I remember when I rescued my chinchilla, Jasper. Jasper showed up at my doorstep in nothing but a tiny dog carrier. Yes, I said dog carrier! The woman who owned him lived in a van and had this poor little guy living in a tiny space not even big enough for a mouse! Anyway, before bringing this guy home I did some quick research and quickly made a shopping list of everything my new chinchilla was going to need. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find just one site that had all of the information that I needed! Luckily for me, I had a few hours before I was supposed to pick him up, so I did my shopping list research and away I went to purchase what I needed. I had to read five or six different articles to make a complete shopping list. I have typed up the results of that research into one resource for you. Below is my chinchilla shopping list.
The absolute bare minimum items that you will need include:
(1) Cage: Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation is the cage I use and recommend.
(2) Basic Accessories you will need include:
- a hay rack (unless one is built into the cage),
- a water bottle,
- a food dish which cannot be knocked over,
- a dust bath,
- food – Oxbow essentials, APD-Alffy Pellets (American Pet Diner) and Mazuri pellets. and alfalfa cubes
- chinchilla dust or chinchilla sand. Do not use ordinary sand as this is too coarse. Read my post “Why Do Chinchillas Need Dust Baths” to decide which one you want to use.
- 100% kiln dried all natural pine – wood based cat litter is ok. Alternatively, you may line the litter tray with newspaper or dog pee pads provided the chins cannot reach the paper. Do not use sawdust as this is too fine, and do not use cedar wood shavings (cedar is harmful to chins).
- pine box for hiding and chewing
- lava rocks,
- LOOSE Timothy Hay
In the rest of this article, I’ll give more info on toys your chinchilla will enjoy, supplements to keep him/her healthy, acceptable treats, and types of wooden chews you can provide.
Toys Your Chinchilla Will Enjoy
Please take a moment and read my full post about Best Toys And Exercise Wheel For Your Chinchilla. It will really help you to make sure you get the right size wheel and don’t just buy according to the cute pictures on the front of the packages. Although some wheels show a chinchilla on the front of their packaging, doesn’t mean its safe for your chinchilla! Here are the items which are suitable to leave in your chinchillas’ cage I generally recommend:
- hanging parrot toys (Don’t forget to check that they are made from safe trees.)
- sisal ropes (again designed for parrots, but chins love them)
- pieces of pumice stone
- some rabbit or large hamster toys
- wood or branches, e.g. Safe woods are Apple Arbutus Ash, Aspen, Beech, Birch, Cottonwood, Crabapple, Dogwood, Elm, Fir, Hawthorn, Hazelnut, Larch, Magnolia, Manzanita, Mulberry, Kiln-Pine (not fresh pine), Pear, Poplar, and Sequoia.
- stuffed Booda buddy
DIY Toys For Your Chinchilla
Make your own toys: It is not very hard to make hanging toys with wooden blocks and it is much cheaper to make them at home than buying them. You just need some wooden blocks, wires (or chains), wire cutters, and a drill. If you don’t have a drill, you can drive a nail through the blocks.
- Branches: i.e. apple branches. Chinchillas love to chew apple and pear branches so I would highly recommend using these trees. Of course, you need to make sure that no chemicals and such have been used on the trees.
- Empty toilet paper rolls: Chinchillas’ all time favorite! These are great to hide treats in.
- Popsicle sticks
- Plain cardboard boxes
- Rocks: Rocks of different sizes that have been cleaned and boiled.
Tip! ~ I know I have listed many things above but take a look around your house. You will find things that would be great new toys for your chinchilla. Just watch for glue, tape, staples, etc. Common sense stuff.
Optional, But will help keep your Chinchilla healthy and happy!
Other items you may wish to purchase right away or could need in the future are listed below.
- Ledges and levels
- Exercise Wheel: Exotic Nutrition 15″ Chin-Sprint or 15″ Chin Spin Chinchilla Wheel – Handmade in the USA
- Chewable Vitamin C
- Calf Manna Supplement
Treats which can be given are:
- fruit, try fruits with seeds, not stones or pits, e.g. raisins, dried cranberries, dried strawberries, dried blueberries, dried rose hips, a banana chip, or a piece of apple, pear, a half of a fresh or frozen grape, or kiwi.
- veg, e.g. piece of carrot, flaked peas, parsley, chard, romaine, a dandelion leaf (small and washed). Avoid anything gas forming, e.g. broccoli, cabbage.
- dried herbs, if available you can pick herbs, then after washing them, hang them upside down (in bunches) in a warm area until they have completely dried out. Herbs suitable for chinchillas include oregano, comfrey, mint, nettle, dandelion, and raspberry leaves.
- grain, e.g. rolled oats, oat grouts, healthy cereals low in sugar like Shredded Wheat, plain Cheerios or Cornflakes.
- nuts and seeds, very sparingly – e.g. almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds
- commercially prepared, e.g. chinchilla crackers (produced for chinchillas and available in the US & UK), a small piece of dry toast, or an alfalfa-based animal treat.
- unsalted peanut in the shell, uncooked pasta…
Meds & First Aid
- Acidophilus for balanced gut bacteria
- Albon – Diarrhea Treatment
- Antibiotic cream – For minor cuts
- Baby Oat Cereal
- Baby wipes
- Charcoal – balances gut ph
- Cheek retractor to check molars
- Eye Wash
- Grooming Combs
- High-calorie supplement for weak or sick Chins
- Lavender oil for small abrasions or cuts
- Life Line helps with appetite
- Medical tape
- Ophthalmic Ointment
- Pedialyte for Electrolyte dehydration
- Powdered Goat Milk – kit formula
- Shredded Wheat Biscuits – Diarrhea Treatment
- Simethicone – For Bloat