Chinchillas and Heat Stroke [Avoiding, Treating & More]

Chinchillas are a pet that seems to be growing in popularity and grabbing the hearts of many.

If you are one of these individuals, ensuring you know how to take care of a chinchilla is imperative, and heatstroke is a common struggle and occurrence chinchillas can experience.

The more you can be prepared for heatstroke with chinchillas, the better.

More importantly, the more educated you are when it comes to heat strokes with chinchillas, the better off you will be to avoid it altogether.

Due to how common heatstroke can be with these unique rodents, I wanted to make a brief post detailing everything I believe you should know about the topic.

Consider this, your “quick reference guide” to recognizing, preventing, and helping to treat heatstroke with chinchillas.

Knowing this information is going to potentially save your chinchilla’s life or help you avoid heatstroke altogether, allowing your chinchilla to live a long, happy, and healthy life for more than the next decade.

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With plenty to cover on the topic of heat strokes, I have decided to break down this post in the following manner to make this streamlined and easy to navigate for you:

If you only have limited time or only want limited information on this topic, feel free to use the table of contents directly above to skip around throughout this post.

Otherwise, give me roughly 4 minutes, and I will break down everything I think you need to be aware of when it comes to chinchillas and heat strokes.

Here are the critical details to understand.

An Overview of Chinchillas and Heat Stroke

Chinchillas struggle with high temperatures and high humidity.

It is merely one of the downfalls and things to avoid if you decide to adopt a chinchilla now or in the future.

Chinchillas are naturally accustomed to the climate in the Andean Mountains, and the climates are mild with low humidity, and not much precipitation takes place.

The primary reason chinchillas struggle with heat is due to their dense fur and their inability to sweat.

When a chinchilla gets too hot, it can become deadly in a hurry.

It makes it imperative always to keep an environment ready for your chinchilla that remains at the proper temperatures and provides them the low humidity setting that allows them to live healthily and comfortably.

A chinchilla could potentially be suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke without an educated chinchilla owner understanding what is taking place.

While heat exhaustion is not quite as severe as a heat stroke, both conditions still need immediate intervention and care provided quickly to help our chinchilla’s cool down and avoid other illnesses and death.

Before diving too much more in-depth, I want to make sure I get my disclaimer out of the way.

I am not a vet, and if you believe you need a vet, you need to contact one in your area as soon as possible.

The information provided in this post is coming from a chinchilla owner who has raised their chinchilla for the past 5 years and built the Planet Chinchilla community to share that information with all of you.

Now that we have that out of the way let’s start moving into how you prevent heat stroke and heat exhaustion with chinchillas in addition to learning how to provide treatment and recognize heatstroke when it does occur.

Preventing Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion with Chinchillas

Preventing heatstroke and heat exhaustion with chinchillas is easier than you think, and I do not want anyone reading to think this is some significant challenge.

However, it is essential to understand that preventing heatstroke begins on the day you adopt your chinchilla at your local PetSmart, Petco, or even from a local breeder or rescue.

Here is why.

Depending on where you live, chinchillas are known to get stressed out quite a bit when traveling, which is naturally going to raise their body temperature the same it would do to you or I.

This makes it essential, depending on the temperatures in your area, that you have a vehicle where the AC unit is working correctly, currently turned on in addition to a well-ventilated travel carrier for your chinchilla to get them home safely.

Chinchillas are simply not a fan of traveling, and if the temperatures are not right for the occasion, this could easily lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke before you ever can get your chinchilla home.

Now, let’s assume you follow this advice, and it’s time to take your chinchilla into your forever home.

Before adopting your chinchilla, you should ensure you have a room planned out where you intend to keep your chinchilla cage.

I also recommend spending the money and purchasing one of the better chinchilla cages with proper ventilation and the other benefits your chinchilla needs to remain healthy.

Now, the room is where your chinchilla is going to live is also especially important when it comes to heatstroke.

Ensure that if you live in an area where temperatures reach above 75 degrees F, that you have proper ventilation and an adequately cooled room for your chinchilla with relatively low humidity.

A few paragraphs back, you can use the link to learn more about the exact temperatures a chinchilla prefers to live in.

Keep in mind that you also want a room where natural light will be able to enter to allow your chinchilla to remain in their natural sleep cycles.

If you can get your chinchilla home providing the ideal temperatures in the vehicle and travel case and have the room planned out where your chinchilla will remain cool and safe, you are in good shape to start the journey of chinchilla parenting.

Now, it is time to ensure you provide everything else needed to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke with your chinchilla and ensure you understand how to recognize it and provide care.

Keeping the Water Bottle Filled

Once your chinchilla is home in a room, and at ideal temperatures, you have the job of putting together your new chinchilla cage.

This is where things begin to get fun.

You get to add all the best chinchilla toys to the cage.

You also get to purchase all the best chinchilla accessories for your chinchillas’ new habitat.

One of those accessories you purchase is going to be a water bottle.

Me personally, I recommend purchasing 2 of them.

