How serious is it? Serious, but treatable from home...usually.
What is it?
How can I recognize it? Teeny tiny dry poops. Smaller than the usual Tic-Tac size, or significantly fewer in number.
Do chins get it? Wrong kind of food, faulty water bottle.
How do you treat it?
How can I avoid this happening?
Changes in stool are usually one of the first indications that something is internally wrong with your chinchilla. Constipation is dangerous in that it can escalate into a prolapsed rectum, gastro-intestinal stasis, or bloat, which are all life threatening.
Check to see that the water bottle is functioning properly. Some bottles can hide air bubbles in the spout, making it almost impossible for the chin to get enough water. The type of foods your chin consumes can also lead to constipation. If this is suspect, give copious amounts of hay and stop giving treats. Or, if you have switched food recently, pull that out.
Reminder: it is not a good idea to "cold switch" foods. Particularly when switching from a high quality pellet to something you chose off the pet store racks because you were in a hurry or ran out of the normal stuff.
In severe cases ONLY, you can give ONE raisin. Do not try this treatment if your chin has squishy poos or diarrhea. Do not give fresh vegetables.
To encourage your chin to increase fluid intake, you can offer Critical Care (a hand feeding supplement) by spoon or syringe. Most chinnies love this formula and once they taste it are usually eager for more.