Can You Leave A Chinchilla Alone for the Weekend? [Be Careful!]

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When purchasing any new animal or trying to care for our pets in the most ethical and best ways we can, we often have some questions and concerns. I know I do at least. Especially with my Chinchilla. Chinchillas are unique and for the most part, they are extremely low maintenance (sort-of). Chinchillas don’t need quite the level of attention with some things that other animals may need. This can also be a bit risky and confusing to know what the best answer to some questions might be. For me, I was curious about one thing. Can you leave a chinchilla alone for the weekend? After researching it myself and some experience, here is what I can tell you.

So, can you leave a chinchilla alone for the weekend? 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.

For a question that can carry as much as anxiety like this, I want to take the time to go more in depth and cover more about what precautions to take and what exactly you need to do when planning a trip away from your chinchilla.

Especially if it’s more than one day. Many chinchilla owners may argue this is a very bad idea. I’d agree that it’s not the best idea but that’s outside of the purpose of this blog post. I simply want to point out that yes, it’s possible. You could leave your chinchilla alone for the weekend if absolutely necessary.

You should, however, be aware of some potential behavior that may show it’s face if a chinchilla is not interacted with as much as usual.

You Don’t Have to Fight This. Everything Will Be Okay.

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. What I am saying is that it’s not 100 percent necessary if you are only going to be gone for a few days.

I wouldn’t necessarily take this idea and advice to stretch allowing your chinchilla to be alone for more than a few days at a time and that should be in rare circumstances as well.

Let’s break down some of the key points that you need to know when it comes to food, water, bedding, and other considerations to make sure your chinchilla is safe during your trip away from home.

Food Considerations While You Are Away from Your Chinchilla.

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, is the possibility that trip extends longer for whatever reason and make sure you plan accordingly for this. Additionally, you can place hay cubes in your chinchilla cage for your furry friend 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 keep your chinchilla with additional food and also something to occupy your chinchilla for fun.

This with some hay in the hay feeder should take care of them but you need to be careful. Some of the time your chinchilla will eat all of this food faster than usual 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.

Adequate Water for Your Chinchilla is Essential

Water for your chinchilla is equally as important as having plenty of food. 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 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 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 and regardless of if your trip runs a few extra days, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

Temperature Considerations, A Critical Consideration Before Your Trip

This may be one of the most important things to consider when it comes to the well-being of your chinchilla. Depending on the room you keep your chinchilla in, you must ensure that there is no chance that the room could get too hot for your chinchilla while you are away.

Chinchillas have no sweat glands and if they get too hot, they could have seizures and possibly experience death due to overheating. If it’s a spare room and the warmer months of the year you can 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 and 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 and it’s 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 to risk not checking in from time to time just in case something goes unexpected while you are away. Better safe than sorry.

Don’t’ Forget That Injuries Can Happen

Chinchilla love playing, jumping, and going crazy inside their cage and outside their cage. If you are away, it’s also 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 with the proper shelves and other hanging items attached inside of the cage for your chinchilla.

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. It’s what I currently use and love it. It’s extremely easy to clean (especially if you use the fleece liners and my chinchilla can jump and have as much fun as she wishes. It’s a great set up.

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, 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, 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 just in case so that your pet-sitter can easily take care of an emergency 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 your chinchillas loves or recognizes 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. 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 in case of an emergency or in case your chinchilla attempts to flee or get’s 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, your chinchillas are affectionate and creatures that enjoy the interaction.

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.

If you want to get a chinchilla and plan to spend time with them, I commend you but if you don’t I’d strongly recommend a pet that’s not as a fragile and doesn’t have such unique needs and that doesn’t need as much love and affection and dedicated time as chinchillas do.

Putting It All Together. A Few Days Away Is Okay but Use Proper Precautions.

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.

Be sure to provide adequate water, food, treats, bedding, and hay.

In addition, be very certain that your home will provide 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, vacations and still be a perfectly responsible and ethical chinchilla owner.

Do you have any stories related to leaving your chinchilla for several days at a time? How did it go and what precautions did you take to ensure that your chinchillas were safe and taken care of? Be sure to share your stories and drop a comment below. As always, I appreciate you and hope this article provided some help to you. See you next time.

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 1 year old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know.

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