It won’t come as a surprise that most chinchillas loooove treats. Unfortunately, most commercial Chinchilla treats and human food will have too much fat or sugar to offer a chinchilla safely.
If you have ever slipped your chinchilla too many sweet treats like fresh fruit, nuts, or chocolate you might have observed this common sign of digestive distress: diarrhea.
This is the least of a chinchilla’s concerns though when it comes to having a poor diet, as excessive amounts of sugar and fat have shown to cause liver damage, digestive disorders, obesity, and tooth decay. Unlike humans who can make up our own minds about what we eat, our Chinchillas are dependent on us to make good decisions for them.
So, what can you offer your chinchilla when you want to give them something special, without resorting to things that would fall under the umbrella of junk food?
Further reading: If you’re looking for what foods they can eat day to day, and which foods should be avoided in a good Chinchilla diet, we’ve covered that here.
Here are the best Chinchilla treats:
1) Dried Rosehips
Serving Size: One rosehip per day
Dried rosehips are one of the healthiest treats you can offer your chinchilla. They’re a great source of Vitamin C and have been proven to support a healthy immune system. Your chinchilla will love them because they’re sweet like raisins so don’t be surprised if they beg for more!
Just make sure to keep it to a minimum amount, especially if you’re giving these to your pet every single day.
2) Apple Sticks
Serving Size: One apple twig per day
It might be strange to consider a stick from an apple tree a treat but it’s a great way to wear down your chinchilla’s teeth (and they’ll love nomming on it!)
Please note: Some trees and plants are toxic if consumed so if you don’t know where a stick came from, don’t use it! Common pesticides are also harmful for chinchillas and need to be avoided. It’s unwise to pick up random sticks to feed to your pet unless you know for sure.
3) Hawthorn Leaves
Serving Size: ½ teaspoon, twice per week
Hawthorn leaves contain antioxidant properties and are thought to be good for a chinchilla’s heart. These are the leaves from a plant that also produces berries, so when they get tired of munching on the leaves…
You can also offer your little buddy hawthorn berries to improve their appetite and digestion.
4) Whole Red Clover
Serving Size: 1 tablespoon, 5 times per week
The stalks from whole red clover are great for wearing down your chinchilla’s teeth, as are a number of other Chinchilla treats we’ve featured and will be featuring on this page.
It’s believed that consumption of this herb promotes healthy liver function and is an effective treatment for viral infections. Since Chinchillas can have some liver troubles, this is a welcome benefit!
5) Dandelion Roots
Serving Size: ⅓ teaspoon, 3 times per week
Dandelion roots are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, D, and B complex. You’ll want to make sure you aren’t picking them from plants that have been sprayed with any weed-killing chemicals, so if you aren’t absolutely sure what’s been used on your lawn, it’s probably not the best idea to feed these to your pet.
People like to offer them to their chinchillas because they improve digestion and reduce symptoms of bloating while supporting the development of a healthy immune system.
6) Whole Green Oat Plant
Serving Size: Mix whole green oat plant with your chinchilla’s normal hay variety a couple times a week.
If your chinchilla is underweight, whole green oat plant is a nutrient dense treat you can offer them. They might not go as crazy for this as they would for some of the berries and sweeter things, but it’s a nice treat nonetheless.
Benefits of eating whole green oat plants include healthy bones and nervous system function. Green oats for Chinchillas have also been used to help reduce stress in the animals.
7) Chamomile Flowers
Serving Size: 1-3 flowers, twice per week
Many people offer chamomile flowers to their chinchillas before introducing them to a stressful event like a visit to the vet or change in their environment. It’s believed to help calm them down a bit, or at least to take the edge off a little.
Chamomile is a great natural relaxant, which you will already know if you have ever consumed it in tea form!
8) Sunflower Petals
Serving Size: ½ teaspoon, once per day
Sunflower petals are full of mineral elements and can help add variety to your chinchilla’s diet if you’re feeling like they’re eating the same things over and over and could use something new to try. Other reported benefits include a noticeable improvement in coat and skin health.
Of course, if your Chinnie loves their current diet and isn’t showing any negative signs, you don’t necessarily need to try new things, but something like sunflower petals is easy to come across and might be worth trying for snack time!
9) Dried Marigold
Serving Size: ½ teaspoon, once per day
Dried marigold is high in fiber, which you know is a very important component of your chinchilla’s diet and something they should definitely be eating.
Fiber for Chinchillas helps to support the immune system, and can stimulate hunger if your chinchilla is having difficulty eating, so they’ll be more willing to try out some of the other tasty treats you’ve put together for them!
10) Hibiscus Petals
Serving Size: 1 flower, once per week
Hibiscus petals are another treat loaded with fiber! This tasty chinchilla treat is also known to be rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants with antibacterial, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties important for a healthy immune system.
One of the other benefits to these flowery treats? It’s a really good reason to start up a garden in the summer. Most of the items on this list can be grown at home for very cheap, and then dried and preserved to enjoy all year long.
11) Linden Flowers and Leaves
Serving Size: 1 leaf and few flowers, 2-3 times per week
This treat is a fun way to encourage a chinchilla’s instinct to forage. Being able to bring elements of nature into your little friend’s cage, especially ones that can encourage their natural instincts, can be very stimulating and important for them to enjoy.
Linden flowers are a great source of flavonoids, improve iron absorption, and support healthy immune system function.
12) Whole Nettle
Serving Size: Don’t worry too much about the serving size for this one – there hasn’t been any noticeable strain on liver or kidney function!
Whole nettle is a good source of iron and vitamins A, C, D, K, and B Complex.
It’s a great plant to offer your chinchilla if they are recovering from illness and could benefit from all the extra vitamins. If your chinchilla is experiencing diarrhea, nettle has been shown to provide relief.
13) Can Chinchillas Eat Plantain?
Serving Size: 1 leaf and stem, once per day
Plantain is another great choice for helping your chinchilla wear down their teeth naturally. It’s a good source of a number of important vitamins like C, K, and C. Plantains are also a great source of fiber, and a handful of minerals. This snack is useful for treating irritations found in the intestinal tract and stomach and can treat upper respiratory inflammation.
14) Goji Berries for Chinchillas
Serving Size: 1 berry, 2-3 times per week
You probably already know that goji berries are filled with powerful antioxidants, but did you know can help maintain healthy heart function and circulation, boost the immune system, prevent the growth of tumors and cancer, and protect against eye diseases? Your chinchilla will love this sweet treat!
Offering healthy treats to your chinchilla can be a great way to bond with your little buddy and tame them for handling.
Even though these treats are healthy and full of important vitamins and minerals, you still need to execute caution when feeding them to your chinchilla.
A rapid change in diet or too many treats can cause tummy upset and diarrhea. But just keep it all in moderation, and you’ll enjoy seeing your Chinchilla react to all these new flavors and treats for them to experience!