Chinchilla Nutrition

Your chinchilla is an herbivore, which means he eats only plant material. Herbivores need to have food moving constantly through their digestive systems to avoid health problems. A diet of mostly hay provides the fiber necessary to do this. Add fortified pellets daily to round out your chinchilla’s healthy diet.

Hay
Hay is absolutely vital to the digestive health of your chinchilla. It prevents obesity, dental disease, diarrhea and boredom. Your chinchilla should have unlimited access to quality grass hay. Unless the hay in your pet’s habitat is soiled, do not replace it. Replacing it could encourage picky eating! If it’s fed correctly you also can offer alfalfa hay to chinchillas with higher nutritional requirements, including animals less than a year old, geriatric, pregnant or nursing animals, or chinchillas recovering from an illness. In a young, healthy chinchilla’s diet, use alfalfa only as a treat.

Hay Selection

  • Hay should make up the majority of your pet’s daily diet.
  • Resist offering the same type of hay. Offer a variety of hay for optimum health.
  • Hay is a product of nature, so it’s normal for each bag to look and feel different.

We recommend keeping on hand at least two of these Oxbow varieties of all natural farm-fresh hay: Western Timothy, Orchard Grass, Oat Hay, Alfalfa Hay, Organic Meadow Hay and Botanical Hay.

Pellets
A complete fortified pellet helps you make sure your pet is getting all the vitamins and minerals required for a healthy diet. A high-fiber pellet made from hay is best for your chinchilla.

Pellet Selection

  • Choose a pellet designed especially for chinchillas.
  • Select an age-appropriate pellet for your pet.
  • Avoid mixes with nuts, corn, seeds and fruit. Chinchillas cannot digest and metabolize these rich ingredients. Also, providing these tempting foods in abundance along with healthy foods could encourage your pet to choose tastier, less healthy foods over healthy hays and pellets.

Treats and Veggies
Treats are a great way to bond with your chinchilla. You love giving treats and he loves eating them! However, the main purpose of a treat should be to encourage interaction between you and your chinchilla. Offering too many treats can encourage your pet to refuse basic foods and rob him of nutrition. Contrary to popular belief, chinchillas don’t need a steady supply of carrots and other sweet treats such as yogurt drops and seed sticks. Offer all-natural treats only after your pet eats basic foods. Chinchillas also can have vegetables, but consider vegetables a treat. Vegetables such as romaine, bib and red leaf lettuce are good choices. Do not feed more than one teaspoon a day. As with any new food, be sure to introduce new vegetables slowly to avoid upsetting your pet’s stomach and causing diarrhea.