Spinach is a superfood.
It is low in calories and high in many essential vitamins and minerals.
Every doctor and nutritionist recommends we eat it. Lots of it.
But that’s us. What about chinchillas?
These little rodents with the delicate digestive system have a hard time with a lot of foods that are healthy for us humans.
Can chinchillas eat spinach or is that another healthy option they need to avoid?
Keep reading to find out. We will cover everything you need to know about feeding spinach to your chinchilla.
Can Chinchillas Eat Spinach?
Yes, chinchillas can eat spinach. It’s a healthy green leaf vegetable that can provide your chinchilla with many nutrients. Plus, they actually eat similar types of leaves in the wild.
However, as with all vegetables, you need to make sure to only ever feed a small amount. Vegetables may be healthy for us, but they contain certain elements that are harmful to chinchillas, if they consume too much of them.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the benefits of spinach, before going into the reasons spinach should only be a very occasional, and tiny, treat. After that, we tell you exactly how much of this vegetable is safe to feed your chinchilla.
Benefits Of Spinach
Spinach is a low-calorie snack for your chinchilla. It does not contain much sugar, which makes it better than most vegetables. The high sugar content is the reason most vegetables can cause issues if you feed to much of them.
But spinach does not have enough sugar to cause digestive issues or obesity. Moreover, it is packed with vitamins and minerals.
It contains vitamins A, C, E and many B vitamins. I also has calcium, copper, iron and magnesium, just to name a few. All of these nutrients are essential to maintaining your chinchilla’s health and helping to keep its organs in shape. But spinach also contains a lot of water.
Disadvantages Of Spinach
Apart from the water, spinach sounds great. But the high water content means you can not feed your chinchilla spinach every day. It is not something you can incorporate food into its daily meals. And when you do feed your pet spinach, you need to limit it to very small amounts.
There may be lots of nutrients in the leaf, but it is far healthier for your chinchilla to get all of those essential nutrients from hay. That is because hay is dry, while spinach has a high-water content.
What is the problem with water? Isn’t water good for all living creatures? Yes, but chinchillas come from the Andes mountains, a region that sees very little rainfall. They have adapted to need only small amounts of water.
If they get too much, they begin to retain it, which can cause all sorts of health issue. Your chinchilla can get diarrhea and it can suffer from kidney issues.
Water does not go straight to a chinchilla’s stomach. Instead it is absorbed through the lining of the colon and them moved into the bloodstream. Excess water passes through the kidneys, overworking them, and then comes out as sticky stool.
Chinchillas only need 10 to 15 grams of water per 100 grams of food. Spinach has 91.4 grams of water per 100 grams. It is mainly made up of water, which is a serious problem if you feed too much. That is why it should be no more than a small snack once a week.
How Much Spinach To Feed Your Chinchilla
You should only feed your chinchilla a tiny amount of spinach. It should not be a main part of its diet. So what is a tiny amount? I recommend limiting the spinach you feed your chinchilla to one small leaf of spinach once a week. It should be the size of a fingernail, more or less.
If you feed your chinchilla any more than this, you can expect a variety of health concerns, such as bloating and diarrhea. Bloating is a serious issue for chinchillas.
These small rodents have a sensitive digestive system. They can easily become bloated, if they can’t digest their food properly or quickly enough. This leads to excess gas in their system.
Sometimes the gas can even rupture the lining of your chinchilla’s gut. Obviously, that is something you would probably prefer to avoid for your cute little chinchilla!
Can Chinchillas Eat Kale?
Kale is basically the same as spinach. Either avoid it altogether, or only feed your chinchilla a small amount as a snack, no more than once a week. Kale also has a high-water content, so it can cause bloating and diarrhea, the same as spinach or other similar leafy green vegetables.
There are still plenty of other foods that will give your chinchilla its full amount of nutrients. A combination of hay and commercial food pellets, for example. These are the best foods to feed a chinchilla. Both are also dry, so they do not cause any bloating or loose stool.
But because kale is full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, it can still be a great option to feed your chinchilla as a small snack. Chinchillas also love kale. It’s something they can’t get enough of, so that’s a nice bonus.
Just make sure you don’t leave the bag lying around. And again, only feed your pet a small amount. It should be the size of a fingernail. And no more than once a week.
Can Chinchillas Have Spinach: Final Thoughts
Chinchillas can eat spinach. It is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. As such it is good for them. But, as with most vegetables, there is a problem.
With spinach, the problem is water. It contains a ton of it. And chinchillas can’t handle a lot of water. It can cause bloating and diarrhea in the short term, and many other problems in the long term. This means that spinach can never be more than an occasional tiny snack.
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