Chinchillas are wonderful pets with very specific needs that must be met if they are to be healthy and happy. PFMA is a member of the Animal Welfare Education Alliance and we believe that owning and caring for a pet is a big responsibility. We recommend all owners read about their duty of care, as outlined in the Animal Welfare Act, and understand about their pet’s five welfare needs.
Chinchillas are a prey species and are scared of predator animals such as birds of prey, cats, dogs and reptiles. You should always make sure your chinchilla has somewhere safe to hide, away from the sight and smell of predators.
A chinchilla can live with others although they should be spayed or neutered. Any introductions to other chinchillas, pets or other family members should be gradual. Naturally they are wary of noise too and this is something to note if young children visit!
Chinchillas are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are awake at night – often barking or chirping in the early hours. Although they rarely sit still, they are shy and fragile, which means they are more suitable for adults and older children.
Dental problems are a major health issue for chinchillas. They need to eat fibre and grind their teeth on wooden blocks to wear down their continuously growing teeth. If teeth don’t get worn down enough this can cause drooling and lack of appetite. Your vet will be able to advise you on your pet’s teeth.
An owner should regularly check that their chinchilla is healthy and happy. You can do this by monitoring if there are any changes in eating, drinking, toilet habits and his / her behaviour or appearance.
If you are concerned about your chinchilla’s health, we always advise you see your vet.