Can Chinchillas Wear Harnesses? [Best Options and Cautions]

Chinchillas are special pets with unique needs and they need an owner who strives to provide the best care possible.

It can be tough in the beginning to understand how to take care of a chinchilla correctly without a proper understanding of how a chinchilla will behave and what precautions you need to take.

Understanding what is safe and what is not safe when a chinchilla is out of their cage is one of the critical areas to understand as a new chinchilla owner.

It can often lead to a common question.

Can chinchillas wear harnesses?

I have owned a chinchilla now for 4 ½ years and done a large amount of research on this topic, and here is what I can tell you on this subject.

No, chinchillas should not wear a harness. Chinchilla’s have fragile rib cages and vulnerable bodies, making a harness dangerous for a chinchilla to wear. Chinchilla also has very dense fur, which can make it easy for a chinchilla to slip out of a harness, allowing them to run away or find danger.

That is the quick answer to the question at hand.

It is also essential to understand what others are saying about this question and other dangers that could potentially present themselves if you do decide to allow your chinchilla to wear a harness.

Fortunately, that is exactly what I intend to break down for you in today’s brief overview of using a harness for your chinchilla.

I have also created easy to navigate links directly below that will allow you to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire to learn more about.


Here is what I have outlined in the lesson plan for today:

As mentioned, a moment ago, feel free to use the links directly above to skip around in this post if you need to save time or only need limited information.

Otherwise, if you can spare those 2 minutes, stick around, and I will break down everything you need to know about your chinchilla wearing a harness and the potential dangers of doing so.

Here are the critical details to understand.

Can Chinchillas Wear Harnesses Recap?

Now, I want to start diving into why harnesses for chinchillas is not the best idea.

First and foremost, a chinchilla is not an animal or a pet that is meant to be walked.

Secondly, a chinchilla should never be outdoors, which we will cover in more depth later in this post.

It is essential to understand that a climate-controlled area with safe surroundings is the best environment for your chinchilla.

Taking them out of this environment could cause stress that can escalate into fatal consequences.

Put simply, I would never use a harness or a leash to walk or control a chinchilla.

However, instead of just stating my opinion on the matter, let’s dive deeper into the subjects mentioned above so I can break down why this can be so dangerous or cause problems for you and your chinchilla if you do decide to go this direction.

What Is the Risk of Trying to Use A Harness for Your Chinchilla?

Now let us move into more of the specifics and the risk that can be posed to your chinchilla if you decide to stray from the advice and use a harness.

As stated previously, chinchilla’s have incredibly dense fur, which is going to be the first spot that you begin to encounter problems.

Attaching a harness to a chinchilla is going to be nothing like attaching a harness to a dog where their body helps fill out the harness making it snug and giving the harness a proper fit.

Now, imagine if you thought you had the harness tight around your chinchilla, and ventured off outside.

First, they are going to exceedingly difficult to capture in this situation, likely leading to death or the chance at you never find them.

Chinchillas are fast animals and can hop, climb, and squeeze into small dark spaces.

Trust me, you do not want to be the individual trying to find your chinchilla if they did happen to find a way to get off their harness.

Let us also not forget about how fragile a chinchilla’s body is in general.

Chinchilla’s Have Fragile Ribs and Can Overheat Easily

It has one of the reasons that wire bottom cages are not recommended for chinchillas, and why cages such as the Critter Nation cage are ranked among the best chinchilla cages, you can opt to purchase.

They have flat plastic shelves as the surfaces which are softer on your chinchilla’s fragile bones and feet.

Well, the same applies to your chinchilla small toothpick like rib cages.

Trying to force them or overtighten a harness in addition to a pulling motion could easily cause bone fractures and potentially even a snapped neck or spine.

On top of this potential issue, you also begin dealing with the elements when you have a chinchilla outdoors in a harness.

This includes the potential for your chinchilla to overheat very quickly, which can cause illness and even death.

Double down with that idea and include a hot harness increasing their body temperature, and you have a recipe for disaster for your beloved chinchilla.

Trust me, as fun as it may sound, it is much better to be safe than sorry in these situations.

Learn How to Get Your Chinchilla in and Out of The Cage Without A Harness

The last thing I want to touch on when it comes to placing a chinchilla in a harness is the individuals who are trying to do this may be trying for reasons such as struggles getting their chinchilla in and out of the cage.

If this is you, I still highly recommend against using a harness and beginning by reading my post about effectively getting your chinchilla in and out of the cage instead that you can see here.

Trust me, a harness is not the solution for accomplishing this, and it is not as difficult as you may believe.

With a little bit of practice, and as your chinchilla builds more trust with you, this will become easier and easier as time passes.

Moral of the story….avoid harnesses for your chinchilla.

Final Thoughts

As discussed throughout this brief post, chinchillas make for an excellent pet, but they do have a fragile body and a unique personality.

Compared to other pets you could choose to adopt, they have individual needs, and some things are just not advised or possible with chinchillas like you may experience with another pet.

In my opinion, and for the interest of safety for your new chinchilla, I highly recommend tossing the idea of a harness or leash out the window and begin enjoying other activities with your chinchilla that doesn’t require a harness or a leash.

Chili and I certainly wish you the best of luck with your journey and appreciate you stopping by and reading today.

Share Your Thoughts

What other insight can you provide the readers about using a harness for a chinchilla?

Do you have any other dangers that the Planet Chinchilla Community should be aware of that have not been mentioned in this post?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today.

Thanks again, and we will see you next time.




Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 4 year-old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know. I'm the Author of the eBook "The Ultimate Chinchilla Care Guide, From Adoption and On"

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