Strawberries are a naturally sweet and healthy treat that provides lots of nutrients. They hold a slew of health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, increasing good cholesterol, and helping protect against cancer. But do they hold the same nutritional value for chinchillas as they do for us humans?
In a nutshell, most chinchillas can have strawberries, but only sparingly. That is, maybe once in a while as a special treat. For the most part, though, it’s better to avoid giving your chinchilla strawberries or any other kind of fruit to be on the safe side. Now, let’s explore why.
What Do Chinchillas Eat?
Chinchillas are herbivores and eat mostly roughage. They have sensitive digestive systems, and feeding the right food is crucial for their overall health. Fresh hay is a good option, along with high-quality chinchilla food. Chinchillas require a high-fiber diet, and they only need about 1 to 2 tablespoons of pellet food daily. They can also enjoy kale, celery, and alfalfa. Most of a chinchilla’s diet should consist of mostly hay and grass made explicitly for chinchillas. Hay and grass are good for your chinchilla’s teeth, too, because their teeth continually grow throughout their lifetime. When in doubt about your pet’s diet or health, always consult with your veterinarian.
Why Can Chinchillas Only Have Strawberries Sparingly?
While strawberries contain a high dose of vitamin C and antioxidants, they do contain a lot of sugar, which can wreak havoc on your chinchilla’s little digestive system. If you decide to give your pet chinchilla the occasional strawberry, make sure to cut it into little pieces and feed it sparingly. By sparingly, we mean a 1 x 1 cm portion maybe once a week. Be sure to check for signs of digestive discomfort afterward. If your chinchilla develops symptoms of diarrhea, bloat, or vomiting, stop giving strawberries and contact your veterinarian.
How To Feed Strawberries To a Chinchilla
Before you give a strawberry to your chinchilla, make sure you thoroughly wash the strawberry to remove any pesticides it may contain. The best bet is to feed organic strawberries to ensure a pesticide-free treat. Remember to feed sparingly. Special treats, such as the occasional strawberry, should never take the place of their required diet, which is preferably grass hay or Timothy hay, as it’s known.
Can Chinchillas Eat Strawberry Leaves?
Yes, they can! But only in small amounts. The leaves contain anti-inflammatory agents and serve as a natural digestive aid. Your chinchillas will love them, but again, sticking to a small amount is the key.
Can Chinchillas Eat Strawberry Plants?
Yep, they sure can. Again, only in small amounts. Since chinchillas are herbivores, strawberry plants are something they will enjoy. Remember, give only occasionally as a treat.
Can Chinchillas Eat Dried Strawberries?
Unfortunately, they cannot eat dried strawberries, or any dried fruit, for that matter. Dried fruit is way too sweet for them to consume, and it would surely cause tummy upset. What may look like a small piece of dried fruit is actually one big piece, which will contain a lot of sugar. To be safe, always avoid dried fruit for your little chinchilla.
Can Chinchillas Eat Freeze-Dried Strawberries?
Not only can chinchillas not eat freeze-dried strawberries, but they also cannot eat any frozen food of any kind. Chinchillas certainly don’t eat anything frozen in the wild, and the same goes for domesticated chinchillas.
What Other Fruits Can a Chinchilla Eat?
In addition to the occasional strawberry, your chinchilla can have apples, pears, and bananas. Apples (and all fruit, for that matter) should be diced up in small amounts and given maybe once a week. Apples have a little calcium, but again they are high in sugar, so limit to an occasional treat. Overall, fruits are high in natural sugar, which is something your chinchilla doesn’t need. You can always purchase safe treats specially formulated for chinchillas for assurance and avoid fruit altogether if you’re in doubt.
A chinchilla needs hay and grass primarily to maintain optimal health. But just like any other being on the planet, the occasional treat is something special, as long as it doesn’t harm your chinchilla. Chinchillas’ digestive systems are sensitive, so it’s important to feed them the necessary food recommendations.
As long as you feed the safe fruits mentioned above in small amounts and sparingly, your chinchilla should be just fine. Always remember to monitor your chinchilla after it consumes any kind of fruit, and when in doubt, contact your veterinarian before giving your little chin anything you’re not sure of.
Featured Image Credit: FilipFilipovic, Pixabay