You may have heard that chinchillas are great pets for allergy sufferers because thy don’t shed.
That is partially true.
They are great for allergy sufferers, but they do shed.
They just shed very little and also produce virtually no dander.
But there are also times when they shed more. And there are times when they lose a whole clump of fur.
That can be serious.
How do you know when excessive shedding is normal or when it is something you need to worry about?
Keep reading. We’ll cover that and everything else you need to know about chinchilla shedding below.
- 1 Do Chinchillas Shed?
- 2 Why Is My Chinchilla Shedding So Much?
- 3 Chinchilla Shedding
- 4 Chinchilla Shedding: Final Thoughts
Do Chinchillas Shed?
Yes, chinchillas shed year-round with the heaviest shedding taking place every 3 months. They shed lightly throughout the year and it is normal to find chinchilla hair around the cage.
Chinchillas with denser fur shed more frequently than ones with less dense fur. That should not come as a surprise.
Chinchilla shedding is 100% expected and nothing to worry about. But they actually shed far less than most animals, which is one of the reasons chinchillas are considered hypoallergenic.
But they can also lose fur due to other issues. And some of those can be serious. That’s why it is important to understand how to recognize the difference between shedding and other common fur issues.
We’ll cover that, and every other aspect of chinchilla shedding, below.
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Why Is My Chinchilla Shedding So Much?
If there is noticeably more shed hair recently, you may be probably asking yourself: “why is my chinchilla shedding so much more?”
Again, this is unlikely to be anything to worry about, as long as you do not notice any bald spots or fur slips. To understand the difference, be sure to read my post about why a chinchilla will lose its fur.
If you feel the shedding has increased, be sure to keep up on regular cleaning tasks, like dust baths. You can learn how to give your chinchilla a proper dust bath here.
You also need to realize that your chinchilla may be shedding more than other chinchillas simply because it has more dense fur. The denser the fur of a chinchilla, the more it is likely to shed.
Not providing dust baths, or not having your chinchilla take them often enough, can be problem number one. Luckily, it is easy to avoid. Simply give your chin a dust bath 2 to 3 times per week. Problem solved.
It’s also essential that you provide enough dust during this bath time. The recommended amount is 2 inches of dust in the actual dust bath container. And again, do this 2 to 3 times per week for optimal results.
I also have a post dedicated to teaching you about the importance of chinchilla dust baths. It covers the reason chinchillas use dust for their baths and why this is the only cleaning method you should use wit these rodents.
You see, chinchillas don’t smell bad and are naturally odorless. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t get dirty or don’t need proper hygiene to maintain their beauty and healthy fur coats.
But overall, shedding is normal. Do not panic if you notice a little more hair than usual.
There is a misconception that chinchillas do not shed due to their dense fur, but this is not true. They do shed and this is completely normal. They just don’t shed nearly as much as other animals with fur.
Chinchilla are also known to shed at different rates, so there is no reason to be alarmed if you have more than one chinchilla and each sheds different amounts.
And again, it is important to emphasize that the shedding is very light, especially compared to other animals.
For me personally, when I think of shedding, I think of the constant vacuuming required for other animals, like my dog. You won’t need to do this with a chinchilla. The don’t shed anywhere near as much as a dog, or even a cat.
It does not bother me in the slightest and I barely even notice it. It doesn’t trigger my allergies either. But I can tell you that she certainly does shed some fur. I occasionally find it along baseboards near the cage, and on the fleece liners in her cage.
In most situations, it’s nothing to worry about and 100% normal for your chinchilla to shed all year round. In the hotter months from March to August (Spring and Summer in the northern hemisphere), your chinchilla will shed more, just like a dog does.
During these months, you may even consider stepping in and assisting your chinchilla with some grooming. You can brush your chinchilla to help remove loose or dead fur.
Not all chins like this, but if yours does, go for it. Brushing helps keep the fur clean and keeps the hair from clumping or beginning to mat down.
Never removing the dead fur can cause additional body oils to accumulate, which can eventually be problematic if you don’t do anything about it. That said, in most circumstances, you don’t need to brush your chinchilla.
However, if there was a time when it might be necessary, it would be these hot spring and summer months, or when you notice the shedding beginning to increase.
Let’s talk a little more about excessive shedding, what to expect, and what to be aware of to make sure you are not dealing with a fur slip.
