can chinchillas eat cheerio

Can Chinchillas Eat Cheerios?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton

Are you a pet owner and you are wondering if your chinchillas can eat cheerios? You will discover that and other information in this article. 

Can Chinchillas Eat Cheerios?

Yes, chinchillas can eat cheerios because it has no ingredient that is hazardous to their health. However, too much of anything can be bad, hence it is best to feed your chinchilla a moderate amount of cheerios. 

Though cheerios contain nutrients that can be useful to chinchillas, they also have some in excess quantities. An example of such a nutrient is phosphorus.

Cheerios contains excess phosphorus than your pet need. So, when considering feeding your chinchilla this cereal meal, you should serve them as a treat.

What Is Cheerios

Cheerios are an all-time favorite cereal meal made from wholesome grains. They are made from whole-grain oat and they are a good source of carbohydrates and energy.

Furthermore, cheerios are low in fat and calories and packed with essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs. However, cheerios are low in protein.

Hence, when feeding your chinchillas cheerios, there is a need to balance up the nutrient intake by including a source of protein with the meal.

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Cheerios Nutritional Composition

Cheerios contain sugar, corn starch, salt, phosphate, potassium, and vitamin E to preserve them. All these ingredients pose no harm to chinchillas.

However, our concern is in the amount of sugar, cheerios contain. It contains 2 grams of sugar including added sugars per 28 gram of portion size. 

Although 2 grams of sugar might not seem like a whole lot, for chinchillas, it can accumulate quickly. Moreover, excess sugar can cause health issues.

So, cheerios are best served to chinchillas as treats in little amounts.

Benefits Of Cheerios To Chinchillas

Although cheerios should not be a staple in your chinchilla’s diet, they do supply some dietary nutrients, your chinchilla needs. Here are some benefits your chinchillas might get from eating cheerios.

High Fiber Content

The most essential nutrient needed by chinchillas is fiber and cheerios contain about 6 grams of it. They need lots of fiber in their food to keep them healthy.

Also, chinchillas’ gastrointestinal tract is designed to digest a large amount of dietary fiber. This fiber helps to keep their digestive system healthy.

Nevertheless, it is not a yardstick to feed your chinchillas excess cheerios, simply to boost their intake of fiber. This is because they get the bulk of their fiber from eating hay.

Low Water Content 

Another benefit worth mentioning is the low moisture/water content of cheerios. According to its nutritional facts, cheerios contain just 1.4 grams of water per 28 grams

Chinchillas are more familiar with dry hay. Hence, consuming foods that have excessive water content can cause digestive problems.
Thankfully, the water content of cheerios is low. Although it doesn’t suggest that cheerios are chinchillas-friendly, at least it’s a positive.

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Disadvantages Of Feeding Chinchillas Cheerios 

Here are some reasons why cheerios can be regarded as unhealthy for chinchillas.

Uneven Ratio of Calcium To Phosphorus 

Cheerios contain more phosphorous than calcium. Meanwhile, the recommended ratio of calcium to phosphorus for chinchillas, according to veterinarians, is 1:1 or 2:1. 

A 100g serving of cheerios contains 401mg of calcium and 481mg of phosphorus. Hence, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in cheerios is unbalanced.

Sadly, when chinchillas have more phosphorous than calcium in their diet, it is likely they will suffer grievous muscle and bone problems.

High Sugar Content

We are aware that excess consumption of sugar by humans can cause serious health problems not to mention chinchillas. Like most cereals, cheerios contain moderate to high amounts of sugar. 

However, opting for the original or plain variety is the best way to keep the sugar content down. A low-sugar diet is generally essential to prevent digestive problems.

Conclusion

You can treat your chinchilla with cheerios from time to time but you need not include it in their regular diet. A small number of cheerios as an occasional treat can be a delicious and harmless snack for your chinchilla, as long as you remember to keep everything in moderation.

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