How Much Water Should My Chinchilla Drink? (The Facts)

It is important as owners that we ensure our Chinchillas stay fit and healthy. 

Providing the right type of nutrition is vital to your Chinchillas well-being and is usually the central focus of owners, however, how much water your chinchilla drinks is also key. 

We need to ensure our Chinchillas have an adequate intake of water, but how do you know how much water your Chinchilla should drink? This is a very valid question and one we will discuss further.

So, how much water should my Chinchilla drink? Chinchillas should drink on average 1-2 tbsp. of water per day. This is usually sufficient enough for an adult Chinchilla and will provide them with all the hydration they need. It can, however, be difficult to get Chinchillas to drink enough water since the species originated from desert conditions.

How Much Water Should My Chinchilla Drink? (more info)

It is a fact that often domesticated Chinchillas do not drink enough water. Their ancestors originated from the desert environment which means they can survive for long periods without water. 

Wild Chinchillas are very used to these types of conditions and can manage quite successfully without constant water availability.

Domesticated Chinchillas tend to not drink anywhere near enough water even though there is a constant supply available to them. 

As owners, we must encourage our Chins to drink as much as possible to keep them fully hydrated. As you can imagine this can be tricky and as the saying goes ‘you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’.

On average, an adult Chinchilla should be consuming around 1-2 tbsp. of water per day from their drinking bottle. 

This can also be difficult for owners to determine how much has been ingested so should be monitored closely.

Do Baby Chinchillas Drink as Much as Adults?

Baby Chinchillas do not need as much water as adult Chinchillas since their bodies are much smaller. 

As they grow you will notice they consume more and more water over time of their own accord.

One of the best ways you can ensure baby Chin’s have enough water intake is by adding some water to their feed. Quite often you will see owners adding water to pellets to help increase water intake. 

This type of consistency of food is also much easier for your baby Chin’s to eat especially when they are very small and have just been weaned.

No matter how old your Chinchilla is, monitoring water intake is very important.

What Does It Mean If My Chinchilla Isn’t Drinking Enough Water?

It doesn’t necessarily mean that something is severely wrong if your Chinchilla is not drinking very much water however we must try to encourage our Chins to drink more if this is the case. 

If your Chin has stopped drinking completely, this is a different story and it is advisable to seek veterinary advice immediately.

Chinchillas often forget to drink. Don’t we all? How many times have you heard someone tell you that you don’t drink enough water? 

It’s a pretty common scenario in all species whether animal or human. Sometimes Chinchillas are just too damn busy living their best lives to think about drinking enough water.

They originate from desert climates and have adapted to going for long periods without water even in the domesticated setting. 

Saying this, Chin’s can, however, become dehydrated very quickly and drinking enough water is vital for health.

There are a few reasons why you may find your Chinchilla not drinking enough water:

  • They are afraid of something or someone
  • A change of environment has upset them
  • They may not like the taste of the water you are providing (Chin’s can be fussy too you know!)
  • They might be struggling to drink from the bottle provided
  • A defected water bottle that they can’t get water from
  • An underlying health issue

Signs Your Chinchilla Isn’t Drinking Enough Water?

It is often very difficult to determine if your Chinchilla’s health has declined due to lack of water. 

They often do not show any signs or symptoms of dehydration which means it is tricky for you to notice that something is wrong. 

There are a few things that you can do to test if your Chinchilla is suffering from dehydration and a few signs to look out for that may or may not be apparent.

1. The Skin Test

By pinching the skin of your Chinchilla you can usually determine whether they are dehydrated. The skin tells us more than we realise. If there is elasticity in the skin then this usually means your Chin is well hydrated.

The skin will return to normal almost immediately. If the skin does not have elasticity and takes a while to return back to normal it is fair to say that your Chin is dehydrated to a degree.

2. Checking Ears

If your Chinchilla is dehydrated it is usually fair to say that they are overheating. If this is the case you will notice their ears are bright red. The brightness of the colour can vary depending on the severity however this is a very good indicator overall that your Chinchilla is dehydrated.

