November 28, 2022 by Umair Shahid
Bringing a chinchilla to your home is the happiest and cutest decision you can make. These little soft furballs are a great addition to your family. However, you need to take care of them in a very delicate manner. One of the problems most pet owners face is the confusion in tackling the health issues of chinchillas.
Chinchillas are primarily omnivores and their diet predominantly comprises hay and grasses. Most of us give them sweet treats and choose fruits in this regard. However, there is a greater chance of digestive issues by feeding too many sugary foods, such as fruits.
Apples are no different and they are not a part of chinchillas’ diet routine. As a veterinarian, owners always ask me about using apples as a delicious treat for their pet chinchillas. Well, the answer is pretty straightforward.
Chinchillas can eat apples and love their sweet taste but apples should be provided in a very small quantity. Due to their sensitive digestive tract, chinchillas can’t handle too many sugary fruits in large amounts. Moreover, studies have shown that high levels of calcium pose a risk of severe illness and stomach acidity to chinchillas.
Apples as a Part of Chinchilla’s Diet
For humans & many animals, apples are a mighty fruit in my opinion. However, that’s certainly not the case with your furry chinchilla. This sweet fruit is not a bad option for your chinchilla and these animals can get various nutritional benefits from it.
Apples can be a great source of calcium and iron with the added benefits of many essential minerals. Apples can be used as a great treat on an occasional basis but should not be a part of their everyday diet.
Just like other animals, many owners think apples are beneficial for their domesticated chinchillas. This is since many animals do love the taste of this fruit. Chinchillas are no different in this regard and have a keen taste in apples when offered.
In my opinion, apples should be added to your pet’s diet on a frequency of not more than twice per week. The serving consists of just a small slice of apple that should be cut in a cube shape. The entire apple should never be made available in the cage of your chinchilla as this may cause deleterious effects on your chinchilla’s health.
Apples & Chinchilla’s Digestive System
Chinchillas and other rodents have a very delicate intestinal digestion mechanism. The majority of them rely on the process of coprophagy to meet their nutritional demands. This coprophagy behavior is due to their slow ability to digest and absorb nutrients out of their normal diet. Apples and other fruits are high in sugars, meaning chinchillas won’t be able to properly digest them.
Too much sugar content in apples can lead to stomach and digestive upset in chinchillas. As a veterinarian, I don’t recommend feeding apples to your pet in surplus amounts. Apples are not only high in sugars but also have more quantity of calcium.
Because of their hard times in digesting these fruits, they are at greater risk of developing acidity problems. I’ve seen many cases of owners rushing to the veterinary clinics after their chinchilla eats too many fruits like apples and develops acidity and stomach bloating.
With that being said, I hope you are now quite aware of why feeding too many apples can lead to health risks for your chinchillas. As a general rule of thumb just offers a small cube-shaped slice either one or two times per week. Always consider this fruit as a small treat and not the whole regular diet part.
What About Apple Peels for Chinchilla?
Contrary to feeding whole fruit, apple peels are a much safer choice in my opinion. Apple peels are not only nutritious but also have an adequate amount of fiber in them. As studies have suggested the role of fiber is very important in chinchillas’ diet.
The reason grass and hay are the most important dietary source is the amount of fiber in them. Apple peels when given in small amounts also have a similar role and maintaining chinchilla’s dental health.
If you ask me how much apple peels should I offer to my pet, I suggest you follow the same advice as for apple fruit. As chinchillas have very strong teeth and love for chewing, you don’t need to worry about choking problems.
These juicy yet fibrous peels offer your chinchilla a few moments of enjoyment to make him a happy pet in every aspect.
Safer Fruit Options for Chinchillas
The main reason fruits are a bad food choice for your chinchilla is their high sugar and moisture content. The high sugar led to severe digestive issues and loose stools when provided an excess amount. In making a choice about which fruits are safer choice, experts recommend going for high-fiber ones.
High-fiber fruits are naturally low in sugars and possess reduced levels of sweetness. However, as a rule, every kind of fruit still should be used only as treat. Some of the common fruits you can use are Pears, Apricots, Almonds, and raisins.
Animal nutritionists and veterinarians also suggest using dry fruits instead of fresh ones. Dry fruits have added benefits of lower moisture and sugar levels.
In contrast to fresh fruits, prepacked dried fruits are a much safer choice and are readily available. Nevertheless, always use fruits with caution and pay special attention to the amount you’re offering to your chinchilla.
To sum up everything, apples are undoubtfully a great choice if your pet chinchilla is a tempting treat. But we can’t ignore the negative effects of giving this fruit in a much larger amount.
Make sure you chopped the apple into small cubes and give them only one to two times per week. Your chinchilla can enjoy this delicious treat, even more, when it is in the right quantity.
Taking care of your chinchilla demands time and patience. Make sure to introduce new fruits gradually into your diets and monitor for any changes in the health of your beloved pet.
Hopefully, I’ve cleared your question about whether you can feed apples to your chinchilla or not. With that being said, monitoring the health of your chinchilla is also an ideal step. Make sure to consult a certified veterinarian for proper guidance about the health and feeding of your furry friend.
How much apple per week is ideal for my chinchilla?
Veterinarians recommend offering only a small piece of 2 to 4 cm size cube once or twice per week. You should consider putting a limit on the apple provision, as excess is bad for chinchilla’s digestive health.
Can I feed green apples to my chinchilla?
No, you should not give green apples to your chinchilla in my opinion. Green apples have more sugar and moisture levels with a sourer taste. This is certainly not a good treatment choice for your beloved chinchilla due to the alarming risk of digestive issues.
Should I dry the apple peels for a day before giving them to my chinchilla?
It is always ideal to use dry fruits instead of fresh ones. As far as apple peels are concerned, drying them makes the moisture levels less and more fibrous appearance. Your pet certainly enjoys the chewy taste of sun-dried apple peels.
Why Apples are harmful to my chinchilla’s health?
Apples don’t pose a significant harmful effect on your chinchilla’s health when given in smaller sizes. However, too much provision per week can make your chinchilla prone to disturbed gastrointestinal tract functions and acidity problems.
I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.