Chinchillas are definitely one of the most interesting and bizarre pets that you could own. These round balls of fluff are so full of energy and have a personality that will never cease to entertain you. When you have a pet that can bring you so much joy, it makes sense that you'll want to ensure that they're as happy and healthy as possible. Perhaps the best way that you'll keep your chinchilla healthy is by feeding them the best chinchilla food available.
With all of the chinchilla food on the market, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to find the best food possible. That's why we've compiled a list of the 5 best chinchilla food options in addition to a handy buyer's guide so that you can better understand what your chinchilla needs nutrition-wise.
OUR #1 RATED
Science Selective Chinchilla Food
Pellets made from a handful of high-quality ingredients that are nutritionally-dense and have an irresistible taste.
A leading pet food manufacturer, Oxbow has created this food to meet a chinchilla's dietary needs without adding any filler.
A very high-quality food that's highly palatable, nutritionally-complete, and has added probiotics for digestive health.
Vitanature Timothy Chinchilla Food
Featuring a diverse blend of ingredients, this food helps to promote foraging to keep a chinchilla's diet interesting and healthy.
Timothy Complete Chinchilla Food
A more budget-friendly food option that has a big focus on hay as an ingredient and lacks added fillers.
What Do Chinchillas Eat In The Wild?
In order to determine which food is the absolute best for your chinchilla, you first need to understand the diet of a wild chinchilla. Chinchillas have roamed around areas of high-elevation, such as Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile for thousands of years, but are currently only found in the wild in Chile. During that time, Chinchillas have eaten roughly the same foods, resulting in their bodies becoming optimized for digestive and processing those specific foods.
This is why it's so important that you match your chinchilla's diet to the diet of a wild chinchilla -- it's what their bodies are designed for!
Chinchillas are classified as herbivores, meaning that their diets consist primarily of plants and a variety of plant matter. This classification means that chinchillas are able to get all of their essential nutrients through just a handful of different plants. So, a chinchilla's diet doesn't need to be extremely diverse in order for them to be very healthy.
In the wild, chinchillas scavenge for their food, eating basically anything that they come across. The very specific diet of a chinchilla does vary depending on the region that they were located in, but roughly the same foods were eaten worldwide. A wild chinchilla's diet consists primarily of high-fiber grass and hay, while supplementing it with bark, seeds, flowers, and foliage.
Hay & Its Importance In Chinchillas' Diets
Although chinchillas do eat a variety of different greens throughout the day, there's no hiding from the fact that grass/hay makes up an overwhelming majority of their diet. This is their most commonly-eaten food in the wild, so that trend will need to continue even in captivity with you.
One characteristic of chinchillas is that they have teeth that constantly grow. This is due to the fact that their bodies have adapted for the abrasiveness of the rough hay that wears down their teeth daily. Chinchillas' teeth don't stop growing while in captivity, so it's important that you continue to give them food that wears down their teeth. Hay is the absolute best option for this, followed by supplemental chewing toys.
Hay isn't only important for its coarse physical texture, though. It's also extremely nutrient-rich for chinchillas and can't be replaced by any of the pellet foods listed in this post -- even though they're quite nutrient-rich as well. Therefore, a chinchilla's diet should consist of about 80% hay/grass. It's essential that you take into account your chinchilla's hay consumption and fill out the rest of their diet with chinchilla pellets and a few treats.
Chinchillas will fill themselves up on pellets if you allow for it, so make sure that you know the importance of hay and ensure that it's the most prominent food in their diet by far.
How To Properly Feed Your Chinchilla
There are a couple points that you'll want to consider when feeding your chinchilla to make sure that they're as happy and healthy as possible. To begin with, it's important to reiterate the importance of hay in their diet. You'll want to supply your chinchilla with a constant supply of hay to eat whenever they want to. The rest of their diet should be supplemented with some other greens and one of the chinchilla foods from this guide.
In terms of portion sizes, it's not an exact science. Aside from the 24/7 supply of fresh hay, chinchillas should have about 20% of their diet made up of pellet food. This equates to around one to two tablespoons per day for an adult chinchilla, but could be slightly more or less depending on your chinchilla's size and their daily hay intake.
When introducing your chinchilla to a new food, it's important that you make the process slow and gradual to avoid physical and mental distress in your pet. The first time that you feed your chinchilla a new pellet food, mix it into their old food to where the composition is 10% new 90% old. Over the next week or two, slowly increase the percentage of the new food until your chinchilla is fully adjusted. Diet changes that occur too quickly can cause digestive problems in chinchillas that nobody wants to deal with.
