It’s not fun to think of any form of pest or parasite making their way onto our chinchillas’ bodies or finding ways to irritate our favorite furry chinchillas. In fact, many individuals considering purchasing a chinchilla may have these kinds of questions up front before every becoming a chinchilla owner. Others of you may be searching for answers to common signs your chinchilla has a pest in their fur such as itching. The question that I see often is simple. Can chinchillas get fleas? After owning chinchillas and doing some diligent research. Here is what I can tell you.
So, can chinchillas get fleas? Yes, chinchillas can get fleas. Although chinchillas can get fleas, it’s very rare. Chinchillas dense fur makes it difficult and undesirable for fleas to infest a chinchilla’s skin or fur. In some cases, it’s still possible your chinchilla does get fleas, and a vet is the best way to diagnose if your chinchilla does, in fact, have fleas or not.
Many individuals seem to be conflicted about this information. Many chinchilla owners have been led to believe that because the fur is so dense, it’s impossible for chinchillas to get fleas. While this is somewhat true and makes it tough for fleas to get on your chinchilla, it’s not entirely impossible.
Let’s break down the details.
Chinchillas Dense Fur Does Make Fleas Think Twice Before Taking Over
Now, we have covered it’s possible for your chinchillas to get fleas. It is. But it doesn’t happen very often. This is due to the dense fur that your chinchilla is born with. That soft feeling perfect fur that we all know and love.
Spotting fleas on other animals is a bit simpler. This is because the fur can simply be moved to the side allowing you to see deeper towards the skin. I’m referring to pets such as dogs and cats. They are much easier to notice fleas.
With chinchillas, pulling back fur and looking is going to be difficult for a few reasons. First, it’s going to seem impossible to peel back the fur in a manner that allows you to take a close look at the chinchilla’s skin or deeper into the fur which limits your ability to spot any fleas.
Secondly, although chinchillas are friendly and may enjoy cuddling in many circumstances, that doesn’t mean they want to be held while you peel back fur in search for all those bloodsucking fleas that may be on your chinchilla.
How to Check for Fleas on Your Chinchilla
Now comes the fun part. If we can’t see them very easily, what do we do? How are we supposed to know if our chinchilla has fleas or not?
Well, since finding the fleas is going to seem impossible, we can look for other signs of fleas on our chinchillas. This starts with searching for flea dirt. This is going to look like dry blood or tiny black pieces of dirt on your chinchillas’ fur.
Now, if you have a dark-haired chinchilla, this is going to be tough to do again. This is going to be one of the times I do recommend using a brush on your chinchilla. Use the brush to peel back a bit and take a look or brush your chinchilla and see what kind of debris and grime remains on the brush.
This may be your best bet towards determining if your chinchilla has fleas or not. You can quickly do this while your chinchilla is out for a dust bath or even during playtime. Whatever the case may be, just find a few minutes to look and investigate if you feel that your chinchilla may have fleas.
If you can’t find the time or a good scenario to do so during, maybe try completing this task while completing a regular cage cleaning for your chinchilla.
If you can’t complete this task on your own or don’t feel comfortable, I recommend stopping by a Vet and allowing them to check your chinchilla for fleas.
Skip the Visual Inspection, Observe Your Chinchillas Behavior
Sometimes you won’t need the skills to find the fleas on your chinchilla with a visual inspection. Sometimes you can see the fleas simply by observing your chinchilla’s behavior. Is your chinchilla shaking or itching more than usual?
Are you noticing more fur slipping or even more patchy spots on your chinchillas’ fur? Signs such as biting, scratching or hair loss can be critical indicators in finding out if your chinchilla has fleas in their fur or not.
Again, if you don’t want to complete the inspection for fleas on your own or don’t feel comfortable, schedule an appointment with your vet and let them check your chinchilla for fleas.
The upside to doing this is that aside from your vet diagnosing your chinchilla with fleas, you can get them treated while you’re there and at the office.
Treating Chinchilla Fleas and What to Do Next
Chinchillas are a little bit different when it comes to fleas. It’s so rare that chinchillas get fleas that they don’t take preventative flea medication like dogs and cats would be prescribed.
Chinchillas are very small animals, so you do need to exercise some caution.
Never give your chinchilla flea medication or attempt to use some of the other remedies on pet store shelves such as flea collars or other medications without speaking to your vet. This could potentially harm your chinchilla or even kill them.
If any medications are going to be recommended for treating your chinchillas’ fleas, it needs to come straight from the vet. It may be likely they recommend something such as a shampoo, but this is also rare because chinchillas don’t do well with getting wet.
My recommendation is to never try and treatments or remedies without speaking to a vet and if your chinchilla doesn’t have fleas and you’re simply doing some research, practice good hygiene with your chinchilla.
This entails keeping the cage clean and offering regular dust baths for your chinchilla.
Preventative Care and Good Hygiene for Your Chinchilla
Again, although rare, chinchillas can get fleas. There are a few ways you can make active efforts towards avoiding this. First and foremost, clean your chinchilla cage often. Your chinchilla does pee and poop on the shavings in the cage unless your chinchilla is potty trained to urinate in a “critter box.”
If this is the case, you still need to clean the cage. I clean my chinchilla cage daily and do a full cleaning on the chinchilla cage every 3-5 days depending on my schedule. You want to eliminate any common breeding grounds for your chinchilla to get fleas.
A cage with damp and mildew sitting can help attract fleas. Especially since you may have other pets in the house such as dogs or cats that may have fleas on them that find a way to make it towards your chinchilla over time.
Offer Regular Dust Baths to Your Chinchilla
Offering dust baths is another huge tip towards eliminating the chances of fleas for your chinchillas. Offer this every other day at the very least. Another big tip is to not leave the dust bath in the cage with your chinchilla.
If your chinchilla is not potty trained, there’s a chance that they soil in the dust that’s kept in their cage which could cause clumping and making your chinchilla’s fur even dirtier over time.
Keep A Good Environment for Your Chinchilla
Another key that I highly recommend is keeping a good environment for your chinchilla in general. This should not only include a clean cage but clean air and the right temperatures when possible. I personally run multiple de-humidifiers in the basement where my chinchilla is located.
I also keep the basement as clean as possible and like I stated before, I keep the cage clean as well. Keeping your chinchilla in ideal temperatures and keeping good air quality will help. You can also ensure that you are washing the water bottle between refills and the food bowl to eliminate the chances of the mildew and other bacteria building up for your chinchilla.
This should be performed every week if possible or in between each refill. Taking all these active steps is only going to help your chinchilla to avoid fleas and other mites and dandruff showing up on that beautiful fur over time.
Always be proactive with your care for your chinchilla, and the chances of getting fleas will be significantly diminished.
Putting It All Together, Chinchillas Can Definitely Get Fleas but It Is Rare to See
At the end of the day, yes, your chinchilla can get fleas, but as we stated before, it’s very rare. If you notice any of the signs we discussed such as biting, itching or scratching, rely on your vet to diagnose the condition accurately and never self-treat your chinchilla.
Outside of that, be sure to keep up with cage cleanings, water bottle, and food bowl cleanings and provide a safe environment for your chinchilla and hopefully, this should be a concern that you never have to deal with during your time bonding and owning a chinchilla. Chinchillas make fantastic pets and deserve the best care possible from each and every one of us!
What’s your experience with chinchilla fleas? Have you ever had this issue? If so, how did you handle it and what do you recommend to the readers? Be sure to comment below. See you next time, I appreciate you.