in the beginning but I gave him the attention he needed. He's now happy and his old self again. He even sleeps with me sometimes. Just wanted to tell you how much I loved your story. Those chins are lucky to have you!!

      • I think blueberries are bad for them too and a fresh banana can cause bloat so im gunna give my chin that mix of baking soda and water and hope he doesnt die.. I dont get how lettuce is okay because that has water in it too

    • Depends on what kind of wood it is. Some woods are unsafe for chinchillas. Also it's best to feed you chinchilla just pellets. I would recomend oxbow chinchilla pellets

      • "Just pellets" sorry, not to flame, but that is bad advice and contrary to pretty much everything out there. I'll admit my anti pellet opinion is not a common one, but fresh hay is REQUIRED for optimum health, nutritional, intestinal and dental.

      • I'm not against pellet being included in a chinchillas' diet. Note that I said INCLUDED, not sole source. I feed my chinchilla high fiber Timothy hay and Timothy pellets under the Vitakraft brand. I only feed the pellets 3tbsps every 2 days, and hay is constantly refilled. Pellets are a supplementary to chinchilla diet. Also, mentioned on an episode of Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER on NATGEOWILD and contrary to popular belief, wood is not what grinds down the teeth of rodents like chinchillas. The hay they eat does. So hay is a must is chinchilla diet.

    • You could do that but probably the best food for chinchillas is oxbow chinchilla food

      • The many chinchillas who died early due to their teeth growing into their eye sockets would disagree. Pellets are not "the best" hay is. This comes from the dentist who has done many dental procedures on chinchillas who were suffering needlessly due to the misinformation of the pet food industry. Pellets may seem hard to you, but they are simply powdered grains and hay glued together with molasses and starch. The incisors do a great job of breaking that down before the food even hits the back teeth. By that point a chinchilla just needs to swallow the mush.

        Yes, I am repeating myself but I have had no malleclusion issues since switching the babies off pellets. Babies is a relative term as Aquarius is over 14. If she was fed purely pellets, she would have died in agony by 8 or 9.

        Pellets are simply designed for the convenience of humans, they are not designed around actual pet needs.

        • A lot of dental issues are genetic or from lack of chewing options.

          Also, it is really insulting to say people feed pellets out of laziness. Oxbow is highly recommended and is generally what vets tell you to get in addition to hay. People are following the guidelines they are presented with!

          I have heard that treats should be really limited and definitely not given daily.

          My chin is 17 and eats oxbow, timothy hay, and gets a variety of safe items to chew!

        • I know this is properly an old post but feel I have to reply
          You can't feed solely on hay. I might be misunderstanding what you are saying, but hay alone is not enough. Yes, pellets can be seen as kind of the lazy way out, as we feed these to get the nutrients in them they need. Hay is given as a source of fibers for the teeth and the gut.
          If you want to go off pellets entirely, you need to research feeding and start up on forage, either fresh or dried. If not, your chinchilla will end up lacking in vitamins and minerals.
          You need to give them a varied diet. Be it pellets and hay/pellets, forage and hay or forage and hay only.

      • Also, as far as the "quality" of oxbow pellets goes, they use Alfalfa in them. It seems Timothy hay seems to be the hay of choice as far as nutrition goes.
        I am not slamming oxbow pellets because of that, I am slamming ALL brands of pellets as a product designed purely for lazy pet owners. Unfortunately what started as a product of convenience for FUR FARMERS, has manifested itself into false gospel to those who choose to believe what alleged self interest pushing scientists and "vets" under the employ of pet food companies have told them.

        • What is the best pellet to use? I'm avoiding treats because our chi thinks hay pieces are treats. ( she has tons in hay in cage as well).

        • Heinz....So what is the main source of food for your chins? I don't have the resources to make my own food or treats. I am guilty of buying mass produced food for my chin. He seems to like to throw the hay around his cage vs eating it :) is just feeding him hay with no pellets the way to go with the occasional treat? I would love your thoughts

    • Hi, I just wanted to let you know they really need a large piece of wood to chew on to keep their teeth shortened(I didn't know when I first got mine). If you can get untreated wood it's best. there are a bunch of woods that will hurt or kill them so I would look online for a list of safe woods. I hope you enjoy your little friend!

      • I would agree with your comment, Kathleen. Ours just love chewing on their pine shelves. I picked up some 2x6 untreated kiln dried pine at a reputable lumber dealer. Avoid anything with sap in it. I also picked up some screw in bolts with wingnuts, similar to what they use for "leaping ledges" This way i could customize the shelf size to fit the entire width of their cage. They love their shelves, both for sitting and chewing.

        Dried apple, pear, blackberry and raspberry (Thorns removed) also wprk wonders. I steam them and let them dry, just to make sure they do not have any bugs or other nasties in them.

        One person said wood does not help their teeth and only hay does, obviously the "expert" with a TV show doesn't know what he is talking about because a tree branch is very similar to hay in its' structure. High fibre which requires mastication to break down. Sure they do not really eat the branch, just chew it, but there is still back molar movement so the chewing is doing its intended job of wearing down the molars.

        There are many types of wood to stay away from a few VERY poisonous woods are Cedar, Cherry (Any pit fruit wood like peach, apricot etc) I like to stick with the tried and true.