It's also important to supplement your chinchilla's diet. In addition to the hay, grass, and pellets, you'll need to provide your chinchilla with some healthy greens as a little treat. Many fruits and vegetables are too high in sugar for chinchillas, but dark lettuce makes for a tasty snack. You should also avoid dried fruit, grains, nuts, and seeds as they aren't easily digested and can lead to tooth damage.
Diet-Related Problems To Avoid
The main problem that you'll want to avoid with your chinchilla stems from their constantly-growing teeth. If you don't provide your chinchilla with enough hay throughout the day and opt to feed them pellets instead, their teeth will grow faster than they can wear down. This will cause their top and bottom teeth to collide and result in them becoming impacted. Nothing can be done once this condition occurs other than providing pain medication and soft foods.
Chinchillas are also subject to obesity if their daily pellet intake is too high. This is primarily due to excessive carbohydrate ingestion. Even the overfeeding of fresh greens can lead to indigestion and diarrhea, so a healthy balance will need to be found. As far as hay goes, an unlimited amount should always be available, but you should be cautious. Excessive amounts of alfalfa hay could result in bladder stones due to the high levels of calcium in alfalfa. Fortunately, timothy hay and meadow grass are great, safe alternatives.
Additionally, it should be noted that chinchillas can not vomit. Because of this, you'll want to avoid small foods that can get stuck in the back of their mouth or throat such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or raisins. These foods can lead to gagging, lack of appetite, and problems breathing.
What Defines The Best Chinchilla Food?
It should be clear at this point that chinchillas need a fairly specific diet in order for them to remain as healthy and happy as possible. The best chinchilla food meets the dietary requirements of chinchillas and helps to round out their nutrition. Below are the main characteristics of a healthy chinchilla pellet food.
What IS The Best Chinchilla Food?
We have taken a look at quite a few different chinchilla foods, taking into account factors such as the quality of ingredients, the price per pound, and the physical health and enthusiasm of the rabbits that eat each food. Through this research, we've found the 5 best chinchilla foods for you to feed your energetic little friend.
Remember that every chinchilla is different. So, while there is a very good chance that your chinchilla will like any of the foods below, they may also react negatively to it.
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OUR TOP PICK
Science Selective Chinchilla Food
When it comes to pellet food for your chinchilla, you'll be hard-pressed to find a pellet as nutritionally-balanced and healthy as this food by Supreme Petfoods. A lot of thought and careful consideration went into the creation of this food, as it very closely meets the specific dietary needs of a chinchilla. Nutritionally, it's right on par with what your pet needs, consisting of 16% protein, 19% fiber and 3% fat. On top of that, the ingredients list is very limited but extremely wholesome with a focus on alfalfa, soya hulls, and wheat. There's no added sugar, no artificial colors, and effectively works to support digestive healthy and maintains a chinchilla's healthy skin and coat. Overall, it's a food that's exactly what a chinchilla should be eating in addition to their hay.
Chinchilla owners and breeders alike are quick to share their praise for this food. Many owners state that the food is very easy for their chinchilla to chew and digest while keeping their sensitive digestive tracks working well. Picky chinchillas also have no problem eating this food when it's given to them. The fact that it's high in fiber and nutritionally-dense is also quite appreciated by owners.
It's incredibly difficult to find any owners that dislike this food. A couple owners note that their chinchillas won't switch over to this food, but that population is the overwhelming minority. When transitioned properly, most chinchillas seem to enjoy eating this food more than other foods.
our #2 rated
Oxbow is a leading manufacturer in the small pet food space, so it's no surprise that their chinchilla pellets would be near the top of our list. Like all of their other food, this food is nutritionally-complete, very healthy, and very tasty as well. Nutritionally, these pellets have 18% protein, 20% fiber, and 2.5% fat, putting this food right within a chinchilla's requirements like the Supreme Petfoods pellets. It's an alfalfa-based pellet, meaning that it's quite nutritious and contains a healthy amount of fiber to promote good digestive health. The pellets also have vitamins A, D3, and E in addition to phosphorous.
Chinchilla owners that opt to feed their pet this food tend to stick with it indefinitely! The percentage of chinchillas that immediately take a liking to this food and empty their bowl of it daily is substantial. The enthusiasm of chinchillas for this food is matched by their owners, as it's commonly stated that the nutritional content is excellent, the price is affordable, and there's no added filler that's so prominent in many foods on the market.
