Heya, Casey here! If you’re reading this then that means you may be taking your first steps towards ensuring you have everything you need for your chinchilla buddy!
While I’ve – unfortunately – not personally owned any chinchillas, as a former veterinary technician of 7 years I’ve accumulated plenty of experience in learning from a knowledgeable veterinarian, as well as all the chinchilla pet owners who came in for checkups and visits!
Before I go on I want you to remember one thing, while you can research day and night for the best products on the market, at the end of the day the final decisions are up to you as your chinchillas caretaker!
Use your best judgement based on what you learn and decide for yourself what you feel confident in using for your little friend.
Chinchilla Supplies List!
The first thing we need to look at is an overall supply list of useful and necessary items for your chinchilla!
This is a very basic supply list where we will only review a couple select items further down.
I have tried to include links where possible, but we will also look at some products more in depth, later in this article.
But for now, here’s a useful Chinchilla supplies list:
- A Chinchilla Safe Cage
- Chinchilla Friendly Bedding
- Metal or Ceramic Food Dish
- Water Bottle
- Hideaway House
- Hayrack or Feeder
- High-Quality Chinchilla Pellets
- Hay (Such as Timothy or other safe options)
- Optional Chinchilla Safe Treats
- Chew Sticks or Blocks
- Bathing Sand
Optional Supplies Include:
- Wooden Tunnels
- PVC Tunnels
- Fleece Hammocks
- Cooling Tiles
- 14” or Larger Exercise Wheel
Additional Things You May Want to Keep Close Include:
- Exotic pet veterinary phone number and location directions
- Travel supplies including cage, feed bowl, and water bottle
- Air conditioning unit
- Vacuum for bedding clean-up – like a shop vac
- Storage containers for all your chinchilla supplies!
Whew! I know that seems like a lot when looking through this list.
A chinchilla’s home is very customizable! So long as you have the basic necessities you will be able to try out all sorts of products to see what your chinchilla likes.
I’m going to go over what you need in a bit more detail, then I’ll offer some product recommendations below!
For now, let’s take a closer look at some key necessities from your chinchilla supply list!
Chinchilla Safe Cage
When it comes to your chins cage you’re going to want something with plenty of room. As chinchillas are social creatures, it’s best if you adopt at least two at a time. So ensuring they have lots of room to play, skitter, jump and snuggle will help keep them happy!
A good rule of thumb for two chinchillas is to have a minimum of 12 cubic inches of space, which is enough space for two chins and a couple toys. However, as with most pocket pets, the more space you have, the better!
This is especially true when it comes to height. Chinchillas are naturally from mountainous regions, meaning the love climbing, running, and hopping upwards. So having enough space for platforms, ramps, and ledges is ideal!
You’re going to want a cage that is high in durability since you’re guaranteed to enjoy your little chins acrobatic stunts! A wire cage is great for this as it’s sturdy and easy to clean.
Ensure that you avoid cages that have a galvanized coat or lead paint as these can prove harmful to your chins. A powder-coated metal cage is an ideal choice.
Finally, the base of the cage and all parts your chinchilla may walk on should be a solid surface. Wire mesh floors and platforms can cause sores on your chins sensitive feet, so best to avoid these all together!
If you find a change that has a wire flooring, then consider putting down a fleece liner to protect your chins feet.
Here’s an chinchilla cage that seems to fit all of the requirements.
Chinchilla Safe Bedding
Chinchillas have similar bedding needs to those of other pocket pets.
This Carefresh bedding is a widely used amongst chinchilla owners
However, let’s take a look at the most popular options:
Avoid the use of pine and cedar wood shavings as the oils from both have proven harmful, along with the strong fragrance cedar shavings put out.
If you’re going with wood shavings, stick with Aspen.
It has low dust, aroma, and adequate absorption rate.
There are multiple varieties of paper bedding, including natural paper, pellets, granules, and strips.
Personally, I much prefer the natural paper or strips as they are soft and cozy for snuggling but absorbent enough to take care of the urine and odors.
Much like guinea pigs, Chinchillas love having a place to snuggle and hide.
Fleece bedding or liners are a great option if you have a mesh flooring.
The idea behind the use of fleece is that urine soaks straight through the fleece to an absorbent layer beneath.
At the same time, fleece liners are great for litter box trained chinchillas.
Chinchilla Safe Food
Chinchillas have very sensitive digestive tracts, so they have some rather specific dietary requirements to remain healthy.
Diets high in fiber and protein while low in fat and moisture are the way to go.