3. Checking Poop

Chinchilla poops are usually solid, black and odourless. If the consistency of these have changed there is a high possibility that your Chinchilla is dehydrated. An even more obvious sign of dehydration is if your Chin is not pooping regularly enough.

4. Checking Pee

If your Chinchillas peeing habits change this could be a sign of dehydration. It is difficult to tell the peeing habits of your chinchilla as it is usually sprayed into bedding. If you have an idea that your Chin may not be peeing enough, put a litterbox into their cage which might help you determine how regularly your Chin is going to the toilet.

Can I Encourage My Chinchilla to Drink More Water?

There are a few common ways in which you can help your Chinchilla to rediscover their water bottle. 

Firstly it is important to note that if you think your Chinchilla is not drinking through illness you must get them checked out by the vet. 

If they are ill, no matter how much you try to encourage them to drink they will likely not want to. Always better to be safe than sorry.

If your Chinchilla is feeling scared or has had a recent change in the environment they may have decided to put a hold on drinking activities. 

Their mind is full of worry and anxiety that drinking water is not high up on their priority list. If this is the case, you need to try and make your Chinchilla feel as comfortable as possible:

  • Give them plenty of space and allow them a quiet room to acclimatize.
  • Always ensure water is fresh and sterilize bottles regularly.
  • Check the water bottle is functioning properly.
  • Kit out their cage with lots of creature comforts such as hiding places, perches and toys.
  • Do everything you can to make them feel at home and less worried.

If you feel like your Chinchilla is genuinely forgetting their water bottle is there a great idea is to smear the tip of the bottle with something your Chin can’t resist. 

When we suspected one of our old Chinchillas wasn’t drinking we decided to cover the end of the bottle with raisin juice. 

Chinchillas absolutely love raisin juice and it really does help encourage them to drink much more.

What Should I Do If My Chinchilla Isn’t Drinking Enough Water?

If you feel like your Chinchilla is not drinking enough water you should first look at the situation as a whole and try to determine the reasons why they are not drinking. This will give you a good guideline as to what you can do next.

If your Chinchilla is just genuinely forgetting their water bottle, then try the trick mentioned above by smearing something they like on the tip of the bottle to entice them to drink more. This tip should work a treat!

If you feel your Chinchilla may be worried or anxious, maybe by new surroundings then try to make them as comfortable as possible in their cage.

Provide plenty of hiding places and toys and make sure you keep them in a quiet room for ultimate peace. Particularly during the daytime when they like to sleep and chill out.

We have put together a list of our recommended cage accessories including tunnels and hides that will allow your chin to feel happy and safe.

Check that the water bottle is functioning as it should do. There’s nothing worse than your Chin wanting to drink, but can’t physically do it. Also, ensure that your Chin knows how to drink from the bottle. 

This may sound like a very silly suggestion, but younger Chinchillas have relied on their mother for care in the early stages and may be unsure how to use the water bottle successfully. 

This scenario will require some patience and training on your part.

If your Chinchilla is overheating it is likely they have dehydrated already. They will often appear lethargic and may be lying on their side. 

Their ears are likely to be red. This is a time where you should forget about trying to help yourself at home and pay a visit to your vets immediately. 

It is always possible that your Chinchilla is so dehydrated that they need an IV drip for assistance that can only be administered by your vet. 

Time is of the essence here and it isn’t unheard of for Chinchillas to die of dehydration amongst many other serious health conditions.

Do Chinchillas Need Fresh Water Daily?

Yes absolutely! Providing fresh water daily is an important part of the Chinchilla diet. You wouldn’t be expected to drink from the same glass that has been sat on the side for days and neither should your Chin.

Always make sure your Chinchilla has a clean, fresh source of water available to them at all times. 

This will ensure you are giving them the best possible opportunity to stay hydrated. Water can become stagnant pretty quickly and this is not overly enticing for your Chinchilla.

In addition to fresh water always ensure that you are cleaning and sterilizing the bottle regularly. 

