Pets are a huge commitment.
Many of them can’t be left alone.
That means no more vacations, unless you can find a sitter. And with many pets, no more weekend trips.
Is that the case with chinchillas?
Can you leave a chinchilla alone for the weekend without having to worry about it?
You can, but you do need to take all the necessary precautions.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about leaving a chinchilla home alone for a weekend, including how long you can safely leave them alone and what you need to do to prepare.
- 1 Can You Leave A Chinchilla Alone For The Weekend?
- 1.1 Leaving Your Chinchilla Alone For The Weekend
- 1.2 How Long Can A Chinchilla Be Left Alone?
- 1.3 Adequate Water Is Essential When Leaving Your Chinchilla Alone
- 1.4 Temperature Considerations Before Leaving Your Chinchilla Alone
- 1.5 How Long Can A Chinchilla Go Without Food?
- 1.6 Don’t Forget That Injuries Can Happen When You Leave Your Chinchilla Alone
- 1.7 Leave Additional Directions For Your Pet-Sitter Or Emergency Care Giver
- 1.8 Don’t Leave A Pregnant Female Or Young Chinchillas Alone For Too Long
- 1.9 Can A Chinchilla Die From Loneliness?
- 2 Leaving A Chinchilla Home Alone: Final Thoughts
Can You Leave A Chinchilla Alone For The Weekend?
I have now been raising a chinchilla for the past 5 years and here is what I can tell you on this topic.
Yes, you can leave a chinchilla alone for the weekend.
You need to make sure that the room won’t be too hot or too cold to prevent overheating and possible discomfort. You also want to ensure that they have plenty of water, bedding, and food available.
While this is the short and sweet answer to the question, keep reading for all the considerations you need to keep in mind when you leave your chinchilla home alone for any duration of time.
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Leaving Your Chinchilla Alone For The Weekend
Leaving your chinchilla alone can give you some anxiety. Especially if you have not done it before and you are not yet sure that it is okay and that your new chinchilla will be fine without you for a few days.
First and foremost, I’m not saying that having a pet-sitter check-in your chinchilla while you are away is a bad idea.
It’s a great idea. But it is not necessary.
After you have allowed your chinchilla to adapt to its new environment after getting it home, it is okay to leave your chinchilla for a few days every now and then.
A chinchilla is not hard to take care of.
Once you understand some of the common chinchilla behaviors, you will feel much more comfortable leaving your chinchilla when necessary.
For the most part, while you are away, they will do everything they need to do on their own.
Chinchillas self groom, will eat on their own, and as long as other conditions are met such as a clean cage and adequate water, your chinchilla will be just fine.
But I would not stretch this to much more than a weekend. Allowing your chinchilla to be alone for more than a few days is pushing it and should only happen in rare circumstances, but ideally not at all.
Let’s break down some of the key points that you need to know about leaving your chinchilla alone and how long they can be alone without issue.
How Long Can A Chinchilla Be Left Alone?
Now comes perhaps the next most frequently asked question about leaving your chinchilla home alone.
How long can you leave a chinchilla alone?
Well, I have some good news and some bad news when it comes to answering this question in the most straightforward way.
It completely depends on the circumstances.
If you are going to have a friend, family member, or even a neighbor you trust check in on your chinchilla, then you can leave your chinchilla home alone for a longer duration of time.
If, on the other hand, you are leaving your chinchilla completely alone and taking care of itself, I personally would not stretch it past 2 days or so.
You do not want to run the risk of your chinchilla running out food, water, or something tragic happening to the home that could impact your pet, like an A/C unit no longer working and your chinchilla potentially experiencing health issues due to heat.
In a nutshell, if you use a chinchilla pet-sitter, you can leave for as long as you feel comfortable. But if your chinchilla will be completely alone, I would never go past 24 to 72 hours maximum.
Hopefully, that gives you a decent idea of how long you can leave your chinchilla home alone.
Next, I want to ensure we touch on temperature control, food, and water, if you plan on leaving your chinchilla home alone in the near future.
Adequate Water Is Essential When Leaving Your Chinchilla Alone
Water for your chinchilla is equally as important as having plenty of food and keeping temperatures in check, when leaving your chinchilla alone for any duration of time.
The good news about chinchillas is that they consume less water than a lot of other small animals do.
With this being the case, cleaning the water bottle and topping it off before departure should be plenty to make sure your chinchilla stays well hydrated.
It’s also not a bad idea to overload the cage with an additional water bottle, just to play it safe.
You never know when a water bottle may leak or a tube clogs, and having only one water bottle is not a good idea, just in case the worst happens.
Always be prepared for the worst, if you are going to leave and are not sure of what could come up while away.
If worst comes to worst, have a backup friend or family member that could stop by your home and double-check the water and food levels while you are away.
Leave a spare key outside the home and advise them where the chinchilla is in the house. That way, even if your trip runs a few extra days, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.
