It’s obviously to say, but chinchillas need access to an unlimited amount of fresh water. This should be provided in your chinchilla’s cage with a water bottle. Do not give them water in a bowl or crock. Water in a bowl can easily be spilled when your pet chinchilla bounces around the cage or may be contaminated by food, waste, or hair. A chinchilla water bottle is the best way to provide your chin with water.
Glass bottles are recommended because they cannot be chewed, but a plastic water bottle can be used if it is hung in a way that the chinchilla cannot chew on it. The bottle should be hung on the outside of the cage, with only the spout sticking through the bars. Some owners recommend having two water bottles available in case the first one fails, so the chinchilla always has access to water. Here are some recommended bottles to try.
Chinchilla Water Bottles
Lixit 8 oz. Glass Water Bottle
Lixit makes some of the best water bottles for pets. It’s what we have used for our exotic pets for years. The chinchilla water bottles are made of sturdy glass which is completely chew proof. The glass is extra thick and our bottles have survived being dropped several times without cracking or breaking.
The 8 oz. size is perfect for chinchillas. The Lixit water bottle comes with spring holder with metal clips to easily attach to the outside of your chinchilla’s cage. Since it’s metal, that means the holder is chew proof as well.
Kaytee provides another chew proof glass bottle option, this time in a 6 oz. size. The bottle attaches to the side of your chinchilla’s cage with a stainless steel spring attachment hanger. The cap is also made of stainless steel, making it 100% chew proof.
The spout includes a double-ball bearing that makes it drip-resistant, creating a vacuum seal.
Also available in 12 oz., 16 oz., and 26 oz. sizes so you can have enough water available no matter how many chins are in a cage.
Here’s another great glass water bottle from Lixit. The big difference with this one is it features a rubber stopper to connect the drinking tube to the bottle. The mounting hardware is also stainless steel and more secure than the normal spring mounts.
This water bottle is marketed for birds but works perfectly for a chinchilla. All components can be sterilized in the dishwasher or in boiling water to keep the bottle clean and bacteria-free.
Chinchillas love to chew. Their teeth are constantly growing, which drives their urge to chew everything in sight. Because of this, you should provide healthy chewing options for your pet chinchilla. One of the best options for chew toys and cage accessories is wood. Unfortunately, many kinds of wood are toxic to chinchillas, so you should only provide chinchilla safe wood. Because chinchillas love to chew so much, you should try to prevent their access to any wood that isn’t safe, including furniture and other items you don’t want to them to chew on.
We’ve compiled two lists, one of chinchilla safe wood and another of other safe natural materials to make chinchilla toys out of. These come from consulting various online sources, exotic vets, and longtime chinchilla owners. If a wood or material is not on one of these lists, assume it is toxic to chinchillas until you’re able to research it further.
Chinchilla Safe Wood
When giving your chinchilla wood, you want to try and take a few other precautions as well. Make sure any wood you provide came from organic and pesticide-free trees, and it should be untreated, without glue or paint. Before the wood can be given to a chin, make sure it’s been cleaned and baked (either by you or whoever you purchased it from).
Arbutus (Strawberry Wood)
Black Currant, Red Currant, Gooseberry
Elm & Red Elm
Grape & Grapevine
Ocotillo (from the desert)
Pine (oven baked or kiln dried only)
Willow (goat, weeping, or pussy willow)
Other Safe Materials for Chinchilla Toys
Cardboard (monitor you chin to make sure they’re not eating it)
Loofah (unbleached only)
Pine Cones (cleaned and baked only)
Unsafe Wood and Other Materials
Any wood on this list should not be given to chinchillas.
Cage accessories are an important part of your chinchilla’s habitat and home. They take a bare, prison-like cage and turn it into a comfy, fun, and safe space for your pet chinchilla. The reality is your chin will spend most of their lives inside their cage so it needs to provide resources to feed them, comfort them in times of stress, relieve their need to chew, and stimulate them. When adding a new chinchilla to your family, you’ll need to buy them a new cage and fill it with all of the necessities. In this article, we round up all the types of chinchilla cage accessories you need to create the perfect home for your pet.
Chinchilla Cage Accessories
We’ve divided the different accessories into three basic categories to make it easier to find info on what you’re looking for. Chinchilla care essentials are items you need to provide your pet with basics like food and water. Chinchilla “furniture” is the fixtures inside the cage that give your chinchilla places to sleep, hop, and play. Chinchilla toys and fun includes stuff to keep you chin healthy and entertained (both in their cage and outside).
Chinchilla Care Essentials
Chinchillas need fresh water available to them at all times. The best way to provide water to your pet is with a water bottle. Water crocks and bowls are easy to spill, which can make a mess in your chinchilla’s cage. They also allow for water to be contaminated with dirt, waste, or hair.
A non-drip water bottle should be installed on the outside of your chinchilla’s cage to provide unlimited access to water.
Your chinchilla cage should have at least one food dish to serve pellets. You can have multiple food dishes if you have multiple chinchillas. You want to make sure the dish is made of a safe material to prevent your pet from chewing it (no plastic). The dish should also be heavy enough to avoid being tipped over or it should mount to the side of the cage.
Chinchillas should be provided with unlimited access to fresh hay. The best way to do this in their cage is by using a hay rack or other type of feeder.