First off, every now and then, you will run into a broken water bottle or a plug that makes the water bottle no longer function.

Secondly, I prefer to keep two full water bottles attached to each level of her cage on the Critter Nation 2 Dual Level Cage.

While this is not 100% necessary, it 100% makes me feel better, knowing that she always has two full and large water bottles filled with purified water from a gallon jug.

You need to always keep your chinchilla’s water bottle full, so they have unlimited access.

This is going to be how your chinchilla stays hydrated, and if they do happen to get hot, it is going to ensure your chinchilla can get a drink of water to avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Next, we need to worry about the humidity in the room where we keep our chinchillas and where we interact with our chinchillas.

Humidity Levels Need to Remain Low

Humidity is another concern with chinchillas when it comes to heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

Most homes, this is not going to be an issue, depending on where you live.

It also depends if you keep your chinchilla on the main level of the home or perhaps a basement that is more prone to humidity.

If that is the case, I highly recommend purchasing a de-humidifier for your chinchilla, such as this one that I use (Link to Amazon).

It helps to keep the humidity below 50% in the room where my chinchilla is kept, has not had any issues, and helps me sleep at night knowing that the room is proper temps and the humidity levels remain low.

High humidity can lead to heatstroke and heat exhaustion in the same fashion that high temperatures can.

Always be sure to plan for both temperatures and humidity when you go to adopt your new family chinchilla.

Do not Over Stimulate Your Chinchillas During Playtime

Okay, now we have the temperature, humidity, cage set-up, and travel considerations taken care of when it comes to helping your chinchilla avoid heatstroke.

Now we need to discuss the considerations you need to keep in mind when you have your chinchilla out for playtime when outside of the cage.

First and foremost, I do not recommend getting your chinchilla out of the cage often in the first few weeks.

This is when your chinchilla is still attempting to adapt to their environment, and they may get stressed quickly during this period.

Stress can cause overheating or heat stroke, so ensure your chinchilla feels comfortable with you before getting too crazy during playtime.

You should never chase your chinchilla or put your chinchilla in a situation where they feel scared.

This can also lead to increased body temperatures and potentially damage the bond with your chinchilla if they begin to lose trust in you.

I highly recommend you read about how to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held here.

You can also read my post about how to get your chinchilla in and out of the cage here.

These two posts I have will help you build a better bond with your chinchilla, ultimately keeping your chinchilla calmer during playtime.

If your chinchilla can effectively get some activity out of the cage without feeling scared or threatened, you have a much better chance of never dealing with heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Recognizing Heat Stroke Signs with Chinchillas

Now, sometimes we do everything right, and things just happen, unfortunately.

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion with chinchillas may occur no matter how perfect your parenting skills are and how great the temperatures and humidity levels may be.

With that being the case, it is essential to understand how to effectively recognize heat stroke and heat exhaustion with your chinchilla so you can effectively render care and get your chinchilla to a vet.

Below, I am going to break down some of the common warning signs you can look for, indicating heat stroke or heat exhaustion with your chinchilla.

Check the Ears

Depending on the color or mutation of your chinchilla, the inside and outside of the ears may be an off-white transparent type color.

One of the signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion with a chinchilla will be indicated by their ears turning red.

Depending on how visible your chinchilla’s inner ear may be, you may also notice that the blood vessels are dilated in some fashion.

If you notice during playtime, it is a good idea to end playtime and allow your chinchilla to go back to their cage to begin cooling down.

If you notice this while they are just resting or inside of their cage, you may want to double-check the temperature of the room, check for water levels on the water bottle or consider investing in additional tools to help your chinchilla cool down when this does occur.

One of those items you can purchase is known as Chinchilla Chiller Pads, which are essentially a small granite platform your chinchilla can sit on to cool down compared to other bedding and tray liners that may not be as effective.

You can see those chiller pads here (Link to Amazon).

Rapid Breathing

Rapid or labored breathing is another sign that your chinchilla may be overheating or experiencing heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

If this is taking place, you need to get your chinchilla to cool down and double-check the steps I referenced just a moment ago.

Drooling

Drooling can be another indicator of overheating with a chinchilla.

Drooling can also indicate other issues such as overgrown teeth or other dental problems.

While it is wise to implement the cooldown steps, we have discussed if you notice drooling, it’s also a symptom that is best to allow a vet to diagnose and ensure other illnesses are not present.

Better safe than sorry in these situations.

Lethargy

Lethargic behavior is another symptom of heat exhaustion and heat stroke with chinchillas, but it does not always indicate that this is the issue.

If it is apparent, they are acting lethargic due to the heat; you can take the action steps we have discussed to cool them down.

However, if it is not plain as day that this is the cause, lethargic behavior could also indicate another severe illness, and you should consult with a vet immediately.

Laying on Their Side

Again, we have another sign of heat exhaustion and heat stroke that could also be other illnesses.

A chinchilla laying on their side could indicate an overheating issue but also could highly likely indicate other common illnesses.

