If you recently adopted a chinchilla, it normal to wonder if you should brush your chinchilla, if you can brush your chinchilla and if it is the best idea.
Not only that but if you are going to brush your chinchilla, which brushes would be best?
When I first adopted my chinchilla, I had hundreds of questions as well.
Should you brush a chinchilla?
I have now been raising my chinchilla for 5 years and here is what I can tell you on this topic.
You can brush a chinchilla to remove dead fur from your chinchilla’s coat. You can also brush a chinchilla if they enjoy being brushed. Brushing a chinchilla is not required as they self-groom and if they do not enjoy being brushed, you should not force it.
I can nearly guarantee that this doesn’t answer all of your questions on this topic.
Luckily, I’ve been in the same boat as you and plan to dive deeper into this topic for you today.
Here is what is on my lesson plan for this brief and quick 3-minute post today:
- Should You Brush A Chinchilla?
- Best Chinchilla Brushes and Combs You Can Use For Your Chinchilla
- When You Should Brush Your Chinchilla
- Other Situations That You Can Brush Your Chinchilla When They Arise
- Brushing Your Chinchilla Is Perfectly Fine But Not Always Necessary
Many of these questions could also be easily answered in my guide all about chinchilla hygiene and dust baths that you can see here.
Otherwise, if you have those few minutes to spare, let’s dive into all the important details you need to understand when it comes to brushing your chinchillas.
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Should You Brush A Chinchilla?
We mentioned how brushing your chinchilla is not necessary.
There is a difference between if you should brush your chinchilla and if you can brush your chinchilla.
Of course, you can brush your chinchilla.
Especially if they enjoy being brushed or you have a reason related to their fur to brush them which we will cover more in-depth further in this post.
When it comes to the question of, “should you brush your chinchilla”, I would advise you stick with my original advice which is to brush your chinchilla if they enjoy it or to remove dead fur.
Outside of those few reasons and a few other fur related issues that may require you to brush your chinchilla, you should be asking yourself the question in a different manner.
Do chinchillas need to be brushed?
No, chinchilla’s self groom and although brushing your chinchilla may help remove dead fur or other fur issues, they do not need to be brushed so if they do not like this form of handling, you do not need to force it.
However, it is 100% possible that your chinchilla is one of the chinchillas that enjoys it and has absolutely no issues with being brushed.
If this is the case, there is no reason that you can’t brush your chinchilla.
The important thing to understand is that if you are going to brush your chinchilla, it should be enjoyable for them or for a purpose.
Causing stress for no reason is not the best idea for a newer chinchilla owner.
Not only that but when you force things such as brushing when they do not enjoy it, it is going to be much more difficult to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held or to trust you.
Chinchillas perform self-grooming on themselves which nearly takes care of everything that brushing your chinchilla would help with.
In addition, the grease and oil produced on a chinchilla’s fur and body are handled when they take their dust baths.
If you need to understand how to provide your chinchilla a dust bath, you can view my post here.
The dust bath is 100% adequate for keeping chinchilla fur in perfect order.
In addition, chinchillas are very friendly animals and social but they don’t necessarily like being handled in this fashion.
Again, that doesn’t mean they never will enjoy being brushed and that you can’t brush your chinchilla.
One recommendation I have for beginners is to simply start with my guide that discusses how to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held and handled that you can see here.
That’s a much better approach than going straight for brushing before your chinchilla is 100% comfortable with you.
Gently handling a chinchilla is the way to go.
Brushing will either be perfectly fine with your chinchilla or it may be at the bottom of their list of favorite activities.
My 5-year-old female chinchilla is right in the middle.
She has her days.
Somedays she loves to be brushed and some days she simply wants nothing to do with being brushed.
You will simply need to learn your chinchilla’s personality traits and characteristics to get a good gauge on this.
No worries, beginning to learn this side of your chinchilla is part of learning how to take care of a chinchilla in general.
A gentle chin scratch and head rub may make your chinchilla plenty happy.
However, perhaps you need to bust out the brush to put your chinchilla in that ultimate state of relaxation.
However, assuming that you may have just been concerned with maintaining your chinchilla’s fur hygiene, I wanted to touch on why a brush is not necessary and how to maintain your chinchilla hygiene and health without ever needing to use a brush.
