Canadian Chinchilla Rescue

GTA foster-home based rescue

Shopping List for getting a chinchilla

Owning a chinchilla doesn't cost much on a monthly basis to buy food and supplies BUT the start up costs are VERY high. Not to mention if you need a vet, vet costs for chinchillas can get very high, very quick.   It's best not to waste your money on items that pet stores will try to market as being safe for chinchillas.  Most items in pet stores are not safe and even some online stores have items I would NEVER buy or use.  This is a list of everything you would need to buy if you are getting a chinchilla. If you have ANY questions about an items, please feel free to email me [email protected]  EVEN if you aren't adopting a rescue I am always willing to help out with chin owners.


A Metal Cage- A ferret nation is the top choice but it does need to be modified (see: on how to make a ferret nation cage safe). If not using a Ferret Nation, make sure the cage is all metal with NO ramps.

Metal Pans for a Ferret Nation can be bought at Sunny Meadows Cages:   or Grandview Rabbitry:

KD Pine Wood Shelves- you can make these yourself after buying everything you need at Home Depot, Rona or Lowes

Glass Water Bottle- I prefer Lixit bottles as I find the Super Pet and Living World tend to leak

Metal or Ceramic Food Dish

Fleece Hammock- You can buy this from or make your own:

Fleece Tube  You can buy this or make your own (links above)

Metal Chin Safe Wheel- Don't be fooled by wheels in petstores.  There are very few wheels that are safe for chins. They are all very expensive but WORTH the cost as they will last a lifetime and all must be purchased online.  Here are links to them:

Quality Cage

Hidey House- There are unsafe ones with nails at pet stores.  I like to use Fiddlesticks or ones you can make yourself.  They will last a lot longer.  The Woodland Hidey Houses are fine to use but they have LARGE metal staples in the corners you can remove.

Hay Holder- DO NOT use wire hay racks or plastic ones.  I use a fleece bag or a metal hay feeder but most times I just put a handful of hay in the cage.

Chin Chiller- you can go to a home improvement store and get a marble tile as well.

Cuddle Buddy- some chins like to have a fleece toy to cuddle with or if it's a male do "other" things to it.

Fleece Liners- Some people like to use liners, this isn't something you have to use just personal preference. You can make you own or buy them.

Litter Tray- Metal or glass ( a glass pie plate works great)

Aspen or KD pine shavings.  DO NOT USE carefresh, pellet paper, cedar or cat litter. (yes I have seen people use cat litter- BAD IDEA!)

Fleece for the top of the cage- I find this helps a new chin relax and they like to feel nothing can get them from above!

Perches or Lava Ledges

Chews- Like lava bites, apple twigs, or other safe chews

Toys- has a great selection

Duster- a glass fish bowl works great

Dust- Blue Cloud is the top choice but Blue Sparkle is great too.  Dusts found in petstores are INFERIOR and do not do as good a job.  Some petstores are selling Blue Cloud from Lixit which is legit, it's just more cost effective to buy from an online source.

Digital Scale- Monthly weigh ins are a good indication of chin health.  A kitchen scale from Walmart is perfect and is usually under $20

Pellets- Oxbow, Mazuri or a milled type like Alderpark Pellets are the only 3 found in Canada that are SAFE

Hay- Timothy hay is the staple but you can add orchard grass and other hays. Loose hay is best

Treats- Stay away from pet store treats!  Instead get Rosehips, Cheerios, Uncooked old fashioned oats, plain shredded wheat.

Carrier- cat carriers are okay to use BUT metal chin carriers are great for chinchillas:

Playpen- you don't have to have one of these but if your chin is a baseboard chewer it's nice to have.  I like the midwest playpen(it's the second one on the page and is white):

Water Filter- Giardia is something you never want to deal with so you should have a filter for your chins water.  Look on the filters and make sure it's filters Giardia. 

First Aid Kit- this is not necessary and should NEVER take the place of getting to a vet but it's good to have these items on hand for minor issues.  Saline, Simethicone, Blu Kote, Bag Balm, and Tinactin. There are many other items you could have but those few items will cover things such as minor eye issues, gas, small injuries, fungus and dry ears and feet.

Vet that knows chinchillas and money for a vet visit: Make sure you know a vet that is chin savvy.  Ask around and make sure people have had a good visit with that vet.  Many vets do not know chins well and will sometimes treat them like rabbits and guinea pigs.  If your chin is sick you may have to drive far to get them to a chin savvy vet.  A vet visit will cost a lot if needed but you have no choice if your chin is sick.  Even minor issues add up quick.