        Pine (Without sap) Aspen, Blackberry, Apple, Pear, Raspberry. I believe grape is ok, but I would double check on that one. It is also important to make sure the wood is pesticide and Herbicide free and steaming is a good idea to kill any natural bacteria or fungus, as this could kill your chinchilla.

        • Can chinchillas eat blue berry wood?

    • Please make sure their are no wires for her to get to...chinchilla will chew on mostly anything.

  18. Hey I just got my chinchilla today I was wondering if i can am able to feed them fruits and veggies often or not

    • You can give your chinchilla dry fruits abd vegetables from time to time. I give a small piece of apple to my chin 3 times a week. You can give different tipe of fruit every day.

      • No you don't give them vegetables or fruits at any given time. This can cause serious issues for the chin. Chins are like diabetics. Sugary foods can cause so many problems. We breed chins and all we give them is hay and their food. You don't give them stuff humans snack on.

        • Leslie - we pick dandelions, leaves & flowers once in a while and feed them to our Chins - they absolutely love them! Is that OK?
          We save our small apple tree twigs after harvest when its trimming time - after they are fully dry we give them to our Chins to chew on along with a pumice stone for their teeth - is this OK?
          Thanks much! Susie

        • Leslie, I understand your dicta, but this is what I mean by the "use rarely" V. "never"
          Many chins are trainable and the moderate use of treats shouldn't be banned.
          You're providing Everything they need (with something to gnaw on) but a survivor diet can be augmented.
          I've read owners talk about vets who they'll "never go back to" because the Vet dared to tell them that a few fresh dandelion leaves were safe!
          I like to think "in the wild". What exists in the Andes Mountains? But also acknowledge that these critters are in Captivity. Unlike Ferrets, who have been domesticated for thousands of years, chinchillas could be considered more "recently domesticated", used as food yes, but kept as pets or as work animals, no. (ferrets were used in hunting and used to carry wire down conduits where humans couldn't reach. Look up NASA)
          My point being, I trust owners to use good sense. Warn them that sugar is bad, causes obesity in chins, that excessive oil isn't easily accessible in their environment, and that chins come from an ecosystem that's arid high mountains. Then let them know what Safe Foods in Moderation can be used.
          It's very true that there are limited monographs available for owners And vets! I've seen the few pages in the exotic small animal text and it's super short!
          Avoid giving them diarrhea. Just like ALL ANIMALS! right? If you see their stool pellets are soft, cut back to dry pellets and Timothy Hay! Use good judgement and remember South American Andian MOUNTAINS!
          (That's why I think unsalted unsweetened banana chips are great, plus they gnaw on them!)
          Great info though, much better group than the usual. Xo

      • you should give your chinchilla a small amount of dried fruit like and peice of apple each month and same with veggies and they can have many unsalted nuts and also enjoy burnt toast crumbs

        • Nuts are generally bad because of the oil content. They are hind fermenters and this can cause issues such as fatty liver disease. I am sticking to the seed and hay diet (Low fat seeds) peas for some, but in moderation as they are full of carbs, I cut them out once, but when one of the chins stopped eating, I guess in protest, the vet said to give them back. It was a real difficult challenge to get her digestive system working again. Chinchillas pretty much have to poop constantly, if they stop for extended periods of time, of the turds get small and hard, you need to have them looked at pronto.

          as for fruits, while sugars are not ideal, certain fruits can be used in moderation. I recently started giving aquarius (14 or 15 years old and still bouncing) a dried cranberry twice a day (Thoroughly washed to remove any added sugar) when she had a GI. Along with the probiotics a little bit of pepto, and some tummy rubs (To release the gas and get poop moving) she is completely fine. This is not to say you do not need to take your chin to a vet AS SOON AS YOU NOTICE DIARRHOEA I have just seen it so many times over the last 12 years, and spoken with enough vets I now know some of the dangers to look out for.

          Apple branches are great, as are blackberry and a number of others (NOT cherry, peach or stone fruit) Just make sure there is no fungal infection on the wood. It is best to let the branches cure / dry for a season then steam them to kill any bacteria. You may even want to steam them first, let them dry over time. The last thing you want is any weird stuff in their digestive system.

          I've noticed alot of conflicting information on the internet about chinchilla's. Most of the time I hear corn is bad. The reason, aside from sugar is the high starch content. They make corn starch, high fructose corn syrup and other nasty unhealthy crap from them. Although peas do have sugar and are kinda high in carbs, moderation is the key and, as with any food, make sure the individual chin's system can handle it. We have two boys who get the poops the moment they eat one pea. Although they would love to get their little paws on them, they do not get them.

          their all time favourite TREAT is "mushy banana" (As I call it when walking in the room) Moderation is key, but they all do fine with it and as soon as they hear the words they start pawing at the bars. This is the one treat, even the shyest chin will eat while being held. So I sit there and share a fresh banana with them. sometimes once a week usually not that often and no more than a few small bites.

          Dried bananas from the store, although "organic" are generally treated with either a sulphite or coated with a long chain fatty acid like palm oil. Still organic, but not good for a chinchilla digestive system. Invest 50 bucks in a dehydrator and it will save you money and give you healthier treats. They love freeze dried treats, but they do nothing for their teeth and probably have sugar added. When looking at freeze dried apples, make sure you do not get the cinnamon ones.