These hay holders help to reduce mess and keep hay off shelves and the floor of their cage. Chinchillas often will pee on piles of hay as if they’re a litter box, so hanging a hay rack from the side of the cage helps eliminate that issue.
If you want to reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do in your chinchilla’s cage and save money by using less bedding or litter you may want to potty train your chinchilla. Once they’re potty trained, instead of covering the entire bottom of the cage in bedding, you can just use a litter box or pan in the corner of the cage.
Most litter boxes sold in pet stores for small animals and exotic pets are plastic, which you should not buy for your chinchilla. Instead, you should look for metal or ceramic litter box options. You may have to to get a little creative with which department you look for chinchilla litter boxes in. Check out our suggestions and learn more about chinchilla bedding and litter boxes.
Chinchilla furniture is what we’re categorizing shelves, houses, and other fixtures that may be used in a chinchilla cage or in a playpen for exercise time. These are essential for every chinchilla cage. Chinchillas love to hop, climb, hide, and chew, and they need this furniture to help meet all of their needs.
Cage Shelves and Ledges
Shelves and ledges should be considered an integral part of the cage structure. Chinchillas need multiple levels to explore and hop around inside their cage. Shelves should be made of chinchilla safe material, usually wood, and never made of plastic.
What sizes and shapes of shelves you buy are up to you. There’s an unlimited number of ways to set up your chinchilla’s home that are only dependent on the size of the cage, your budget, and your imagination.
A chinchilla house or hideout is a very important part of your pet’s home. They need a safe space they can go to if they feel stressed. Plus it often doubles as their sleeping space during the day when your house is active but they are tired. You should have one chinchilla house per chinchilla in your cage setup.
Since it’s inside their cage and they will have constant contact with it, the hideout should be made of chinchilla safe materials and never plastic. You can get a house that sits on the floor of the cage or one that mounts to the cage bars or ceilings.
If your chinchilla cage comes with plastic or wire shelves, you should either remove them or cover them for your pet’s safety. The easiest way is to cover them with fleece liners. Fleece is a safe fabric that most chinchillas won’t chew or eat. It’s also very absorbent and can be used as a reusable alternative to disposable litter.
Liners are available pre-made for most common chinchilla cages or you can make them yourself. Check out our favorite fleece chinchilla cage liners.
Hammocks and Beds
In addition to all the wood and metal in their cage, chinchillas also need soft surfaces they can rest their feet on and cuddle up to sleep on. The easiest way to provide this is with a fleece hammock or bed. There are many options available that are safe for chinchillas, especially now that chinchilla owners are making their own cage accessories design specifically for chins. If you’re shopping at the pet store, make sure any hammock or bed you consider is made of fleece and not other fabrics, vinyl, or plastic.
Toys are not just some accessories you can buy for your chin, they’re actually extremely important for the health and well-being of your pet. Toys help relieve boredom which is good for your chinchilla’s mental health. They also help give them a safe outlet for their constant need to chew. Providing a variety of toys made of different materials helps your chinchilla wear their teeth down, keeping their mouth healthy and happy.
Toys should be provided in their play area to keep them from chewing on things they shouldn’t eat during playtime (like furniture, books, or wires). Your chinchilla should also have a variety of toys available in their cage to keep them entertained during the rest of the day. Hanging toys and toss toys work very well to keep your chinchilla amused and happy. Read more about chinchilla toys and chews to find out what options are available and how to make your own toys. On a budget? Check out DIY Toilet Paper Roll Toys that you can make from items around the house.
Ladders, Bridges, and Swings
If there’s enough space in your chinchilla’s cage, you can get more creative than just regular shelves. There are a variety of chinchilla safe ladders, bridges, and swings to furnish your cage with. These accessories can stimulate and engage your pet as they climb, jump, and play.
Tunnels are a fun option for play time or as a cage accessory. Chinchillas love to run through and under tiny spaces, and sometimes enjoy curling up inside of them to nap.
Some tunnels are best for outside the cage play time (see some recommendations here), but there are also tunnels that you can mount in your chinchilla’s cage. PVC pipes are a very popular option, though they should be covered with fleece for your chin’s health and safety. Wooden tunnels also work well.
A chinchilla wheel is a fun addition to make to your pet’s cage. There are plenty of chinchilla safe wheels available to give your pet a fun outlet for their extra energy. They also help your chinchilla stay trim and healthy. These are a great accessory for chins that are a little chubby and need to lose weight.
There are a lot of wheels in pet stores marketed toward chinchillas that actually aren’t good for them. They may be too small or made of plastic that your chinchilla will chew up. If you want to add an exercise wheel to your cage, check out our recommendations for chinchilla wheels.
Some of the most fun you’ll have as a chinchilla owner is buying toys for your exotic pet. You can buy pre-made toys in pet stores or online or buy wood and toy parts to make your own. The most important part of this process is to make sure that any toys or toy parts you buy are made of chinchilla safe wood and materials. Read more about wood toys and toy parts.
Chinchilla Cage Setup Ideas
Now that you have all the chinchilla cage accessories you need, you may be wondering exactly how to set up a chinchilla cage. While you should keep in mind a few rules for safety, you don’t have to stress out about getting the layout “just right.” You can reorganize, change, and add accessories at any time for what makes sense for your pet chinchilla.
Safety Tips for Setting Up Your Chinchilla Cage
The first thing you need to keep in mind when setting up your cage is doing some preventative arranging to make sure your chinchilla cannot be injured in the cage.
