Why I don't Buy anything from Petsmart or Petco anymore

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double chin trouble
Dec 2, 2013
Get ready for a long post....Me and my wife consider ourselves to be well educated about chinchilla care. We own 2 chinchillas, both males. Our first chinchilla we got from petco, he has no problems at all. Although we suspected he wasn't very well taken care of. we've had him for about a year...our second chinchilla..we should have known better...he was a spontaneous buy from petsmart. he was very relaxed, and was comfortable around humans. The first day we brought him home...he started having diarrhea..we then got snowed/iced into our house. So we could not get him to a vet. he then started developing crust around his eye. Petco's policy is that you can "return" the pet, within 14 days, and they will take him to the vet, and you can buy him back. After the snow cleared up we took him to petsmart and returned him so he could go to the vet...That day, they called us saying the vet weighed him, checked his weight, his respiratory system and everything. He was 100% fine. A few days went by...he started getting worse...His eye was swollen shut, he continued to have soft stool and started loosing weight... and coughing. not wanting to take him back to petsmart, we spent over 200 dollars taking him to the vet. The vet told us he was very very ill. he had a respiratory infection and was very under weight...She called petco for us chewing them out saying that they need to take care of their animals.... The vet told us, it would be an uphill battle and very little chance he would make it. That day, we went to petsmart and DEMANDED an excuse for why this happened. They treated us like we were crazy, and that they didn't care if the chin lived or died. That was the moment i realized i'm never buying anything from petco or petsmart again. They abuse their animals, they don't take pride in what they do. Our chinchilla has been nursed back to almost full health...I don't regret buying him, because we saved his life...But from now on I recommend to all of you, don't buy from these companies. They breeders they get them from are terrible, the way they "care for their animals are terrible. They are in it to make money and that is the bottom line... Buy from online stores.
They breeders they get them from are terrible
Careful what you say, there are a good amount of breeders on this forum who wholsale their animals to pet store buyers, its not their fault if the animal gets sick, chins get sick at shows, chins get sick at rescues, chins get sick after going to the vet, chins get sick in top herds in the country. There is a illness that is going around right now herd to herd it would not suprise me if it shows up in pet stores next.
Unless its a genetic issue I wouldnt be so quick to say the breeders are bad. Respatory problems are easily caught and passed from any rodent to another. It could have picked that up anywhere. Its a good thing you took care of him. Hes lucky to have such good parents.
Wasn't trying to be offensive, i just have seen and heard some of the practices from breeders..but i know most of all problems come from the store most of the time.
I don't buy hardly anything from petsmart anymore. The occasional water bottle I'll get. Everything else I get from people on this site. Whimsy has great stuff for chins. I get all of my food and lots of toys and sticks from her. I have dealt with two breeders and both were very concenered about the overall health of the chinchilla and wanted to strengthen and better the chinchilla lines.

I have to say I didn't buy my chins from petsmart because I did research before I got any and didn't want a chin that was stuck in a glass cage and was terrified by people banging on the glass all day.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with your chin but happy that he found someone that would make the effort to get him better.
The health issues in Petsmart chins lately I suspect have something to do with where they are kept before they are transported. What I understand is that all the petsmart chins come from one place and then are sent out to the stores, it may be a regional thing. It's possible that the chins were mishandled after they came from the rancher(s) that provided the animals or that they were in contact with sick chins at that point.

Most ranchers and breeders don't want their animals to be sick. It's a huge investment in time and money to have the chins and raise them. What it comes down to is that sick and dying animals would end up losing the rancher a lot of money. At the end of the day the best interest of the chins is going to make the most money - that is, healthy animals that may be sold without someone demanding replacements.
There are several I know who wholesale out chins to the pet store world. ( for lack of a better word, I chose pet world)

Those that I do know, do a pretty good job caring for the animals. Practicing good animal husbandry for their live stock. However you have no idea what happens at OTHER whole sale breeder ranches. And I would guess at the " distributing area" the animals are just well..........animals.
Lord knows how they are treated. And these little guys just don't handle stress very well. Along with the fact they hide illness so well. Makes you want to pull your hair out sometimes when you have an issue.

I know your very frustrated by your experience. Anyone would be. Glad your chinchilla is well and has recovered. There are many wonderful suppliers of products here on this forum should you chose not to shop at the big box anymore. I do head to the big box for Oxbow hay when I can't find a good local supply. You can't mess up with Oxbow products. ;)
We had a similar experience with a petco guinea pig. Couldn't resist the cute little black and white male even though I don't normally buy from those places. He acted off, took him to petco, saw their vet, sent him back, his breathing went downhill and instead of taking him to our exotics vet like I should have he went back to the petco vet. They put him on an antibiotic they wouldn't disclose to us and he died in their care. We then picked up a free herd of 6 guinea pigs from someone in the area who was rehoming all of hers. A little overweight from not the greatest diet or biggest cages but otherwise healthy.

I rely on hoobly.com, craigslist, and other classifieds to find most of my animals. Sometimes I buy culls at shows, such as a rabbit with a white toenail that got DQed or a guinea pig with an odd white splotch, but there aren't many in this area and we don't have the excess money to drive a state or 2 away all the time.
pet store chins

I feel bad for all those animals at the pet store. I'm not sorry I purchased my Diego from Petsmart because everytime I go in there the chins they have look so sad. They have no shelter and the cages are full of plastic. I just want to buy them all and save them from a horrible life but I realize they will just have more sent in. Very sad :(