          Whenever I look at adding seeds to their diet, I look at the nutrient content and see if it is an ingredient in any chinchilla food on the market. ALWAYS look at sugar, carb and oil content. Those are the nasties.

        • thank u for taking on the subject of pellets
          i only give my chin a small amount of pellets
          i dont like the stuff
          He really likes hay
          and willow sticks
          as a treat coconut husk
          dehydrated watermelon

      • Chinchillas don't do well with fresh fruit ect a bit of dried fruit once in a while is ok. My chinchillas love things like dried hibiscus flowers which are good for digestion, red beet pellets that are good for their hearts. They also like things like dried honeysuckle, rises and Rose hips. Some dried herbs are safe too and some chinchillas go mad for it. Avoid raisins as they are very high in sugar. Unfortunately loads of old advice books will tell you to give raisins daily but they are like chocolate to a diabetic. Main thing is lots of fresh hay daily and pellets can be used as a supplement depending on preference.

    • The only vegetable acceptable for chinchillas is a carrot cut into small pieces. You can give your chinchilla dehydrated strawberries and bananas. They also really love rains bUT you should really do some research on your own.

  19. I was wondering if you can give chins dandillaions ??

    • I do and they love them. At least the leaves.
      Make sure they are clean without dirt and bug poop and slime. They seem to love them best when fresh and then when dried.
      Blackberry & raspberry leaves are great as well
      As with anything from your yard, make sure it is pesticide and fertilizer free for several years. Picking the day after a rainfall also helps with the clean part. do NOT wash any food with soap. I'm not saying you need that instruction, but it is amazing how many would do that.

      • Oh ya, one quick addition. If you notice your chinchilla clammering to the edge of the cage and desperately wanting to lick you. This is a sign of lack of salt in their diet. You do not want them to have too much, but according to a vet I recently spoke with, is a necessary mineral in their diet. In this case, Aquarius was craving salt because of her barnyard bum and possible dehydration. For some reason salt helps the body retain water, or something. I need to look that up, but I know a salt and sugar mix is used in humans.

        I also found a site which listed a certain human anti diarrhoea pill as ok for Chinchilla's but in a .02 mg per kg dosage. So like a grain of sand. Careful though, one every few days as you do not want to bung them up.

  20. Hi All,

    Nearly two weeks ago I brought home two adorable 9 week old chinchilla brothers. I have done my research and bought them a nice roomy cage, purchased lots of wooden shelves to jump on(and chew it seems!!), a fleece hammock and a nesting box. I'm giving them a sand bath every other day and I am keeping my lounge to the recommended temperatures. They seem to be settling in very well, respond well to me and even now come running to me at breakfast time! But I'm a little worried about all these conflicting answers ref food and treats. I am currently in the process of weaning them off the mixed treat laden food that the breeder provided me with, and onto quality chinchilla pellets, this seems to be working well. I also give them two large handfuls of high quality Timothy hay daily. But some contributors are saying pellets are bad? I'm so worried about them developing malaclusions. I also have two uncoloured pumice chews on different levels of their cage, but can anyone give me further suggestions on how to prevent this? Also with treats, are they a little young? This site has lots of natural products and my boys seem to love love love apple wood sticks, but I don't want to give them anything that would harm them. Thanks in advance x

    • I'm glad my comment on pellets is being seen. I think it comes down to Chinchilla's will eat what they like and what is easy and leave the rest. This usually means pellets are eaten and hay is not.

      You did great with the wooden shelves. I also have a hammock Cooper loves it, but went through a few of them before his brother Chaos stopped chewing the hangers :)

      Pumice stones are great, but I am worried about possible lead content. They do chew these in the wild so I'm assuming they are perfectly fine. I have those as well. These just take care of the incisors (Front teeth) Although very important, the back ones are the scary teeth which cause major issues.

      Living in the Vancouver area, we have lots of wild blackberry bushes and I have a number of Pear and Apple tree's in the yard as well as a somewhat out of control grape vine. I know these are pesticide free, so I cut those up, toss em in the microwave, or steam them to kill any possible buggies. These are great for chewing as are dandelion and blackberry leaves.

      You are right to be cautious about wood, as some wood is very toxic. I have noticed conflicting information, on the topic, but I take any reference to danger seriously, when it comes to wood. Anything with alot of sap is usually not good. Pine is ok, but it needs to be kiln dried. Apple, pear and grape are ok, and I assume so is Alder.

      on the danger side, Cedar, oak, mahogany, Balsam, any pit fruit (Apricot, peach, cherry etc) are ridden with Cianide. Cedar has something in the oil, which has made me stay away from any wood chips with cedar. The only reason cedar seems to be popular is because of the counteraction with smell it has. There are also many other poisonous woods, so I simply stick with the basics. I believe Birch is ok, but I would check that out first.

      As Dr. Legendre (world renowned chin dentist) told me, the more they chew the better. The worse the hay (Coarse etc) the better. Like children, if you give them an easier and tastier option, they will take it, leaving the one which is better for them. Hence my hatred of pellets. So far, the diet of lots of hay, Quinoa seeds (Whatever colour no need to wash as this is something they eat in the wild) I am actually thinking about tossing some seeds in the garden and giving them the whole flower seed stalks.

