Common Chinchilla Care Mistakes

Have you just adopted a chinchilla? Chinchillas are super cute and fun pets. However, just like any other pet, they need proper care to thrive. An Ellicott City, MD vet lists some common chinchilla care mistakes below.

Dirty Cage

Chinchillas are very clean. These guys absolutely hate dirty cages. We can’t blame them; dirty cages are both smelly and unsightly, and can be a haven for dangerous germs. Keep that cage clean!

Wrong Substrate

Many pet stores carry substrate made out of hardwoods, such as cedar. These are actually quite dangerous, as the oils can damage your chin’s liver. Softwoods aren’t great either, as the dust can cause respiratory issues. Ask your vet for recommendations.

Poor Diet

Proper nutrition is one of the most important cornerstones of a good chinchilla care regimen. Chinchillas have very sensitive stomachs, and can get quite sick if they aren’t getting the right types of food. Giving your little friend too many treats can also lead to health issues. Ask your vet for specific advice, including portion sizes and suitable snacks.

Open Water

It’s best for your chinchilla to get his water from a bottle, rather than a bowl, though if your pet has never had a bottle, he may need to get used to it. Open bowls can be contaminated by waste or bedding, which can lead to infections.

Poor Cage Setup

Making sure that your pint-sized pal is both happy and comfortable in their cage will really go a long way here. Ask your vet for information on how to set the cage up properly. That also includes picking the right spot. Chinchillas do not do well with extreme temperatures, so you’ll need to put your miniature pal in a spot that will get too hot or too cold.

No Dust Baths

Chinchillas clean themselves by taking dust baths. This should happen at least once a week. Provide your little buddy with their own ‘spa’ for these beauty sessions.


Chubby chinchillas may be cute, but they are at risk of developing some very serious health issues. Offer your little buddy lots of toys, and give them time outside their cage to play. (Make sure to petproof the area.) Exercise wheels are also great for chinchilla workouts. Just make sure to choose a solid one.

Call us, your local Ellicott City, MD animal clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

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