Safe Chinchilla Woods and Chews

Hi everyone, happy first Wednesday of 2015! For this week’s post, I’ll be listing off woods and chews that can safely be used for wearing down your chinchilla’s constantly growing teeth and help combat boredom. I have collected a cross-referenced list of chinchilla-safe woods, with the help of a few chinchilla friends, studious family members, breeders, and my personal knowledge accumulated over the years.

Mitty 2015 2

All chinchilla woods and chews should be organic, pesticide-free, and untreated. This is not a fully comprehensive list, however woods not found on this list should be carefully researched prior to consumption. All woods should be thoroughly cleaned, boiled, and baked prior to gifting to your chinchilla (obviously with the exception of already prepared or kiln-dried woods). I have used bold print for the more commonly sold and distributed ready-to-chew woods, which should be easier to find and purchase for immediate pet consumption in the United States.

Koko Willow Ball 2

  • Apple
  • Arbutus (Strawberry Wood)
  • Ash
    • Some mountain ash seeds are thought to produce hydrogen cyanide, which lead some to question the safety of the wood. In contrast, others believe there is little evidence to support this belief, and that ash berries and wood are safe for chins.
  • Aspen
  • Bamboo
    • While technically safe, bamboo is less advisable than other woods due to its ability to create sharp splinters, which could injure your pet.
  • Birch: White, Common Birch Only
    • Certain birches are considered safe by some, toxic by others. In general, it comes down to a personal opinion. Many breeders and owners have used white, silver, or common birch with no problems.
  • Blackberry, Blueberry
  • Black Currant, Red Currant, Gooseberry
  • Cholla
    • This is a dried cactus, very soft and used mostly for toy-making
  • Cottonwood
  • Crab Apple
  • Dogwood
  • Elm & Red Elm
    • Many elm trees are treated with herbicides, double-check your organic source before given for consumption.
  • Grape & Grapevine
  • Hawthorn
  • Hazelnut
  • Kiwi
  • Magnolia
  • Manzanita (A Sub-Category of Pine)
  • Mulberry
  • Ocotillo (Desert Origin)
  • Pear
  • Pecan
  • Pine: Only Kiln-Dried White
  • Poplar
  • Quince
  • Rose Hip
  • Sycamore
  • Willow (Although Not White Willow)
  • Yucca

Wood MacroWood 2

The following items are not woods, but chew alternatives. These elements can be used for toy-making. Again, all of these items should be organic, pesticide-free, and untreated.

  • Banana Leaf
  • Cardboard
    • If ingested, cardboard can cause blockage. Some chins only bite at cardboard, but others will try to eat it. Chins should be watched when playing in and around cardboard, and cardboard ingestion should be prevented.
  • Coconut Shells
  • Hay Cubes
  • Mineral Lava
  • Loofah, Unbleached
  • Palm Leaves
  • Pine Cones, Must Be Cleaned and Baked
  • Pumice Stone
  • Seagrass
  • Shredder Tape, Created From Woven Palm Leaves
  • Sisal
    • Sisal rope has been known in rare cases to cause impaction, so it should be used with care and supervision.
  • Sola Plant
  • Vine

Mitty Home

While there could be many more leaves, herbs, and flora to add to this list, I’ll save the rest for a “Safe Herbs” post later this month!

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow the blog for our Weekly Wednesday blog posts, and catch up with us on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, and YouTube! We hope you have a great week and stay warm! πŸ™‚

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26 comments

  1. I haven’t prepared any lately but I used to have a source of bamboo leaves which seemed to be a big hit! I washed and baked them just like the sticks (though at a lower temperature and for less time) and they’re like crunchy chinchilla chips. They make a lot of noise when chewed which seems to be at least half the fun to my chins πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yummy! Definitely an awesome treat! We use apple leaves on occasion, and the chinnies devour them instantly. It’s a lovely, fun texture for them – similar to paper, without the potential blockage issues. Many leaves aren’t safe for chins, but with a bit of research, it’s easy to find delicious and accessible options. Great addition, thanks Kim, hope to hear from you soon! ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all, I want to thank you for the useful info you share in your webpage.
    Im interested in looking for a cheap way to make my own chinchilla toys. In Europe, they arent so many options for buying wood parts for them, but I found some in eBay. I asked about the material, and they told me the wooden pieces are made of grasstree, a chinese tree. I cant find in any webpage if its safe for them. Can you help me? Thank you so much for your information!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marta! Thank you so much for stopping by! Grass tree actually originates from Australia and has the scientific name of Xanthorrhoea. I would say that this is unsafe to give to your chinchilla because it has a resin that is used as an adhesive, which would be poisonous to your baby. If you want to make chinchilla toys, the easiest and cheapest way is to do it yourself by purchasing kiln-dried pine from a local hardware store, a drill, and some screws. I have a few posts on the site about how to make your own cage and cage accents. It’s best to stick to very well-known woods and veer away from the unknowns in this case! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi there! Very useful and I’m very thankful for this list. I’ve been giving my chinnies the same stuff for a long time, so it must get pretty boring. However, I recently bought some cow hooves for my squirrel and I was wondering if they would be suitable for the chinnies to chew on as well. Thanks in advance!

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    1. Hi Adrian! Thanks for stopping by, I’m glad you’re putting chin-knowledge to use! As for the cow hooves, I wouldn’t. Even though you might think your chinnies are bored with their selections, I suggest trying different types of chews on the safe list. Other types of organic materials, while good for other rodents, won’t be safe for your chin-babies. πŸ™‚

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      1. Sorry for such a late response! Thank you very much, I’m glad I didn’t give them any then. Will definitely be trying some of these suggestions!

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  4. I’m planning to make my own hideout Hut for my new (and first) chinnie. I’ve selected safe wood, but do you happen to know what adhesives can be safely used? I’ve tried to ask the manufacturers of the ones sold in pet stores what is used, but no response or vague answers like “non toxic” which doesn’t help since it can greatly differ species to species. I’d greatly appreciate your help and thanks for all your informative blog posts. These are such a help!

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    1. Hi zebracourage! Thanks for stopping by. Personally, I don’t believe that there is a safe adhesive for wood that is consumable by chinchillas. I’ve made huts and structures before as well; I’ve always used screws in areas that the chins can’t easily reach with their chompers (think: middle of the planks, far from the corners). I also keep a very good eye on all their ledges and furnishings to make sure everything is in safe order. I hope this helps! πŸ™‚

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    1. Hi Victoria, Crackers and Gizmo! You sound like the educated trio πŸ™‚ those lava blocks and pumice stones are totally fine for your fluffs – I’d consider also diversifying their safe wood selection, as you never know which type of wood your chins will go bonkers for!

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      1. We try to be educated, but we really look up to you! And your photography is beautiful. Thanks for the recommendation. We’re looking forward to making some of your hanging toys!

        Liked by 1 person

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