      On the topic of seed stocks, Millet sprays seem to be quite popular, although I believe there is an oil content, so moderation and variety is key.

      Interesting little thing. I need to check out the nutritional content, but they just love Fennagreek seeds. They kinda smell like a bowl of curry afterwards, but the seeds are hard and they do seem to chew them with their back teeth as it takes abit of chewing before they move to the next seed or two. Mint leaves are also popular.

      They key is to ensure they have lots to make them grind their teeth. Constant tooth checks are also a good idea. Make sure the incisors do not overgrow and feel around the lower back of their chin and around their nose. get to know how these area's as well as other area's of your chin's look and feel. They have floating teeth so if they cannot grow into their mouth, they will grow outwards. This can result in teeth popping out of their face and into their brains. Guinea pigs have it really bad, their upper teeth curl inwards as they grow. So they quite literally can have their teeth grow into their brains.

      I learned alot from Dr. Legendre. If you can find anything by him, I recommend looking it up. I know he travels alot, but I am lucky in that he is local to Vancouver. I'm not a fan of his partner in the practice, I don't remember her name, but every time our babies had her work on them, they were very groggy for longer periods of time, even though she used the same amount of drugs to knock them out. I found out later, she seems to wait until after the procedure to wake them up. With chinchilla's, there is a very finite amount of time they can be out. Most vets knock them out and almost immediately start the wake up procedure. Since this takes time, they have a small amount of time to perform the procedure. This is why vets will not sterilise the female, as this procedure is more invasive and require a longer knock out time.

      Victoria, it sounds like you have a great handle on things and this is apparent by your Chinchilla's acceptance of you.

      As for treats, looking at that site, although some products impress me, I am a little concerned about their inclusion of products very apparently (IMO) purchased from the bulk sweet section of the grocery store. For example, the banana chips re probably coated in sunflower oil, the pineapple, papaya and dates probably coated in some sort of nasty sugar (Simply because of how they are dehydrated) Freeze dried is best. Also, the latter 3 WILL cause barnyard bum. I found some really nice freeze dried apples, pears and banana's at Costco. Although moderation is definitely important, a few here and there are a welcome treat. Plus I get any extra's since they do not stay dry once the foil package is opened :)

      • Wow Heinz, I'm impressed! Most owners online are full of half understood myths, just as in human science a recommendation or caution suddenly morphs into an all out ban. This is probably because most owners aren't too educated (the number who expressed surprise that an acorn is a nut were especially concerning)
        One thing though, why the dislike of pellets? Proper pellets (NOT RABBIT those have introduced hormones that rabbits need while chins, pigs, do not!) are used by vets with Timothy grass.

        • The hatred of pellets comes from loosing a chinchilla to malocclusion.

          Pellets (Even the hard ones) are broken up by the incisors and do nothing for the back molars. After talking to both the vet and the small animal dentist (Dr. Legendre, as a zoology major, if you have a chance to talk to this guy, do so, I know Dr Upjohn also does some teaching and he is very knowledgeable) The key to dental health is to encourage chewing. Yes, wood and other chew stuff does this FOR THE INCISORS, but soft foods like pellets which satisfy every food craving they have, including hay, discourage healthy eating habits. Once a chinchilla figures out there is an easier way to satisfy their diet the back molars either grow up or sideways and the only solution is to bring them to a dentist on a regular basis to have them knocked out so their back teeth can be ground down or pulled out. Trust me, this can get very expensive. I am not complaining about the cost, just pointing it out. Chinchilla's are not pets for the faint of heart. If you would have a problem justifying spending $800 every couple of months to keep a maloccluding chinchilla alive, then get a cat or a hamster.

          Like I said in an earlier post, Aquarius is about 15 years old and aside from a recent recovered bout with barnyard bum combined with her monthly visitor, she is fully energetic and is beyond intelligent. She also has two full sized cages with connecting tubes to herself (48" high) Basically a ferret cage with home made pine ledges (like leaping / sleeping ledges but bigger) I am by no means an expert and would NEVER claim to be or close myself to other ideas with grandiose statements based on nothing but internet hoopla. I watch their mouth movement, bowel movement, energy level, hair, and look for ANYTHING out of the norm when adding foods. Ive noticed certain seeds seem to require more back of mouth chewing as they are too small to be broken up by incisors and too hard to be simply gummed.

          Good luck with your studies and keep asking and learning. The moment you lay claim to know "Everything" is the moment your educational growth and knowledge becomes stunted. :)


          Claire, well and others. I didn't know where on here to out this but I figured it was important enough the get out there.

          I know a lot of people are feeding their chinchillas plain Cheerios, and I really need to look at this list because of some of the grains I am feeding ours.

          I do not know how accurate this is, but I would not want to risk it. There is I do out there regarding Monsanto's deadly weed killer, Roundup, finding its' way into the food chain, particularly in Cheerios. Something to consider. I know I will now be looking at growing a lot of my own. Maybe even Timothy hay. I already harvest my own apple, pear and blackberry branches.

          Here is the article

      • Hello Heinz,Thank you so much for the great info-I feed all my chins quinoa seeds but couldn't find any this week apart from puffed quinoa seed which I'd never heard of till now lol-Anyway do you think these would be okay to eat until my local has the usual? Thanks again.

