Most people opt for dogs or cats as an Emotional Support Animal because of their calm demeanor and affectionate nature, this is why it would be unusual for chinchillas to be considered as an ESA. On the other hand, people who have chinchillas as ESA are very grateful for such companions and they admit that without their pet chinchilla they would be in a worse mental state.
Given that chinchillas are not a usual choice, are they even suitable to be an ESA? It all comes down to what you are expecting from an ESA – if you are looking for cuddles and affections, a calm animal that likes to be stroked – then a chinchilla is not the kind of ESA for you. But if you are looking for a friendly, playful pet that will cheer you up and would also be a good listener – then a chinchilla would be a great choice. When choosing a chinchilla as an ESA you should be aware of what you are getting out of that relationship, so here are a few pointers, which will help you come to a conclusion.
Why Chinchillas can be perfect emotional support animal for some owners?
Chinchillas are very friendly and playful. Seeing your pet jump around in its cage and bounce on every corner of the room during playtime will have a very soothing effect. A happy chinchilla will clearly show its mood through its behavior and you will have no doubt in whether or not you are doing a good job of taking care of your pet.
Although chinchillas are not affectionate, they do provide comfort, they like scratches and cuddles, when they are ready for them. This is therapeutic by itself – seeing that all of your hard work in providing the appropriate housing for your pet and patience with getting your pet to trust you and bond with you has paid off. Your pet will enjoy the affection and attention, and it will allow you to get close to them and spend time together.
Chinchillas are perfect for night owls
Chinchillas are mostly active in odd hours of the night, as well as dusk and dawn. They represent an ideal roommate for night owls and people with difficulties sleeping or anxieties about being alone at night. Having a chinchilla as your roommate will help you feel less alone since there would often be some sort of noise or shuffling coming from their cage, as they are very active and like to redecorate their home.
Chinchillas give you a purpose
Many people who have chinchillas as their emotional support animal have stated that their pet is what gets them out of bed in the morning, knowing that someone depends on them and that they are needed, giving their life an added purpose. Once you get this furry creature home, it will be obvious that this little critter depends on you and for him/her there would be no other way to survive and thrive if you are not taking charge of their wellbeing.
Chinchillas are good listeners
Chinchillas are very good listeners, once they get used to you, they will happily listen to your voice and calmly sit on their cage shelf. Having a good listener is important for people who relieve their distress through talking. Your voice will have a therapeutic effect on your pet and talking to them will help you bond and get closer.
Rental places usually accept chinchillas
Since chinchillas are quite small and spend most of their time in their cage, you would probably have no trouble finding a rental place where both of you would be able to stay together. Chinchillas are very clean, quiet and hypoallergenic making them a welcomed pet even in “no pets” rentals.
Why Chinchillas may not be good ESA for some owners?
When it comes to chinchillas, although they are extremely cute and fluffy most of them do not like being held and do not have obvious signs of affections like the ones you would associate with dogs and cats – a tail wag or purring. The kind of affections you would get from a chinchilla would be them interacting with you, being comfortable with your presence, occasionally jumping onto your lap and playing with you. This means that if you are looking for a pet to hug and hold while you are under stress, a chinchilla would not be an ideal choice.
You have to earn a chinchilla’s trust
Chinchillas need a lot of attention and dedication in order for them to start trusting you and to warm up to you. With this in mind, if you are in need of an ESA right away, a chinchilla will probably not be the right choice as they do not represent an immediate fix to your current mental needs. It will take time and a lot of effort until your pet chinchilla starts trusting you.
Chinchillas cannot travel with you
Although chinchillas are small and very easy to transport this does not mean that you will actually be able to take your pet with you everywhere you go. Since traveling is quite stressful for a chinchilla and their wellbeing depends on cold, dry weather, this will definitely limit your options when it comes to traveling. You will also have to consider that on some airlines “unusual” animals like chinchillas (snakes, rodents and birds) are not recognized as ESA. In these cases, you will not be able to have your pet in the passenger area with you, but rather they would be placed in the cargo area, leaving you without your emotional support animal and your pet in a very stressful environment.
Emotional support animals (ESAs) are sometimes confused with service animals but they do not have the same function. ESAs do not need special training and they do not have special certificates like service animals. A certified healthcare provider like a psychologist or a psychiatrist establishes a pet as an ESA with an official letter, which affirms that the Emotional Support Animal is there to alleviate mental distress like PTSD, depression or anxiety disorders.
Depending on the needs of the person, a chinchilla can be a great Emotional Support Animal or a very poor choice for one. Chinchillas need time and dedication, they cannot be forced into a friendship nor can they be tricked into liking someone with treats.
If you have the time and will to put into your chinchilla, you will have a great ESA as long as you are not searching for cuddles and a wagging tail. In very rare cases, you can find chinchillas that are very affectionate, that like cuddles and like to be held, but even with these chinchillas, there would be a lot of time and effort put into the bond that is created with them.
This type of behaviors is not typical for chinchillas and if you are searching for it – most probably you will be disappointed. With any chinchilla be prepared for a playful roommate who will enjoy your attention and company while providing endless hours of fun and cheerfulness. This little furry animal will need you as much as you need it and in this way, you will be each other’s support.