Chinchilla Food Guide

chinchilla food guide

Chinchilla Nutrition

Deciding to take on a pet chinchilla is extremely rewarding, but also gives the novice chinchilla owner a whole new set of challenges. It’s not only necessary to know what chinchillas eat, but also how much and the best types of chinchilla food. As an aid to all new owners, we’ve dedicated a whole section of the Small Pet Select website to providing a general guide that will answer many of your questions.

What can chinchillas eat?

One of the most important things a chinchilla owner needs to understand is exactly what to feed chinchillas. They are actually quite delicate little fellows, and because of this it’s possible to unwittingly cause harm simply by feeding the wrong diet. And of course, none of us want to do that.

But there’s no need to think that feeding your chinchilla is going to be complicated, because nothing could be further from the truth. By understanding and following a few simple rules you can ensure that your chinnie gets the best diet possible. The following is a summary about these rules, with links to further pages that dig a little deeper into answering all those questions you might have about what chinchillas eat:


Occupying the number 1 spot in the chinchilla food list is water. In common with every other living animal on our planet, water is essential for a chinchilla to survive. Without adequate water it’s impossible for a chinnie to break down food to the necessary nutrients and elements he needs to be fit and healthy. So it’s your job to make sure that he has fresh water available at all times.

More about the vital role of water in your chinchilla’s diet

hay for chinchillasHay

Quality hay is one of the most important components of a chinchilla’s diet for many reasons. First and foremost, hay is a great source of the fiber that is vital to maintain healthy chinchilla digestive systems. As well as this, feeding your
chinchilla hay has many other functions, such as helping to keep his ever-growing teeth worn down. Whilst there are a great many different types of hay available, once you realize that they fall into two categories – grass hay and legume hay – it becomes far easier to understand what is the best hay for chinchillas.

Find out more about chinchilla hay


Chinchillas differ somewhat from other small pets because pellets are considered a staple part of their diet, rather than supplementary. However, it’s important to note that pellets alone do not contain enough fiber for your pet’s digestive health and should be fed in conjunction with hay. Chinchilla food in pellet form comes in two different types – that which is timothy hay based and that which is alfalfa hay based. Depending on your chinchilla’s individual food requirements, he might need one type or a combination of the two.

Discover more about the various types of pellets for chinchillas 

Treats for Chinchillas

One of the best parts about owning a chinchilla is giving him treats! But it’s vital that these treats are of the correct kind, as all kinds of health issues can arise by giving the wrong things. Chinchillas are rather like kids with sweets – they’ll happily eat all sorts of things that are bad for them, so it’s up to us to learn how to take care of a chinchilla and know the right treats to give.

Find more about treats and for chinchillas what you can safely give your pet.

The Chinchilla Food List

The chinchilla food list is quite simple, consisting of water, hay and pellets. Treats should be considered as just that, and can also be items that allow a chinchilla to gnaw on, as this is a necessity for them.

We have also made up a basic care essentials chinchilla poster. This is designed to be displayed near your chinchilla’s house, and is the ideal check list for all chinchilla related tasks in relation to how to take care of a chinchilla.


Owning a chinchilla (or two) as a pet is something that many people get great pleasure from. These furry little fellows are great companions, and we owe it to them to understand how to take care of chinchillas to the best of our ability. Knowing the right kinds and best chinchilla food to give our pets is one of the vital steps to keeping our little friends healthy and happy. In return, they provide us with companionship, many different delights and a large amount of laughs along the way.