Apples are universally known as a healthy fruit, containing plenty of vital nutrients. Because of this, many owners of small pocket pets such as chinchillas ask if their chinchilla can safely eat apples?
This is a great question and in this post, we will take a close look and see if apples are a healthy snack for your chinchilla? Or if they are a fruit that you need to be keeping your chinchilla well away from?
To help us do this, we will use nutritional data as well as bringing together the thoughts and opinions of vets and other experts to give you all the answers you need before you decide to offer an apple to your chinchilla.
So can chinchillas eat apples? Apple is safe for chinchillas to eat in limited quantities. Apple contains citric acid as well as high amounts of sugar and water which can cause a chinchilla digestion problems such as bloating and diarrhoea. Offering small amounts of apple as a treat is preferred to making it a staple part of their diet.
Read on to learn…
Apples | Nutritional Information
It’s always important to check out the nutritional value of foods that you are considering offering to your chinchilla.
This way you can see if the food offers high amounts of nutrients that are either healthy or unhealthy for your chinchilla.
To make this simple, we have provided a handy table that shares the most relevant nutritional info for apples.
Some of the most important nutrients for chinchillas are low amounts of water as well as the levels of protein, fibre, sugar, fat, calcium and phosphorus.
As we go through the benefits and potential concerts of these nutrients and feeding apple to your chin, we will often reference this information so feel free to come back to this table at any time.
Check out the table below…
Nutritional Information (Apples)
|vitamin A RAE||3||µg|
|vitamin A IU||N/A||IU|
Can Chinchillas Eat Apples? (More Info)
Chinchillas can safely eat a small amount of apple as part of a balanced diet.
This is backed up by VCA-Hospitals, who state that chinchillas don’t actually need treats but can be fed occasional fruit such as apple.
Even though many experts state that apples are safe for chinchillas in the right quantities, we don’t actually recommend feeding your chin apple.
The reason for this is due to the fact that apple offers unbalanced amounts of nutrients that are considered unhealthy for chinchillas and we feel that there are many other ‘treat foods’ out there that are a better choice (we have listed 5 of them at the bottom of this article)
If you do want to add apple in your chinchilla’s diet, then it’s wise to only offer small amounts as changing your chins diet can suddenly cause them to have digestive issues and make them ill. Source:
If you want a list of foods that your chinchilla can eat as well as the foods they need to stay away from, then head over to our free diet list & guide that shares all you need to know as an owner…
Are There Any Benefits Of Feeding Apples to Chinchillas?
As we’ve already talked about in this post, even though apples are safe to feed to your chinchilla, they aren’t the best choice for a treat.
Having said this, apples do have some nutritional benefits for chinchillas.
Let’s now take a look at the potential benefits of feeding your chinchillas small amounts of apple as a treat…
Apples Are Low In Fat
The first thing to mention, and something that probably comes as no surprise is that apples are low in fat. Looking at the table above, you can see that apples only contain 0.17g of fat per 100g.
Keeping your chinchilla’s fat consumption low is important because high amounts of fat in their diet can cause serious health problems such as liver damage.
The amount of fat that chinchillas need throughout their diet is between 3-5% so apples won’t increase the levels of fat in your chins diet above this ideal range.
Apples Contain Decent Levels Of Fibre & Vitamin C
Apples are also known to contain decent levels of both fibre and vitamin C. Source:
Chinchillas do need high amounts of fibre in their diet and apple can certainly provide a fibre boost, however, staple foods such as hay are richer in fibre so you don’t need to provide fruit like apples to increase their fibre intake.
The amount of fibre your chin needs in their diet should be around 30% of their total food intake, which is higher than any other nutrients including protein.
This is because fibre plays a major role in the digestive system of a chinchilla as they need constant movement to be healthy and fibre in the nutrient provides this.
Without eating fibre in high portions chinchillas would suffer from gas, bloating, diarrhoea and other gut-related issues.
The majority of fibre your chinchilla consumes will come from hay. We recommend either timothy hay or orchard grass hay to provide the best all-round nutrients your chinchilla needs.
You can head over to our guide that shares our handpicked favourite hay products we recommend you feed to your chinchilla as well as why we recommend them here…
When it comes to vitamin C, chinchillas can actually produce their own and therefore don’t technically need to intake vitamin C from foods.
