Chinchillas have unique digestive systems.
This means that you need to be extra careful about which foods and treats you give them.
A lot of foods you would think are fine are actually not. Even a lot of fruits and vegetables are bad for these delicate animals.
You always need to double check before giving your chinchilla a new type of food.
And even then, only give it a tiny amount and monitor your pet afterwards to see if it is suffering any ill effects.
Today, we will do a deep dive on one of the most commonly asked about foods for chinchillas. Oats.
Keep reading to learn if chinchillas can eat oats, plus everything else you need to know on the subject.
Can Chinchillas Eat Oats?
Yes, chinchillas can eat oats. But only in moderation. Only feed 2 to 3 oats at a time and only once or twice a week.
Oats are a safe and healthy human food for chinchillas, but they are high in calories and they contain calcium. That is why you want to limit the amount of oats you provide. We’ll go into more detail on this below.
Apart from that, oats provide the nutrients chinchillas need and they do not cause stomach issues like so many other foods.
As mentioned, these little critters have very sensitive stomachs and digestive tracts. There are dozens of fruits, vegetables, and other food items that are not safe to feed them.
But oats are fine. Even better, chinchillas absolutely love oats. They view them as a treat as well.
But it’s not as simple as just giving your pet some oats.
In order to ensure you are able to provide the best care possible for your chinchilla, we need to cover a bit more information on feeding oats to your pet. Let’s begin with the types of oats to give them.
What Kind Of Oats Can Chinchillas Eat?
Next, let’s move into what types of oats are okay for a chinchilla to eat. The good news is that a chinchilla can have any type of regular oats, like Quaker oats.
Regular oats will not cause any harm to your chinchilla, if you give them in moderation and also ensure that your chinchilla’s diet is primarily timothy hay and pellets.
If you need more information about the best hay for your chinchilla, you can view my post here.
You should not feed your pet instant oats. These usually contain sugar and various other additives, most of which will cause digestive issues. Chinchillas do not need things like sugar or salt.
Plus, instant oats are cooked. We do not recommend feeding your chinchilla any type of cooked oats. Just stick to plain raw oats and you will be fine.
How Many Oats Can A Chinchilla Have?
Oats don’t cause bloating if fed in small quantities, have a lot of the nutrients that chinchillas need, don’t contain excess sugars, and won’t give your pet diarrhea or gastrointestinal stasis.
So you can just feed them a bunch of oats and call it a day, right?
No, definitely not.
Your chinchilla should eat primarily Timothy hay and pellets. Oats should never be more than just an occasional snack.
We recommend only feeding your chinchilla two or three oats at a time. And only do so once or twice a week, at most.
There are two main reasons for this. While oats won’t cause nutritional issues or bloating, they do contain a lot of calories, and also calcium.
The problem with giving your chin too many calories should be obvious. It will lead to weight gain over time. And 100 grams of oats contain almost 400 calories. Just a handful can exceed the caloric needs of such a small animal.
Also, if your pet fills up on oats, it will eat less hay or pellets. Those contain all the nutrients they need, so you do not want them to cut back on those foods.
100 grams of oats also contain 50 mg of calcium. Too much calcium can cause bladder stones. Those can become life-threatening. This is another reason to limit your pet’s intake of oats.
As with any treat for your chinchilla, it’s always best to only give them in moderation.
Ideally, you want your chinchilla to stick to an essential diet and not overdo it on other food groups such as oats, fruits, or even vegetables.
Chinchillas have sensitive digestive tracts, and being mindful of this is a critical step in ensuring that your chinchilla remains happy and healthy.
Health Benefits Of Oats For Chinchillas
Chinchillas get all of the vitamins and minerals they need from Timothy hay and pellets. They do not really need any additional nutrients, so it is not especially important what benefits oats offer.
The important thing is that they cause no harm.
That said, oats do contain a number of nutrients and it is always a good idea to know exactly what you are feeding your pet.
Oats are made up of 11% fiber and 17% protein. Both are important for chinchillas and things they need as part of their daily diets. But they already get plenty of both from their hay and pellets.
Oats also contain numerous vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B1 (aka thiamine) is vital for brain function and other organ growth.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) promotes normal growth and helps maintain overall energy levels. In addition to those two vitamins, oats also contain vitamins B3, B5, B6, and B9.
B12 is to only B vitamin oats do not have. Together, these B vitamins are important for growth, brain function, digestion and they help prevent infections.
Probably the most important mineral in oats is manganese, which is important for growth, development, and metabolism. In addition to manganese, oats contain iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and selenium.
Always Keep Water Bottles Filled
One of the tips I mention in many of the blog posts I write is to always ensure that your chinchilla has plenty of water available.
Chinchillas sometimes have difficulty processing and chewing foods completely, due to their large teeth.
Ensuring your chinchilla has clean, fresh water to drink when needed will help keep it hydrated and avoid issues such as drooling or even gagging on a treat you give it, like oats.
Moderation Is Best
My last tip to provide you is that whether or not you are offering your chinchilla oats or another form of treats, it’s always imperative to be relatively moderate and mindful of how much you are providing.
Perhaps you start with something such a pinch of a small handful and see how your chinchilla reacts to the new delicious treats.
Overall, keep it relatively small in quantity, and your chinchilla will appreciate the treat and remain happy and healthy.
Chinchillas Eating Oats: Final Thoughts
Plenty of foods can be offered to your chinchilla. but many more foods are best not given to these delicate pets.
If you are ever not sure about a food, ask a trusted resource like your vet. Until you confirm something is safe, do not give it to your chinchilla.
As for oats, they are a food that chinchillas not only love, but one that is safe to give. In moderation, of course.
Share your thoughts.
As always, I enjoy it when the readers and community can provide additional tips and tricks.
Do you have any further precautions or recommendations you can share about offering your chinchilla oats?
Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.
As always, Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your journey as a chinchilla parent and we appreciate you stopping by. Thanks again, and we will see you next time.
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