Chinchillas can make wonderful pets for the right family.

They are smart, inquisitive, and loving animals. They are active, vocal, and entertaining to watch.

​They are not recommended for young children. Children are often overzealous with affection and could frighten or injure a chinchilla. A chinchilla could possibly bite a child out of fear. Although loving animals, they do require gentle and careful handling.

Download the Chinchilla Care Guide.

When Should I Bring My Sick Chinchilla to the Vet?

  • Wet or soiled tail
  • Blood in the urine or straining to urinate
  • Sneezing or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sitting hunched or lethargic
  • Not eating or drinking
  • Diarrhea
  • Actively bleeding
  • Unresponsive, unconscious or limp
  • Seizures

Chinchilla Health Care

  • Chinchillas by nature hide symptoms and signs of illnesses making early detection of disease difficult.
  • New patient exams and yearly examinations are therefore strongly recommended to help your chinchilla live a long and happy life.
  • If you notice any changes to your chinchilla’s behavior, appetite or bowel movements we would recommend contacting us immediately.

Chinchilla Housing


  • Avoid wire bottom cages as these can cause injuries as feet can get caught in the wire mesh.
  • Avoid aquariums or plastic containers as they don’t allow for good ventilation.
  • Chinchillas are very active and multi-level cages can allow them to jump and climb.
  • Try to find a cage with a removable bottom pan to make cleaning easy.
  • Provide branches and climbing areas to allow your chinchilla to exercise and move about the cage.
  • Provide nest boxes within the cage.
  • Ensure the cage is in a cool, dry location with good ventilation as chinchillas do not do well with high humidity or high heat.


  • Always use unscented bedding and avoid cedar and pine shavings – strongly smelling bedding can cause irritation to the nose and lungs and contribute to respiratory disease.
  • CareFresh or recycled newspaper beddings (eg Yesterday’s News) are recommended as they are good absorbable unscented materials.
  • Ensure to clean the bedding regularly – spot clean daily and change all the bedding 1-2 times a week.

Dust Baths

  • Chinchillas require dust baths to keep their fur in good condition, removing oil and dirt from the fur.
  • Provide commercial chinchilla dust for 15-20mins daily or several times a week. Excessive use may lead to eye problems so don’t leave the dust bath in the cage at all times.

Chinchilla Nutrition

  • Always ensure fresh water is available, most chinchillas will learn to drink from a water bottle.


  • 75-80% of the diet should be good quality hay as this helps regulate their digestive system and helps prevent dental diseases.
  • Ensure hay is always readily available.
  • Timothy hay is recommended however other alternatives include orchard grass and oat hays if your chinchilla won’t eat timothy hay.
  • Always ensure your hay is fresh and free from mold.
  • Pellets
  • Chinchilla pellets provide a balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
  • Avoid pellets that are sold as “mixes” containing seeds, fruits or nuts – your chinchilla will pick out their favorite food and often not obtain the balanced diet they need. They can also be too high in fats leading to excessive weight gain.
  • Use a timothy hay based pellet.
  • Feed 1-2 tablespoons of pellets per day for an adult chinchilla.