It is normal to want to give your Chinchilla treats. But be careful, these shouldn’t substitute a basic, healthy diet. So what treats can I give my Chinchilla?
Why give your Chinchilla treats?
You can start giving your Chinchilla treats from when they first arrive home. It can be an excellent way to help tame your new pet and allow you both to become more familiar with one another, as well as encourage them to come to you more freely. However, be careful not to overdo it.
There are a number of different treats you can give your Chinchilla to get them used to your presence or to simply treat them from time to time.
Avoid giving them treats more than three times per week so as not to upset their digestive system and develop their taste for treat foods. The more treats given, the likelihood they will stop or decrease eating their normal food, which could present some unwanted health problems. No more than a teaspoon’s worth is about right.
Choosing treats for your Chinchilla
There are many foods too rich or too fatty for a Chinchilla, so it is important to note that not any treat can be given to your pet.
Treats you can give your Chinchilla
Your Chinchilla will love leaves and dried flowers. When you buy them, you should make sure they are free from pesticides, animal waste, or any other chemical or pollutant. You can collect your own, although again be sure they haven’t been exposed to nasty substances. To find the best leaves and dried flowers for your Chinchilla, go to a specialised pet food store or to a herbalist who can guarantee the quality of the products.
Here is a small list of treats that you can give to your Chinchilla: nettle leaves, linden leaves, chamomile flowers, peppermint leaves, romaine lettuce, dandelion root, dandelion leaves, Malva sylvestris leaves, raspberry leaves, strawberry leaves, carob leaves, cactus flowers, blackcurrant leaves, marigold flowers, rose petals, rosebuds, bramble leaves, and milk thistle.
You can also give your Chinchilla a mixture of soy and linseed. Although these are considered treats, in small amounts they are good for digestion and can help manage constipation. They will also help to maintain your Chinchilla’s beautiful coat.
Treats you should not give your Chinchilla
Avoid giving your Chinchilla dried raisins entirely, or no more than once per week as they are too rich for your Chinchilla to digest regularly. Similarly, avoid any high-sugar, high-fat treats; treats designed for other animals and rodents; and dried fruit and oleaginous products (i.e. nuts including hazelnuts, almonds, etc.). Also avoid parsley, mistletoe berries (toxic) and sunflower seeds (very bad for the liver!). As with all animals, do not give your Chinchilla sweets or other sugary treats intended for human consumption, including cakes and chocolate!
Unlike squirrels, Chinchillas do not eat acorns or chestnuts. Be careful with various plants and woods toxic to Chinchillas. If you’re unsure, always ask an expert before feeding the item to your Chinchilla.
Also beware of mixed treats that you can find in pet food stores. Always check the contents to avoid upsetting your Chinchilla’s digestive system.
Following these tips will ensure your Chinchilla maintains a healthy diet and positive well being.