On the flip side to this, chinchillas do often suffer from tooth and gum problems and adding a little extra vitamin C into their diet on occasion can help to reduce these problems.
Are There Any Concerns About Feeding Apples to Chinchillas?
Even though apples offer some beneficial nutrients to chinchillas, they also contain high or unbalanced amounts of nutrients that are considered unhealthy for chinchillas.
Let’s now take a look at the potential concerts of overfeeding your chinchilla apples…
Apples Contain High Amounts Of Sugar
Apples are naturally high in sugar and this can be a problem for chinchillas.
As you can see in the table we provided above, apples contain 10.39g of sugar per 100g.
Chinchillas are used to a very plain diet that contains low water, fat and sugar and adding lots of foods that contain high amounts of any of these nutrients can be harmful to their gut and overall health.
Too much sugar can easily increase the chance of problems such as…
- Tooth & Gum Problems
Chinchillas are known to suffer from tooth and gum problems and high amounts of sugar in their diet can increase the chance of such problems.
High amounts of sugar will increase your chins calory intake and eventually cause them to become obese.
Sugar can also cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea as their digestive tract is only used to simple foods that are low in sugar, water and moisture.
At this point, you might be wondering if there are any better fruits to feed your chinchilla?
We have actually researched many other fruits and written about them individually. You can check out findings by clicking on the link for each fruit below…
Unbalanced Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
Something that’s often overlooked in small pets such as chinchillas is the calcium to phosphorus ratio.
If your chinchilla consumes more phosphorus in their diet than calcium then this can have a negative effect on their health.
This happens because phosphorus binds to calcium and stops it from being absorbed. Even though chinchillas don’t need large amounts of calcium in their diet, they do need some calcium and if higher levels of phosphorus are present then the calcium is likely to go unused.
These issues can include muscle and bone development as well as future growth problems for baby chinchillas (kits) if the mother has a calcium and phosphorus imbalance. Source:
The calcium to phosphorus ratio should be somewhere from 1:1 to 2:1, which is 2 parts calcium to every 1 part phosphorus.
As you can see from the table we provided earlier, apples contain 6mg of calcium and 1mg of phosphorus per 100g, which is a total imbalance to what experts recommend.
Something that’s worth mentioning is that the 1:1 or 2:1 ratio is for the diet as a whole and feeding the odd food as a treat that is unbalanced won’t be harmful as long as the rest of the diet follows these guidelines
(feeding a chinchilla it’s regular diet of hay and chinchilla pellets will usually fall comfortably into these ratios)
Can Chinchillas Eat Apple Seeds?
Chinchillas and other animals shouldn’t eat apple seeds. This is because apple seeds actually contain small amounts of cyanide. Source:
Cyanide is a chemical that’s known to be one of the worlds most dangerous poisons when used in large amounts and has even been used in chemical warfare.
The amount of cyanide in apples is minimal, however, its best to not allow your chinchilla apple seeds to eat to ensure they don’t cause any issues.
Can Chinchillas Eat Dried Apple?
It’s not wise to offer your chinchilla dried apple as most of the nutrients that are potential concerns to your chinchilla are multiplied once the apple is dried.
One benefit of drying the apple is that the water content reduces significantly, which is good for chins as high amounts of water in their diet can cause digestion problems and diarrhoea.
Another benefit is that the dietary fibre is much higher (8.7g per 100g) and a high fibre diet is highly important to chinchillas, although they will get all the fibre they need from eating hay.
Apart from this, dried apple contains high amounts of sugar (57.19g per 100g)
Extreme amounts of sugar like this are unhealthy for many reasons including…
- Encouraging obesity
- Poor teeth and gum health
- Digestive problems and diarrhoea
The calcium to phosphorus ratio is also unbalanced and can cause potential health issues as mentioned earlier.
Finally, chinchillas don’t have the ability to vomit so they can get hard pieces of dried fruit or other hard foods stuck in their windpipe with no way to dislodge the food. This can then lead to potential gagging and breathing problems. Source:
We have included a table below that shares this information so you can see how dried apple offers concentrated amounts of nutrients when compared to a standard apple.
Nutritional Information (Dried Apple)
How Often Can Chinchillas Eat Apple?
