How to Care for Chinchillas

chinchillaWhat does my chinchilla need?
When you have a pet, you want to make him happy and glad you’re his owner. Everything you need to know to keep your pet chinchilla happy and loved is listed below.

Cage & Habitat
For one chinchilla, we recommend that you get a chew proof cage that measures at least 16″ x 20″ x 16″ minimum. You need to make sure this cage is big enough so your chinchilla has room to eat, sleep, and play around.

Pelleted or shredded paper bedding material.

A stoppered water bottle, food bowl or feeder, and a hay rack.

Hide areas and tunnels for playing and sleeping.

A large exercise wheel.

Dust bin and dusting powder for bathing.

Chew proof toys so they can avoid boredom.

Untreated wooden toys for chewing and wearing down a chinchilla’s ever-growing teeth.

Food & Treats

Generic pellet food for chinchillas (Hay, Timothy or Alfalfa Hay are pretty popular)

Generic pet treats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.


A salt block as a mineral supplement.

A vitamin C supplement. If your chinchilla hates the supplement, you can also add liquid vitamin C to its stoppered water bottle.

Although they are adorable, chinchillas need to be cared properly to be happy and healthy.


1 Provide a big cage. The larger the better. Make sure the cage has a solid floor with soft bedding.

2 Provide healthy bedding. Never use cedar or pine shavings as bedding, for it is sharp and can injure your chinchilla’s feet.

3 Lift your chinchilla properly. Lift your chinchilla like a cat. Slide your hand under the chinchilla’s belly and place your other hand on top of the chinchilla. Use the hand under the chin to support its hind legs and bum so it feels secure.

4 Provide proper food.

· Always have clean food available for them

· Feed them treats infrequently as it can cause digestive problems

· 5 Replace the drinking water daily. Provide the chinchillas with clean fresh water daily to avoid infections.

6 Remove soiled hay and bedding from the cage daily.

7 Wash the cage with hot water. It is generally suggested that you use no soap or chemicals.

8 Give your chinchilla a dust bath for 10-15 minutes anywhere from daily to twice a week. Too much will cause dryness. but too little will cause their coats to build up oils which can cause a disfiguring and deadly fungus to grow on their skin.

9 Provide exercise. Chinchillas are very active animals and should have an opportunity to exercise every day.

· Provide an exercise wheel. The wheel must have a solid surface, and not be made of wire or mesh that can ensnare their feet. Never use the giant hamster balls (death balls) pet stores try to sell you.

· If you let your pet out of the cage for supervised play time, it should be in a small room and the room should be chinchilla proof. Chinchillas can jump several feet in the air, and can squeeze through tiny spaces. They will also gnaw on wires, furniture, and anything they can get their teeth on. .

10 Give them something to chew on for dental health. Chinchillas’ teeth can grow up to 12 inches a year. Purchase a special block of wood or pumice stone for your chinchilla to chew on.

11 Keep them cool. Chinchillas overheat easily. They cannot survive temperatures over 75F or below 50F. Keep their cage in a cool room with ventilation.

12 Give your chinchilla dust. Water can harm the chinchilla’s fur. Instead, give them a dust bath.



Purchase your chinchilla from a reputable breeder. Most breeders will allow you to return your pet if you find you are unable to care for it properly.

· Chins have different psychology from cats and dogs, which are predators; chins are prey animals so they think different and are always on the look out for being attacked and eaten.

· Be sure not to give a lot of treats.

· Chinchillas are usually very friendly but shouldn’t be over-handled.

· Make sure your chinchilla does not bark or then they are telling you to back off.

· Don’t try to hold or get up close with your chinchilla until you earn their trust because they are shy animals and it can be stressful for them whenever they are in an unfamiliar place.

· If you are using a nest box, place it on the floor, not a shelf, as the chinchilla may knock it off.

· Be sure not to use plastic! As you may know chinchillas will chew on everything and anything, plastic is a huge toxin to chinchillas, never use plastic unless you can’t avoid it.

· You can buy Chin-Coolers to put in a chinchillas cage to cool them down.

· Be kind to your chinchilla, and s/he will love you for loving them!



· If you are planning to build your own cage, plan every detail, failure to do so could be fatal for your chinchilla

· Chinchillas are not good for children, because of their rather reserved nature and delicate body.

· Never feed chinchillas human food.

· Chinchillas are quiet and are nocturnal.

· You can train a chinchilla, but you may stress them out if you try to teach them a trick too quickly.

· It’s important to keep their cage in an area where it is quiet during the day so their sleep cycle is not interrupted as a rule.

· Chinchillas have defenses such as losing fur, biting, and spraying urine. Make sure to be gentle with them to avoid scaring them.

· Do not get chinchillas wet. Their fur does not dry out like a normal animal, causing it to get moldy.

· Chinchillas are trainable, and should have less than 2 small treats a day. They can be trained, but be very gentle.

· Keep plastic away from chinchilla cages; ingesting plastic can cause sickness and/or death.


Things You’ll Need

· Chinchilla or Two

· Large cage

· Chinchilla food (w/o treats added)

· You can also supply dry, uncooked, unflavored oatmeal (not quick oats – real oats!) to mix in with the dry food for a treat or if your critter is having tummy trouble, Chinchillas love it!!! :)[not too much, just a pinch]

· Chinchilla dust bath (unscented)

· Timothy hay

· Chew toys (wooden)

· Wheel (solid base to run on – no wire)

· Water bottle and food dish

· Bedding

· Wooden,cardboard,or/and soft material houses (clean and new cardboard and untreated wood)

· A place to have your chinchilla get exercise