Chinchilla owners often like to give their chinchilla a little treat and they are sometimes tempted to share their foods with their pets. However, just because something is delicious to a human, it does not mean that it is a suitable food for a chinchilla. Here is an overview of whether a chinchilla can eat human foods or if they are best avoided.
Can Chinchillas Eat Human Food?
Chinchillas and humans have very different nutritional needs. Therefore, although there are some human foods that a chinchilla can eat, there are many that are potentially harmful to a chinchilla and you should avoid giving them to your pet.
What Types of Human Foods Can Chinchillas Eat?
There are very few foods that humans eat that are safe for chinchillas to share. Most of the ones that are safe are fruits and vegetables, although chinchillas can only eat them in small doses. This is because of their high sugar content and the fact that many are very acidic. Some good options include:
- Carrots- Chopped carrot will give your chinchilla plenty of dietary fiber and it is a good source of vitamin C. The sugars in carrots mean you should only give this treat once or twice a week.
- Apples- This fruit has a lower sugar content than many other fruits and it is high in dietary fiber. This makes it one of the better options, although you can still only give it in small portions as the sugars can cause digestive problems.
- Kale- Kale is one of the safest options if you want to give your chinchilla a vegetable snack occasionally. Not only is it low in sugar, it is also high in dietary fiber and not acidic.
What Types of Human Foods Can Chinchillas Not Eat
There are many human foods that you should never give to a chinchilla as there is no nutritional benefit and they can cause your chinchilla harm. Some examples include the following:
- Chocolate- One of the most popular sweet treats of humans is chocolate. Chinchilla owners may think they are giving their pet a tasty treat by offering them chocolate, but the high fat and sugar content is bad for a chinchilla’s digestive system
- Nuts and seeds- These are another popular snack among humans and are generally considered a healthy option as they contain many vitamins and minerals. However, the high fat content can cause liver damage to a chinchilla, so you must never feed them seeds and nuts.
- Processed foods- Processed foods can contain high levels of salt and fat. They may also contain preservatives, flavorings, and additives. Each of these elements is harmful to the health of a chinchilla.
- Meat- Chinchillas are herbivores and this means that in the wild, they survive on grasses and plants. They never eat meat and their digestive system cannot process large amounts of protein.
As humans and chinchillas have very different nutritional needs, most foods eaten by humans are not suitable for chinchillas. Only some fruits and vegetables are suitable for chinchillas and it is important to check this first before giving something new to your chinchilla. If they become ill, don’t give them this food again. Other than fruit and vegetables in small quantities, you should avoid giving your chinchilla most human foods.