Posts tagged teeth
Happy April!

For the month of March, three (3) chinchillas were surrendered and eleven (11) chinchillas were adopted. Life is good.

We’ve been doing a major overhaul of the primary and secondary rescue rooms at the Menagerie, but that is fodder for another post. We’ll have lots of before and after pictures to show later in the month.

Right now, though, we need to talk about the importance of chew toys.

Whimsy often says that chew toys are necessities, not luxury items. Because chinnie teeth grow constantly, we need to make sure that our house beavers have plenty of opportunity to wear down those choppers before they overgrow and develop into malocclusion. As mentioned before, hay is wonderful for the digestive system and for wearing down the cheek teeth. But even the incisors can grow into tusks if your chinnie doesn’t have nibbling and gnawing opportunities. 

Wooden ledges offer a safe chewing alternate to plastic shelves, but our real claim to fame is in our extensive assortment of chew toys. We’ve actually spent years trying to come up with perfect combinations of textures, flavors and densities. One thing we will not do, however, is adulterate a perfectly healthy chew toy with added flavorings or excessive dyes. While we do like the splash of color the wooden beads afford, soaking loofah and other natural items into unnatural shades is just not our thing. When we hear of people who put added flavor on their products it’s not difficult to imagine the same people putting soda pop in their infant’s bottle. This practice actually causes chins to expect stronger flavors and inhibits their natural need for bland, high fiber foods. 

Whimsy takes it as a challenge to come up with interesting chews to stimulate chinnie curiosity. Since a chinchilla explores their environment with their teeth, we want to encourage that destruction in a healthy way.

Some people go halfway on the idea of chew toys: they want a toy that will last a long time. In actuality, the best chew toys are those that are most salient. In other words, the toys that your chin demolishes the fastest are the best ones. This means your chinnie is actively engaged in their toy and is getting the most benefit from it. 

A chew toy is not supposed to be a permanent cage decoration. If your c hinnie has lost interest in their chews, you can often renew the interest by moving it to a different location. (You know how it is when cleaning a closet and things packed away are suddenly exciting again?) If moving the toy around doesn’t help, you can restring and combine old parts with some new parts to generate more attention. (Check out our selection of vine thingies, loose wood and pumice!)

Keep in mind that chinnie teeth go through growth spurts. There will be occasions when an ignored toy will suddenly get much more attention. This frequently happens with pumice toys. They sit in a cage for months and then…Bam! It’s as if the chinchilla suddenly discovers it, and all you find in the cage the next morning is a pile of rubble and dust.

With that being said, our student helpers and we work diligently to keep a steady supply of assorted chews for your furbaby. Offering a few toys in a variety of textures is a wonderful way to meet their chewing needs.  Plus, when you order our Whimsy Original chew toys you help sustain our rescue efforts and support the cognitive and motor skills of the special needs students who help assemble them. 

CHEW toys.

When people come to adopt, Whimsy has an entire spiel on chin care and handling she gives regardless if they are newbies or long time chin owners. We have found that often, there is at least one or two misconceptions that people carry regarding the fussy needs of chinchillas. 

One of the most important chin care items is chew toys. No, they are not cute little decorations for them to bat around like a kitten would. Chew toys are meant to satisfy their chewing needs. Some people complain that their chins just destroy any toy placed in front of them. Um...that's the point. Chins are SUPPOSED to destroy chew toys. Think about it, they're called chew toys for a reason. If your chinnie simply nibbles on a toy and largely ignores it, this is not the right toy for him or her. Or, the placement is wrong. 

Just like puppies need toys to ease them through the teething stage, chinchillas have a continuous need to work those pearly oranges. Because chinnie teeth are constantly growing, the need for attractive chew toys is a must if you want to avoid malocclusion.

Over the years we have carefully designed each of our chew toys with several things in mind. Some nervous chins prefer the softer, shreddable type of toy. Others have super hardcore chewing needs and greatly appreciate lots of pumice stone and harder woods. 

Chins' teeth and preferences do, however, go through stages. So what turns a chin on one week, may elicit a snub the next. Our best suggestion is to have a wide variety of chew toys ever available for your chinchilla so that they may nibble and gnaw at will.

Because chew toys are so important, Whimsy's is now offering a free chew toy, of our choice, with any order of $50 or more (price before shipping). 


Malocclusion. The word that strikes dread into the hearts of chinchilla owners. It is the bane of the domestic chinchilla's life and is a hotly debated topic on forums worldwide. 

Malocclusion is a dental diagnosis that encompasses just about any tooth and jaw ailment, whether it be misalignment, uneven wearing, overgrown surface areas, elongated roots, or tooth and jaw related abscesses.

Clinically "normal":

This one (below) has "issues". Notice the lack of straight line between upper and lower teeth at the grinding surfaces with elongated roots growing into the eye and nasal cavities and into the lower jaw bone. 

In the wild, chinchillas have unlimited access to a variety of chewing and eating options. This allows the chin to naturally choose the kinds and types of tooth wearing activities they happen to need. Teeth grow an average of 2-3 inches per year, so it is essential that they have plenty of opportunity to keep that growth in check. Hay and grasses offer the kinds of fiber needed to work the molars and cheek teeth. Wood, sticks and volcanic stones (chew toys) offer a workout for the incisors. 

With this in mind, we've designed and made available lots of options in our store to help you help your chin keep his or her teeth and gums strong and healthy.  While feed pellets are generally considered a "soft" food, we're excited to announce our newest item; Show Hutch Deluxe, an extruded (extra hard) feed pellet. And don't forget the chew toys, hay and rose hips!

New Toys!

We have more new toys!

As some of you already know, we've started offering rosehip-stuffed willow balls as both toss toys and, what we've been calling, our new Orb-bits Lite. These have been especially popular with the chinnies who absolutely adore the treat filled globes.

Rose hips are essential to a chinchilla's diet in that they add highly palpable, easy to digest vitamin C, which helps strengthen the connective tissue in their gums. Because chinchilla's teeth are free floating, having strong tissue to support them is most important to help ward off malocclusion. Our toys are carefully designed to accommodate your gnawing pet's unique needs and preferences. 

We also offer loose rose hips by the pound for the little beggars. ;) 

storeMandi Vollmertoys, store, diet, teeth