Do Chinchillas Make Good Pets?

If you’re looking for an alternative pet to the standard dog or cat, and considering something more in the exotic realm, chinchillas are one of the options. When considering a chinchilla as a pet, there are several factors to consider. Below, a Saint Lucie County veterinarian gives you the pros and cons of chinchilla ownership.


  • Personality – Chinchillas have lively dispositions. They like to explore and are busy by nature. While it may take a while to win the trust of your chinchilla, eventually you can form a friendly bond with the animal.
  • Soft – Chinchilla’s fur is among the softest fur found anywhere in the animal kingdom.
  • Cage Dwellers – Chinchillas will want to spend most of their time in their cage. If you’re busy through the day or live in a small apartment, a chinchilla might be a good choice versus a pet like a dog who needs to be out and about a lot. Ask your Saint Lucie County vet for advice on the proper cage for your chinchilla.
  • Cute – Chinchillas are just downright cute. Soft, cuddly, rabbit-like creatures, they are simply fun to look at and watch.

For more information on other friendly small pets, see the article ‘Which Small Pet Is the Friendliest?


  • Sleep Patterns – Chinchillas will sleep most of the day and then be most active at dawn and dusk. If your chinchilla is in the bedroom, he may keep you up at night unless you are a heavy sleeper.
  • Temperature Requirements – Since these animals cannot sweat, they need to be in a temperature-controlled environment at all times. Air conditioning is a necessity for chinchilla owners. Consult your Saint Lucie County veterinarian for information on specific temperature needs.
  • Dust Baths – Chinchillas need to take a dust bath—in a specially-formulated dust product—a few times a week to keep their coats healthy. This can be messy, and some owners might have allergic reactions.
  • Expensive – Chinchillas cost far more than small rodents like hamsters or gerbils. Their cage, food, dust, wheels, etc. will run the cost up even more. Your Saint Lucie County vet can provide general price ranges for the animal and the items it will require.

In addition, chinchillas will live anywhere from 15 – 20 years, assuming they’re kept in good health. This can either be a pro or a con, depending on whether or not you’re committed—and want to make such a commitment—for that period of time. Generally speaking, chinchillas don’t make great pets for young children. The care, time investment, and handling needs aren’t suited for kids. Ask your Saint Lucie County vet if he or she thinks a chinchilla may be a good pet for you and your family structure. For the right person, a chinchilla can make a wonderful, loving pet that will provide years of happiness and companionship.

Our Advice on Why Chinchillas Make Good Pets

What are the pros of owning a chinchilla as a pet?

Chinchillas are known for their lively and curious personalities, making them engaging and fun. Their fur is exceptionally soft, often described as one of the softest in the animal kingdom, making them pleasant to touch and cuddle with. Chinchillas are cage dwellers, meaning they don’t require as much space as other pets like dogs, making them suitable for apartment living or people with busy lifestyles. Their cuteness factor, resembling rabbit-like creatures, adds to their charm as pets.

What are the cons of owning a chinchilla as a pet?

Chinchillas require a temperature-controlled environment due to their inability to sweat, which can be costly. Their sleep patterns, with peak activity during dawn and dusk, might disrupt your sleep if they’re in the bedroom. Regular dust baths are needed, which can be messy and cause allergies in some owners. Additionally, chinchillas have a longer lifespan of 15-20 years, which may not suit everyone’s commitment level, and they aren’t ideal pets for young children due to their care requirements.

Why do chinchillas need dust baths, and what are the potential challenges?

Chinchillas need dust baths to maintain the health and cleanliness of their fur. The dust helps remove excess oils and moisture. However, these baths can be messy, and some owners may experience allergies due to the dust. Dust baths are essential for chinchillas because they lack sweat glands and can’t get wet. The dust particles absorb oil and dirt, which the chinchilla shakes off. This keeps their fur soft and prevents skin issues.

What is the typical lifespan of a chinchilla as a pet?

The typical lifespan of a chinchilla as a pet is 15 to 20 years when kept in good health, making it a long-term commitment for owners. Chinchillas are known for their relatively long lifespan as pets, which can be a pro or a con, depending on the owner’s responsibility. On the positive side, their long lifespan means you can enjoy their companionship for many years.

What factors should be considered before adopting a chinchilla as a pet?

Before adopting a chinchilla, consider factors like their long lifespan, temperature needs, nocturnal habits, and potential costs. Ensure you’re ready for the commitment and can provide the right environment for their well-being. Consult a veterinarian for guidance.

For health check-ups and ongoing care for your chinchilla, consider ‘Vet Preventive Care’ services. Contact us, your local animal clinic in Treasure Coast, FL!

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