Are Chinchillas From PetSmart Healthy

When looking for a new companion it is really tempting to purchase a pet from a local pet store. This is going to be Petsmart of other local pet stores. But you really should do your research to make sure you are going to be getting a healthy pet.

Are Chinchillas From PetSmart Healthy? Most pet stores are going to be selling chinchillas that come from chinchilla mills. Where the main thing they are looking for is a profit and not the care of the chinchilla. You will not get any health records, pedigree, or age on a chinchilla you get from them.

If you do purchase your chinchilla from a local pet store it is going to be important to take them to a vet to make sure that they are going to be healthy. Many pet stores offer a health guarantee so be sure to consider this when picking out your new pet.

 Is It Bad To Buy A Chinchilla From A Pet Store?

This is a touchy subject, there are many things to think about when buying a chinchilla from a pet store. The larger chain pet stores and some small ones usually get their pets from wholesalers, who get them from backyard breeders or chinchilla mills. These are places where they breed chinchillas just for the money.

A chinchilla from most pet stores has no information about its background, and no way to know where it came from, how old it is, or how it has been treated. Most of the people that chinchilla has encountered have had money in mind before the care of the chinchilla.

They may have some health issues that are from not being cared for properly, They may have stress issues from being mistreated. There is also the fact that they have probably come into contact with other chinchillas that may have been sick. 

A lot of employees at the pet stores have no idea what a chinchilla needs and only do the basics. They can keep them in improper cages that allow them to overheat. They can allow them to chew on plastic which is very bad for a chinchilla. 

There are many that say you should never get a chinchilla from a pet store for some of the reasons mentioned. Others say they need a home just like the ones from a reputable breeder do. Both are right to a point. You will have to decide which is the right option for you.

Now I will give you some information that will help you know what to watch out for when looking at chinchillas and some sure signs they are not well. and some ideas for private breeders.

Do Chinchillas Have Health Problems To Watch Out For Before Buying Them?

Yes, there are a few things that you can look for before buying a chinchilla. There are some signs that you will not be able to tell at the store since you do not have the advantage of knowing the animal and if it has changed.

Especially if there is more than one chinchilla look for any signs of bite marks. With their thick fur, they can sometimes be overlooked. Bites can very often become infected and will need to be checked by a vet. 

Check around the mouth for any signs of drooling. This can be a sign that they have dental problems. Their teeth never stop growing and with an improper diet, they can become to long or misaligned. These problems will often require x-rays, and anesthesia to repair. Sometimes these problems can be fatal.

Look for any drainage around the nose and the eyes. These can be signs of respiratory problems. They shouldn’t be breathing through the mouth, and there shouldn’t be any wheezing sounds or coughing. Any of these can be a sign of pneumonia. The eyes need to look shiny and bright.

Some things you may see if you are close to the cage are if the droppings are loose or if it has been chewing on plastic. If the cage is in a dirty state. Not knowing the chinchilla you may not be able to tell if it is lethargic or not. Or if the abdomen is bloated. If any of these signs are seen beware and tell the manager.

You should always have a vet that sees chinchillas lined up and get your new chinchilla in to see them as soon as you get them. You can also make it a contingency before the purchase that the store takes the pet back if there are medical problems. Make sure that they put this in writing.

How to choose a breeder

Start by finding one. In some areas there just isn’t one to be found. Ask local vets they usually know, check with people you know, And search for them on the internet. Once you locate a breeder there are some things you will want to do and ask to see if they are right for you.

If possible see if you can visit them, at the site where they keep the chinchillas, (Not all of them keep them in their homes). If this isn’t possible, see if they will take a video of the chinchillas in their facility for you. This will give you an idea of how clean they keep things, and a good idea of how their chinchillas are acting.

You should be ready with a list of questions for them and you should also be ready to answer some questions. Any good breeder will want to know where their baby is going and that you are ready to give it a good home. 

Questions you should ask:

Do you handle your kits daily?

This can help you know if they are going to be open or skittish around people

Can I see the parents? 

This will give you an idea of the health of the parents. Sometimes there is a good reason they say no, but ask why, and use your best judgment on the answer

How long have you been breeding? 

This will let you know if they know what they are doing or just getting started. This may or may not make a difference to you. 

What feed are you using for your chinchillas? 

This is good to know so that you can get them the same thing. Even if you plan to give them something else it is good to switch them over slowly, by mixing it.

Do you have any references I can contact? 

If they do then follow through.

Do you guarantee your kits? 

Any good breeder will have. You may have to prove that it was a condition before purchase, and they may require you to have it seen within a short time for this. 

Can I contact you for more information later?  Any good breeder will always say yes, they always want to know how their babies are doing at their new homes.

Top warning signs your chinchilla is not healthy

Lethargy or refusal of food / Drooling / Runny nose or eyes / Trouble Breathing / Changes With Feces / Fear Of Being Touched / Patches Of Missing Fur

All of these are signs that your chinchilla isn’t well, contact your vet and get help for your sweet furball.


It may not be an easy decision where you get your chinchilla from. However, you now know some things to watch for when you’re ready. You can make a wise decision for both you and you’re future furry chinchilla. 

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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