Much like the Supreme Petfoods pellets, this Oxbow food doesn't create many unhappy customers and chinchillas. The only unsatisfied customers are those who's chinchillas didn't easily take to this food. Stubbornness is natural in some pets, so it makes sense that a few chinchillas didn't see this food as favorable. Slowly easing your chinchilla into a new food will drastically increase the chances of them accepting it.
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Keeping the trend of nearly perfect foods alive, these Mazuri pellets would also make for an excellent addition to your chinchilla's diet. Mazuri's taken a very similar approach to this food as the other two manufacturers mentioned already. The pellets are nutritionally-complete with a big focus on timothy hay, flaxseed, and omega 3 fatty acids. Boasting 20% protein, 18% fiber, and 3% fat, it's also right in the wheelhouse for a chinchilla's nutritional needs. On top of the great nutritional content, Mazuri utilizes Lactobacillus and Enterococcus sp to help promote healthy gastrointestinal activity -- something that chinchillas can benefit from.
Chinchilla owners are very pleased with this food for quite a few reasons. They're big fans of the wholesome ingredients, great nutritional value, and the apparent great taste for chinchillas. Some owners note that their chinchillas have eaten this food for years and they've seen nothing but benefits from them eating it. Overall, it's a food that seems to breed very happy and healthy chinchillas.
The main downside to this food is that it's a decent amount more expensive than other foods in this list. This price increase can mostly be attributed to the added probiotics and big focus on quality in the food, but it can be a substantial step up in cost for some people. Therefore, it's up to you to determine if the higher price is worth the added benefits for your chinchilla.
our #4 rated
Vitanature Timothy Chinchilla Food
Out of the 5 foods in this list, Vitakraft's Vitanature food is definitely the most unique option. Despite being quite a unique food, these pellets are nutritionally-complete, packed with antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system, and possess a good variety of healthy ingredients. One benefit to this food is that it promotes foraging through its diverse ingredient list, so this keeps the food interesting unlike the common, uniform pellet. It's also got 16% protein, 15% fiber, and 3% fat, which is a tad bit lower than the other foods in this list but still healthy. However, it's loaded with natural herbs, flowers, greens, vegetables, grains, and berries to make for a tasty blend.
Chinchillas seem to love this food! The mix of ingredients definitely encourages foraging behavior which makes chinchillas more enthusiastic about the food. It gives chinchillas plenty of energy and keeps them as healthy and happy as they could be.
With the myriad of ingredients in this food, there's bound to be some that chinchillas simply don't prefer. A couple of chinchillas are picky when it comes to the pine cones in the food, and some may only eat certain parts of the food. Additionally, the fiber and protein levels of this food are a tad bit lower than other foods, but adequate hay in a chinchilla's diet will provide them with the nutrients that they need.
our #5 rated
Timothy Complete Chinchilla Food
If you're looking for a more budget-friendly chinchilla food, these Kaytee pellets will be your best option. This food is very affordable while still remaining healthy and wholesome for chinchillas. It has 16% protein, 22% fiber, and 2.5% fat, which is about exactly what a chinchilla needs in their pellet food. On top of that, it contains probiotics for good digestive healthy and has no loose seeds or sugar-filled fruits that could be unhealthy. It also has a huge focus on natural timothy hay, which should already be a staple in your chinchilla's diet due to its great health benefits.
Chinchilla owners that like this food seem to really love it! Most chinchillas eat the food quickly and with no complaints, showing signs that it's good through their increased energy and overall demeanor. The value is also something that's praised, as this is likely the best food on the market for the price.
A value food does bring some downsides, though. For one, this food contains molasses, which isn't healthy for chinchillas to eat. Additionally, some chinchillas simply refuse to eat the food -- a higher percentage than the other foods in this list. If these downsides can be overcome, though, it seems that this food makes for quite a few happy chins.
All 5 of the chinchilla pellets mentioned in this post are more than suitable for supplementing your chinchilla's diet. Each food has the characteristics of the best chinchilla food and meets all of the specific dietary needs of a chinchilla. Providing your chinchilla with a food that provides them with excellent nutritional value is a great way to ensure their health and happiness.
After carefully analyzing and reviewing all of the chinchilla foods on the market, we've determined that the best chinchilla food is Supreme Petfoods Science Selective Chinchilla Food.
This pellet food has been manufactured by a leading brand in the pet food space, and it shows quite clearly in the quality. Science Selective is made from a small amount of very high-quality ingredients that provide chinchillas with the nutrients that they need to maintain that trademark chinchilla energy.