Healthy Treats:

  • Apple Tree & Hawthorn Twigs/Branches - should be cleaned in warm water. Once cleaned, the bark should be left on. You can give a twig or two daily, but branches will last a little longer. Chinchillas love to strip off and eat the bark, which provides an excellent fibrous treat that is good for the teeth. It closely resembles their natural diet too. Willow and hazel and other kinds of fruit tree wood (as long as the fruit DOES NOT contain stones) may also be given instead of apple wood. Hawthorn is relished too.
  • Alfalfa Hay - May be given once or twice a week. High in calcium (although much of it is calcium oxalate) and protein too. A tasty and healthy treat.
  • Readigrass or Supa Forage Excel - freeze-dried grass. Naturally contains the correct balance of calcium to phosphorus. A good source of fibre. An ideal treat and may be fed once or twice a week.
  • Natural Liqourice Root - A very tough, fibrous treat, great for the teeth. A length about an inch or two long may be given once a week, if your chinchilla likes it (not all chinchillas do).
  • Dried Herbs - a good pinch per chinchilla can be fed a few times a week too. Some herbs are full of phyto-nutrients and can provide a good source of vitamins and minerals. However, they can also have medicinal uses, so do check the suitability of your chosen treat before feeding it. Introduce all new foodstuff slowly, as usual.
  • Shredded Wheat - has no added fat or sugar and makes a suitable treat for chinchillas, if fed in moderation.

Treats that may be given Sparingly:

  • Raisins and other dried fruit - Chinchillas will sell their souls for a raisin or other kind of fruit. However, they are usually preserved in a little vegetable oil, and if fed too much, the chinchilla may develop slightly soft or runny droppings. In fact, because of this, many breeders treat them as more of a medicine than a treat, and will give them to chinchillas who appear to be slightly constipated. Only the equivalent of a couple of raisins should be given weekly. The raisins (or other fruit) can be split into smaller pieces, in order to make them go a little further.
  • Baked Dry Bread - I sometimes put sliced wholemeal bread into the oven, and bake it until it is dry and crunchy. I feed about a quarter of a slice per chinchilla as an occasional treat. Although the bread is actually quite a healthy treat, it should only be given occasionally as it is quite filling and the chinchillas may not eat up all their staple diet if too much is fed too often.
  • Fresh Apple - If fed in excess can have slightly laxative properties. However, a thumb-sized piece once or twice a week is relished by most chinchillas.

Treats to Avoid:

  • Sunflower Seeds/Peanuts - Although some breeders say that they can be fed as a very occasional treat, I personally avoid them totally. Most seeds and nuts, such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, coconut, millet etc etc, are actually very high in fats and oils. Chinchillas should not be fed a diet that is high in fats, as it is too rich for their delicate digestive system. With so many other more healthy alternatives, there should be no need to feed them to chinchillas at all, and chinchillas will certainly not miss them. If they simply must be fed as a treat, then do so a sparingly as possible, as infrequently as possble.
  • Green Foods - Foods such as broccoli, lettuce and fresh grass etc, should not be fed to chinchillas. They can (and have) caused bloat in chinchillas and therefore, should be avoided.
  • Commercially Made Treats - Some types of chinchilla treats available in petshops are actually quite unsuitable. Try to avoid anything that contains seeds, nuts, oils and sugars as these will not be healthy for your chinchilla.
  • Human Food - Once again, although chinchillas LOVE biscuits and cereals etc, please use your common sense when feeding them. Biscuits are extremely high in fat and sugar, and you are not doing your chinchilla any favours if you feed them regularly. Some sugar-coated cereals should be avoided too.

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