Before getting into those details, let’s first make sure that we instruct you correctly on which chinchilla brush or chinchilla comb to use.
Best Chinchilla Brushes and Combs You Can Use For Your Chinchilla
My recommendation for any of you wanting to brush your chinchilla is to follow a few simple directions and use the recommended brush and chinchilla comb.
Rule #1- Always allow for a few days following a dust bath to brush or comb your chinchilla. This ensures that oils and any other dander have had time to settle.
Rule #2- Use a metal comb designed for small rodents such as chinchillas and use the brush to simply remove loose hair or any clumps on your chinchilla’s- coat.
The brush I specifically recommend would be this small metal comb with minimal spacing.
It helps to remove any loose fur and it’s the comb/chinchilla brush I’ve had luck with myself.
Here is the link that you can use to check it for yourself (Link to Amazon).
Now, let’s dive into those details we mentioned previously that will help all the non-chinchilla brushers take care of business and feel a bit less anxiety.
Ideal Temperatures Help Keep Chinchilla Fur In Check
Again, let’s re-emphasize.
Can you brush a chinchilla?
Yes, you can brush a chinchilla.
However, other factors can be just as beneficial for your chinchilla’s fur.
One thing to keep in mind with ensuring your chinchilla’s fur stays healthy and plentiful is to monitor the seasons and the climates.
In the heat of a humid summer, you may want to step the dust bathes up a notch to make sure your chinchillas’ fur and skin is getting adequate nutrients and oils.
If however, it’s winter and the air is drier, you don’t need nearly as many dust baths for your chinchilla’s fur to be perfectly fine and your chinchilla to be perfectly healthy.
Proper temperatures are always important to prevent overheating.
With chinchillas, monitoring this even more closely becomes important to also contribute towards your chinchilla keeping that beautiful coat of fur.
Not to mention, it is obviously going to help avoid other issues such as heat stroke.
When You Should Brush Your Chinchilla
In some cases, you may encounter where you do have to brush your chinchilla or you likely should brush your chinchilla.
This is going to be when the fur it bunched, matted, or overly greasy.
You will be in great shape to use the referenced comb/brush for your chinchilla that we discussed previously in these situations.
Take it slow with your chinchilla in these situations just to ensure stress levels stay in check.
I think we all know that chinchillas get scared easily.
Just be sure to respect this and show some compassion and love towards your chinchilla during the process.
Never Brush Your Chinchilla In The First Days Home
Brushing and combing your chinchilla is 100% advised against during the first few weeks your chinchilla is home.
During this time, your chinchilla really needs to be doing nothing but staying in the cage and learning smells, noises, and your voice.
My chinchilla during these initial days and weeks remained inside of her nest box nearly the entire time.
Don’t worry, chinchillas do adapt quickly.
They are going to be very scared and not know what’s going on early in the process.
Attempting to brush or comb a chinchilla in these first few weeks could lead to enough fear to cause your chinchilla to overheat or may even lead to your chinchilla biting you.
If you have never been bitten by a chinchilla, trust me.
It doesn’t feel good by any means.
Luckily, a chinchilla biting is rare and you would really need to push your luck to reach this point.
I’ve actually only bitten once and it was more of an accident than a purposeful bite.
Other Situations That You Can Brush Your Chinchilla When They Arise
Below, I wanted to list out some other problems that chinchillas can often have in relation to their fur and that may in fact, cause you to need to bust out the brush for your chinchilla.
You Can Brush Your Chinchilla Simply Because They Enjoy It
We have touched on this some already but do not hesitate to brush or comb your chinchilla if it is something that they enjoy.
Ultimately, this is going to help increase your bond and trust and your chinchilla will relax and be in a great mood while being brushed.
If they like it, I have no problem with chinchilla’s being brushed as much as you choose or have time for.
Brush Your Chinchilla If They Are Shedding Excessively
If this is the case, it’s most likely due to anxiety, fear, and stress.
Stress can cause shedding to activate a bit more than normal in some situations with chinchillas.
Sometimes when you first bring your chinchilla home is when you will notice this.
