Caring for a Chinchilla

Are you looking for a super cute pet that is slightly unusual but not too difficult to care for? If so, a chinchilla may be the perfect choice for you. These tiny furballs are quite charming, and can make great pets. Below, a local Moorpark, CA vet discusses basic chinchilla care.

Choosing a Cage

Just like other small animals, chinchillas need a comfy habitat. Your cute little pal will need a cage that is at least 16″ x 18″ x 16″, although we recommend getting the biggest one you can afford. Chinchillas love to climb, so look for a cage that has multiple levels and is more tall than wide. Wire cages are a good option, but be sure to get one with a solid bottom, as wire floors are dangerous.


For substrate, you can use paper pellets or shredded paper. Avoid using pine or cedar substrates, as these are toxic to small animals. Chinchillas will also need a hayrack, a dust bath, food dishes, and several comfy hidey-holes to retreat to.


Make sure your adorable pet has lots of fun toys and entertainment options. Many chinchillas enjoy exercise wheels. Just be sure to choose a solid one, as wire wheels can be very dangerous. As for toys, you can offer your pint-sized buddy chew toys, toss toys, and treat toys. Ask your vet for recommendations.


Chinchillas are quite sociable, and are often much happier living with some buddies. Just be sure to only keep same sex pairs together.


Heat is very dangerous for chinchillas! These cute furballs are from cold climates, and can get very sick if they overheat. Keep your pet in rooms that always stay under 78°F.


Avoid putting your chinchilla’s cage in direct sunlight or drafty areas. Ideally, the little guy should be in a place where he can see and hear you, but isn’t surrounded by activity.


Proper nutrition is very important! You can give your furry buddy commercial pellet food for his main meals. For treats, you can offer dried fruits and berries and plain nuts and seeds. You’ll also need to provide salt blocks and Vitamin C supplements. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice, including safe and unsafe foods, portion sizes, and suitable treats.

Please contact us, your Moorpark, CA veterinary hospital, with any questions about chinchilla care. We’re here to help!

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