Chinchillas Self-Groom Even During Heavier Shedding Periods
Year-round shedding is normal. And for the most part, you can rely on chinchillas to groom themselves. They love grooming themselves, other chinchillas, and even you, if they recognize you and trust you as their owner.
Chinchillas are naturally friendly, but they also don’t know when not to groom themselves or other chinchillas. If your pet is shedding excessively, the shed fur can get into the chinchilla’s mouth during the grooming process.
This could even suffocate your chinchilla or cause intestinal blockages. If you notice this happening, a vet trip may be in order to play it safe.
Easy Methods To Keep Shedding Minimal
It’s also important to keep in mind everything that surrounds your chinchilla. For me, I have an oversized multiple story chinchilla cage with plenty of wood shelves to jump on, a ball with the sides popped off and a hay feeder among other things.
After a day of not cleaning the cage, hay is all over the place, poop droppings are just about everywhere, and the cage is a mess so to speak.
Keeping this cage clean can help keep all this extra un-needed material away from my chinchilla’s fur coat. This helps to reduce excessive oils and other dander which may lead to more irritated skin, and often more shedding.
I personally have a little OCD about my chinchilla, and I also have severe allergies, so I clean her cage daily. I also afford a dust bath every third day.
If I can’t get her the dust bath during playtime or every third day, I only allow her to take her dust bath in her cage which she enjoys and loves just as much.
They aren’t picky animals, my friends. They may take some time to warm up to you initially, but after that everything gets easy and they are willing to accommodate your schedule.
If that means dust bath time is taking place in the cage, then so be it. Whatever can help keep your chinchillas’ fur healthier and reduce shedding is great. That is the primary goal.
Noticing Chinchilla Shedding When It Occurs
In my house, I have my chinchilla in the nice cool basement ,where noises are at a minimum and my 110 pound lab won’t bother her. After a few weeks, I can start to notice very light dander or shedding on dark surfaces next to the cage.
That’s really all I ever notice. Again, the shedding is extremely minimal compared to other animals.
Keep an eye on it in case this dramatically changes, but overall, I am certain that very few, if any, chinchilla owners ever complain of shedding.
Causes For Excessive Chinchilla Shedding
This can be known as fur slips, but it’s not what I’m talking about here. There is a difference. The good news is that a fur slip is incredibly easy to notice.
My chinchilla had one her 4th day home, because my two-year-old son scared her by trying to pet her. It was a large clump of fur that fell off her side around her back legs. It almost looked like an immediate bald spot.
This is not what I’m referring to when I talk about excessive shedding. I literally just mean more shedding than usual, but not the release of an entire section of fur.
For example, I’ve noticed that my chinchilla sheds more heavily around my son, because he’s somewhat loud and obnoxious at times.
This type of noise and high energy can stress a chinchilla out. At times it may result in a fur-slip, which is not shedding by any means. But most of the time, my shin simply loses a bit more hair.
When it’s just me and her out for playtime, I don’t really notice any shedding taking place. If I have my son involved in the playtime, I can visibly see the chinchilla hairs on my shorts after she sits and hangs out with me for a while.
I may be crazy, but I’d like to think this is because she gets more stressed out around my son and she hasn’t quite warmed up to him yet.
Don’t Leave Unclean Fur For Long
It’s important that you pay attention and notice if your chinchilla’s coat is clumpier, or if the fur seems to be getting too oily. When you see this, take action as quickly as possible.
Leaving excessive oil can lead to issues with severe skin irritation and slowly make your chinchilla more prone to other illnesses that can creep in at any time.
Once you notice an issue, take care of it as quickly as possible, and you will be just fine.
Chinchilla Shedding: Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, your chinchilla is going to shed. But it’s extremely minimal and nothing to fret over.
Chinchilla shedding will happen all year long for the next 15 to 20 years. It’s not a big deal in any fashion.
It’s not going to be anything like owning a dog, but you will definitely notice the shedding and dust begin to collect around the areas where your chinchilla’s cage is located, if you don’t clean often enough.
Keep an eye on your chinchilla’s health and fur status and monitor for large clumps or overly dense fur.
Be sure to offer frequent dust baths and keep your chinchilla in cold areas when possible, to prevent overheating.
Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and the journey you have ahead of you.
Now we want to hear from you!
What have you experienced with chinchilla shedding?
Have we left anything out in this post that could potentially help a new chinchilla owner better understand the ins and outs of chinchilla shedding?
Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.
As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today and we will see you again next time!