Avoiding seeds and nuts will help keep your chinchillas weight under control while keeping a consistent hay source available will maintain their roughage needs for fiber intake, nutrition, and naturally grinding down their open-rooted teeth.
I always recommend focusing on pellet-based diets to discourage selective eating, with a consistent supply of Timothy hay for your chins to forage throughout the day and night.
Safe treat options mostly include chinchilla friendly herbs. However, some mixed variety diets can be a good treat source if you’re looking to give your little buddies something different.
Natural treat options include rose hips, marigold, rolled oats and alfalfa hay.
If you’ve not seen it yet, check out my other article titled: Best food for chinchillas – How to give them a healthy diet! For a more in-depth view of what your chin buddies need!
Chinchilla Friendly Bathing Sand
Like other pocket pets, bathing your chins in water is a bad idea. Not only are chins fur incredibly thick and fine, but they are also highly absorbent and hold moisture very well.
This can lead to a number of issues if left alone, including a matted mess of fur, chilling effects for your chin, and even the growth of fungus.
So instead of water, focus on the healthy alternative of sand.
You’ll probably see a multitude of both sand and dust options on the market for pocket pets to cleanse themselves with.
Taking a ‘dry’ bath helps to keep your chins fur glossy and clean, and while the dust works well in their fur, it isn’t very good for their upper respiratory systems.
Inhaling dust can cause a number of issues from simple irritation to full-blown infections.
It is for this reason, I always recommend using a pocket pet-friendly sand for their dry bathing option.
Cooling Tiles Or Slabs
Since chinchillas were originally built for the coolness of mountainous regions, their dense coats do remarkably well at holding in heat and keeping them warm.
Unfortunately for us, this means our little chins have a higher chance of overheating! To help prevent this, you can ensure that your chins remain in a cooled environment, such as an air-conditioned room.
This is especially important if you live in an area that may go above 70 degrees Fahrenheit / 21 degrees Celsius. When temperatures are this high, an air-conditioned room is not an option but a requirement! Fans simply circulate the air while not actually cooling it.
So ensure your chinchillas have a cool space to hang out in during the warm days.
Overall, regardless of your regions typical weather habits, it’s a good idea to have a couple of self-cooling tiles, slabs or terracotta in your chins cage for them to lounge on.
Recommended Products for Chinchillas
Now that we’ve reviewed the basic necessities of what chinchillas need for their environment, it’s time to take a look at some product recommendations!
Living World Deluxe Habitat
This cage option is perhaps one of the most popular for chinchillas, rabbits and guinea pigs! It is one of my favorites for its large and roomy interior.
This habitat is available in three sizes and provides everything that you need to safely house your chin. The hybrid cage has a plastic bottom base to keep bedding inside with a wire frame up top to keep everything well ventilated.
There are access points from both the top and size so you can easily reach in and either interact with your chin or get the cage cleaned up!
This habitat includes a ramp and balcony setting with an included tip-proof food dish that nestles securely to the balcony floor. This cage also includes a hideaway space under the balcony to give your chins a quiet and secure hiding place.
It comes with a drip-proof water bottle and a hay guard, both of which are located outside the cage to save interior space and allow easy maintenance access.
MidWest Homes for Pets Ferret Nation
For a larger, three-tiered cage option you may want to consider this deluxe MidWest Homes For Pets.
My favorite part of this option is the solid shelving units with the climbable ramping system for your chins to explore and enjoy.
I also thoroughly love the double doors on the top and bottom, along with the removable shelves to provide maximum accessibility for easy cleaning, feeding, and play time!
This unit contains multiple attachment points for the addition of hammocks, tubes, and toys for your chinchilla to thoroughly enjoy!
This sturdy and durable metal cage and stand unit sits on four locking wheel casters, allowing for easy mobility to ensure your chins are able to be moved from one room to another, should you find they are in need of relocating.
For the bottom of this cage, many chin owners put in a tub base to keep bedding contained. There is so much you can do to customize this cage that it is well worth the upfront cost!
Carefresh Complete Pet Bedding
When it comes to a straight paper bedding option, the Carefresh Complete is my go-to choice for all of my pocket pets.
This bedding is made from 100% reclaimed natural fiber that has been gathered from the pulp waste fibers that were too short to make paper. This “waste” from the papermaking process is gathered before the additions of inks, dyes, clay or chemicals.