I personally use two water bottles at all times on my chinchilla cage anyway.
They attach easily and for $1.00 I can buy purified water jugs from the grocery store. When I check on the cage, I usually just top up the water bottles and clean them once a week.
In my opinion, this is a much better approach, if you are going to leave your chinchilla home alone.
You can see my recommendations for the best water bottles here.
You can also view my post about the differences between tap water and other options such as well-water here.
Temperature Considerations Before Leaving Your Chinchilla Alone
Now that we have discussed water considerations, I want to move on to ensuring that proper temperatures are always on your mind if you plan to leave your chinchilla alone for any duration of time.
This may be one of the most important things to consider when it comes to the well-being of your chinchilla and it is part of learning how to take care of a chinchilla properly.
Depending on the room in which you keep your chinchilla, you must ensure that there is no chance that the room could get too hot for your pet while you are away.
You also never want the room to get too cold. A chinchilla getting too hot could lead to illness or even death. Most commonly, heatstroke could occur if a room gets too hot or humid for a chinchilla.
I have a post about ensuring your chinchilla is always at ideal temperatures and not too hot.
They have no sweat glands and if they get too hot, chinchillas could have seizures with accompanying twitching of the nose. This could lead to death due to overheating.
If it’s a spare room and the warmer months of the year, be sure to leave the door open to the room or run a window A/C unit.
If the room doesn’t get over 70 degrees or below 50 degrees, you shouldn’t have any issues or anything to worry about.
You also must factor in that if you are gone for too many days that you could have an A/C unit malfunction.
It is always better to at least have someone check in from time to time if you will be gone for extended periods.
Chinchillas are too fragile and can overheat too easily.
I also recommend always keeping some chinchilla granite stone chilling pads on hand and in the cage.
- Made of granite stone to keep chinchillas cool and healthy
- Can be placed anywhere inside chinchilla's home
- 6-Inch long, 10-inch wide
They work well as a temporary cooling pad for your chinchilla to place their feet on if they get too hot.
You can also consider using something such as the Ajaa Cooling Pad, which works well for chinchillas.
Think back to my reference about using two water bottles for your chinchilla.
Is it 100% necessary?
Maybe not, but does it make me feel much better if I need to be away for a few days and know for sure my chinchilla is home alone without help stopping by to check-in?
Yes, it sure does. And the same goes for cooling devices inside of the cage.
No need to risk something so simple when it carries such a small cost to add an extra layer of protection while leaving your chinchilla home alone.
Better safe than sorry.
How Long Can A Chinchilla Go Without Food?
One of the last considerations we need to touch on before sending you on your way is food and what you need to do when leaving your chinchilla home alone for any duration of time.
How long can chinchillas go without food? Only about 12 hours. That’s why you need to be sure that your chinchilla will have plenty of food when you are away. This can mean filling a second food bowl, if your chinchilla uses a small bowl currently.
If your chinchilla currently uses a large food bowl, you can just make sure it’s full.
You do however need to ask yourself if there is the possibility that the trip extends longer for whatever reason. If so, make sure you plan accordingly for this.
Additionally, you can place hay cubes in your chinchilla, to hold him or her over while you are away. Not to mention, chinchillas love to play and chew on hay cubes so it’s a win-win.
It will ensure your chinchilla has additional food and also something to occupy it for fun.
This, along with some hay in the hay feeder, should take care of it. But you need to be careful.
Sometimes, a chinchilla will eat all of this food faster than usual, simply because it’s available.
Regardless your chinchilla should be fine, but don’t try overstocking your chinchilla cage so that you can leave for long periods of time and think that everything will be perfectly fine.
Chinchillas get bored and are naturally curious. They love to jump, climb, and do anything else possible to keep occupied.
Too much time alone is just asking for them to discover some way to get themselves into a pickle or some other kind of trouble.
Myself personally, I would do the following if I was going to leave my chinchilla home alone when it comes to food.
- Fill a minimum of 1 hay feeder attached to the cage ( I fill two hay feeders all the way, if I’m leaving my chinchilla alone)
- Fill 1 food bowl with fresh chinchilla pellets
- Place 3-5 timothy hay cubes on a shelf
- Place 3-5 apple orchard chew sticks throughout the cage
- Fill 2 water bottles
- Double-check temps
Just when you thought we were done for the day, I decided I still have a few considerations that need to be discussed.
Don’t Forget That Injuries Can Happen When You Leave Your Chinchilla Alone
Chinchillas love playing, jumping, and going crazy inside their cage and outside their cage.
If you are away and leave your chinchilla alone, it’s possible that your chinchilla gets injured or even falls ill while you are away.
This is one of the reasons you always need to ensure you have a large enough cage for your chinchilla.
The cage should have the proper shelves and other hanging items attached inside of the cage for your chinchilla.
