Knowing that fat should be limited in the diet of a chinchilla, you might wonder if nuts and nut-like edibles are okay for them.
Say, for instance, you are thinking of offering some almonds to your chinchilla. But you are not sure if it is safe for the little ball of fur.
Can chinchillas eat almonds?
Chinchillas can eat almonds, but they are best given to the chinchillas infrequently and in limited quantities.
On the one hand, almonds have a low glycemic index, which is a good thing.
On the other hand, they have a high fat content. Although the fat in almonds is mainly unsaturated, chinchillas should still consume them in restricted amounts.
You might be wondering why we said large amounts of unsaturated fat (‘’good fat’’) is not okay for chinchillas. Well, we provide the answer to this.
Can Chinchillas Eat Almonds?
Chinchillas can eat almonds. However, if they are offered almonds, the almonds should come irregularly and in limited amounts.
While almonds have a low glycemic index, they contain ample amounts of fat.
It should be stated that the predominant type of fat in almonds is unsaturated fat. While unsaturated fat is the healthy type, it is still not okay for chinchillas in large amounts.
The reason for this is simple: the digestive system of a chinchilla cannot digest large amounts of fat – any type of fat.
Compared to many nuts, seeds, and some nut-like substances, almonds are pretty low fat. This is why they get a pass, and you can sometimes feed them to chinchillas.
Almonds offer the following nutrients to chinchillas:
- Fiber: Fiber makes up about 12.5% of the weight of almonds. Thankfully, fiber helps prevent gastrointestinal issues and dental problems in chinchillas.
- Protein: Protein promotes various developmental processes in the body of a chinchilla. Some of them include fur growth, nail formation, muscle growth, and much more.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E from almonds can contribute to the prevention of yellow ear disease in chinchillas. Yellow ear disease is a condition characterized by vitamin E deficiency.
Risks of Feeding Chinchillas With Large Amounts of Almonds
Some of the risks of feeding chinchillas with large amounts of almonds include:
- Calcium deficiency
- Uncontrolled weight gain
- Liver damage
Calcium deficiency following the consumption of high amounts of almonds may be due to the presence of phosphorus.
Phosphorus is converted to phosphate in the body, and as phosphate builds up, it binds to calcium. Then when phosphate is excessive in the body, it will deplete the calcium reserve of the body.
Of course, by consuming large amounts of fat, chances are your chinchilla will gain weight. But gaining weight is the least of the possible problems.
A high-fat diet will ultimately lead to the accumulation of fat around the liver of a chinchilla. And as fat builds up around the liver, it will subsequently lead to fatty liver disease (also known as hepatic lipidosis).
In the early stages, hepatic lipidosis can be reversed. But if detected late, it will damage the liver and can cause death.
Animals That Should Not Eat Almonds
While chinchillas can eat almonds in limited amounts, dogs should not eat almonds. According to the AKC, if dogs consume even a few pieces of almonds, they can experience gastrointestinal discomfort.
With regular consumption and large amounts of almonds, dogs are susceptible to worse diseases like pancreatitis.
Besides gastrointestinal distress and pancreatitis, almonds can lead to obesity in dogs. Plus, there is the risk of choking when dogs eat almonds.
Of course, since dogs cannot eat plain almonds, they should avoid seasoned almonds. The salt, flavorings, and spices will only make things worse.
While chinchillas can eat almonds, some people advise against it totally.
Nonetheless, if you choose to offer almonds to your chinchilla, you should only give small amounts infrequently.