Have you recently adopted a chinchilla? These cute little animals are becoming very popular! However, they are quite fragile, and need proper care to thrive. A big part of that is making sure that your little buddy gets proper nutrition. A Las Vegas, NV veterinarian offers some tips on this below.
Wild chinchillas eat lots of grass, hay, and twigs, so your pet’s diet should reflect this. Like many other small animals, chinchillas need a constant supply of low-calcium hay. Suitable options include Timothy hay, orchard grass, botanical hay, and meadow hay. Alfalfa is okay as a treat, but shouldn’t be fed too often, as your pet could potentially develop dental problems and/or digestive issues. Store the hay in a cool, dry place, and change it out daily so it doesn’t get moldy. (Tip: you may want to use a hay rack to keep it clean and dry.)
Your adorable pets can have grass-based pellets for their main meals. Be careful with portion sizes, as overfeeding chinchillas even by a little bit can cause issues. Ask your vet for advice, including serving sizes and feeding schedules.
Just like any other animal, chinchillas love treats. These guys often enjoy sweets, but don’t indulge them too much. Dried fruits, such as apple, banana, or pineapple, are suitable, as are raisins, cranberries, and dried rose hips. You can also offer many fruit and berry branches, including blackberry, strawberry, and hibiscus; and certain herbs, such as dandelion, rosemary, and parsley. Just don’t go overboard with sugary treats.
It’s also important to know what isn’t safe. Any type of seeds, grains, or nuts are a definite no, as is anything else that contains lots of fat and/or sugar. Yogurt drops are often sold as chinchilla treats, but you’ll need to be careful with these, because of the high sugar content. Citrus fruits, such as lemons and grapefruit, should also be avoided, as they’re too acidic. Other unsafe foods include corn, chocolate, dairy products, and fruits with a high water content, such as watermelon. Ask your vet for more information.
Keep an eye out for any signs of potential digestive issues, such as lethargy, bloating, or diarrhea. Contact your vet immediately if you see anything unusual.
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