We all want our pets to be happy.
As chinchilla owners, we have it easy.
Easier than many other pet owners anyway.
Once you know how to make a chinchilla happy, it is easy.
You simply need to provide it what it needs to live a healthy life, and ensure it enjoys plenty of physical and mental stimulation.
How do you do that exactly?
Keep reading to find out. We will give you a list of 15 simple things you can (and should) do to ensure your chinchilla is happy.
- 1 How To Make A Chinchilla Happy
- 1.1 Appropriate Cage Size
- 1.2 Choose a Suitable Location For The Cage
- 1.3 Add Plenty Of Digging Material
- 1.4 Provide Your Chinchilla With Cagemate
- 1.5 Provide Hideouts And Tunnels
- 1.6 Give Your Chinchilla Toys To Play With
- 1.7 Provide An Exercise Wheel
- 1.8 Give Your Pet Wooden Blocks And Dental Chews
- 1.9 Supply It With Fresh Food And Water
- 1.10 Provide It With Supervised Playtime
- 1.11 Interact With Your Pet
- 1.12 Establish A Routine
- 1.13 Respect Your Pet’s Nap Times
- 1.14 Provide Dust Baths
- 1.15 Provide Regular Veterinary Care
- 2 Ways To Make Your Chinchilla Happy: Final Thoughts
How To Make A Chinchilla Happy
Making a chinchilla happy is not complicated. You just need to provide for its needs. And they are the same as the needs of other animals, including us: sustenance, security, etc. Here are 15 things you can do to make sure your pet’s needs are met.
Appropriate Cage Size
The most important way to keep a chinchilla happy is to provide it with a cage of the proper dimensions. If you have one chinchilla, it needs a cage size of at least 3 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet (meaning it needs to be at least 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide).
For two chinchillas, provide the largest cage you can buy and keep in your home. Larger cages allow for more exploration and exercise.
Choose a Suitable Location For The Cage
Place your chinchilla’s cage in a room with natural light, but avoid direct sunlight that might cause overheating. Keep the temperature between 60° and 75° F (16° to 23° C) and the relative humidity at less than 60%.
Place the cage in a quiet area of your home to minimize stress from loud noises and disturbances.
Add Plenty Of Digging Material
In their natural habitats, chinchillas love to dig, burrow, and create tunnels. By providing your chinchilla with bedding to dig in, you will make your pet a happy guy or girl.
The best chinchilla bedding is Aspen shavings Avoid using pine shavings, which could be toxic to these small animals. You could also use hay, and some people recommend shredded paper or recycled wood pulp.
Your pets can have a great time digging and burrowing in their bedding. It is good exercise and also stimulates happy hormones in your pet. Don’t forget to change the bedding at least once a week to maintain cleanliness and comfort.
Provide Your Chinchilla With Cagemate
In the wild, chinchillas live in large herds of over 100 chinchillas. They are very social, so it is best to house at least a pair, or a trio, of chinchillas together, so they can give each other company.
Chinchillas that are caged alone tend to get depressed, bored, and lonely. By providing your pet with a cagemate, you will make it a lot happier. Just make sure to keep any new chinchilla separate at first and introduce them properly to avoid fights.
Provide Hideouts And Tunnels
Chinchillas appreciate having nesting boxes, tunnels, and hideouts in their enclosures. These allow them privacy and space to rest when they are stressed out or tired.
They also love running around and through these structures, because it reminds them of the burrows and tunnels in their natural habitats.
Give Your Chinchilla Toys To Play With
Chinchillas are smart creatures that love to play and be active. Toys provide your chinchilla with the means to expend energy, think, and be mentally active.
Add some wooden toys, sisal rope toys, balls, cardboard boxes, safe metal pipes, etc. to the cage. Your chinchillas will have a great time climbing on, pushing around, and exploring these toys.
Introduce puzzle feeders, climbing structures, hammocks, and perches to keep your chinchilla mentally engaged and active. Rotate the toys from time to time to prevent boredom.
Provide An Exercise Wheel
Attach a safe exercise wheel inside your chinchilla’s cage. Make sure it is large–at least 10-12 inches in diameter–because smaller wheels could strain your pet’s back. Ensure that the wheel does not have any gaps or axles where its tail or paws could get stuck.
Exercise wheels provide chinchillas with the opportunity to run and expend energy. This helps release endorphins and can keep your chinchilla happy.
Give Your Pet Wooden Blocks And Dental Chews
Give your chinchilla safe chew toys made of wood or natural materials to help maintain its dental health. These toys and blocks are important for your chinchilla’s dental health. They help wear down its ever-growing teeth and also keep it alert, engaged, and entertained for hours on end.
Supply It With Fresh Food And Water
Your chinchilla also needs plenty of hay. Go for low-calcium hay varieties like Timothy, orchard hay, botanical hay, or oat hay.
Provide your pet with treats in moderation, if you like. But these are not necessary. Good options are plain cereals, like shredded wheat, Cheerios or Corn Flakes. These treats will surely make your pet happy, and treating your pet is a great way to bond with it.
Always keep fresh drinking water in clean water bottles with sippers available for your pet. I even use two bottles, just in case on gets clogged.
Provide It With Supervised Playtime
Chinchillas need to play outside their cage for an hour or two, daily. Let your chinchilla play outside in a small-animal playpen or another type of safe enclosure.
Check for potential hazards such as electrical outlets or predators such as cats and birds, if you give your pet an entire room in your house.
Since chinchillas are crepuscular, provide activities and toys during their active hours, which are primarily just before dawn and after dusk.
I like playpens, because you can sit inside them with your chinchilla and let it climb into your lap or run around you. This interaction with you will help strengthen the bond between you and your chinchilla and also make it happier.
Interact With Your Pet
Interact with your chinchilla regularly through gentle talking, providing treats, cleaning its cage, etc. Chinchillas are social creatures, and they like human presence.
However, they are also skittish and do not like being handled too much. Do not force your chinchilla, and if its body language shows fear or anxiety upon being handled, then let it be.
Remember that each chinchilla has its own personality and preferences, so observe your pet to understand what makes it happy and adjust accordingly.
Establish A Routine
Establish a consistent routine for feeding, playtime, and cleaning. Chinchillas thrive on predictability and will look forward to these events every day. This routine and schedule are also important for your fur baby’s health and well-being.
Respect Your Pet’s Nap Times
Allow your chinchilla to rest during the day without disturbing it. Create a dark and quiet environment during its sleep hours.
Provide Dust Baths
Two to three times a week, provide a dust bowl filled with chinchilla dust (which is made from high-quality volcanic ash) for your chinchilla’s bath.
Your pet will have a great time rolling around and frolicking in it. This is important for your pet’s hygiene (the dust eliminates debris, excess oils, and moisture from its coat) and also keeps your pet happier.
Provide Regular Veterinary Care
Regularly monitor your chinchilla’s health and provide prompt veterinary care if you notice any signs of illness or discomfort.
Ways To Make Your Chinchilla Happy: Final Thoughts
Like all animals, including humans, chinchillas are happy when their needs are met. That makes it relatively easy to learn how to make a chinchilla happy. You simply need to know what care a chinchilla needs and provide that.
This means giving it a comfortable cage full of fun things to do, a comfortable environment, a nutritious diet, plenty of time to play and socialize, and perhaps a second chinchilla so it has a friend.
If you think you are making your chinchilla happy, but are not sure, we have an article on ways you can tell if a chinchilla is happy. That should help you figure out how you are doing.