Prevent Dangerous Falls
The first thing to look at is the height of the cage and whether it’s possible for your chinchilla to fall and hurt themselves. If you’re using a shorter cage to house your chin there may not be much to worry about (except for making sure they get a lot of exercise time outside of their cage). If the cage is taller, giving a lot of space to climb and jump, you want to make sure shelves are placed in a way to prevent long-distance falls. Some chinchillas are a little klutzy or may misjudge a jump and could fall. Your cage should be arranged so the chinchilla wouldn’t fall more than 24″.
Many of the taller cages marketed for ferrets, like the Prevue Feisty Ferret Cage (pictured right) comes with a shelf that spans the entirety of the cage at mid-height. This greatly reduces the chance of a dangerous fall when your chin is playing high up in their cage. Often these are wire shelves, which aren’t safe for chinchillas who might get tiny feet caught in them, so you can make or buy fleece shelf covers to make them safer.
If your cage does not have a shelf like that, you can use some strategic design to remove any fall heights greater than 24″. Use numerous shelves at different levels to make sure there’s always a surface to land on. Fleece hammocks are another great option because they offer a soft landing. You can buy or make a hammock that spans the width or length of your cage.
If your cage comes with plastic shelves, ramps, or other accessories, you should seriously consider removing them or covering them to prevent your chinchilla from chewing on them. If you provide enough safe wood alternatives for them to chew on like toys, your chinchilla may not try to chew on the plastic. But, most will try. The chewing isn’t the issue, but if your chin ingests any of the plastic it can cause intestinal blockage and be fatal. Instead, opt for replacing them with wood shelves or cover them with fleece to make them safer.
Secure Heavy Accessories in the Cage
Make sure all heavy items in the cage can be secured safely to the cage walls or ceiling. Shelves, hidey houses, heavy food crocks, etc. should all be secured to the side of the cage. If an item cannot be secured (like a free standing house), it should be placed on the cage floor or a shelf that spans the width of the cage. This is to avoid the chinchilla pushing or kicking the heavy item off the ledge where it could injure another chinchilla below or break something within the cage.
Chinchilla Cage Layout Ideas
Once you take safety into consideration, the layout of your cage is up to your imagination and your chinchilla’s preference. Still, it’s always fun to see how other chinchilla owners set up their cages. Here are some examples from around the web that may help inspire you. We have added comments for any recommended changes to the layout.
This is a great example of a layout for a shorter chinchilla cage. It looks like a tall one, but both of these chins actually have seperate living spaces. This owner made good use of wood shelves and a mountable hidey house. Each chinchilla also has an exercise wheel on the lowest level, which is the safest place to mount a wheel.
While we’re worried these chins won’t get enough ventilation in this cage with solid sides and might overheat, the layout is great. This is a wonderful example of how to use shelves to break up a taller cage to prevent dangerous falls.
This cage uses a combination of wood shelves and fleece tubes to create a variety of surfaces for chinchillas to run and play through. I would maybe add some more shelf coverage or a large hammock at mid height to prevent any long distance falls.
This is a perfect example of utilizing a cage-width shelf at mid height to prevent dangerous falls. The owner covered the wire shelf with fleece and added wooden shelves and fleece throughout to give lots of room to hop and explore.
Exercise during playtime is one of the most important times in a chinchilla’s day. Chinchillas must be provided with exercise time every day for their health and happiness, this is mandatory for proper chinchilla care. It’s especially important to provide exercise time outside of their cage if your chinchilla has a smaller cage. One of the best ways to provide this exercise is to have a dedicated space in your home that’s chin-proof where your chinchilla can run, jump, and play with toys. One of the easiest ways to create this space is with chinchilla playpens.
Chinchilla exercise pens are also a great place to keep your pet while you’re cleaning their cage, especially during the monthly deep clean. If you have enough space to get a pen big enough for you to sit in, exercise time also becomes bonding time with your pet chinchilla.
When shopping for an exercise pen for your pet chinchilla, you’ll want to keep a few factors in mind. First, you should look for something made out of metal or wire so your chin won’t be able to chew through it. A lot of playpens meant for dogs work perfectly as chinchilla exercise pens. You want to make sure the height of the pen walls is at least 2 feet (24″). The size of the pen itself will depend on the amount of space you have to work with.
Note: chinchillas should always be monitored during playtime or exercise outside of their cage. This is because they can often be little escape artists and you want them to stay in their exercise area away from dangers like wires and appliances. Even if you have a chin safe play area, they should not be left unsupervised for long periods of time. You should consider chinchilla playpens that are large enough for you to sit inside with them during exercise time.
Marshall Pet Products Small Pet Playpen
Made specifically for small pets like chinchillas, rabbits, and ferrets, this playpen makes the perfect enclosure for chinchilla playtime. The panels are extra tall to help prevent your chin from jumping over the walls on this chinchilla enclosure. The playpen can be used inside or outside (if you chinchilla isn’t stress by the outdoors).
Marshall also makes playpen mats to help protect your floor and carpet during chinchilla exercise time. The mat can also be used as a “lid” to keep extra jumpy chins inside. Easy to assemble, no tools required.
If you need a playpen that’s super portable, this enclosure from Amazon Basics may work for you. This pen is collapsible and folds up, making it easy to take outside or pack in the car if you’re traveling. It also comes pre-assembled so you can just set it up and go.
