Chinchilla and a dog?

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New member
Sep 6, 2018
So, I'm thinking about getting a chinchilla (it's not for sure yet) and I've read that chinchillas don't get along well with other animals. But my dog sleeps in my room every night and I'd rather not make her sleep elsewhere. Would a chinchilla be ok with that? My dog wouldn't play with it or anything like that. The only interaction there would be is my dog coming into the room, maybe smelling the cage, and leaving. Would that stress a chinchilla out too much it would it be okay?
It would depend on the dog and the chinchilla if it will get stressed out or not just having a dog there. So long as the dog is calm and doesn't sit there focused on (staring, whining, barking) the chin, or try to get the chin it should get use to the dog in time. I know some people put fencing around the cage so the dog can't get right up to the cage. Keep in mind that a dog's mouth has a lot of stuff that can make a chin sick, so no licking the cage, and especially no licking the chin. If the dog is sneezing or sick it shouldn't be in the same room until it's better.

I have several cats and a couple dogs that spend time in the room with the chins, my chins are fine with them just hanging out and walking by. My other dog though, I can't even have in the same room because he has a very high prey drive and is very intensely focused on the chins. So know your dog, is she good with other animals and knows to leave it and give things space when told? Or is she more the type to want to stick her nose in everything, or has a high prey drive or energy level. Also does your dog bark a lot, that can scare the chinchilla too.

It's not so much that chins don't get along with other animals so much as other animals can be dangerous for the chins to be around. They have small thin bones, they may look big but are really only about half the size under all that fur. Other animals can accidentally hurt or kill a chin in play. They can also make them sick with bacteria they can carry. For example pasteurella, which can be deadly to chins (it causes pneumonia), is a normal bacteria in dogs and cats noses and mouths, and can be carried by rabbits without symptoms.
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Depends on the chinchilla and how well the dog behaves. We have 4 dogs. The end of my living room has an 8', 2 level section of cages and on the other side of the double doorway with just a metal dog gate to keep them a few feet away there is a 6', 2 level section of cages. Occasionally my young inuit dog has to investigate the ones on her side of the gate but usually the chinchillas just see or hear the dogs moving around across the room. Even wrestling matches between the largest 2 dogs (60 and 80lbs) don't bother them.

I did have a temporary rescue for a week that wouldn't stop barking at the cages. If it grew up here as a kit or a puppy though the dogs and chinchillas just ignore each other 99% of the time. We always crate dogs when we are not in the house with them and at night the cats go to a room upstairs and we shut the not gated set of double living room doors to keep the dogs in the 2 ground floor rooms without chinchillas.

I've had a few chinchillas I didn't raise here that couldn't handle even having the dogs on a different level of the house. The sound of the dogs running around on our hardwood floors and occasionally playing or arguing over something made them nervous. I ended up not keeping one because after 6 months in the basement cages she wouldn't calm down. Right now the newest one is adjusting upstairs but it gets too hot to keep them there in summer. Not a good enough ac system in an 1800s farmhouse.
I have a Husky Malamute and he is learining to respect my Roo. I start by keeping him on leash. I let him sniff the cage but if he jumps barks or gets to excited by her movement I either remove him from the room or pull him a away. If he is sitting and watching her and being calm I give him love and treats and make it known that this is good behaviour. Don't panic while introdcing cuz your dog may like your reaction and continue the behaviour.
We have both a cat and a dog and now our chinchilla. We were worried when we first brought the chinchilla home how the other two animal would get along, and found the cat quietly walked up to the cage, both the chinchilla and cat sniffed each other and the cat almost seemed to shrug and walk away. They co-exist very peacefully, if anything the chinchilla seems very curious about the cat while the cat could care less about him.

The dog on the other hand, a yorkie, keeps trying to eat the chinchilla, we can't let him anywhere near it, he just goes nuts. And this of course freaked the chinchilla out. His cage is upstairs and the dog usually spends most of his time downstairs, so we just put a baby gate up and don't allow the dog upstairs anymore. If he can't play nice then he can't play is how we approached it. It surprised me because the cat and the dog normally just ignored each other and I thought the dog would do the same as the cat and just ignore the chinchilla, but apparently not.

So, I guess my point is that you never know how they will react until they are in the same room together. But if they react badly to each other have a back up plan to keep them apart if need be.
I see that this thread is from 5 years ago, but your question is still relevant for anyone considering a similar situation. While chinchillas are known to be sensitive to other animals, your situation can work if you take some precautions. Chinchillas are highly territorial, so having a separate cage in your room for the chinchilla is crucial. Make sure your dog can't access the chinchilla's cage.
For more detailed advice on handling both pets, you can check out How to Stop Separation Anxiety in Dogs. Best of luck with your decision, and I hope your potential new furry friends coexist peacefully!
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