Chinchillas are wonderful, adorable pets, but their diet can be a headache. Chinchillas have a sensitive digestive system, and their picky eating habits don’t help either.
If you own or are planning to own a chinchilla, you may wonder which chinchilla food brand you should pick. There are so many on the market, each with their own ingredients. How do you know which is the right brand for you?
Here we break down your options, from types of food to their ingredients, and then compare different brands to help you make a wise buying decision. Let’s dive in!
Types of Commercial Chinchilla Food
There are many brands of commercial chinchilla food to choose from. These brands are either made of one, or a mixture of, these three different types of chinchilla food.
Small animals often have pellet feed specifically made for them, and chinchillas are no exception. These pellets are bite-sized and tablet-shaped, containing all the nutrients that your chin needs. With the right pellet formula, your chin won’t need any other dietary supplements, other than hay or water.
Pellets should always be available to your pet chin, even if they come from loose food mixes. You should also regularly clean your pet’s food bowl of old pellets to ensure their health and safety.
Hay provides roughage, which is essential for the sensitive digestive systems of chinchillas. It is full of fiber, which prevents diarrhea and obesity in your pet.
Because their teeth grow throughout their lives, chinchillas also need hay to ensure that their teeth remain sharp and healthy. Hay should encompass a large percentage of your chinchilla’s diet.
Hay is often added in loose mixes to ensure a balanced diet. Pellets can also be based on one type or several types of hay. Here are the different types of hay that may be included in your chinchilla’s food:
- Timothy hay: The most common type of hay that is commercially available. Timothy hay is widely considered to be the best type of hay for chinchillas in terms of nutrition, as it is low in protein and high in fiber.
- Alfalfa hay: Compared to timothy hay, alfalfa hay is sweeter, lower in fiber, and higher in protein. Typically, alfalfa is given to sick, young, and pregnant chinchillas. Otherwise, alfalfa is given as a treat. If used regularly, alfalfa should be paired with low-protein hay.
- Oat hay: Preferred as a chinchilla treat, oat hay has high amounts of fiber with low amounts of protein. It is often combined with alfalfa hay.
Loose Feed Mixture
The most common type of chinchilla feed on the market is the loose feed mixture. Loose feed is preferred for many small animals; when buying your chinchilla feed, be sure to check that it is specifically made for chinchillas.
Loose feed mixtures combine different kinds of food, ranging from hay to dried fruit to oats to pellets. Loose feed mixes are great, as they give your chinchilla a varied diet that suits their digestive needs, as well as their tastes.
The biggest downside to loose feed mixtures is that chinchillas can be incredibly picky. If you don’t keep a close eye, your chinchilla may simply eat all the sugary food in their mix, leaving behind the parts they still require for nutrition.
Some mixes are also better than others. When buying a loose feed mixture, make sure that it is low on sugar and high in fiber.
Best Chinchilla Food
Now that you know what they’re made of, here are some of the best chinchilla food brands on the market.
While more pricey than others, many loyal customers swear by the Oxbow line of products, especially their chinchilla food. Oxbow is nutritionally balanced, which is excellent for maintaining your chinchilla’s health. Rich in vitamins, potassium, minerals, calcium, and iron, Oxbow has everything that your chin needs to live a long and healthy life. On top of all of that, Oxbow’s ingredients are farm fresh, improving taste, quality, and nutritional value.
The Oxbow Aimal Health doesn’t contain any seeds or fillers, so you know that everything in this bag is made with your chin’s health at the forefront.
Choose this one if: You want the highest quality feed on the market and price is not an issue.
The Tiny Friends is a tasty mix of wheat, oats, maize, carrots, peas, and timothy hay. On top of that, added vitamins round out this healthy mix, ensuring that your chin gets all the nutrients they need. This mix doesn’t even have added sugars!
Because it contains a myriad of food types, Tiny Friends encourages natural foraging ingredients. Not only is it good and healthy, but it’s a lot of fun too!
Choose this one if: You want a trusted brand of balanced food that encourages natural foraging behaviors.
A well-known veteran in the pet food industry, Kaytee Timothy Chinchilla Food is one of the best brands that have a timothy hay-based formula. On top of its nutritional value, timothy hay is also great for keeping chinchilla teeth sharp and healthy.
For those who want to go all natural, Kaytee Timothy Chinchilla Food doesn’t contain any preservatives or artificial colorings. An all-natural formula ensures that only the best and most natural ingredients make their way to your chinchilla. Kaytee Timothy Chinchilla Food is also free from sugary additions, so you don’t have to worry about high-fat content in your chin’s food.
What it does have, however, is prebiotics and probiotics. These are a great addition that aids with digestion, since chinchillas have a very sensitive digestive system.
Choose this one if: You want a timothy-hay-based feed without all the fillers.
For those who are looking for a trusted way to give your chinchillas treats, Vitakraft Chinchilla Cocktail has your back. The Vitakraft Chinchilla Cocktail is a mix of sweet flowers, fruits, berries, rosehips, and raisins, which your pet chin is sure to love. On top of all that, Vitakraft Chinchilla Cocktail also includes alfalfa meal, puffed wheat, oats, and dried rice to balance out this tasty mix. So not only is Vitakraft tasty, it’s incredibly healthy too!
The ingredients in Vitakraft are specially chosen to meet a chinchilla’s nutritional needs. It is also easy to digest, and mimics a chinchilla’s natural habitat. With this tasty and colorful mix, your chin will find it hard to resist.
Choose this one if: You want a natural, balanced mix from a tried and tested brand.
The Higgins Sunburst is a mixed chinchilla food, complete with all-natural vegetables and assorted fruit, as well as added vitamins and minerals. The Sunburst also contains probiotics, which aids in chinchilla digestion.
What’s great about Higgins Sunburst is that, on top of keeping your chin healthy, it can also keep your chin’s coat shiny. Higgins Sunburst is made with DHA omega 3, which adds shine and luster to your chinchilla’s coat. After a few weeks of Higgins Sunburst, you will be sure to notice the difference in the added lushness of your chin’s fur.
Choose this one if: You want a healthy, balanced diet and a shinier coat for your chinchilla.
Supreme is a veteran when it comes to pet food, and their Science Selective brand is a testament. The Selective formula is indeed selective; its ingredients are sure to be balanced, able to meet the nutritional needs of your chinchillas. It is high in fiber, ensure your chinchilla has good digestion.
The quality of the ingredients themselves is highly prized. Selective is made with natural ingredients and has no added sugars or artificial colors. With Selective, you are sure to get the highest-quality, balanced diet for your pet chins.
Choose this one if: You want a good, balanced diet without added sugar and artificial colors.
Now that you know about the different types and brands of chinchilla food, buy something good and nutritious for your chinchilla!