This is a sign that I also 100% recommend consulting a vet to diagnose the issue correctly and advise you on how to render the proper care.

Providing Care for Your Chinchilla If Heat Stroke Occurs

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Now that we understand what we are looking for and how to spot heatstroke and heat exhaustion with our chinchilla’s, it is also important that we know how to render the initial care and aid to help them return to the proper temperatures and get them feeling better.

You have a few things you can do once you spot or believe you are witnessing heat stroke.

First, acting quickly is the most important thing you can do when you believe your chinchilla is overheating.

The first thing you need to do is get your chinchilla to a cooler environment immediately.

Try moving to the coldest room of the home or nearest a blowing cool air vent on the home.

You can also put a fan in the room to help circulate the cold air.

Try and get to a room where the temperature is at 70 degrees F or lower.

Another easy option to get your chinchilla near cooler temperatures is to head towards the refrigerator and open the freezer doors and fridge doors to allow the cold air to hit your chinchilla.

Keep your chinchilla elevated away from you instead of in a snuggling position to reduce more heat transfer and allow your chinchilla to cool down faster.

Under no circumstances should you ever leave your chinchilla unattended near the fridge or in the refrigerator.

Hold your chinchilla and stay with them until you begin feeling comfortable that they are cooling down adequately.

You can also wrap your chinchilla in ice packs for a short amount of time.

Ensure some insulation is provided between the ice and your chinchilla to avoid shock or getting your chinchilla cold, such as a towel.

Do not place your chinchilla in ice water or expose your chinchilla’s head underwater.

Regardless of the care, you provide during this stage of the process, it is still essential to consult with a vet to ensure no other illnesses are present and that your chinchilla will be okay following the heat exhaustion.

Let’s cover those details next.

Calling A Vet When Necessary

To be honest, anytime heat exhaustion or heat stroke occurs with a chinchilla, you should be contacting a vet.

Whether or not they advise you to show up with your chinchilla physically at the office is an entirely different story.

A lot of the time, if they feel you have adequately cooled your chinchilla down, they may advise not coming in to avoid further stress and to avoid the chance of overheating further during the travel period to the vet.

Nonetheless, a vet is trained to provide care and can help by providing a check-up following the heat exhaustion to ensure your chinchilla is going to be okay.

This may include taking your chinchilla’s blood pressure, taking a heart rate reading, and checking to ensure no further damage was done due to the heat.

I would always recommend calling the vet at a minimum if you believe your chinchilla suffered from heatstroke and take the advice they give from that point on.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we have you up to speed on recognizing, preventing and providing care for heatstroke and heat exhaustion with your chinchilla, let’s begin answering a few other frequently asked questions on the topic before sending you on your way.

Can Chinchillas Die from Heat?

Chinchillas can die from heat. Chinchilla’s overheat due to dense fur and an inability to sweat. When heat stroke and heat exhaustion occur with chinchillas, it can become deadly quickly.

What Temperature is Too Hot for Chinchillas?

Over 75 F is too hot for chinchillas. A chinchilla needs to remain at temperatures below 75 F to prevent heatstroke and heat exhaustion. This temperature may need to be reduced further based on the humidity levels.

Can Chinchillas Live in Hot Weather?

Chinchilla’s cannot live in hot weather. If you live in a hot weather climate and wish to adopt a chinchilla, they need to remain at ideal temperatures in a climate-controlled home and cage with relatively low humidity levels.

Not doing so can quickly cause a chinchilla to die.

My Advice and Living Situation for My Chinchilla

The last thing I want to provide you on the topic of heat exhaustion and heat stroke with chinchillas is a quick overview of my set-up with my own chinchilla.

I thought this may help you to understand how I avoid my chinchilla ever dealing with heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

My chinchilla is in my basement in her large Critter Nation Cage.

My basement is where my home office is and where I work from each day, so we are always right next to each other.

My basement remains at about 68 degrees, which is plenty cool enough for her to feel great all the time.

I also run 2 dehumidifiers that all times to keep humidity low.

The humidifiers I use are the ones I referenced previously in this post.

I also always attach two large Lixit Water Bottles to her cage and keep them full.

During playtime, I do not overstimulate her, and it typically is only for about 30-60 minutes at a time.

Overall, I have not had any struggles keeping my chinchilla safeguarded from heatstroke and heat exhaustion, and I believe 100% that if you follow what has been laid out for you today in this post, that you won’t have any issue either.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, heatstroke and heat exhaustion are real problems that may occur with chinchillas, and you must be on the lookout for them.

The good news is that heat-related deaths and illnesses are easy to avoid if you follow the steps provided in this post.

Chinchillas make for good pets and deserve the best care and plenty of love.

Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and surely hope none of you ever deal with heat stroke or heat exhaustion with your own chinchillas.

Share Your Thoughts

Do any of you have further tips you can recommend for helping our chinchillas to never experience heat stroke or heat exhaustion?

Do you have any further care tips you can provide in the case of heatstroke or heat exhaustion that does occur with our chinchilla’s?

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

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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