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Home > Rodents > Can Chinchillas Eat Blueberries? Our Vet Answers

Can Chinchillas Eat Blueberries? Our Vet Answers

Can Chinchillas Eat Blueberries

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Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

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Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Blueberries are marketed as a “superfood” for humans. They contain antioxidants and other nutritional benefits for humans. Perhaps not surprisingly, they’re also frequently incorporated in human deserts as well.

Can chinchillas eat blueberries, and are they as good for them as they are for people? Yes, your chinchilla can eat blueberries as a treat, but a chinchilla should only eat a very small quantity of blueberries and other fruits.

We’ll look at the nutritional needs of chinchillas and why they should only eat blueberries and other fruits as an occasional treat.


Blueberries & Chinchillas

In good news, blueberries are not toxic for chinchillas and can be fed to them as a treat. Any nutritional perks that blueberries have would not really apply to chinchillas, as, given the small amount of blueberries they would be offered due to their relegation as a treat, the nutritional yields would be minimal and instead, they would be something safe that your pet might take a liking to.

It is important to reiterate that chinchillas should only be offered around a teaspoon of treats on a daily basis, if necessary. This equates to a very small amount – around 5 grams (0.17 oz), which would mean your cut-off would be around 1-2 blueberries at most. We’ll explore why such portion control is very important shortly.

freshly picked blueberries in wooden bowl
Image by: Subbotina Anna, Shutterstock

Serving Your Chinchilla Blueberries

As a general rule, any fruit you offer your chinchilla should be prepared the same way you’d expect fruit to be prepared for human consumption

Serving Blueberries To Your Chinchilla
  • Always opt for fresh, raw blueberries.
  • Thoroughly wash the blueberries and remove any stems or leaves from the fruit
  • It is best to slice the blueberries (this makes it easier for your pet to hold them)
  • Remember that fruit has a very short shelf life once it is offered to your pets and may quickly spoil and sludge if left uneaten. Discard any leftover blueberries after about 2-4 hours at most, and thoroughly clean the dish it is served in.
  • Blueberry seeds and the skin are safe for chinchillas to consume

Remember that chinchillas may indiscriminately urinate and defecate on their food, and therefore, you should keep a close eye on the hygiene of their food bowl at all times.


Chinchilla Digestion and Nutrition

A pet chinchilla’s diet is primarily herbivorous. More specifically, they are folivorous (that is, they specialize in eating leaves). These rodents have teeth that are adapted to eating “rough” vegetation; their teeth have a very large surface area for grinding foods, and like other rodents, their teeth continuously grow throughout their lives. Consequently, they need a diet that promotes a great deal of chewing.

Feeding Habits

Their digestive system is particularly long for their body size, which allows them greater time to digest whatever they consume. They do almost all of their feeding (approximately 70%) at night. Like many other rodents, chinchillas produce two types of feces: the first is known as cecotropes, which they instinctively reingest for a second round of digestion. The second type is their normal feces, which they don’t reingest. Typically, they produce cecotropes in the morning (often between the hours of 8 AM to 2 PM), which means most of their day is spent redigesting what they ate the night before. They produce normal feces between 3 to 6 AM (before they go to sleep for the day).

large gray chinchilla sits in a cage and eats a herbal stick
Image by: Irina Vasilevskaia, Shutterstock

Dietary Requirements

Chinchillas require a diet that’s very high in fiber. Approximately 70 – 80% of their diet should comprise high-quality hay. It is best to offer them an unlimited amount of hay. Commercial diets for chinchillas are often in the form of a pellet, and these can be used to supplement their diet, but should not replace hay.

Chinchillas should not be offered guinea pig pellets. Although guinea pig pellets are not inherently toxic for chinchillas, they are often fortified with vitamin C, a micronutrient that chinchillas don’t require in their diet (as they can make it on their own). This often results in a pellet that lacks the protein and fat content that chinchillas require.

The generally acceptable nutritional composition of chinchilla pellets is the following:

  • Protein: 16 – 20%
  • Fat: 2 – 5%
  • Bulk fiber: 15 – 35%

Generally, healthy adult chinchillas consume roughly 4-5% of their body weight in food per day. They should be offered fresh, clean drinking water at all times.

close up of a chinchilla inside its cage
Image Credit: TripleP Studio, Shutterstock

Treats & Chinchillas

The incorporation of treats into a chinchilla’s diet is considered controversial for several reasons, even if one factors in the nutritional balance. First, they are relatively shy when it comes to unfamiliar foods and might not accept a treat, even if it’s edible and safe for them. Second, most treats don’t require to be chewed too much, and therefore, are not advised as the lack of chewing may lead to dental problems for chinchillas. Finally, though one can hypothetically postulate a balanced diet that incorporates treats, in practice, this is very difficult to achieve.

In place of treats, most veterinarians advise hard-gnawing toys to help keep your chinchilla’s teeth in proper shape. Nonetheless, treats can be incorporated into a chinchilla’s diet in moderation – with the upper limit being around 1 teaspoon a day.



Though blueberries are safe for chinchillas to consume, they should only be considered an occasional treat and not a dietary staple in your pet’s diet. As always, please be mindful of the fact that it is best to consult your veterinarian for a meal plan that best suits your pet’s needs.

Featured Image Credit: Julian Ackroyd, Unsplash

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