While there is no hard and fast rule to how often chinchillas can eat apple, we would recommend no more than 2-3 times per week.
According to most vets and animal nutritionists, chinchillas can have around one small treat per day.
With this being said, chins really don’t need treats and their base diet of hay and chinchilla pellets should provide them with most if not all of the nutrients they need to be healthy.
The main thing is to offer apple as a treat from time to time and not as food that your chin needs to be healthy.
How Much Apple Should Chinchillas Eat?
The amount of apple you should offer to your chinchilla should also be small in size.
We would recommend no more than 1tsp of apple as a maximum per serving. This will ensure that the sugars and unbalanced cadmium and phosphorus ratio are kept to a minimum.
This will also allow your chin to take in more of the nutrients it needs from other foods such as hay and pellets.
How to Prepare & Serve Apple For Chinchillas
Apple is a pretty straight forward food to offer your chinchilla. With that being said, we have provided an easy to follow guide that walks you through the best way to prepare and serve apple to your chinchilla.
Take a look at our guide below…
Grab Organic – No matter what foods we talk about on this site, we always recommend going for an organic option if one is available.
Even though organic apples cost more they aren’t full of harmful pesticides and herbicides that the cheaper options usually contain.
Give It a Wash – No matter if you have purchased an organic apple or not, it’s always best to give it a good wash before offering it to your chin.
Remove The Skin – Even though chinchillas can eat apple skin, we would suggest removing it as the skin can become stuck in their mouth and throat.
Portion Size – As we mentioned earlier, we recommend providing your chinchilla with no more than a 1tsp sized piece of apple.
You can literally cut a piece of apple to this size and hand it to them with no added preparation needed.
Optional – You can cut up the 1tsp sized piece of apple into 3-4 smaller pieces and hide them in your chinchilla’s cage.
Hiding the small pieces of apple in places like tunnels and hides can give your chin some much needed mental stimulation as they are used to searching for food in the wild.
4 Bonus Treats You Can Feed Your Chinchilla
It can sometimes be hard to know what treats are considered a healthy choice for your chinchilla.
For this reason, we have included 5 treats that your chin can eat, that will also provide them with some nutritional benefits too.
It’s important to remember that even though we are recommending these foods, they should only be offered as a treat and not instead of staple foods such as hay.
These treats range from greens and fruits to herbs and even cereals.
The 5 foods we have chosen are…
To help even further, we have put these 4 foods side by side with apples in a handy table so you can compare the nutrients they contain and see which ones you want to add to your chinchilla’s diet from time to time.
Check out the table here…
Nutritional Information (Treats For Chinchillas)
|Water||56.66 g||85.56 g||89.63 g||87.71 g||5.13 g|
|Energy||1.62 Kcal||52 kcal||35 kcal||36 kcal||376 kcal|
|Protein||1.6 g||0.26 g||2.92 g||2.97 g||12.09 g|
|Fat||0.34 g||0.17 g||1.49 g||0.79 g||6.73 g|
|Carbohydrate||38.22 g||13.81 g||4.42 g||6.33 g||73.23 g|
|Fibre||24.1 g||2.4 g||4.1 g||3.3 g||9.4 g|
|Sugar||2.58 g||10.39 g||0.99 g||0.85 g||4.36 g|
|Calcium||169 mg||6 mg||254 mg||138 mg||401 mg|
|Phosphorus||61 mg||11 mg||55 mg||58 mg||481 mg|
|Sodium||4 mg||1 mg||53 mg||56 mg||497 mg|
|Vitamin C||436 mg||4.6 mg||93.4 mg||133 mg||21.6 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.076 mg||0.041 mg||0.147 mg||0.09 mg||2.39 mg|
|vitamin A RAE||217 µg||3 µg||241 µg||421 µg||990 µg|
|vitamin A IU||4345 IU||N/A||4812 IU||8424 IU||N/A|
|Carotene (BETA)||2350 µg||27 µg||2873 µg||5054 µg||0 µg|
|Vitamin E||5.84 mg||0 mg||0.66 mg||0.75 mg||0.65 mg|
|Vitamin K||25.7 µg||2.2 µg||389.6 µg||1640 µg||1.8 µg|