Chinchillas have one of the most amazing coats of fur out of all animals.
Especially when you compare them to other pet rodents.
Understanding how to provide the best care possible for a chinchilla and understanding how to maintain that beautiful fur coat is an excellent question to ask.
When I first adopted my chinchilla, I had hundreds of questions as well.
One of those questions was simple.
Should you brush a chinchilla?
After owning my chinchilla for several years, here is what I can tell you on this topic.
So, should you brush a chinchilla? No, you do not need to brush a chinchilla. Most chinchillas will not enjoy being brushed and it may cause stress or a fur slip. Some chinchillas who experience matted fur or other fur related issues may need to be brushed. Keep stress levels at a minimum if you do need to brush your chinchilla.
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.
I’ve also created easy to navigate links directly below that will allow you to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire or need to learn more about.
Here is what is on my lesson plan for this brief and quick 3-minute post today:
- Should You Brush A Chinchilla?
- When Brushing A Chinchilla May Be Advised
- Use The Correct Chinchilla Brush and Combs
- Avoid Brushing In The Initial Weeks
- Other Considerations With Brushing Chinchillas
- Final Thoughts
As stated previously, if you need to skip around in this post or have limited time to read, feel free to do so using the links above.
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.
Should You Brush A Chinchilla?
We mentioned how brushing your chinchilla is not necessary.
However, it is 100% possible that your chinchilla is one of the chins that enjoys it.
If this is the case, there is no reason that you can’t brush your chinchilla.
However, if your chinchilla doesn’t enjoy it or tends to get stressed out, it’s simply not necessary to brush a chinchilla.
Chinchillas perform self-grooming on themselves which nearly takes care of everything.
In addition, the grease and oil produced on a chinchilla’s fur and body are handled when they take their dust baths.
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.
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 3-year-old female chinchilla is right in the middle.
She has her days.
Somedays she loves it 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.
A gentle chin scratch and head rub may make her plenty happy with you and 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
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 for 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 but monitoring this even more closely becomes important to also contribute towards your chinchilla keeping that beautiful coat of fur.
When Brushing Your Chinchilla May Make Sense
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 are 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 May Require You To Brush Your Chinchilla
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.
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 the most 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 use to you and everything around them first.
Speak to your chinchilla softly and try not making overly loud sounds that could scare your chinchilla even more.
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 but you do 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 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 and 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 and help 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 to avoid more fur coming off or your chinchilla overheating due to stress, fear, and anxiety.
Will the Fur On my Chinchilla Grow Back?
Yes. It will.
It only takes a few short months to come back and everything should look good as new.
In general, a few fur problems usually don’t indicate anything major but it’s always important to keep tabs on what’s going with your chinchilla to make sure they are safe and continue to feel safe.
At the end of the day, the point that I hope I emphasized is that chinchillas don’t need their fur brushed now should you do it.
I have yet to see a chinchilla that enjoys this, and I know my chinchilla doesn’t enjoy it either.
Keeping your chinchilla calm, happy and feeling safe is priority number 1 and this is a sure-fire way to potentially dishonor that goal.
Don’t worry about brushing your chinchilla and start with temperature control and dust baths first.
If the problem continues you can always call your vet and see what they recommend.
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?
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.