If you are unsure of how to do this or you want to some expert tips then head on over to our new post that shows you step-by-step how to clean a chinchilla water bottle (with video)

When we look at the actual cleaning and sterilizing of bottles this is not something that we necessarily need to do every day. 

Once a week is suitable enough to ensure the bottle stays sanitized and your Chin stays healthy. This will prevent grime and ammonia building up and becoming present in the water which is not healthy for your Chinchilla.

What Kind of Water Should My Chinchilla Drink?

It can often be confusing as to what kind of water to offer your chinchilla. 

For this reason, we have added a table below that shares the different types of water that are commonly offered to chinchillas and if they are actually safe for them to drink.

Water Options For Chinchillas

Tap WaterYes & NoMost tap water is clean, however, dirty water can contain giardia and would not be suitable for use in your Chinchilla Water Bottle. Always check the quality of your tap water at home before choosing this option.
Filtered WaterYesFiltered water is ideal for use in Chinchilla bottles. It is the purest type of water available and it does not contain any bacteria.
Distilled WaterYesDistilled water isn’t as easy to get hold of as water from the tap and it, unfortunately, does not contain any minerals which your Chinchilla needs. There is, however, no harm in using this type of water providing they get enough minerals from elsewhere.
Bottled WaterYesBottles water is safe for chinchillas to use but is an expensive way of providing your Chinchilla with water and some would consider this quite wasteful

What Should My Chinchilla Drink From?

Chinchillas should always drink from water bottles. Using a bottle means that you can provide your Chin with water in a safe, clean and easy way. 

Water bottles designed specifically for Chinchillas are usually quite large which means they always have water readily available to them. They don’t run out very quickly, but must still be replenished once a day.

Water bottles are also a very safe solution for Chinchillas. They attach to the cage and generally don’t move. 

The bottle we highly recommend you use is by ‘Lixit’, you can see the exact water bottle we have handpicked here on our recommended cage accessories page…

This is important as Chin’s are very active creatures that love to jump, climb and bound around their cage. They can be described at times as quite boisterous.

As you can imagine this poses some problems with having too many items in the cage. Items that are not tied down tend to go everywhere.

One of the questions we often hear is whether you can provide a Chinchilla with water in a bowl. 

If you are still unsure then we have just released a great post that compares bowls to water bottles and shares which one is the best and why…

The very simple answer to this question is, no, it is not a good idea to provide water in a bowl for your Chinchilla. There are a few reasons why this method of providing water is not a good idea:

  • A Chinchilla bowl can be a hazard and move around the cage which could cause injury. When you think about how fast Chinchillas can move around at speed this is quite a dangerous option.
  • Water can get everywhere including making your Chinchilla’s fur quite wet. Chin’s must not get wet as their fur can become very matted and uncomfortable. It can also cause Pneumonia as their fur stays wet for long periods without drying thoroughly.
  • Open water bowls can get contaminated so easily and for this reason, would be considered a health risk. Water should remain relatively fresh and clean at all times.
  • Open water bowls can get chewed and bitten much more easily than bottles. The bottle tube is usually made of steel for this very reason.
  • Bowls usually hold less water than bottles and therefore there is always a risk your Chin will run out of water especially considering spills are likely.


In conclusion, you must monitor your Chinchillas water intake regularly. It can be very easy for them to become dehydrated which can be fatal over longer periods. 

It is true to say that Chinchillas do not drink anywhere near as much as some others do and therefore this makes it even more important for you to know exactly how much your Chinchilla is drinking.

If you are worried about your Chinchillas drinking habits, always check for the vital signs of dehydration as we mentioned earlier. 

If you are unsure it is always a very wise idea to seek medical attention from a qualified vet for complete peace of mind.

Adam Woods

Hi, My name is Adam. I'm the main author of Pocket Pets Forever. I'm a pocket pet enthusiast and I love sharing my knowledge and passion for these amazing animals. Thank you for supporting us on our journey as we continue to publish content with the aim of helping owners care for their pets in the best way possible!

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