It can be really upsetting when your pet gets ill. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to help keep your chinchillas healthy.
A daily health check
Once you get to know your chinchillas, you’ll soon learn what’s normal for them. This will help you spot any signs of when they might be feeling under the weather.
Check your Chinchillas every day and visit your vet if you notice anything unusual like:
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Drinking much more or less than normal
- Lack of energy/sleeping more than usual
- Unusual swellings
- Skin conditions
- Unusual bleeding
- Signs of pain, such as sensitivity to touch
- Runny eyes or nose
- Overgrown teeth.
- Changes in your Chinchillas' behaviour can also be a sign of illness.
Taking a dust bath
Chinchillas need a daily dust bath to keep their fur in tip top condition. If they don't have a dust bath their fur can get matted because of the oils their skin naturally produces.
- Choose a dust bath that's large enough for your chinchillas to roll in.
- Fill it about 4-6cm deep with Chinchilla sand. This is a specialist sand for chinchillas to bathe in and you can buy it in pet shops and our online PDSA Pet Store.
- Limit their bath time to 10 minutes or they might start using their bath as a toilet! Long dust baths can also cause eye problems.
Stopping your Chinchillas from getting bored
Boredom is bad for Chinchillas. If they're bored they might develop problems with their behaviour or eat too much and get fat.
Giving them plenty of toys is a great way of stopping boredom and keeping them active.
- Cardboard rolls and boxes make great, affordable toys.
- You can buy toys from pet shops too, like wooden seesaws, shelters and ramps. Avoid plastic toys as these can splinter and are harmful if eaten.
- Make feeding fun! Scatter some food around the cage and hide some in tubes, so they have an interesting treasure hunt. Find out more about what to feed your chinchilla on our chinchilla diet page.
Taking care of their teeth
Chinchilla’s teeth keep growing constantly. They need to naturally wear their teeth down so they don’t get overgrown. Chinchillas love chewing and it helps them wear down their teeth naturally so they don’t get overgrown. You can give them a gnawing block or some softwood branches to chew on (untreated apple or pear branches are ideal). Find out about other things they love to chew on our chinchilla diet page.
Your chinchillas’ diet also plays a really important part in keeping their teeth healthy. Avoid feeding them muesli-style mixes as chinchillas often only eat the parts that are high in sugar, which can cause painful dental disease.