Basic pet care is basic life training. Having a pet is like having a baby; it requires planning and anticipation which sets a long term responsibility, an addition to your family, and something that can share a bunch of memories as you go along with life. A pet is a part of something personal that needs an investment of time, finance, and goal as it grows along and learns your everyday routine. Caring for your pet is the most essential part of your journey as a pet owner and each of them has different needs and antics which you have to discover to keep them healthier and happier.
Chinchillas, while one of the most adorable animals in the Rodent family, are one of the most fragile pets and high-maintenance in terms of their need of food, toys, shelter and attention. Their moods are extreme where they can be very curious and dependent but at the same time they have short attention span and can be aggressive. Always consider your personal life and schedule if you plan to get a Chinchilla since they are very sensitive to their environments and eating habits, you will have to pay attention and commitment to keep this furry friend around you in the long run. According to Chincare.com, if Chinchillas are well loved, the average life expectancy is 10-15 years but can extend up to 20 years! That’s great parenting right there, so in-order to keep them at your side you will have to prepare and learn these things when caring for a Chinchilla:
Getting them their own home is the first and foremost needed to get them acquainted with their new surroundings to explore, these include:
Tall Cages – Chinchillas naturally live in high-altitude and often in rocky areas, they have the habit of jumping and running everywhere so keeping them on a usual 24 x 24 cage won’t be suitable for them, however getting a cage with almost 32(L) x 24(W) x 54(H) or a size close to it where they can run and roam around whenever their curiosity and energy kicks in.
Toys – Invest some creativity in their cages so it will keep their minds busy and active not only in jumping each cage levels but also by trying physical activities like getting them a silver surfer, swing, or a chew toy. They love exploring places so bringing them to these experiences is only your imagination’s limit. There are safe wooden chew toys available in pet stores but it is better to check the safe woods for your growing chins.
Air-conditioning – These energetic and cuddly buddies have a very thick fur as they are natives of cooler and dry regions. Air-conditioning your chinchilla room is a must because they don’t tolerate rising temperature, humidity and heat. The constant temperature suitable for them is 50°F to 55°F.Prolonged exposure to temperatures higher than 80° might cause respiratory infections or unwanted diseases. There are air-conditioning companies that offer customized service for chinchilla owners and nowadays you can find them online. Yes, chinchillas can overheat just like humans when exposed to too much sun
Unlimited access of dietary pellets, hay, and treats are essential to provide your pet a healthy lifestyle. It is advisable to have each serving as fresh as possible, chinchillas are health-sensitive and due to their curiosity, they might try eating everything what they see. Keep them away from hazardous things keep their room entirely safe for their chewing habits. You may want to have this list to note what’s best and what’s not for them:
Healthy Diet – chinchillas might be picky eaters when they become humans, but still active in trying new ones and might endanger themselves when not taken care of. It is best to ask for grass-based pellets because the chins are having grasses, leaves and twigs on their natural diet. According to Chinchillaexpert.com, there are several chinchilla feeds that are highly recommended especially when you’re a newbie in chinchilla parenting, these are:
- Oxbow Chinchilla Deluxe
- Mana Pro Sho
You may also consult your local pet store and vet to make sure they’re getting the right meal.
What to Avoid – rabbit pellets aren’t always suitable for chinchillas, while it is being debated that chinchilla pellets are modified pellets from rabbit ones, the basic mix of their food should always come from their natural diet and therefore it is advisable that you get to know what should they avoid, some of these are:
- Fruits with high acid content
- Vegetables, except Carrot
Unhealthy food intake causes fatal digestive problems that start from bloating and the list goes on. Chinchillas are very curious that everything around them should be safe when they opt to explore even more their nosy antics.
It is a basic need in any budding connection between two animals and human isn’t an exception. Pets long to have a healthy and wonderful home outside their natural habitat which means being a pet owner it is necessary for you to invest on time and familiarization with your pet. Chinchillas are very household friendly and playful, this means there will be no day of negligence for their needs since they are dependent and the vocal kind of companion.
Chinchillas communicate through body language and vocals, their posture and behavior dictates their moods and underlying intentions especially in new environment. Their sounds are like our native languages that can be familiarized in the long run when spend time with them every day in a couple of hours.
Chinchillas, like any animals, need a bath but the twist however they can’t touch the water. Due to the thickness of their fur, giving them a water bath might result to moisture and fungus growth which might lead infection to their skin. Dust bath is the best resolution to keep them oil-free. It is suggested to have them take a bath every two weeks just to maintain the shine of their coating.
These are just the basics when you get yourself a chinchillas. Always remember that a pet is a lifetime responsibility and a companion that will share a lot of memories with you, so don’t forget to live a life with them.