This pen will give enough space for your chinchilla to exercise and play. It also features a door that you can open to easily walk in and out of the enclosure. The panels are made of iron wire, so you’ll never have to worry about your chin chewing through them. Bigger sizes are available if you want more space
Play Area: Over 16 square feet
Panel Size: Each panel 24″W x 24″L; Gap 1.5″W x 5.5″L
If you need a lot more space for your chinchilla’s playtime, this playen from TMS is a great option. It comes with double the panels of most pens and the panels are removable so you can customize the size or build multiple pens.
The panels are made with steel wire, making them chew proof for your chin. The pen comes with two door panels to easily step in and out. The shape is easily adjustable to fit whatever space you want to use for your chinchilla’s exercise time.
If your chinchilla is a super crafty escape artist or jumps super high, you may need more protection than a normal enclosure can provide. This tent-looking exclosure is meant for cats but can easily be used for chinchillas. The zipper door make it easy to get your chinchillas in and keep them in.
Since the tent is made of mesh walls and floors, a chinchilla would be able to chew through it. Make sure to keep an eye on them and provide them lots of toys and wood to chew on to keep them gnawing a hole in it. This enclosure folds up into a convenient carry bag that is perfect for storage or transport.
This is another option if you’re considering fully enclosed chinchilla playpens. With 8 panels, this pen is designed to keep your chinchilla fully enclosed while they play and jump. It’s made from waterproof cloth and breathable mesh, so it has enough ventilation to keep your chinchilla cool. You have to keep an eye on your chin though so they do not try to chew their way out.
The zipper door makes it easy to get in and close the pen completely so your chinchilla does not try to escape. The outside also features storage compartments to keep extra toys or treats. It’s quick to set up and fold down in just a matter of seconds. This pen comes with a travel tote for easy storage and portability.
Do you have a friend or family member who loves chinchillas? Maybe you know someone who is a chinchilla breeder or shows chinchillas. You may have a hard time coming up with creative and thoughtful chinchilla gift for your loved one. We’ve got you covered with this article.
Whether you need a gift for Christmas or for the chin lover’s birthday, any of the items in this article will be a memorable and unique gift sure to dazzle and touch their hearts.
Chinchilla Gifts for Chin Fans
1. Chinchilla Plush Stuffed Animal
These unique handmade dolls are little plush chinchillas made from soft fleece. They eyes are “safety eyes” which means they can’t be removed, so this makes a great gift for a child. Available in 6 different colors, the crafter donates a portion of the sales to animal rescue organizations.
A truly unique gift, you can custom order a hand-drawn portrait of your loved one’s pet chinchilla. All you have to do is send in a photo of the chinchilla(s) and you’ll get a gorgeous picture. You can include one to four (or more) pets in the image, with size options of 6″ x 8″, 8″ x 10″, 9″ x 12″.
This handmade gift is great for kids and adults. Handcut from birch or maple plywood, this adorable puzzle is shaped like a chin, spelling out the word “chinchilla.” This puzzle would be great to display on a shelf or for children to play with. (Note: this is not chinchilla safe wood, so do not gift it to your chinchilla.)
Foodies and bakers will love to make cookies of their favorite animal! This lifelike cookie cutter from Drukowanko creates the perfect chinchilla pastry. Available in three different styles, you can make a few dozen cute cookies to delight any animal lover.
This is another unique piece that is perfect for a chinchilla lover. A gorgeous, hand cast, sterling silver chinchilla charm, could be worn on a bracelet or a necklace. If the person you’re giving the gift to prefers gold, that option is also available.
This makes a beautiful, meaningful gift for any chinchilla owner, especially one who has recently lost a pet over the rainbow bridge. This artist makes needle felted sculptures of pets based on your pet. Because of the care and talent of the artist, these little animals look identical to the real pets. It’s a beautiful art piece that can be lovingly displayed in any pet owner’s home.
This gift is bold and to the point. Featuring a brightly colored illustration of a chinchilla, this shirt is fashionable and fun. Available in men’s, women’s, and youth sizes, this is the perfect gift for any chinchilla parent. Plus you get a choice of five colors: black, red, purple, navy, and royal blue.
If you’re looking for a small gift to add to a gift bag or slip into a stocking, these pins are perfect. Handmade and designed by Etsy seller Mehoi, these adorable pins feature chinchillas plated in 14K gold. They’re perfect to pin to a bag, jacket, or even a hat.
I absolutely love this chinchilla gift. This sign is perfect to hang next to a chinchilla cage. The sign says “Warning, this property is protected by a highly trained chinchilla. Not responsible for injury or possible death.”
The signs are made to order and printed on high-quality aluminum. You have a choice of three designs: “new,” distressed wood, and aged metal.
If you need to transport your chinchilla, whether it be going to show, to the exotic pet vet, or because you’re moving houses, you need a carrier to transport your chinchilla. In certain situations, you may even need a temporary travel cage to house your chinchilla at a hotel or a friend’s house. In this article, we look at the different types of chinchilla carriers and cages so you can select the best one for your pet.
Chinchilla Carriers vs. Travel Cages
It’s important to understand the different situations where you would use a carrier or a travel cage. Chinchilla carriers are used to transport the chin. This is what you would use if you were driving your chinchilla somewhere or flying on an airplane. This space should be as small as possible to prevent injury to your chinchilla in case of sudden stops.