        • I wouldn't know for sure. Although this would be a processed product and it would possibly not only loose nutritional content but also the chew factor.

          Hopefully this is not a you are feeding them :)

    • Hi Victoria

      I have had my two female chins fir 12 years and have only ever fed them hay and pellets. The gsy must be as green as possible so that their digestive system gets the correct nutrients. It's fine to give them the odd rasin but I also buy woodland her age which you can get in a pet store which is a mixture of dried dandelions and nettle leaves hay and other goodies. I have never fed mine fruit. Applewood sticks are great as they love to chew. Also a solid steel wheel is great for exercise. You are doing great by providing pumice as they need to keep their teeth trimmed and thus us s great way if doing so. Good luck

      • Hey all I just recently had to take my chin to get her teeth clipped, and she is underweight. I am feeding her critical care and desperately trying to help her gain weight. Do you guys have any suggestions for this? I would appreciate any information on this topic!

        • look at my posts. I had the same issue. another thing to consider, clipping only effects the incisors. The bigger issue is the back teeth. A chinchilla's teeth float and continually grow. If they are not ground down in the mouth they push upwards and downwards. A good test is to gently rotate their jaw and feel for any catching. the key is gently. also feel their chin for any bumps from teeth being pushed downwards and watch their eyes and above their nose for any tearing and signs of teeth moving upwards.

          Gizmo, Aquarius' mate, suffered from serious malocclusion. It got to the point where clipping did not work. We had to bring him to Dr. Legendre every 3 months to get sedated so he could grind down his back teeth. Sadly he did not wake up after a surgery as his assistant (Beyond pissed she did the procedure) seemed to have an issue with knowing when to give the wakeup drug. I think She waited too long. This combined with one tooth being broken in his gums made the procedure take too long. The thing with chinchillas is, surgery requiring anaesthesia is a race against time. They cannot handle being under for any length of time, which is why it is important to get a vet / dentist VERY familiar with Chinchilla's (Make sure they know you are not talking about a chinchilla rabbit)

          Good luck and stand strong. I know it is a hard thing to go through.

  21. what type of human foods can chinchillas eat

    • I would only offer unsweetened shredded wheat or occasionally unsweetened cheerios. You can purchase dried organic rosehips on Amazon for your chinchillas. This is a safe treat and is good for them. My chins love the rosehips. Don't give your chinchillas nuts, sweetened treats, fruits or vegetables. Always provide them with timothy hay and a good quality of chinchilla pellets and I use distilled water in their water bottles because tap water has too many toxic chemicals. Provide them with safe wood such as apple wood for their teeth to chew on. They have to keep their teeth filed down or they will not be able to eat. If their teeth gets too long, you must take them to a vet to get their teeth filed down or they could die.Always keep them in a cool environment because heat can cause heat stroke. Keep the temperature around 68 degrees or lower. You can get these supplies at places like PetSmart or on Amazon. Hope this information helps you!

      • Do not use distilled water, it will starve their bodies of natural minerals and won't hydrate properly. Use bottled water

        • I would agree. I give them regular bottled water, however I am a little concerned about the whole plastic bottle thing. They seem to be doing good with it. I have only used distilled when I did not have regular bottled water in the house. Beware of Fiji bottled water.

          I think the best would be to get some water directly from a clean outdoor natural source and boil it to kill any buggies. Obviously letting it cool prior to giving it to the chins.

    • Occasionally unsweetened shredded wheat and unsweetened cheerios, No fruit, vegetables or sweet treats.

      • I had a female about 4 yrs. Zoe was great, but one night she died. Don'the know why.

    • Oats and cornflakes

    • Apple, Banana, Raisns, Grapes (can be frozen), prunes, Elbow Noodles, And More and more. (look above)

    • I give mine plain potato chips which he LOVES and crackers, raisins, sunflower seeds, lots of stuff I am sure people will say noooooo it's not healthy for them but mine is at least 8 years old and super healthy so I give him little bits of whatever I'm munching on like I just found our right now he loves cool ranch Doritos lol!

      • Bad advice, and your laughter on the topic is kinda sad, but this is just my opinion.

        He may love them, and 8 is still young for a chinchilla. Perhaps your bits are small enough with him having a balanced diet elsewhere. They will also eat plastic, if you let them and that will clog their intestinal path.

        Fact of the matter is, there is still allot unknown about chinchilla's as pets, however, high levels of oils have been proven to be unhealthy to all animals (Including humans) in autopsy's. That and there really isn't all too much healthy in potato chips.

        Noodles, I wouldn't know, but I'm thinking the high levels of starch may be harmful.

        I have given mine dried rose-hips from local outdoor known pesticide free plants. They love em, but of course, just like raisins, moderation is key or they will get barnyard bum. They really do not like the cleaning process when their privates get caked in poop (High risk of UTC if not kept clean)

      • Jen that's great, and I'm sure you don't overfeed those treats! Chins don't live forever and I bet yours are happy guys, but they're so little I hope by Dorito you mean a tiny chip off the whole one, right?

  22. I wandered into this bulletin board after searching for some chinchilla information. For a bunch of concerned animal lovers, there is too much animosity. The site is a turn-off and I hope not to wander in again.

