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Caring for a Chinchilla

Are you considering adopting a chinchilla? These little guys make great pets! In this article, a Happy Valley, OR vet discusses chinchilla care.

Basics

Chinchillas are very sociable little furballs. One chinchilla may get sad and lonely without any friends to keep him company. Get your tiny pal a roommate. Just be sure to only host same-sex pairs together. Chinchillas tend to be very timid and easily frightened. Keep your pets in a calm area, somewhere they won’t be exposed to a lot of noise or commotion.

Toys

Living in a cage can be dull, so make sure your tiny pets have lots of toys to occupy themselves with. Your chinchillas will love some climbing branches. Just be sure to only offer safe woods, such as willow, apple, hazelnut, or pear. You can also give your pets tunnels and mazes to explore. Wood blocks and ladders are more good options.

Cage

Providing a clean, comfortable cage is very important. Chinchillas love to climb, so pick a tall cage with multiple levels. Choose one with a solid bottom, as wire floors can be dangerous. To prevent escapes and injuries, the bars should be less than a half-inch apart. Once you’ve chosen the cage, you’ll need to add a dust bath, hidey-holes, and a water bottle. As for substrate, aspen is a good option. Avoid pine and cedar substrates, which are toxic to small animals.

Temperature

Chinchillas are suited for cold climates, so overheating can be a serious problem with them. Keep your pets in a room that does not go above 80 °F. Ideally, your pets’ cage should always be around 68 °F.

Food

Proper nutrition is a cornerstone of any good pet care regimen. Your little pals should always have fresh water and grass hay. Your chinchillas can have commercial food for their main meals. For treats, you can offer blackberry leaves, certain nuts, rose hips, or dried fruit. Ask your vet for specific nutritional recommendations.

Veterinary Care

Just like any other pet, chinchillas need regular veterinary care to stay healthy. Ask your vet to recommend an appointment schedule. You’ll also want to get tips on signs of illness to watch for. Some common ones are lethargy, diarrhea, respiratory issues, watery eyes, lack of appetite, and drooling.

Please feel free to contact us, your local Happy Valley, OR animal clinic, anytime. We are here to help!

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