A travel cage would be for your chinchilla to stay in if they’re away from their cage for an extended period of time. This cage is not as big as their normal cage but gives them enough space to move around and get a little exercise. These are good for situations where chinchillas will be sleeping away from home (like at a hotel or a friend’s house) or away from home for several hours (like a show). Many of these travel cages are collapsible to make them easier to transport and store.
All chinchilla owners should have a chinchilla safe carrier on hand. If your chinchilla has an emergency and needs to go to the vet, you will need a carrier. If you need to evacuate your home because of an emergency like a hurricane, flood, wildfire, or another event, you will probably need both a carrier and a travel cage. I recommend having both on hand if you live in an area where these types of emergencies are common.
Best Chinchilla Carriers
A few things to keep in mind when you’re looking at chinchilla carriers:
They should be large enough that the chinchilla can move around some, but not too large that they can jump freely or be injured. Look for small pet or cat carriers.
The carrier needs to be well ventilated. This is harder to accomplish with some fabric carriers, but there should be ventilation on at least 3 sides (all 4 sides and the top is best). This is to keep your chinchilla from overheating while they’re in the carrier.
It should not be made of a material the chinchilla can easily chew through. Hard plastic carriers are the best, with wire ventilation.
It should be easy to carry. It will make traveling easier for you and less scary for your furbaby.
Note: If you are planning on flying with your chinchilla, make sure you communicate with the airline early and directly about your plans. Many airlines will not let you fly with chinchillas and others will require you to check the chinchilla as cargo (which means they will be put under the plane with the baggage). Flying with a chinchilla as cargo is not recommended. There are some airlines that will allow you to fly with the chinchilla in the cabin if you have them designated as a service animal by a vet. The airlines will let you know what you need to do. Once you verify you can fly with your chinchilla, double-check with the airline that you have an approved carrier so your chinchilla can go under the seat in front of you. We do not claim that any of the below carriers are airline approved. These are just our recommendations for general car travel.
Midwest Chinchilla Carrier
Meant for small pets, and smaller cats and dogs, this carrier is a great option for traveling with your pet chinchilla. What sets this carrier apart from other options is that it features ventilation on all sizes and the top to keep your chinchilla cool. Made from hard plastic with metal bars, it’s good for short-term travel with your chin.
There is enough space under the handle to slide a seatbelt through to secure your pet in the backseat. For a single chinchilla, I would recommend the 19″ “Toy Dog” size. Quick assembly, no tools required.
Colors: Green, Blue, Red
Dimensions: Option 1: 17.91″L x 11.5″W x 12″H, Option 2: 20.7″L x 13.22″W x 14.09″H, Option 3: 23.55″L x 15.04″W x 15.56″H
The Compass Kennel is a sturdy, traditional style pet carrier. It features ventilation on all four sides to keep your chin from overheating and is made from sturdy plastic. The quick latch 2-way door can open in either direction or be removed completely to easily let your chinchilla in or out.
These kennels are normally made for dogs, so you really only need the smallest size. I recommend the “up to 10 lbs” version for chinchillas. Easy assembly, no tools required.
Atlas 2 Door Pet Carrier for Chinchillas and Small Animals
This hard-sided carrier is a great options for traveling with chinchillas. Made from hard plastic, it features two doors of steel wire on the front and the top, giving you multiple options to put your chinchilla inside. Top doors are very convenient for reluctant chinchillas who hate going to the vet, since it’s easier to lift your chin out of the carrier. This design provides ventilation on all four sides and the top of the carrier.
Like most carriers of this design, the top clips to the bottom, but this version features extra safety screws that add reinforcement. This carrier is great for car trips or driving to the vet. Easy, no tool assembly required. The 19″ size is perfect for chinchillas.
Colors: Light purple/white, light blue/white
Dimensions: Small: 18.75L x 13W x 11.75H, Large: 23.125L x 14.5W x 13.5H
If your chinchilla is a little escape artist who chews their way through plastic at the speed of light, this all-metal carrier from Quality Cage Crafters is perfect. Secure like a mini cage, your chin can’t get out! The small size is perfect for short trips, like to the vet.
The metal pan provides a chew-proof, easy to clean, solid surface for your chinchilla. The top swings fully open to easily lift your pet in and out. Because it’s wire all the way around, this carrier has fantastic ventilation and the metal pan provides extra cooling during warm weather months.
Available in single, double, and triple sizes that are perfect for transporting 1, 2, or 3 pets at the same time. The double and triple sizes come with metal dividers that can be removed if you want your chins to be together.
Dimensions: Single Measures 8″w x 12″d x 8″h, Double Measures 16″w x 12″d x 8″h, Triple Measures 24″w x 12″d x 8″h
This is the travel cage we see most recommended by breeders and people who show chinchillas. Made by Quality Cage Crafters, which specializes in chinchilla cages and accessories, the cage comes with a ramp, shelf, and ledge. Your chin will feel right at home in this temporary cage.
The cage is fully metal, with an attachable powder coat metal tray. You can easily add their carrier handle to make the cage even more portable. The cage is collapsible for easy storage and transportation.
This highly portable and foldable crate is meant for dogs, but it’s perfect for travelling with pet chinchillas as well. Though it will need to be outfitted with chinchilla accessories and shelves, it’s the right size to make a travel home for your chin. The all-metal wires and rust-resistant pan will keep your chin from chewing their way out.