    Perhaps there is a site-meister who can dump the uncomfortable comments.

  23. I am wondering about these small/medium ears of colored corn on the cob?
    I think I saw some packaged ones at the pet store for chinchillas. I am wondering if they do something to them to make them ok? Can I give them the home grown ones?

    • I wouldn't give your chinchillas any corn products. Just supply chin pellets and timothy hay. Occasionally unsweetened shredded wheat or unsweetened cheerios. No fruit, vegetables or sweet treats...

    • Pet stores are notorious for selling unsafe products (sigh) best example is how many open exercise wheels they push on gerbil owners. They don't care about all the little broken ankles..
      While King Corn of ye ol syrup world is scary I think corn might be found growing there, certainly it's from South america, but I am not sure that's a great idea. Is it found in the arid high mountains? Sometimes critters chew on food items but don't actually Eat them, that could be a reason it's sold as a treat? Not sure but I don't plan to give mine wet corn. Btw I raised 2 females to age 13 and currently own 3 brothers who are 9 years old at least (all were rescues)

      • Very good points Claire. I avoid anything and everything from China. I lost one chinchilla the day after I put a Hay hut from "Living world" in their cage. It was a sudden onset of what appeared to be mass sinusitis. He had the sniffles and was dead a few hours later. A vet appointment had already been set. He was one of the sons of Aquarius. All our Chinchilla's, of KeepSafe Systems mascots as I like to call them, are rescues. They are prominently featured on my website :)

      • Since you are into zoology, what are your thoughts on the lotus flower as an addition? I did some reading and apparently it helps cure fatty liver disease, which is what caught my attention. Luckily this has not been an issue, as I try to stay away from oil seeds. Not in their natural diet, but I thought id ask your opinion.


  24. 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!

      • I was under the impression that distilled water was dangerous to chins. Can someone give a definitive answer? I use water filtered through a fridge that I carefully maintain. I read that distilled water does not hydrate properly and is worse to give to chin than plain tap water. Any experienced insight would be highly appreciated.

        • Distilled water is just too clean, it's missing essential minerals. Tap water can be bad also, especially if it has a lot of iron in it. I think the ideal water would be filtered tap water. Maybe use a Brita? Perhaps look into bottled spring water. Anyone out there have an opinion on bottled spring water?

  25. 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

  26. 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

    • No dog biscuits!

  27. 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.

    • I simply went to the lumber yard and grabbed some untreated kiln dried pine 2 x 6 chunks of wood along with some headless bolts which can be screwed into the wood leaving an open end for a washer and nut to be screwed on. Look at the wooded leaping and sleeping ledges. My ledges simply go the entire width of the cage. Make sure you round the edges a little.

      They are a real bugger to clean after a bout of barnyard bum, but pine shelves are multi functional since they also give them something to chew on.

  28. 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!

      • The green pumpkin seeds are in the white ones. I don't know who told you the green were low fat when compared to the white, whomever they are was obviously beat with a stupid stick :) . The white part is simply a fibrous casing, just like the one on a sunflower seed (a big no no, NOT because of the case). I would stay away from oily seeds all together or severely limit them. Chinchilla's, lIke any creature with the ability to taste will eat whatever tastes or feels good. If you want to determine how oily a seed is, simply crush it on papertowel.

  29. 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

    • I just did a search for jasmine poisonous and came up with this. Apparently it is poisonous. I would not rely on everything in the non poisonous list as being non poisonous as I believe Eucaliptus is (Except to sloths) and California Poppy's do have trace amounts of opium in their latex.

      Also, just because something is listed as non poisonous, this is to humans, it still may cause issues with Chinchilla's as they digest differently than humans. Peanuts and Almonds are a prime example.

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

  31. 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

      • Thanks for the thoughts, Kim. Yes, our chinchillas have access to constant Timothy hay, the thing is, just like humans, chinchillas migrate to the food they like and pellets are in that group.

        Since loosing Gizmo due to tooth issues, we have pulled pellets out of their diets and added natural source items such as seeds leaves and grasses.

        Obviously hay cubes are a favorite, oxbow also has these overpriced hay stacks, but they are dust free and close to hay cubes just not as tightly packed. They seem to like to hold the hay in chunks as they eat it more than strands of hay.

        As for seeds, the boys love fenugreek and you can smell it on their breath. Fennel, Millet, and Quinoa are also favorites. They would eat split peas but I found the sugar is abit much for them (not used to treats due to their previous home) so too much gives them the plops.

        The girls are a little more accustomed to sweets so peas work for them, in combination with the above seeds. Pearl barley also is good, in moderation.

        As for leaves and twigs, blackberry and raspberry leaves are great as are their stalks. I found some grape wood in the reptile section of the pet store, and they are great for chewing as are apple and pear branches from the back yard.

        In the summer, I generally gather CLEAN MOLD FREE clover, wheat stocks and heads, and dandilion leaves. I find the late growing clover travellers are best as they are not as close to the ground and wet as the early big leaf clover. They are the same plant, it's just a different stage of growth.

        I also add in this organic multigrain crushed grain cereal (looks like oatmeal but with kamut, bran, oat and a few others) AS A TREAT IN MODERATION due to the softer nature. They do chew it a lot, as it does take time to break down.

