Why Is My Chinchilla Not Eating or Drinking[+How to Fix]

If you are a current chinchilla owner or intend on adopting a chinchilla soon, you have several scenarios you may have encountered or could encounter throughout your journey.

All these scenarios are essential to understand how to handle effectively.

It is how you take care of a chinchilla in the best possible fashion.

One scenario you may come across can be relatively scary if you have never dealt with it before.

Why is my chinchilla not eating or drinking?

Well, first and foremost, take a breath, it will be okay and let me explain.

I have now owned my chinchilla for almost 4 years, and here is what I can tell you on this topic.

Chinchillas may stop eating and drinking water for a variety of reasons. Chinchillas will typically stop eating and drinking due to illnesses such as respiratory infections, dental issues, and GI tract problems. It is essential that if your chinchilla stops eating or consuming water to consult a vet as soon as possible.

That is the black and white answer to the question as well as the disclaimer that not eating and drinking with a chinchilla is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.

I intend to break down this topic much more for you to ensure you have a clear understanding of the possibilities that may be causing your chinchilla to not eat and drink water.

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 need or desire to learn more about.


Here is a breakdown of the information I plan to cover for you today:

Like mentioned a minute ago, if you need to skip around in this post to read specific information, feel free to use the links directly above.

Otherwise, give me roughly 3 minutes, and I will break down what you need to know on this topic to help you effectively understand why your chinchilla is not eating or consuming water.

Here are the critical details that you need to understand.

Why Is My Chinchilla Not Eating or Drinking Recap

To kickstart things, it is essential to understand that a chinchilla may not be eating for a variety of reasons.

While this is unfortunate, it is still important to recognize some of the common reasons that will cause your chinchilla to lose their appetite or cause your chinchilla to stop consuming water.

It is also essential to understand that if your chinchilla is not eating, it doesn’t always indicate a health concern.

Still, you always need to investigate and figure out the issue as quickly as possible in case it may be an underlying illness causing the original problem.

Let me explain what I mean.

Personality and Preferences with Eating

Some chinchillas will eat at different paces and different quantities than other chinchillas.

If your chinchilla is not acting lethargic, seems happy, and is still coming out of the cage to interact during scheduled play times, your likely in good shape even if you have noticed your chinchilla’s food consumption decrease or they haven’t consumed as much water for the day.

It’s also easy to verify how your chinchilla is doing when it comes to processing and digesting food by ensuring that they are still urinating and pooping inside of the cage.

If the amount of poop is dramatically decreased, then you have a better indicator that you likely have an issue or a potential illness to worry about with your chinchilla.

Clogged Water Bottles

Another thing you need to be checking frequently is the water bottle attached to your chinchilla’s cage.

You may think something is wrong with your chinchilla or that they are not consuming water, but it may be something as simple as a clogged water bottle.

It happens with nearly water bottles every now and then.

Always be inspecting the water bottles during regular cage cleanings to ensure this is not the case.

Dehydration is known to kick in for a chinchilla within 48 hours, so failing to check the water bottle could cause issues relatively fast if you are not active and monitoring it.

I personally check for clogs each time I clean the cage in addition to refilling the water.

Now assuming that neither of these is the issue, let us begin moving into the more serious problems that may be causing your chinchilla not to eat or drink.

Gastrointestinal Stasis

This is a condition that causes food to pass through your chinchilla’s GI tract more slowly but stems from a lack of eating in the first place.

Most of the time, this condition will be the secondary cause of something such dental or teeth issues, too hot of temperatures or overheating, or any other significant form stress with your chinchilla.

If your chinchilla stops eating, it disrupts the normal functions of the GI tract.

It causes your chinchilla to produce additional bacteria, which can cause gas, bloating, and potentially even death if it goes untreated or unnoticed with your chinchilla.

This is also known to cause diarrhea with a chinchilla.

This will be extremely easy to recognize due to the frequency of pooping with a chinchilla.

If you notice soft poop or anything outside of the average size poop pellets, it can be a reliable indicator that it is time to contact your vet and get your chinchilla in for a visit as soon as possible.

Too High of Temperatures

Another potential scenario for your chinchilla not eating, or drinking could be the temperature you have them living in.

Keeping your chinchilla from getting too hot is imperative.

A chinchilla, due to having such dense fur, has no tolerance for high temperatures.

If they get too hot, they can certainly fall victim to heatstroke and will lose their interest in eating or consuming water.

Always be sure that you have a properly ventilated cage in addition to a climate-controlled environment for your chinchilla.

You can view my recommendations for the best chinchilla cages here.

Not doing so can quickly become fatal.

While we have presented a few more potential reasons for lack of appetite from your new chinchilla, you also have other illnesses or potential dental issues that could be causing the problem as well.

In these situations where you are just not sure what the problem may be, I highly recommend seeking professional help to help solve the issue before it is too late, or a problem begins to worsen.

Trust me, a chinchilla doesn’t typically get sick too often, and taking the time to spend a few dollars and seek professional help can be the difference of having a happy chinchilla for the next 15-20 years or the relationship prematurely coming to an end.

It’s and easy choice if you ask me.

Now, let us assume you are still in the diagnosis phase or trying to figure out the issue.

It is possible your chinchilla is still just warming up to the environment and needs time to adjust to being in your home.