The crate has two doors, which means it’s accessible from the front and the side. The crate folds down and sets up in less than a minute, and comes with a carrying handle (looks like a briefcase when it’s folded).
When you’re traveling with your chinchilla, you can’t just toss them in a carrier and go. You need to have essential supplies and some little “luxuries” to keep your pet chinchilla happy and calm while traveling. What you’ll need to provide varies on whether it’s a quick trip (like going to the vet) or a longer ride.
Because a chinchilla gets stressed easily, you want to make sure they feel safe and secure while they’re traveling to help reduce stress. If you’re traveling during the day, they’ll often just sleep during the trip so you only need to make sure they’re comfortable.
Chinchilla Supplies for Quick Trips
You want to make the cage comfortable, so you should include some sort of bedding in the bottom of the carrier or a fleece blanket to give them a soft surface to rest on.
If it’s warm weather while you’re traveling and there’s enough room in the carrier, you may also want to include a chinchiller to help keep them cool. You must travel in an air-conditioned vehicle during warm weather.
Another item that’s good to have on hand is a light sheet or a blanket to drape over the chinchilla carrier. This can be helpful in situations where your pet will be around other animals (like in a vet waiting room) or other chaotic spaces. You can cover the carrier and give them a safe zone away from the noise. These blankets are also good to keep warmth in during colder months.
Chinchilla Supplies for Long Trips
In addition to the recommended items for short trips, you’ll want to include these items for longer trips.
You’ll want to make sure to have water and food available for your chinchilla. They may be too stressed to eat or drink, but you want to have pellets, hay, and a water bottle on hand. Your pet probably won’t want them while the car is in motion, but you should provide edibles while at rest stops and when they reach their final destination. Water bottles also tend to drip if jostled around, so only offer water periodically.
If the carrier is big enough, you should provide some sort of hiding box so they have a safe space to go to if they get overstressed. This is a big necessity for their travel cage if they’re staying somewhere new for any period of time.
You can also bring some toys and wood for them to gnaw on.
Getting Your Chinchilla into their Carrier
This can be one of the biggest challenges, especially for new chinchilla owners. Your chinchilla may not be totally comfortable and bonded to you yet or may not like being picked up or held. That makes it extremely tricky to get them in their carrier to go to the vet or in the case of an emergency evacuation.
If you can easily grab your chinchilla by hand and scoop them up to put them in the travel carrier, that is the best way. However, I have two tricks I recommend for a worse case scenario where you need to get your chinchilla in their carrier ASAP and your chin won’t cooperate:
Grab them by the base of their tail
This is something you should do with caution. Generally, you do not want to grab a chinchilla by their tail because it can break off if you grab it by the tip. However, if you can grab it at the base, you should be able to get a firm enough grip to then scoop them up and hold them against your chest. If you are not confident that you can do this or haven’t done this before, I do not recommend doing it in an emergency situation where you are already stressed.
Trap them in their dust bath
This is the most foolproof way to get your chinchilla in a carrier in an emergency situation. Unfortunately it only works if you use a dust bath house or other container with a small opening.
Place the dust bath in their cage and wait until your chinchilla goes inside. Put your hand over the opening (or use a towel if your chinchilla gets bitey when they’re scared). Quickly but carefully move the dust bath house until the opening is against the opening of the carrier. Remove your hand and your chin will jump into the carrier.
Note: this is only to be used in emergency situations and not used as a regular way to get your chin into a carrier. It will stress your chinchilla out and after a few times, they will become distrustful of their dust bath.
The best way to get your chinchilla into a travel carrier is by training them to go in themselves.
The first thing you want to do is allow your chinchilla to become comfortable with their carrier. During their playtime, set the carrier out in their exercise pen or play space and let them investigate it. Since chins are naturally curious, they will eventually come over to check it out. Let them sniff it, climb on it, and just generally become comfortable with it.
If they go inside, immediately give them auditory praise (like clicking a clicker or saying “Good.”) and give them a treat. This will help them associate going in the crate with the positive experience of receiving their favorite treat.
The next step is to train them to go into the crate on command. If your chinchilla is especially quick to catch on, they may run to the carrier immediately as soon as you put it on the floor and go inside expecting their treat. If not, you will need to spend some time teaching them commands and then teaching a specific command to go into the carrier. Learn more about training your pet chinchilla with treats and watch a video on how to train your chin to go in their carrier.
Chinchillas, like any pet that lives in a cage, need their home to be cleaned regularly. This helps them remain healthy and happy while also reducing odors and mess in the cage (and the room the cage is in). This important part of chinchilla care needs to be done on a daily (tidying) and weekly (deep clean) basis, using safe cleaning supplies.
In this article, we break down all the things you need to clean a chinchilla cage and what you need to do to create a clean home for them.
How to Clean a Chinchilla Cage
For spot cleanings, you can probably do those while your chins are in the cage, but for deep cleanings and the weekly cleaning, it will be easier to take them out for playtime and then clean the cage. (Note: If you are removing shelves or other structures from the inside of the cage, you must remove your chins from the cage and not let them have access to it again until everything is back in place. Chinchillas memorize the layout of their cages and will often leap without looking to make sure their favorite ledge is there. This can lead to injury.)