        Of course, Timothy hay is the largest part of their diet and the seeds are just toppers.

        We have a total of 5 chinchillas, two boys and 3 girls. Aquarius is one of the originals and is well over 10 years old. Gizmo was her mate and they had two boys (Scooter and tigger)

        Kanga and her daughter Roo came to us from a wonderful organization SARS BC.

        Cooper and his younger brother Chaos came to us from the Vancouver SPCA when one of the vets taking care of Scooter at the Vancouver pet ER noticed how far I go to take care of our babies. I was a wreck when he was in an oxygen tank and that was when I met their baby brother, who also passed at the ER that fateful day.

        Chaos and Copper came from a home with a dozen chinchillas, so they eat like little pigs :) they have more of a hay diet as the rest, because I am still trying to get the girls away from the junk, but doing this too fast results in them not eating. Picky little critters.

        So the pet food companies may hate this, but our babies are on a no pellet diet and are incredibly healthy, as a result.

        • I love the unique names of your chinchillas! It sounds like you are an exceptional chin parent! I may incorporate some things you suggested as well into my chins diet. Sounds very healthy!

  32. ....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.

        • Is your vet a chinchilla expert? I've noticed a scary lack of knowledge in some vets. A few posts above I mentioned Scooter. I discovered this lack of knowledge when an apparent er vet in Surrey was poking and prodding in his mouth trying to find and remove something which the student vet discovered (in a book) this was a normal part of his anatomy. FYI, he went in for a severe sinus infection which eventually took his life. This vet said he was familiar with chinchillas, but thought he was a rabbit. Utterly useless.

          So if a vet says almonds are ok, I would find a different vet. He may like it, but that does not mean it is healthy over the long term. I'm sure a small amount won't cause serious issues, as I did do the almond thing until I found out about the problems with some seed oils

  33. 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.

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

    • no, definately not

    • No oatmeal cookies or anything sweet! Chinchillas can't properly assimilate fats because of their delicate livers.


    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.

    • Hi, I was wondering what is your website address? Also more about the diet you provide. I want to avoid pellets but I find if you say this on many forums the torches are brought out and you are run out of town except the German ones, and since I have to translate it I feel I might be missing something.

      • Lol, run out of towns eh! That's funny :)
        Their diets does adapt quite abit but the most important thing they need is hay, well and of course chunks of wood to chew. I know I am harsh on pellets, but to completely contradict myself, they probably aren't all that bad IN MODERATION. The thing is, chinchillas will eat what they like not necissarily what is good for them. Raisins for example, a nice treat but if Aquarius had her way she would eat them even beyond the Onset of severe barnyard bum.

        My website is not about chinchillas not does it have much in the way of relevant chinchilla information, I own an alarm company and I found posting pictures of chinchillas more agreeable to my way of doing things than the standard fear mongering pictures of some random Sara and Romeo breaking into someone's home. I don't know if posting it violates any rules, if so the mods can remove it. Just trying not to spam here. It is I did have a chinchilla specific site, awhile ago, but a 2009 MVA kinda slowed me down forcing me to spend more of my time on my actual business

        • Thanks Heinz....I guess I will just have to become an expat or start an revolution in the name of chinchillas! You chinchillas were quite funny advertising your products...

          Pellets should basically be a supplement to a more natural diet, in my opinion... Not free fed and less than a tablespoon and not containing molasses, soy and wheat fillers... It would be nice if a product was available such as a hay cube that was fortified. Although not perfect, at least a better gnawing opportunity.

      • I believe hay has pretty much everything they need. hay cubes are great, but i don't know if the shorter strands would be easier to chew than actual hay. After all, pellets basically consist of ground up hay with binders and ground grains / seeds. they may seem hard but once broken up with the incisors.... that being said, hay cubes do have some pretty sturdy strands in them so they can work the molars.

        another thing i've discovered with aquarius as she gets older, we got her in 2004 and we think she was 2 or 3 at the time, she does tend to have more in the way of picky bowels (compared to the others on the same diet) in that her digestive system slows down and her turds get smaller and harder. This causes constipation, gas and loss of appetite followed by weight. the solution seems to be in this powdered probiotic i picked up at the pet store and a little critical care - She loves those and will lick them off the tip of my finger. After a small amount of that every day, she has gotten more regular. a heck of alot better and faster acting than the drugs the vet gave. note, i am by no means discounting the importance of a vet. the right one can be a great source for info.

      • just an addition. the multiple seeds in their bowl gives them variety and keeps them interested. Would you like your food all ground up and in pellet form? there is a reason they sweeten them with molasses, beyond binding. they are boring otherwise.

      • also, since i assume you are in Atlanta (webstats) i would invest in an ac unit with a backup, for the chinchilla room. heat and humidity will kill a chinchilla faster than pellets

  36. 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?

    • I would occasionally give raisins. Don't give your chins lots of sweets or raisins. Chinchillas can't assimilate sweets in the liver. Also, I would try to keep electrical cords out of the room. You can give your chins organic, dried rosehips as treats. I bought mine on Amazon. These are healthy for chins. My chins love them! I wouldnt give them yogurt treats, though. Too much sugar. You can give them occasionally unsweetened shredded wheat or unsweetened cheerios. Also, provide them with chinchilla dust. They need to use dust bath to clean their fur as their fur gets oily at times. You can put your chin dust in a small pan for them to roll around in to clean their fur.Sounds like you really love your chins and are a great chin parent! Hope this information helps!