Since it’s impossible to determine which trees were being used at any point in time for the production of paper, Carefresh further processes the pulp to remove potentially harmful aromatic hydrocarbons that typically come from pine and cedar woods, leaving a basically odorless bedding.
They then sanitize the bedding to 380 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent any type of growth of bacteria, mold or fungus.
This paper bedding provides your chin a cozy and natural bedding that has superior absorbency and odor control, best of all it’s basically dust-free!
GuineaDad Fleece Liner 2.0
The use of fleece fabric for a liner is a great addition in the comfort level provided for your chin.
While typically fleece is used in conjunction with a litter pan, if your chinchilla isn’t box trained then you may want to consider my top pick.
The GuineaDad fleece liner! While the name indicates it’s for guinea pigs, it works well for chinchillas too.
The thick padding between layers of soft fleece makes these liners cozy to lay on. It’s an all-in-one option for comfort, absorbency and even has a built in a waterproof backing to prevent leaks.
Unlike fleece that you may find at your local craft shop, this all in one style is hypoallergenic for your extra sensitive chins, has antibacterial properties and is of course, completely dust free. My favorite part of this liner is that it has a built-in sleeve for your chins to snuggle down and relax in.
Don’t let the initial cost scare you away, the use of this fleece liner will provide optimal savings in the long run!
Oxbow Animal Health Chinchilla Deluxe Fortified Small Animal Feeds
My personal go-to brand for all my pocket pet diets is Oxbow. This company consistently provides nutritious, well balanced diets for pocket pets, and when it comes to chinchillas, the Oxbow Chinchilla Deluxe Fortified is my favorite.
The base of this pelleted diet is farm-fresh alfalfa hay which provides your chins with necessary fiber. This Oxbow Chinchilla Deluxe diet is further balanced with a specially formulated blend of stabilized nutrients to meet the distinctive needs of Chinchillas.
This diet is great for chinchillas of all ages as it provides optimal amounts of protein, energy, and fiber, all necessary components that are needed to maintain your chins intestinal health and aids in the prevention of digestive upset.
The best part of this diet is that there are no seeds, nuts, sugary fruits, artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. It is a natural, delicious and nutritious diet for your chins to thrive on!
Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting “Perfect Blend” Timothy Hay Pet Food
Timothy hay is one of the most important staples for roughage eating pocket pets.
This is especially true for the sensitive digestive tracts of our little chinchilla buddies. Timothy hay is my go-to suggestion as it provides a healthy amount of fiber to keep things moving!
Second cut hay refers to hay that has been harvested once, then allowed to re-grow to be harvested again.
Unlike the coarse stems and seed head heavy first cut hay, when it comes to the second cut, the stems are softer and less coarse, have fewer seed heads and are leafier. Meanwhile, the third cut is the softest and leafiest, providing the least amount of fiber.
The second cut hay option has adequate fiber, good firmness for keeping teeth ground down, and a delicious flavor that chins adore.
This Small Pet Select 2nd cutting Timothy hay is perfect for all my pocket pets, especially the chins I’ve treated! When it comes to hay, the second cut is often the most popular as it brings together the best of both first and third cuts!
The hay comes fresh to your doorstep, sealed in a box that keeps the hay beautifully green, soft, sweet tasting, and so fragrant you can practically smell the meadows.
Kaytee Chinchilla Chiller Granite Stone
The final product recommendation I have for today is the Kaytee Chinchilla Chiller, better known to the chin community as the chin-chiller! Since chinchillas are easily overheated thanks to their dense fur, it’s important to give them ample opportunity to cool off.
Granite stones naturally maintain a surface temperature below room temperature and don’t retain heat very well at all. Making this the perfect spot for your chins to relax and cool off if they are feeling a bit warm.
This stone measures 6 inches long by 10 inches wide, making it the perfect size for a lounging chin while being small enough to be placed anywhere inside your chins cage.
Don’t be surprised if you catch your chins snoozing on these comfortably cool stones during the summer months!
This chin-chiller can serve a dual purpose if you choose to use fleece in your cages, the chin-chiller can easily hold down the corners to prevent your active furballs from moving their liner around too much!
Chinchillas are fantastic pets to have in the home. They are low maintenance and overall a joy to watch and interact with!
The requirements for their habitats and homes are basically the same as for most pocket pets, with a few specific additions for their species-specific needs!
As I said before, at the end of the day the chins in your care are yours! As their caretaker, it’s up to you to decide what you feel is best for them and yourself!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article today and maybe learned a few things as well!
Be sure to check out my other articles on chinchillas and other pocket pets!