Before you start cleaning, you’ll need to make sure you have the necessary supplies to safely clean your chinchilla’s cage.
Chinchilla Safe Cleaning Supplies
Paper towels and clean rags are good for wiping and cleaning the inside of the cages and other surfaces. For deep cleaning, you may want to buy a scrub brush.
As far as cleaning chemicals go, you want to avoid any commercial cleaners and use one of the following:
White vinegar mixed with warm water (50/50 mixture, or 30/70 if you find the smell of vinegar overpowering)
Bleach and water (1 part bleach, 10 parts water)
Note: if you are using bleach, you want to make sure to rinse the items several times to remove any residue.
The vinegar or bleach solutions can be mixed in a spray bottle for spot treatments, or used to soak shelves, toys, etc. in a sink or bucket. DO NOT use vinegar and bleach together. They will create a toxic mixture. Use one or the other, NOT BOTH.
I would also recommend having a small dust pan and brush on hand to easily clean up hay and droppings from small ledges and corners in the cage. You may also want to buy a bottle brush set to make it easier to clean your chinchilla’s water bottle.
Daily Chinchilla Cage Cleaning
This is a light cleaning to remove any messes and make sure food and water dishes are clean.
This weekly cleaning is to make sure your chinchilla’s cage is in tip top shape and remove dirty bedding.
Wash water bottle and food dish with your choice of cleaning fluid.
Dump litter pan or sweep out waste tray. Wash with cleaning fluid. Replace with fresh bedding or litter.
Sand down or soak any shelves, houses, or toys as needed.
Note: if you have more than one chinchilla in a cage, you may need to change out the bedding or litter pan more frequently than once a week.
Deep Cleaning a Chinchilla Cage
Every few months you should give the cage a deep clean to remove any grime and germs, and also replace cage shelves and accessories as need. Everything in the cage should come out and be soaked in your preferred cleaning fluid, then rinsed in clean water. (Remember, if you’re using bleach, everything needs to be rinsed multiple times before you return it to the cage.) The inside of the cage, including the cage bars, should be wiped down with your cleaning fluid and then again with a clean damp rag to remove any residue.
Shelves, toys, and other wooden accessories that are excessively dirty or chewed should be replaced.
Your chinchilla should not be in the cage while you are deep cleaning it. Removing or relocating items from the cage will stress out the chinchilla and they may injure themselves. Take them out to play in another area, like a chinchilla playpen, and only return them to the cage when all items have been replaced and are dry. If you need to dry the items more quickly, set them out in the sun.
Chinchillas are unique in that they bathe in a way that is very different from other pets. Because of their dense fur, a chinchilla cannot get wet. If they do get wet, their fur would clump and mat and not be able to dry thoroughly. Because of this, chinchillas should never be given a traditional bath with water.
Chinchillas mostly groom themselves by using what is called a dust bath. To give a chinchilla dust bath, you just need to put chinchilla dust or sand in a pan or dust bath house and let your chinchilla go to town. They will roll around in the dust, which will absorb any oils on their hair. Generally, they only need a dust bath 1-3 times a week, though you can increase the amount in humid weather and decrease during dry winter weather. Too much dust can dry out a chinchilla’s skin.
Offering a dust bath is not only an important part of caring for chinchillas but watching a chinchilla take a dust bath is also super fun. They roll around and shake their bodies like they’re having the best time. Check out this cutie enjoying a messy chinchilla sand bath [source]:
If you’re getting set up with chinchilla supplies for the first time, here are some recommended chinchilla dust and bath houses and pans.
Chinchilla Dust Bath
You should always use store-bought chinchilla dust or sand for bathing your pet. It’s specifically made for chinchillas to bathe in. Do not use dust or sand made for other types of exotic animals or pets. Do not use decorative or playground sand. (Many people will refer to it as “chinchilla sand bath” when really the texture of a good chinchilla bath dust is much finer.)
In the wild, chinchillas roll around in volcanic ash and dirt in the Andes mountains to clean their fur. For pet chinchillas, a good quality dust bath is made from ground natural volcanic minerals, known commonly as pumice or aluminum silicate. You want to look for a dust that has no additives or “filler” materials that may stick to your chinchilla’s fur or scratch their skin. Do not use scented bath dust because it can cause respiratory problems for your pet chinchilla.
Chinchilla dust is easy to buy at most pet stores or to order online. Here are some recommended brands to consider.
Oxbow Blue Cloud Chinchilla Dust Bath
Made by the trusted exotic pet brand Oxbow, this chinchilla sand is a great option for your pet. This bath dust is made from all natural, 100% pumice stone, which makes it a perfect option for your pet chinchilla (and also a great option for degus, hamsters, and gerbils). Blue Cloud dust is the prefered type of dust for most chinchilla breeders and long time owners.
Oxbow uses a sustainable collection process for their dust, meaning there is no strip mining, explosives, or tunneling used. That also means you can feel good about using this product.
Your chinchilla will happily roll around and bathe themselves every time you offer Blue Cloud chinchilla dust.
This chinchilla sand bath from Lixit is another sustainable option. It is mined from the Blue Beauty Mine in Southern California and made from a fine aluminum silicate powder. The texture is so fine that it easily shakes out of your chinchilla’s fur.
Though it is not Blue Cloud dust like the Oxbow brand, many long time chinchilla pet owners use it and say the quality is good. So if you are not particular about using Blue Cloud dust, this is a great option for your chin.
