How to avoid dental disease in chinchillas

ChinsForLife

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I dont have a chinchilla yet but I'm getting one. Anyone know anything about dental disease? Like, how to prevent, how to treat, etc...


@Amethyst do you have any info on this subject?
 

tunes

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Almost always dental disease in chins is genetic. There is no true way to prevent it if that's the case. You can keep their teeth healthy by feeding a good quality feed, good quality hay, and providing wood chews for them to work their teeth on. Some people also recommend doing both loose hay and hay cubes as they address different teeth in the front and back of the mouth.

As far as treatment, there really isn't a good long-term effective treatment. Some treatments are like putting your finger in a hole in a dam. It sometimes works for a while, but inevitably it fails.
 

ChinsForLife

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Almost always dental disease in chins is genetic. There is no true way to prevent it if that's the case. You can keep their teeth healthy by feeding a good quality feed, good quality hay, and providing wood chews for them to work their teeth on. Some people also recommend doing both loose hay and hay cubes as they address different teeth in the front and back of the mouth.

As far as treatment, there really isn't a good long-term effective treatment. Some treatments are like putting your finger in a hole in a dam. It sometimes works for a while, but inevitably it fails.
1. I heard it's mostay genetic.
2. I'm getting a baby so is there a way I could tell when I pick her up?
3. I'm feeding Mazuri pellets.
4. What hay do you buy and how fast do they run out?
5. Getting apple sticks and pummice stones for chewing.
6. May get cubes too...
 

Amethyst

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Just to add on to what tunes said. Aside from good genetics and proper diet you can help prevent issues like tooth decay (and other health issues) by not feeding sugary treats. Issue like malocclusion are most commonly genetic, but can also happen if the chin injures it's jaw or teeth or isn't chewing on things enough to wear down their teeth. Tooth decay can also lead to malo since the only treatment is to pull the rotten teeth, but then over time the teeth will move and become misaligned causing malo. Once the chin has malo there is no cure, you can pay to have the chins teeth trimmed regularly to extend it's life, but you are only buying a couple years at best since the roots grow as well and you can't trim those. It ends up coming down to quality over quantity though, and the chin will have to be put down.

You can't really tell by looking at a kit if the teeth are good or not, all you can do is ask the breeder about if they have had any issues with malocclusion in their breeding lines, hopefully not.

For hay you'll want alfalfa and timothy for the kit, but as an adult you'll want primarily timothy. Other kinds of hay (like orchard, meadow, mountain, and oat) and hay cubes can be added in too since each help wear down teeth differently. It takes my two about 6 months to go through a 90 oz bag of timothy, plus a couple 15 oz bag of something else (I buy something different each time), and hay cubes. For the front teeth you'll want plenty of various things to chew on, they can get bored so I find it best to change things up from time to time to keep things interesting. I like to rotate toys when I see they lose interest. Similar to a dog, you don't have to throw out the old toys if they are still good, just put them aside and put other ones in, you can put the old ones in again later the chin will think they are "new" again. Chins each have personal preference as to what they like too, so you will need to find out what your chin likes. There is a whole list of types of wood they can have, I have several types of safe wood you can get for them to chew on.
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ChinsForLife

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Just to add on to what tunes said. Aside from good genetics and proper diet you can help prevent issues like tooth decay (and other health issues) by not feeding sugary treats. Issue like malocclusion are most commonly genetic, but can also happen if the chin injures it's jaw or teeth or isn't chewing on things enough to wear down their teeth. Tooth decay can also lead to malo since the only treatment is to pull the rotten teeth, but then over time the teeth will move and become misaligned causing malo. Once the chin has malo there is no cure, you can pay to have the chins teeth trimmed regularly to extend it's life, but you are only buying a couple years at best since the roots grow as well and you can't trim those. It ends up coming down to quality over quantity though, and the chin will have to be put down.

You can't really tell by looking at a kit if the teeth are good or not, all you can do is ask the breeder about if they have had any issues with malocclusion in their breeding lines, hopefully not.

For hay you'll want alfalfa and timothy for the kit, but as an adult you'll want primarily timothy. Other kinds of hay (like orchard, meadow, mountain, and oat) and hay cubes can be added in too since each help wear down teeth differently. It takes my two about 6 months to go through a 90 oz bag of timothy, plus a couple 15 oz bag of something else (I buy something different each time), and hay cubes. For the front teeth you'll want plenty of various things to chew on, they can get bored so I find it best to change things up from time to time to keep things interesting. I like to rotate toys when I see they lose interest. Similar to a dog, you don't have to throw out the old toys if they are still good, just put them aside and put other ones in, you can put the old ones in again later the chin will think they are "new" again. Chins each have personal preference as to what they like too, so you will need to find out what your chin likes. There is a whole list of types of wood they can have, I have several types of safe wood you can get for them to chew on.
View attachment 21273
What brand of hay would you recommend?
Which type of wood is your chin's favorite?
What type of toys would you recommend?
How many hay cubes do you give per week?
 
