Besides getting a really cool chinchilla cage for your little friend, you might also like to know a little bit more about what you can feed him or her in order to ensure proper development. However, before getting into details, let’s take a look at some general aspects of these fascinating pets.
Chinchillas have originally lived in the Andes Mountains located in South America and, unfortunately, they did not have the happiest story throughout time. Their luxurious and beautiful fur became an item of desire, so they were trapped and brought near extinction because of this.
Luckily, things have slowly changed and today they are popular pets around the world, with loving families offering them affection. Since they are sociable creatures, they are an excellent choice for parents who are looking for a way to teach their children a little bit about taking responsibility for raising a pet.
The average chinchilla lives quite a while, the range going from 8 to 15 years and, depending on the variety and gender, it can weigh up to 800 grams. What makes them excellent pets are their lovely and active personality and the fact that they are clean and easily adaptable to various environments.
Given their social nature, chinchillas are not solitary pets, so they should be kept in groups or pairs, in order to enjoy active days and healthy mental and emotional development. With this being said, let’s take a look at some of the main feeding guidelines, before getting to the article’s main question on whether carrots are a suitable choice when it comes to their diets.
Chinchillas should enjoy a varied diet that can ensure their nutritional needs are met. This means it should include pelleted food, fresh veggies, as well as plenty of hay they can munch on. Just like most other types of rodents, this is one of their favorite activities that also helps them maintain healthy dental care.
Having constant access to grass foods and hay is important since this maintains the gastrointestinal health, therefore it should be the majority of their diet. Buying pelleted food ensures that they have everything they need in terms of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals since these are correctly balanced for their needs in this type of products.
Something worth noting here is that you should go for pelleted food instead of dry mixes since the former ensures they get a bit of every ingredient in each bite, given the structure of the pellets. This approach prevents those situations where you have to throw away significant parts of a mix because they only choose their favorite ingredients.
Of course, you should also include fresh greens in their diet, but keeping a balance is important in order to avoid any type of overfeeding that might upset their stomach. They are rather known for having a sensitive digestive system, so you might want to research a bit about any new element or type of food that you think about adding to their diet.
What about carrots?
These lovely pets don’t need to consume as many fruits and vegetables as humans do since their diet mostly consists of grass, water, and pellets. However, providing them with some fresh veggies and fruits is definitely a good idea to ensure a healthy life. Always go for raw alternatives and avoid any cooked foods since these are not suitable for the little fellows.
Your chinchilla will definitely enjoy some cut apples, collard greens, strawberries, cabbage, as well as carrots. When it comes to carrots, in particular, these are actually highly nutritious for chinchillas and, given their structure, they are also beneficial for teeth.
On the other hand, you should make sure that you don’t give your pet too many carrots at once since it can lead to an upset stomach. Just like it’s the case for humans, too much of a certain food might end up having a reversed effect and cause more trouble than the benefits it brings.
In case you plan on giving your chinchilla carrots for the first time, you should start off by offering a small quantity, without mixing it with other vegetables or fruits.
This is just a preventive measure and, in case anything goes wrong in terms of digestion, you’ll know what caused it. Otherwise, you might have to start guessing, and this is never fun especially if your chinchilla is not feeling well.
Some of these adorable creatures have an appetite for food in general, so they might try to eat the carrot as fast as possible, hoping to get some more. To avoid any choking hazard, cut the vegetables into small slices.
You can also get some baby carrots if you are a fan yourself. It’s really up to you and to your pet’s preferences, but do make sure that the initial amount is small so that in case it’s not tolerated, the effects are not too significant.
Carrots pros and cons
Just like many other types of rodents, chinchillas have teeth that grow constantly, which means that they need to chew and bite on something to wear them and prevent any problems associated with overgrowing. Although pellets and other treats help in this matter, carrots can definitely do a very good job as well, while also being nutritious and rather gentle.
Carrots are also rich in vitamins A, C, and K, meaning that they can help maintain a healthy eyesight as well. The general rule says that a chinchilla should have about one carrot per week since they do contain quite a bit of naturally occurring sugar. On the other hand, you can also check this with your vet since your own pet might have different needs.
This goes for all fresh vegetables and fruits, but if you have a source of organically grown carrots that you can use in order to feed your chinchilla, it’s even better for your pet since you avoid pesticides and other substances that can cause damage throughout time. After all, a chinchilla lives for quite a number of years, so you want to make sure that yours is in top shape.
Chinchillas do have sensitive stomachs, so avoid any excessive feeding of fresh vegetables. These can lead to bloating, gas, diarrhea or, in extreme cases or for particularly sensitive pets, they can even lead to death. This doesn’t mean that you should eliminate any such food from their diet, it only means that you need to be smart about it and always keep a healthy balance.
Since fresh veggies and fruits can be considered treats, you can include a little bit of one or the other every day, in order to ensure the right levels of vitamins and nutrients without jeopardizing your pet’s health in any way.
And also, keep in mind that you should not feel bad if the little fellow begs for more of the good stuff and you resist the temptation of pleasing him or her. In the end, it’s a matter of keeping everything within moderate limits.
On the other hand, if your chin is fussy, be careful when you are changing foods and make sure that you do this gradually over the course of a few days to prevent any major changes at once.