Obviously, something is wrong.
If your chinchilla suddenly stops eating or drinking, you know there’s something going on.
The most important advice I can give you is not to panic.
It is true that a sudden loss of appetite can indicate a serious problem.
But panicking won’t help.
Instead, keep reading to learn exactly what kinds of issues could cause a chinchilla to stop drinking or eating.
We’ll also cover exactly what you should do to remedy the situation.
- 1 Why Is My Chinchilla Not Eating Or Drinking
- 1.1 Reasons A Chinchilla Might Stop Eating Or Drinking
- 1.2 How To Get Your Chinchilla To Eat
- 1.3 How Much Water A Chinchilla Should Be Drinking Every Day
- 1.4 Potential Reasons For A Chinchilla Not Eating Pellets Or Hay
- 1.5 Chinchilla Is Not Eating Following Dental Work
- 1.6 My Baby Chinchilla Is Not Eating
- 2 Chinchilla Not Eating Or Drinking: Final Thoughts
Why Is My Chinchilla Not Eating Or Drinking
Chinchillas may stop eating or drinking water for a variety of reasons. They will typically stop eating and drinking due to illnesses such as respiratory infections, dental issues, and GI tract problems.
It is essential to consult a vet as soon as possible, if your chinchilla stops eating or consuming water.
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, to ensure you have a clear understanding of the possibilities that may be causing your chinchilla to not eat and drink.
Reasons A Chinchilla Might Stop Eating Or Drinking
To kickstart things, it is essential to understand that a chinchilla may refuse food for a variety of reasons.
It is important to recognize some of the common reasons that could cause your chinchilla to lose its appetite, or to stop consuming water.
It is also important to understand that if your chinchilla is not eating, it doesn’t always indicate a health concern or disease in your chinchilla.
It might be a simple fix.
Still, you always need to investigate and figure out the issue as quickly as possible, in case it is an underlying illness causing the problem.
Here are a few common reasons why a chinchilla might stop drinking or eating.
Personality And Eating Preferences
While all chinchillas are omnivores, not all eat the same way. They eat at different speeds and different quantities.
This means you have likely nothing to worry about if your chinchilla’s food consumption has decrease or it hasn’t been consuming as much water lately as before.
It’s also easy to verify how your chinchilla is doing when it comes to processing and digesting food, by double-checking that it is still urinating and pooping inside of the cage.
If the amount of poop has dramatically decreased, then you have a good indicator that there might be a potential illness or other issue that you need to worry about. Contact your vet.
Clogged Water Bottles
Another thing you need to be checking frequently is the water bottle attached to your chinchilla’s cage.
You may think your chinchilla is not consuming water, because there is something wrong with it, but the reason may be something as simple as a clogged water bottle.
It happens with nearly all water bottles every now and then. Always inspect 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 movie on to some more serious problems that may be causing your chinchilla to not eat or drink.
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.
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, bloat, and potentially even death if it goes untreated.
Chinchilla GI stasis is also known to cause diarrhea. This condition is extremely easy to recognize due to how frequently chinchillas poop.
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.
Another potential reason for your chinchilla not eating or drinking could be the temperature in its environment.
Keeping your chinchilla from getting too hot is imperative. Due to their dense fur, they have no tolerance for high temperatures.
If they get too hot, they can fall victim to heatstroke and will lose 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. Not doing so can quickly become fatal.
You can view my recommendations for the best chinchilla cages here.
While we have presented a few potential reasons for lack of appetite, you also have other potential illnesses or dental issues that could be causing the problem.
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 before the 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 in 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 of trying to figure out the issue.
It is also 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 to force the issue a bit more, and attempt to get your pet eating or consuming water, without addressing any possible underlying cause.
Here is a look at some of my recommendations as to how you can do this more effectively.
How To Get Your Chinchilla To Eat
Unfortunately, chinchillas are known to be relatively stubborn, once they decide to do something or not 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 getting used to a new environment or it still hasn’t built trust with you, you have a few actions you can take.
What I would do first, is begin talking to your chinchilla calmly through the cage every day. Do not over stimulate your pet during these initial few weeks and cause additional stress. Allow it to get used to all the sounds, smells, and visuals in its new home.
If you are still struggling to get your chinchilla to eat or consume water, consider offering some food that is more like a treat, as opposed to the typical chinchilla hay and pellets.
Always make sure you stick with safe foods and safe fruits if you go this route. You also want to avoid overdoing it with treats.
But 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 your pet to come up for a sniff and a taste.
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 it should be.
You can even try dried oats. This tends to really get my chinchilla excited and stimulated and works like a charm. Read “Can Chinchillas Eat Oats?” for more.
Avoid any kind of dairy products. Chinchillas have a hard time digesting them. This can cause discomfort and can even be fatal. Read “Can Chinchillas Eat Cheese?” for more.
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 food or water consumption.
How Much Water A Chinchilla Should Be Drinking Every Day
Another common question that comes up often (and one I had myself in the beginning) is how much water a chinchilla should be consuming daily.
On average, a chinchilla should be drinking approximately 2 oz of water per day. But this can 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 on any given day.
Potential Reasons For A Chinchilla Not Eating Pellets Or Hay
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 it is simply not in the mood.
I know for me personally, I offer my chinchilla a nice mix of hay, hay cubes, and always make sure she has 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. Other times, she does the exact opposite.
The important thing is to make sure that hay and pellets are always offered to your chinchilla. Both should always be considered the primary component 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, she 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 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 its appetite. Following a procedure, it can take some time for your chinchilla to come down from the stress caused during the vet visit.
In most situations, your chinchilla will regain its appetite. Your vet should 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 its 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 it yourself.
While more time consuming and a bit of an ordeal, it is the only method you can use to ensure the health of your new baby chinchillas.
In most situations, if you have a baby chinchilla not eating, you can use syringes to help it consume water and/or milk.
You will also need to hand feed your baby chinchilla hay or pellets during this time, to ensure it is getting the nutrients it needs.
Using a scale to keep track of weight will help you monitor, and ensure you always offer the appropriate amount of food for your baby chinchilla.
In short, manually feeding your baby chinchilla is a perfectly viable approach to take to ensure it grows to be healthy, happy, and strong.
Chinchilla Not Eating Or Drinking: Final Thoughts
Several scenarios can cause a chinchilla to not eat or consume water and other 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?
What other key items did we miss 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.