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Sunshine Chinchillas

Unsafe Products to Avoid

Below are several examples of unsafe products to avoid. These are just a few of the many that are not recommended for chinchillas and can lead to health problems and possible death. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.


Please feel free to send us a message with questions regarding safe/unsafe items.

PLEASE AVOID: plastic of any kind, paper of any kind, clay/corn cob bedding, fabric (anti-pill fabric is the only safe fabric), laminate tiles, rubber, wire shelves or wheels, hay racks of any kind, plastic running balls, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, salt licks, carboard, etc. 


Please see below for a better explanation of why these are unsafe.

Unsafe Items From Left to Right:

  • Carefresh or paper pellet bedding; if a chinchilla ingest this bedding, it can cause gastrointestinal impactions that can require surgery or result in bloat or death.
  • Cedar shavings; this bedding can cause respiratory illness in chinchillas due to the fumes from the bedding.
  • Clay or Corn cob bedding; chinchillas cannot digest clay or corn cob, therefore this bedding can cause deadly impactions if ingested.
  • Towels, blankets, paper towel, newspaper; any of these materials are very unsafe as they can cause deadly impactions and bloat in the digestive system, many chinchillas have died as a result of ingesting these items.
  • Foods with treats; any food that contains fruits, veggies, seeds or nuts should not be given. These can be unhealthy and dangerous for chinchillas.
  • Treats containing fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, or yogurt; these treats are unnecessary and very unhealthy, the only acceptable treats for chinchillas are plain cheerios, plain shredded wheat cereal, rosehips, or hay cubes. Goji berries, raisins, and craisins can be given very sparingly (once a week).
  • Mineral chews and salt licks; giving chinchillas mineral chews or salt licks can be very dangerous as this can cause them to have a high excess of these minerals or salts in their bodies. A chinchilla safe pellet and hay provides plenty of vitamins and minerals, chins do not need any supplements in their diet.
  • Plastic or wire running wheels; plastic wheels pose a chewing hazard as ingesting plastic can cause gastrointestinal impactions, bloat and death. Wire wheels can be dangerous if a chinchilla gets a limb, tooth or head stuck in the wire leading to injury that may require surgery.
  • Non-fleece Hammocks or fabric items; these items can pose a chewing risk leading to bloat, impactions or death if ingested. The only chinchilla safe fabric is fleece.
  • Plastic exercise balls; not only are these chewing risk since they are plastic, but they are also dangerous as they can cause overheating and hypoglycemia that can cause neurological damage and death.
  • Hay balls and racks; hay holders are never necessary and can be dangerous. Chinchillas are known to be curious and will get limbs, teeth, heads and sometimes their entire bodies stuck inside or on a hay rack. This can lead to serious injury such as strangulation, broken bones or teeth, loss of limbs or toes, and death. The safest option is to use a fleece hay holder or just place the hay in the bottom of the cage.
  • Overly tall or large cages; although it may seem that chinchillas need very large cages because they can jump high, this is untrue. Chinchillas are naturally a den dwelling animal, meaning in the wild they live in between rocks and in dark, cramped spaces for most of the day. Chinchillas feel safer in small areas and will most likely pick only one spot to sit in in an overly large cage. Very tall cages can also pose a fall risk as if a chinchilla misses a shelf when jumping, they can falling and injure themselves. A baby chinchilla in a three story cage is the equivalent to a toddler in a three story building.
  • Plastic cages; chinchillas can eventually chew out of plastic cages and escape or get stuck. Plastic is also a chewing hazard that can cause impactions and death.
  • Cardboard; cardboard will not be digested by a chinchilla, therefore it can cause bloat or impactions. Chinchillas can also become stuck in cardboard tubes, leading to injury or strangulation.
  • Plastic water bottles, food dishes, and litter pans; just like all other plastic items, if ingested a chinchilla can develop bloat or an impaction that can lead to death. Another problem with plastic water bottles is that if a chinchilla chews through it, it can leak into the cage leading to wet bedding. 
  • Paper litter pans; chinchillas don't need litter pans, if you still want one please opt for glass or metal. Paper can cause impactions and death if ingested.
  • Costumes; although dressing your pet up for Halloween is cute, this can be deadly for chinchillas. Their organs can be easily damaged if handled roughly or they are constricted/squished. Costumes can also cause them to easily overheat, even in air conditioning. Remember, chinchillas already have a thick coat, putting fabric on top of that coat will cause them to overheat and they can die or have irreversible neurological damage.
  • Harnesses; please never put a harness on your chinchilla. Their ribcage is flexible, so if they are constricted too tightly around the midsection, their internal organs can be damaged. Please also never take your chinchilla for a walk, this can cause them to overheat and die or be killed by a predator if outside. 
  • Plastic houses or huts; as stated previously, plastic can be deadly. Please do not use it.
  • Pet beds; chinchillas do not need a bed, they usually prefer to sleep somewhere cool. Pet beds can cause them to overheat and die. They can also ingest the fabric, leading to impactions and death. The only safe fabric is anti-pill fleece, which should be removed upon the first indication of chewing.
  • Tunnels; plastic, cardboard, or fabric tunnels are unsafe materials. Please do not use these.
  • Edible huts; these huts are marketed as safe to ingest, this is not true. These contain unsafe ingredients used to bind the hut together. Please do not purchase them.

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