    • Moderation is the key with these little guys. As much as I love to give Mouse treats, I almost had to take him to the vet because of them. Thank goodness his constipation wasn't anything serious and cleared up, literally, the day of his vet visit. I believe it was too many raisins and yogurt drops, i was giving him one or two a day. Now all I give him is plenty of timothy hay and Oxbow chinchilla diet daily. I give him a treat every other day. Either a Cherio or rosehips. Just be careful with the raisins. Shame something they love so much can cause such problems for them.

  37. 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....

  38. 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

  39. 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.

      • real good points made on the care of chins. we have had ours since she was 6 months she is now 6. she has had a few names but chewy is her name hence she chews so we watch her careful, her cage is in our kitchen as she loves all the activity that goes on. she loves her plain cheerios with abit of peanut butter on them i say peanut butter cant be good for her,not sure any input would be great. she gets her chin food,she has a wood chew block plus her special chew stuff she gets throughout the month for a treat and of course her cheerios and shreddies. i love when i get up at 4 am for work she is looking at me so sweet waiting for her morning treats,funny thing is after her treats she gets on her wheel and runs for a min or so lol. she is healthy spoilt but i am concerned about her having actual peanut butter any imput would be great thanks and love your chins

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.


        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!!

  43. 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.

  44. 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

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. 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.

  48. 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!

  49. 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.

      • Um I'm sorry to join in but why don't you leave this poor girl alone for goodness' sake. People are on here taking the risk to ask questions from random people online. If they really wanted to know for sure it was save they would ask a breeder, vet, or a proper website about chinchillas. Why waste your time bothering her. I swear there are some very stupid indecent people on here like you. I'm sure am glad that not everyone is like you. Yes I do agree she should be more careful about the cords but she said it didn't mean to happen. We are human after all we all make mistakes so shut your tramp.

  50. 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.

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

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

  52. 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?

      • May I ask what happen?

  53. 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

  54. 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...


    • 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!!!!!

  55. 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...

  56. 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...

  57. 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"

  58. 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.

  59. 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

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

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

  63. 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....

  64. 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

  65. 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.

  66. 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....

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. I gave my chinchilla popcorn before and shes fine

  70. 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

  71. 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...

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

    • hi, I am not an expert but I know a lot just give your pet chin some normal chin food and raisins and wood ( apple wood is the best and tested ). do not give things that are sketchy it might be a joke or a troll. please search before you give
      chin die of lots of cases and wrong food is one of them

  73. 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.

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

  75. 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.

  76. # 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.

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

  78. 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!

    • Avocado is not good for any animal that I know of other than humans.

  79. 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.

  80. 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 =)

  81. 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.

  82. 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

  83. Caroline,

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

  84. 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

  85. 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.

  86. 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....

  87. 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.

  88. 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??

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

  90. Avatar photo


    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.

  91. Avatar photo


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

  92. 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?

  93. 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?


    • 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

  94. Avatar photo


    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.

  95. 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

  96. Avatar photo


    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.

  97. 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....

  98. Avatar photo


    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.

  99. 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

  100. 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

  101. 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. :)

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    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.

  103. 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.

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    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.

  105. 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. ***********

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

  107. 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

      • I just wanted to comment on your statement that rodents don't eat meat. I think perhaps you may have forgotten that a RAT happens to also be a rodent.. and a rat absolutely will eat meat.. so the statement that rodents as such don't eat meat, would be.. well, incorrect.

        • Yes, but this is a post about chincilla's not rats. Your comment is more of an adhomonym, than anything worthwhile. But if it makes ya feel better, yes rats will eat pretty much anything, as will several other rodents (including the killer rabbit for Monty Pythons Holy Grail)

      • I was wondering if lotus flowers are okay to give to my chinchilla. Also, my chinchilla won’t eat her pellets... is that something to worry about and how can I encourage her to eat them?

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

  109. 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

  110. 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.

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    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.

  112. 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!

      • Just want to make sure that the New Zealanders out there no that a cheerio is a wheat bran type cereal and not a small red sausage -Lol

    • I give my chins a raisin once a week but just 1 or 2 at the most some Wil let their chins have 1 or 2 up to 3 times a week but chins are susceptible to diabetes and fits because of high sugar content I have 1 chin that can't have anything treat-like.Anything with a hugh water content like carrots and apple can cause diarrhoea which is horrible for the chin & the owner-I dehydrate slices of apple myself so I no what's in it this can be done in the oven if you don't have a dehydrator and banana chips are ok as a treat but rarely-You want to treat them as you love them but chins are different than any other furry pet yourve had give them a peice of wood to chew and a sand bath as a treat and a run round your home everyday and they'll be the happiest chins around-Good luck their awsum furry pals/ family members lol

    • Ps any treat can be given as long as it's only the size of 1 or 2 raisins once per week,Lettuce and kale is bad for chins as well as wood from pitted fruit trees eg-Plum,apricot etc. I like using kiln dried pine myself but fruit bearing seeds is ok.Rosehip are an excellent treat as long as you no there's no pesticides on them.Dandelion and nasturtium petals are ok too.

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