This is because of the new environment and to put it simply, your chinchilla is terrified during these first few days.
This still does not mean to brush your comb your chinchilla.
At least not yet.
Don’t worry, you have nearly two decades to brush and comb your chinchilla as much as you want.
Let them adjust and get used to you and everything around them first.
Speak to your chinchilla softly and try not to make overly loud sounds that could scare your chinchilla even more.
Doing so may spark your chinchilla to make some sounds of their own to let you know they are not ready for this interacting or brushing.
This may include barking which is common with a scared or agitated chinchilla.
Allowing your chinchilla space they need in the beginning is imperative.
This should help them get more used to the environment and begin to feel more comfortable.
Weak Or Matted Fur
This can also be caused by several factors and again stress and fear can be the cause.
In addition, this can indicate a diet problem or indicate that your chinchilla is getting too much protein.
If this is the case, you still do not need to brush your chinchilla.
You may just need to adjust the chinchilla’s diet and try to remove some of the protein form the mix to see if the problem continues.
However, if that warm-up period discussed previously is over and your chinchilla enjoys being brushed or combed, feel free.
It won’t cause any harm and your chinchilla will likely love it and relax during the process.
Overly Greasy Fur
If your chinchilla has overly greasy fur, you can usually fix the problem by allowing your chinchilla to take more dust baths.
The dust baths are what remove the grease and oils from the fur.
Get your chinchilla out for more dust baths or allow your chinchilla to take more dust baths inside the cage.
If you are just getting home with your chinchilla I recommend allowing the chinchilla to take the dust bath inside the cage.
At least until you have formed a bond and your chinchilla recognizes you as the owner.
This can help greatly eliminate some fear and help your chinchilla to become more comfortable with the environment.
Once you have exercised these steps, feel free to use the brush or comb as you please.
Bald Spots On Your Chinchilla
If your chinchilla has bald spots this is also most likely caused by fur slips and stress/fear.
This can also be caused by having two chinchillas together in the same cage.
They may be roughhousing more than you think when you aren’t watching.
Chinchillas like to play but they are known to take it to a new level in some situations.
You have to be careful that one chinchilla isn’t becoming the victim of bites and purposely slipping the fur or losing too much out of fear or to escape the other chinchilla.
You see, this is a natural behavior for chinchillas.
Chinchillas will naturally slip fur on purpose to escape enemies in the wild.
In the wild, this helps to escape a grab by another animal’s mouth or to blind the predator that’s chasing closely behind them.
I think this is an awesome defense mechanism, but you should never have this happening in your home with your chinchilla.
Chinchilla Fur That Is Clumped
This is another possibility and fur problem that chinchilla can have.
This usually comes from very high humidity situations.
In these situations, as we discussed previously, you can’t increase dust baths to solve the problem.
Something such as a dehumidifier could help greatly but don’t overdo the dust baths.
It’s not necessary and will most likely only cause more stress or more hair to fall out during the process.
Full Blown Fur Slip
I already mentioned what this usually means, and this is the most common problem with chinchilla fur but it’s also the problem that indicates the most fear in your chinchilla’s mind.
Chinchillas will only do this if they feel they are in danger.
Whatever the environment is for your chinchilla that’s causing this, you need to change and make sure that you make them more comfortable.
This will help to avoid more fur coming off or your chinchilla overheating due to stress, fear, and anxiety.
Brushing Your Chinchilla Is Perfectly Fine But Not Always Necessary
Chinchilla’s do not need to be brushed but you can brush your chinchilla and you should brush your chinchilla if they enjoy it.
As mentioned previously, some chinchilla’s will love being brushed and some will not enjoy being brushed.
Keeping your chinchilla calm, happy, and feeling safe is priority number 1.
Don’t worry about brushing your chinchilla unless it is necessary or they enjoy it and rely on their self-grooming capabilities and dust-baths if necessary.
Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and brushing them for the first time.
Share Your Thoughts, Do You Brush Your Chinchilla?
What’re your experiences with brushing chinchillas?
Do you have any stories you can share about how they reacted or what fur problems you have encountered as a chinchilla owner that required you to brush or comb your chinchilla?
Be sure to share your thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.
As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading.
Thanks again and we will see you next time.