Here’s another post about what chinchillas need in their cage that can give you further information.
They love to interact and play when they are awake.
For a good size cage that’s easy to attach shelves and other hanging toys, I recommend the Critter Nation 2 cage with a minimum of two levels.
- Solid and durable construction
- Great size with four levels
- Great platform fit for accessories like fleece liners
- Sits on wheels making cleaning easy
- Under cage storage
- Total of four doors, making access very easy
- Large cage making it unsuitable for tiny spaces
- One of the higher costing cages but for good reason; it is easily the best value for money
It’s what I currently use and love it. You can also view my post detailing other options for the best chinchilla cages here.
It’s extremely easy to clean (especially if you use the fleece liners and you chinchilla can jump and have as much fun as he or she wishes).
It’s a great set up.
Additionally, if you aren’t using fleece liners for your chinchilla cage, here’s the Amazon Link.
- Designed specifically for Critter Nation Cage
- Includes: Two large pan liners (one with a notch/cut-out for the ramp opening, Two small shelf liners and three ramp covers
- Available in various designs
Although you may have a great set-up, the perfect cage, and all the great toys, don’t forget: injuries can, and do, happen with chinchillas from time to time.
If you are gone for too long and have your chinchilla home alone, it may too late for you to help or return in time to aid and care for the chinchilla before an injury can worsen.
This is another good reason to have someone check on your chinchilla, if you are going to be gone for more than a day or two.
Leave Additional Directions For Your Pet-Sitter Or Emergency Care Giver
Another very smart path you can take is leaving all the important information handy for your caregiver or pet-sitter.
You can detail and teach them how to feed the chinchilla.
Additionally, teach them how to provide water to the chinchilla, and what to do in case of injury, seizure from overheating, and who to call in case of emergency.
I’ve also seen where others even leave a backup credit card for the emergency vet. This is just in case so that your pet-sitter can easily take care of an emergency.
You want a pet-sitter to feel comfortable with this without worrying about something as trivial as money when it comes to your chinchilla’s well-being.
You can also leave instructions with your chinchilla-sitter indicating how to give your chinchilla dust bath.
It may be best to teach your pet-sitter proper handling skills to avoid your chinchilla biting as well, just in case.
After all, your chinchilla won’t recognize or love them the same way chinchillas love or recognize their owners.
Teach your chinchilla sitter at a bare minimum the tail technique or how to pick your chinchilla by the base of the tail.
Teach them how to get your chinchilla in and out of the cage just in case.
Some chinchillas do not like to be held and that’s well known, but this technique only takes a few minutes to demonstrate and could potentially help your chinchilla-sitter dramatically.
Especially in case of an emergency or in case your chinchilla attempts to flee or gets loose from the cage while you are away.
Don’t Leave A Pregnant Female Or Young Chinchillas Alone For Too Long
Pregnant female chinchillas are also not a good idea to leave alone. They could have medical needs or experience health issues much easier than a male or non-pregnant chinchilla.
Also, baby chinchillas tend to get themselves into trouble so it’s important not to leave them alone either, without someone stopping to provide special care or to look in after your chinchillas while you are away.
Can A Chinchilla Die From Loneliness?
Your chinchilla can live alone and doesn’t necessarily need a cage mate. However, chinchillas are affectionate and creatures that enjoy interaction.
When you are home and not leaving them for extended periods, you should be getting your chinchilla out of the cage and interacting with it. It is the best way to socialize a chinchilla.
Your chinchilla won’t necessarily pass away because of loneliness, but not planning to spend time with your chinchilla or showing affection to them is a good reason just not to get a chinchilla in the first place.
No reason to ultimately end up with a chinchilla that is depressed. If you want to get a chinchilla and plan to spend time with them, I commend you.
If you don’t, I’d strongly recommend a pet that’s not as fragile and doesn’t have such unique needs and that doesn’t need as much love and affection and dedicated time as chinchillas do.
Leaving A Chinchilla Home Alone: Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, it’s surely okay to take a trip if you have chinchillas, but you must take precautions to ensure your chinchilla will be okay.
If you want to leave your chinchilla home alone, you can.
Be sure to provide adequate water, food, treats, bedding, and hay. In addition, be very certain that your home has the correct temperatures for your chinchilla to avoid overheating.
Have a backup pet-sitter with clear directions on what needs to be done in case your trip takes longer than expected.
With some proper planning, care, and handling, you can take your trips and vacations, and still be a perfectly responsible and ethical chinchilla owner.
Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla, leaving your chinchilla home alone and the journey you have ahead of you.
What are your thoughts and recommendations for leaving a chinchilla home alone?
How did it go and what precautions did you take to ensure that your chinchillas were safe and taken care of while being left home alone?
What other advice can you provide the readers about leaving a chinchilla home alone?
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 and we will see you again next time.
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