In these situations, you can always try and force the issue a bit more with your chinchilla and attempt to get them eating or consuming water.

Here is a look at some of my recommendations as to how you can do this more effectively.

How Do I Get My Chinchilla to Eat?

Unfortunately, chinchillas are known to be relatively stubborn when they decide to do something or choose not to do something.

Clearly, if your chinchilla is not eating due to a medical concern, that is an entirely different story.

However, if your chinchilla is not eating due to another concern, such as breaking into a new environment or trying to build trust with you, you have a few actions you can take.

What I would do first, is begin talking to your chinchilla calmly each day after the adoption through the cage.

Do not over stimulate your chinchilla during these initial few weeks and cause additional stress.

Allow them to get used to all the sounds, smells, and visuals in their new home.

If you are still struggling to get your chinchilla to eat or consume water, consider offering food that is more treat like opposed to using the typical chinchilla hay and pellets.

Always make sure you are sticking with safe foods and safe fruits if you go this route.

You also want to avoid overdoing it with treats.

Nonetheless, it is important for your chinchilla to get some nutrients to remain healthy and not starve.

You can also attempt to hand feed your chinchilla in this situation by placing treats in the palm of your hand and calmly enticing them to come up for a sniff and treat.

Sometimes this will do the trick, and sometimes it will not.

Try to use more appealing options if it seems like your chinchilla really is not consuming any of the food or water that they should be.

You can even try dried oats.

This tends to really get a chinchilla excited and stimulated and works like a charm for my chinchilla.

Nonetheless, if these methods continue to fail, it’s time to stop attempting to fix this problem on your own and consult with a professional to ensure your chinchilla doesn’t suffer any more complications due to the lack of eating or water consumption.

How Much Water Should A Chinchilla Be Drinking Each Day?

Another common question that comes up often, and I had the same problem is in relation to the amount of water a chinchilla should be consuming daily.

On average, a chinchilla should be drinking approximately 2 oz of water per day.

This can also vary based on your chinchilla’s preferences or mood on any given day.

Nonetheless, if you fill a water bottle for your chinchilla, you should be expecting to see roughly 2 oz of water consumed by your chinchilla on any given day.

Chinchillas Not Eating Pellets or Not Eating Hay and Potential Reasons Why

This plays back into much of what we have already discussed in this post.

Sometimes a chinchilla will not consume pellets as quickly or in the same quantities due to an illness, but it is also possible that your chinchilla is having a change of heart or not in the mood.

I know for me personally, I offer my chinchilla a nice mix of hay, hay cubes, and always a full bowl of pellets as well.

Some weeks, she will eat all the pellets first and then start dipping into the hay supply from the hay feeders, and sometimes she is the exact opposite.

It is, however, important that hay and pellets are always offered to your chinchilla and should still be considered the first part of your chinchilla’s diet.

If you want to see if you can get your chinchilla eating either more hay or more pellets, try removing one of the options from the cage and see if that can fix the issue.

I have found throughout the years of owning my chinchilla that she changes her preferences from time to time but, ultimately, enjoys eating both items.

This obviously also makes me feel good knowing that I am providing her the nutrients and diet that she needs.

Chinchilla Is Not Eating Following Dental Work

Your chinchilla not eating or drinking following a dental procedure or dental work is normal and nothing to be overly alarmed with as long as it does not persist for more than 48 hours.

Dental issues, in general, can cause your chinchilla to quickly lose their appetite before a procedure.

Following a procedure, it can take some time for your chinchilla to come down from the stress caused during the vet visit or process.

In most situations, your chinchilla will regain their appetite, and your vet will also brief you on what to expect and how to keep an eye on your chinchilla following any dental work.

My Baby Chinchilla Is Not Eating

Although sad, it is possible that your baby chinchilla or “kit” has been left out of the bunch and rejected by their mother and siblings.

In these situations, it is still imperative for your baby chinchilla to eat and consume fluids.

When this does happen, you are going to need to feed themselves.

While more time consuming and a bit of an ordeal, it is the only method you can use to ensure the care and health of your new baby chinchillas.

In most situations, if you have a baby chinchilla not eating, you can use syringes to allow the baby chinchilla to consume water and or milk.

You will also need to hand feed your baby chinchilla hay or pellets during this time to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need.

Using a scale to keep track of weight will help you monitor and offer the appropriate amount of food for your baby chinchilla.

Nonetheless, if this happens, manually feeding your baby chinchilla is a perfectly viable approach to take to ensure they grow to be healthy, happy, and strong.

Final Thoughts

As illustrated in this post, several scenarios can cause a chinchilla to not eat or consume water and fluids.

It is tough as a new chinchilla owner to always know exactly what the cause is and what the best course of action is to take.

In most situations, if the problem does not go away after a few days, your only option is to call your vet and allow a professional to help you through the process.

This will ultimately ensure the safety and well-being of your beloved chinchilla.

They make for wonderful pets and Chili, and I wish you the best of luck with your journey and hope that your chinchilla not consuming fluids or food comes to a swift ending.

Share Your Thoughts

What other recommendations can you provide the Planet Chinchilla community to help them through the struggle of a chinchilla not eating or consuming water and fluids?

What other key items been left out that may help a chinchilla owner return their chinchilla to a healthy state?

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 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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