What Do Chinchillas Eat? (Everything You Need to Know)

Are you a new chinchilla owner trying to figure out a chinchilla’s diet? what to feed your furry friend? Or curious to know chinchillas’ dietary habits. Whatever the case may be, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive guide on what chinchillas eat. From hay and pellets to treats and fresh veggies, we’ll cover everything you need to know about keeping your chinchilla healthy and happy through their diet. So let’s dive in!

What Do Chinchillas Eat? Formulating the Perfect Diet for chinchilla

Hay and Pellets

A large portion of a chinchilla’s diet should consist of high-quality grass hay, such as timothy hay, alfalfa hay, or orchard grass hay. Make sure to never leave this out of your chinchilla’s diet and have this freshly available at all times. Also, store hay in a cool, dry place to avoid any fungus or mold growth.

In addition to hay, pellets are also a crucial component of your pet’s proper diet. Available in pet stores, pellets contain the right amount of various nutrients that your chinchilla needs since they are typically alfalfa-based with added vitamins and minerals. Be reminded of giving your pet pellets that are plain, hay-based, with no seeds, nuts, or dried fruit. Moreover, pellets also play an essential part in wearing down chinchillas’ open-rooted teeth. 

In case you’re wondering about how many pellets they can take, adult chinchillas will typically do well with 1-2 tablespoons of pellets in a day. Giving your pet measured amounts of pellets regularly is recommended by experts so you can monitor their appetite. 

Water

Just like any other living organism, water is vital for your pet’s health and growth. Chinchillas should have access to clean water at all times. 

Our pets may drink from a water bottle or a heavy flat-bottomed bowl. As advised, it’s best to provide them with a bottle or bowl that is made of glass with a stopper that they can’t easily chew on.

Remember to change your pet’s water daily. Also, clean the water bottle thoroughly every other day to prevent any bacteria or fungus growth.

Treats

From time to time, we would like to give our pets some rewards by offering them something that is out of their regular diet. Some treat mixes are available in pet stores but only choose the ones with less or no fat. With this, avoid mixing with seeds and nuts. Remember that treat mixes are only safe for chinchillas when offered in limited amounts in rare instances. 

Fruits and Veggies

You may also incorporate fruits and greens in chinchillas’ treats for a wider variety, as long as it does not exceed 10% of their diet. Be reminded of how sensitive a chinchilla’s stomach and entire digestive system are. So, only feed your pet the safe variants and in regulated amounts.

Some of the safe options, when given in moderation, chopped pieces, and monitored properly, are the following:

  • Apple
  • Strawberry
  • Pear
  • Papaya
  • Sultana
  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Orange
  • Cooked potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Dandelion greens
  • Lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot

For more comprehensive information about what they can eat, you may look up the nutritional values of each item above to understand how often and how much you can give them to your pet. Be reminded that excessive intake may result in diarrhea and other digestive issues.

What Chinchillas Can’t Eat? Foods to Exclude from Chinchilla Diet

By now, I’m confident about the knowledge you have about your pet’s diet. But, it’s also important to avoid food choices that may potentially harm them.

Firstly, the ingredients that you would want to avoid in your pellet choice and treat mixes are:

  • Fillers such as corn or soy
  • Dried or fresh vegetables
  • Dried or fresh fruits 
  • Seeds
  • Nuts

Some fruits and vegetables that are widely known and available may not always be healthy for your chinchilla too. Not because they are believed to give nutrients to humans, but because they can also do the same for your pet.

The fruits and veggies that you can leave out from their diet are the following:

Although some are not entirely poisonous and can still be eaten by chinchillas, it has been recommended to just cross them out of your list for some of their contents may bring more harm than benefit to your pet.

Final Words

Just like a safe environment, food options play a vital role in a chinchilla’s growth and health. Alongside catering to these needs, knowing your pet’s personality and eating habits also matter too. 

Always keep an eye on your pet and you might also figure out what food options are best for them. Just make sure you don’t offer them the wrong choices to avoid any complications. 

An owner who is equipped with substantial knowledge about their pet’s needs can always give their pet a healthier and better quality of life.