Our pet chinchillas are furry, loving creatures. We all know how soft that fur is too. At least those of who own chinchillas currently. I’d say the fur on my pet chinchilla is perhaps the best thing anyone can touch. With that luxurious fur, come concerns. We want our chinchillas’ coat to be top notch and in the best shape possible. This all begins with understanding how chinchilla fur works and what you can expect. One of the questions I see other chin owners frequently ask is simple in nature. Do chinchillas shed? After owning my own chinchilla, here is what I can tell you.
So, do chinchillas shed? Yes, chinchillas can shed. Chinchilla shed lightly year-round. You can’t do much to avoid this. Also, chinchillas can shed when frightened. This is known as a fur slip. Lastly, chinchillas can shed more often if their fur or skin is unhealthy or not adequately cleaned using dust baths.
It’s important to understand why your chinchilla is shedding and to ensure you know the difference between normal shedding, fur slips and possibly unhealthy skin or fur due to lack of hygiene or even an illness that’s causing your chinchilla to shed. Let’s dive into some more of the specifics.
Shedding is 100% Normal and To Be Expected with Your Chinchilla.
For starters, I have a post that’s dedicated to teaching you all about fur loss with your chinchilla. You can see that here. That will give you beginning knowledge needed to help you determine which form of shedding is taking place. In most situations, it’s nothing to worry about and 100% normal for your chinchilla to shed all year round. In the hotter months such as March-August (Spring-Summer), your chinchilla will shed more just like a dog would do.
During these months regular grooming is critical. This is going to help keep the fur clean and avoid the hair clumping or beginning to mat down which can cause additional body oils to accumulate which can surely be problematic if it’s not handled.
We have a post about when and if you should brush your chinchilla that you can see here as well. In most circumstances, you don’t need to brush your chinchilla, but if time did exist that it would be necessary, it would be between these hot spring and summer months.
Never Ignore Your Dust Baths.
Ignoring dust baths or not having your chinchilla take them often enough can be problem number 1 and it’s easily avoidable. It’s also essential that you are providing enough dust to your chinchilla during this bath time. The usually recommended amount is 2 inches of dust in the actual dust bath container. This should be afforded to your chinchilla 2-3 times per week for optimal results.
I also have a post dedicated to teaching you about the importance of chinchilla dust baths that you can see here. It will help educate some on why chinchillas use dust for their baths and the significance of this being the only cleaning method that you use.
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.
The Health Hazards of Too Much Shedding
Chinchillas like to groom themselves, other chinchillas and even you if they recognize you and trust you as their owner. My chinchilla will jump on my shoulder and even nibble my ear.
If you have excessive shedding taking place, this can get into the chinchilla’s mouth during the grooming process, suffocate your chinchilla or cause intestinal blockages. In this case, a vet trip will be in order, and you also run the risk of your chinchilla dying due to these circumstances.
I know none of us including myself want to think of our chinchilla dying from something so easy to avoid, but I have even read where other people will have their chinchilla pass away and find out later that it was due to fur being trapped in their mouth or throat.
Not a good way to lose a chinchilla and something you can easily avoid with proper care, hygiene and maintenance of your chinchillas.
More Easy Methods to Keeping Your Chinchilla Clean
It’s also important to keep in mind everything that surrounds your chinchilla. For me, I have an oversized 3 story 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 your chinchilla’s fur coat which can help to reduce some excessive oils and other dander which may lead to more irritated skin and often more shedding in the process.
I personally have a little OCD about my chinchilla, so I clean her cage daily. I also afford a dust bath every third day during, and 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 evidently 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 the primary goal.
You Can Notice Shedding Above the Cage Near the Ceiling.
In my house, I have my chinchilla in the nice cool basement where noises are at a minimum and my 110 lb. Lab won’t bother her. I noticed after about 2 weeks that the ceiling boards above her were almost beginning to look extra full of cobwebs as if she brought an entire army of spiders with her.
Apparently, she did not bring an army of spiders with her. It’s just shedding and where the fur tends to land and stack up. I only just take a shop vac and clean it up as frequently as possible and do everything I can to keep her clean and healthy as well.
Stress, Anxiety, and Fear Can Cause Overly Excessive Shedding
This can be known as fur slips, but sometimes it’s not a fur slip. 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 too. I’ve noticed that my chinchilla even sheds more heavily around my son because he’s somewhat loud and obnoxious at times. When it’s just me and her out for playtime, I don’t really notice any shedding taking place but if I have my son involved in the playtime, I can visibly see the chinchilla fur/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 purely because she gets more stressed out around my son and she hasn’t quite warmed up to him yet.
Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite him or anything crazy like that she merely just prefers to hop around me instead because I’m calm and just let her do her thing. If that’s pooping on my head while enjoying some time out of the cage, then I suppose “it is what it is.”
Don’t Let the Unclean Fur Coats Go for Too Long
It’s important that you do notice your chinchilla is clumpier, or the fur seems to be building up with too much dirt, that you take action as quickly as possible. I know we touched on the potential of intestinal problems or even death, but sometimes the health concerns can be not as extensive.
You can run into 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.
Putting It All Together. Chinchillas Shed, but It’s Nothing To Fret.
At the end of the day, it’s apparent and obvious that your chinchilla is going to shed. 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.
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.
They are one of the cleanest and most comfortable pets to take care of, but that doesn’t mean they don’t come with their own set of concerns and things to always be watching and monitoring. What’s your experience with your chinchilla shedding? How did you fix the problem? Be sure to drop a comment below and as always, thanks for reading.