As chinchilla owners, we all love to treat our chinchillas whenever possible, but many owners want to make sure that their chinchillas are receiving treats that are as healthy as possible for them.
Throughout this blog, we will highlight some key items that your chinchilla will be able to eat and what they will not be able to eat so that you can ensure that they are receiving only the best quality treats because looking into your chinchilla's diet is also considered chinchilla care.
Can Chinchillas Eat Celery?
Considering celery contains a high amount of water and low fiber, it is strongly recommended that you do not give celery as a treat to your chinchilla.
Typically, chinchillas need only about 2 ounces of water a day since their natural habitat in the Andes mountains is very dry, and their bodies have become accustomed to a lack of fresh water, so celery can be an unwanted source of water for them.
When your chinchilla receives an excessive amount of water such as this in their diet, it can result in bloating, which can be uncomfortable for your chinchilla and even potentially deadly in some cases.
The good news is that celery isn't toxic to chinchillas, but if they manage to get their hands on some celery and eat it, keep an eye out for bloat symptoms. If you notice runny poop or diarrhea after ingesting celery, you can feed your chinchilla burnt toast to help regulate them.
Are Carrots safe for a Chinchilla's Diet?
Chinchillas eating baby carrot or regular carrots isn’t typically recommended. Although there's more fiber in carrots than celery, the water content is still high, as well as the sugar content is through the roof and can be unsafe for your chinchilla to consume in large quantities.
Some owners see the benefit of eating baby carrot for chinchillas being the vitamins and minerals that come from them, as well as having a good texture to support tooth health.
However, we can't recommend carrots as a treat for your chinchilla as there are much better options for both vitamins and dental health.
There is plenty of chinchilla-safe treats that provide the same vitamins and minerals that carrots can. As well, apple sticks, pumice stones, and chinchilla-safe woods can provide better benefits for your chinchilla's dental health.
Can Chinchillas Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Since sweet potatoes and other root vegetables contain a high amount of sugar and do not have an optimal nutritional composition, they should not be used as treats.
While some sources say dried sweet potatoes can be safe in small quantities, this could not be more false.
As mentioned below, dried-down fruits and vegetables with a high sugar content concentrate the amount of sugar your chinchilla could eat in one sitting.
As a general rule, chinchilla hay provides the same exact vitamins and nutrients as sweet potatoes, with a lot more fiber than sweet potatoes, so feeding hay to your chinchilla will definitely be a safer alternative.
Can Chinchillas Eat Lettuce or Leafy Greens?
Since animals like guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits need leafy greens in their diet, many chinchilla owners wonder if their chinchilla should be having fresh vegetables in their diet.
Unfortunately, feeding your chinchilla leafy greens provides the same issue as feeding them celery or carrots, as many leafy greens have extremely high water content and can cause issues with your chinchilla's digestive system.
What Vegetables Can Chinchillas Eat?
While we do not recommend feeding your chinchilla anything on this list, we wanted to give a small collection of vegetables that are not toxic to your chinchilla if they manage to find and eat them.
Even if these items are not toxic, in the event that your chinchilla gets access to these items, we urge you to keep a close eye on them, and if any type of negative signs is observed, we urge you to consult your veterinarian.
Alfalfa and Loofah
Chinchillas can eat alfalfa and alfalfa cubes from time to time but they should not be given often due to their high calcium content, which could cause bladder stones if consumed too frequently.
While a technicality on the word “vegetable” as they’re harvested after being safe for human consumption, Loofah is another vegetable that is entirely safe for chinchillas to have and encouraged to keep in their cage.
As long as bell peppers, parsley, radishes, and zucchini are consumed in very small quantities and small pieces by chinchillas, they are not toxic, but they should not be used as treats at any time.
Can Chinchillas Eat Strawberries and Berries?
It should be noted that berries are one of the few fruits your chinchilla can eat, however, there are only certain different types of berries that should be fed to your chinchilla as a treat.
It's also important to note that unsafe berries for your chinchillas are the ones you are more likely to see every day, such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.
As these can contain high amounts of sugar and water. (though they aren’t dangerous if accidentally ingested in small amounts)
If you would like to give your chinchilla berries as occasional treats, you can give them dried berries such as rosehips, goji berries, and hawthorn berries. But it’s important to buy these berries from reputable chinchilla treat sources.
Can Chinchillas Eat Apples?
Sugar is still a large concern when it comes to eating apples, but owners can give very small amounts to their chinchillas with the peel included, as the peel does contain fiber that can be beneficial.
When it comes to feeding your chinchillas apples, you can choose apples with peels that have a more neutral taste, such as gala, but overall we recommend sticking to standard treats to be on the safe side.
Can Chinchillas Eat Raisins?
This is one common myth that has been perpetuated in the chinchilla owner's community. Raisins are incredibly unhealthy for a chinchilla to eat due to the extremely high sugar content they have.
The biggest danger with anything that has a high sugar content for your chinchilla mainly lies in the fermentation process in their stomach after ingesting these items.
The fermentation can lead to a large build-up of gas and cause bloat in your chinchilla since they cannot expel gas like humans.
The best alternative you could give your chinchilla would be goji berries since they are much healthier than raisins for your chinchilla.
Can Chinchillas Eat Watermelon?
Because of their extremely high water content, watermelon is one of the most dangerous fruits that chinchillas could eat.
The consumption of watermelon on its own can cause diarrhea, bloating, and a host of other digestive issues for your chinchilla.
As a matter of fact, the benefits that your chinchilla can receive from eating watermelon are quite negligible when compared with the risks that your pet might face if you feed it to them.
What Fruit Can Chinchillas Eat?
Chinchillas can consume very few fruits safely, so like the list of vegetables that chinchillas can have, this list is more of a non-toxic guide than a list of foods that we recommend you feed your chinchilla.
Fresh cranberries, cherries, and peaches are about the only fruits that aren’t toxic to chinchillas in small amounts. However, the pits of cherries and peaches are incredibly toxic and you should make sure your chinchilla never gets a hold of these.
As a result of its high sugar content, we cannot stress enough the fact that we do not recommend feeding your chinchillas any fruit in any form. But if your chinchilla gets access to any, keep a very close eye on them.
Fresh Or Dried - What’s Better?
The truth is that there are very few fruits and vegetables your chinchilla should consume at all, but fresh or dried depends on what exactly you're feeding your chinchilla.
For almost everything except berries that are suitable and safe for chinchillas, fresh is always going to be the best choice.
Low Moisture Chinchilla Diet
Even though chinchillas require a low moisture diet, dried fruits and veggies tend to be higher in sugar than their fresh counterparts.
Any berries, such as Goji berries should be dehydrated to reduce the moisture you are introducing into your chinchilla's diet, and should only be given in a very small amount (no more than 1-2 per week.)
What Chinchillas Can Eat?
In addition, apple sticks can be great items to keep in your chinchilla's cage as they help to file down the teeth of your chinchilla and promote good dental health.
Knowing what fruits can chinchillas eat and knowing the answer to the question; can chinchillas eat vegetables, there aren't many safe fruits or vegetables that your chinchilla can eat due to their delicate digestive system.
In most cases, for them to stay healthy, you’ll find it isn't even necessary to feed them anything additional in their diet than pellets and hay and with the need to know about chinchilla care that's outside their diet.
If your chinchilla ingests any of the items on this list that aren’t explicitly stated to be safe, we recommend monitoring your chinchilla closely, keeping Critical Care or gas drops on hand in case symptoms of bloat, and being ready to take them for a vet visit if necessary.
Have Questions About Chinchilla Diets or Chinchillas?
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Author Bio: Morgan Mulac