Last edited:

Amethyst

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The best brand is what your chin will eat, but some good quality brands are Oxbow and since you are in the US, Small Pets Select is recommended by a lot of people, as well as Farmer Dave's. I feed my guys mostly Oxbow, but sometimes I get hay from the local feed store. Hay should be given unlimited, so if the hay feeder is empty fill it.

My guys favorite is apple or pear, they like them both about the same. I have a whole assortment of wood though, and give them about a half dozen sticks a day.

I recommend a variety of toys, hanging and toss toys of various material. For hanging toys I bought a few metal kabob toys that you can refill like these https://www.amazon.com/Kaytee-Ka-Bob-Treat-Dispensing-Animal/dp/B075QLGPRF/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1RXRW6ENQDHFH&dchild=1&keywords=kaytee+kabob&qid=1613409356&sprefix=kaytee+ka,aps,289&sr=8-4 and then you can order pre-drilled toy parts to replace as needed. For example from Bulk Toy Parts. You can also get bigger ones for birds, but they do tend to be thicker so you may need a drill to make the holes bigger on the toy parts if you get those. Toy materials include loofah slices, coconut shell, palm leaf shredder, bamboo crunchers, wood blocks/shapes, vine balls and shapes, pumice stone, lava bites, timothy hay twists and shapes, seagrass twists and other shapes. You'll have to buy things and see what your personal chin likes though, they each have preferences. Keep in mind though that just because something says it's safe or for chinchillas at the pet store doesn't mean it really is, pet store companies like to lump chinchillas in with other rodents or with rabbits and guinea pigs, and they are not the same, there are things that are safe for other rodents or for rabbits and guinea pigs that aren't safe for chins, especially the treats most pet stores sell.

How many hay cubes depends on the chin and what kind you get. Some chins will destroy them in a day, others it takes awhile to go through even one, and others simply don't like them at all. If they are just timothy then as many as a couple a day if the chin will eat them along with, if they are a mix of timothy and alfalfa or just alfalfa then best to just use as a treat, no more then one a week.
 

Amethyst

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How much food do your chins go through in a week? How many pounds should I buy at a time?
My two go through about 5lb a month, so 2.5lb a month per chin, that would be just over half a pound a week. A kit will likely eat a bit more though, and they should be given unlimited food (pellets and hay) since they are growing. It's best to only have one month worth open at a time since it starts to go stale after about a month, but it is cheaper to get larger bags. So if you decide to get a larger bag you can divide it up into smaller ziplock or other airtight containers of 1 month worth per bag/container so the rest stays fresh. I normally buy a 10lb bag for my two, and divide it in half. The biggest advantage of getting 2 months worth is I can buy another bag when I get to the second half, and if it's out of stock I have a month for the store to get more in stock. Changing food is very hard on their stomach so it's best not to unless you plan to actually switch to a new food, and even then it needs to be done slowly. Just picking up whatever is in stock at the store if your regular food is out of stock is not a good idea.
 

ChinsForLife

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My two go through about 5lb a month, so 2.5lb a month per chin, that would be just over half a pound a week. A kit will likely eat a bit more though, and they should be given unlimited food (pellets and hay) since they are growing. It's best to only have one month worth open at a time since it starts to go stale after about a month, but it is cheaper to get larger bags. So if you decide to get a larger bag you can divide it up into smaller ziplock or other airtight containers of 1 month worth per bag/container so the rest stays fresh. I normally buy a 10lb bag for my two, and divide it in half. The biggest advantage of getting 2 months worth is I can buy another bag when I get to the second half, and if it's out of stock I have a month for the store to get more in stock. Changing food is very hard on their stomach so it's best not to unless you plan to actually switch to a new food, and even then it needs to be done slowly. Just picking up whatever is in stock at the store if your regular food is out of stock is not a good idea.
Yes, i know, once i asked my dad to pick up guinea pig food from the store and he got the wrong kind! I didnt say anything because i didnt want to be disrespectful but i was not happy!😂 but used to, they bought his food so he wasnt going to get a new bag of food till that was gone. Now, they are trying to teach me responsibility and stuff so im buying everything else exept, they helped with the deposit.😊 im buying from my breeder online so that shouldn't be a problem. Hopefully...
 
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