This jar contains 3 lbs of chinchilla dust and a scoop.
Kaytee is a very common brand found in national pet stores and they make a good quality chinchilla dust. Their dust is made from pure ground pumice, but some chinchilla owners feel the quality is not as good as Blue Cloud dust. Others think it works just fine, especially for a cheaper price and the ease of buying it.
The jar contains 2.5 lbs of dust.
Note: Kaytee also sells a bath SAND in many pet stores. You should never buy the bath sand for your chinchilla. Always get the chinchilla dust which will have a very fine texture.
Quality Cage Crafters is a small business specializing in exotic pet supplies. They’re based in Idaho, USA, which is also where their chinchilla dust comes from. This pumice dust is mined locally to create a fine, unprocessed dust that is safe for chins to use.
They sell is in a variety of sizes so if you enjoy it you can really stock up!
For a dust bath, you can use many different types of containers. The main thing you want to look out for is that the container is stable and cannot tip over. Dust bath houses are good and will help contain some of the dust mess. You can also use glass and crock containers that are large enough for your chinchilla to fit in and roll around.
Here are some suggested dust bath containers that owners use for their chinchilla care:
Kaytee Chinchilla Dust Bath House
This cute dust bath house from Kaytee is a great option for your chinchilla. The house is fully enclosed except for an opening on the front for your chinchilla to hop in and out. It helps contain the dust so your chinchilla won’t make a big mess.
The bath house is made out of a sturdy plastic and comes in a variety of bright colors. There are also two hooks on the back so you can attach it to the side of your chin’s cage while they’re using it (but do not leave it in the cage when bath time is over!).
Dimensions: 9-Inch long, 9-1/4-inch wide, 8-1/2-inch high
Check out a video of this chinchilla dust bath house in use.
This unique design from Lixit allows your chinchilla to have their bath in a pod-like tub. The removeable lid helps to keep the dust contained so your chin makes less of a mess. Both peices are made of sturdy plastic and easily come apart for cleaning and storage.
Your chinchilla can easily groom itself in this bathhouse while looking like a chin traveling from the future!
If you’re sick of the bath dust mess and how much your chinchilla likes to chew on plastic dust bath houses, here is a fantastic alternative! Chinovations handmakes these wooden dust bath houses made of chinchilla-safe kiln-dried pine. The real cleverness is in the design–when you lift up the list it reveals a “foyer” that separates the dust area from the entrance. The design helps reduce the amount of dust mess your chin makes. Keep an eye on your chin and the dust level through the “window.”
A great budget option that you can find at any petstore is a plastic litter pan. These are usually sold in the cat section and come in a variety of sizes and colors. The sides are higher than most crocks or pans, but since it has an open top dust will still go flying when your chin rolls around in it. If mess is a concern for you, try one of the bath houses listed above instead.
Because you can get them in so many sizes, this is a great option for households with multiple chinchillas who want to bathe at the same time. The jumbo size has room for everyone.
If your chin is a prolific chewer, this metal dust bath is an excellent alternative to plastic houses. Handmade by Quality Cage Crafters, this dust bath is an all metal pan that is easy to clean and completely chew proof. At four inches deep, it does a really good job of keeping most of the dust contained while giving your chin plenty of room to roll around.
You can also buy it as a bundle with their excellent chinchilla dust.
There are a lot of pros to using a vase, terrarium, or glass fishbowl for your chinchilla dust bath. The glass is heavy so it’s hard for the chinchilla to tip it over. Since it’s made of glass, that also means your chin won’t be able to chew it up. It also looks cool on display and when they use it.
The angle cut on this bowl makes it great for chinchillas because they can easily hop in and out and there are still high enough walls to keep most of the dust contained. Make sure to get a glass container that is large enough for your chinchilla to roll around in. There are plenty of glass terrariums and fishbowls available online or at home and garden stores.
Watch a video where a chinchilla uses a glass vase for their dust bath.
This is an easy option that you may already have available in your house (though I would recommend making sure you have one that is dedicated solely to chinchilla bath time). Baking dishes, especially pie pans, are great to use for a chinchilla bath. They are deep enough to hold enough dust for bathing and are easy to hop in and out of.
Not only is a baking dish affordable, but they’re easy to clean. You can just dump out the dust and toss the pan in the dishwasher. Metal pans and glass pans are both great options for chinchillas. Note: glass pans are heavier which makes it harder for chinchillas to accidentally tip them over and spill the chinchilla dust everywhere.
One to three times a week, take your preferred dust container or bath house and add about an inch of clean bath sand or dust. You can offer this to your chinchilla during exercise time outside the cage or inside their cage. Evenings are recommended as the best time for grooming because this is when chinchillas are most active.
Leave the dust bath available to your chinchilla for 5-10 minutes. This will give them enough time to roll around in the dust. Make sure you remove the container and clean up any excess dust when they’re done. If you give the chinchilla unlimited access to their bath they may overuse it, sleep in the container, or even use it as a litter box.
As long as the dust is clean and not clumpy, you can reuse it for multiple baths. Make sure to scoop out any poops that may be deposited in there before offering it to your chinchilla.
If you have more than one chinchilla, they can bathe together. You’ll want to get a bigger bath pan for them, like a litter box or a baking sheet. Watching multiple chins groom together is 100x as fun. Check out this cute tutorial video to see an example: