June 22, 2022 by Umair Shahid
Have you bought your Chinchilla? And now you’re confused that what if they worsen your allergies. Then, here you go. Although no rodent species are hypoallergenic but without a second thought I can say that Chinchillas are allergy-friendly because they produce no dander.
Still, we can’t say that they aren’t allergic. Chinchillas themselves are hypoallergenic but you can get allergies from their saliva, urine and the dust they bathe in.
Hypoallergenic means when the likelihood of something causing allergy is quite low. Chinchillas produce no dander like cats and dogs so, they are suitable for allergy sufferers.
Although the chances to get an allergy from Chinchilla’s dander are quite low but there are other ways through which you can get an allergy.
In addition to this, Chinchillas are hypoallergenic in the sense that they shed less hair and fur as compared to other furry pets. But the sad news is you can also get allergies from other factors while owning a chinchilla.
So, Chinchillas are not entirely free of allergens, and the other daily use things the Chinchillas can also cause allergy. If you have terrible allergies and owning a pet is quite challenging for you. Then, Chinchillas can also cause allergies as they are not non-allergic.
If you only have slight asthma then it won’t trigger your allergy. But if you are a severe allergic sufferer it can trigger asthma attacks.
In this article, I am going to tell you all the possible reasons for getting an allergy to Chinchillas, and what possible measures you should take to avoid allergens.
Chinchillas; Hypoallergenic or non-allergenic
Chinchillas can be considered hypoallergenic because they produce minimum dander and thus minimize the risk of spreading allergic reactions. But you should keep in mind they aren’t non-allergic, they can still trigger many allergic reactions.
Why do these little chins produce minimal dander?
So, you are curious now why Chinchillas don’t produce dander like other furry animals. Chinchillas produce dander like other animals but because of their thick fur, dander got trapped in the fur. Dander is dead skin that falls off the body when these cells die.
Chinchillas have skin though, you might be asking yourself that then where do these dead cells go.
Here is the answer then, their dead skin cells remain in the thick fur coat. Other animals when rubbing their body against something shed their dander but Chinchilla’s dander stays in its fur.
This is the reason that most people say Chinchillas are hypoallergenic. But it’s not essential that you may always get an allergy to Chinchilla itself.
Reasons for causing allergy while owning a chinchilla
Although Chinchillas themselves aren’t going to trigger your allergies there are a few other considerations that you should keep in mind while owning a chinchilla.
Dust for dust baths
Chinchillas bathe themselves in dust baths by rolling themselves in the dust. This allows them to remove extra moisture from their skin. In addition to this, they love to bathe in dust.
If you are owning a chinchilla and you are an allergy sufferer, it’s possible that being close to the dust will trigger your allergic reaction. Not only this, but even if you are collecting dust around the Chinchilla’s cage, it may cause an allergy.
When Chinchillas roll in the dust, this specialized dust is prone to fly around the room. This airborne dust can cause severe allergic reactions and even asthma in patients who are allergic to dust.
In case you might be asking yourself, is there any hypoallergenic dust then sadly, there is no such thing. Chinchilla’s dust is only made to remove excess dander and oil from their fur. So, hypoallergenic dust is not a choice that you can make.
Another thing that can cause allergy in you is Chinchilla food. Chinchillas eat food pellets, hay, fruit stems, and dry alfalfa.
If you are allergic or have a disease like asthma you would certainly be allergic to the airborne hay dust. If you get an allergy while feeding your Chinchilla then surely you are allergic to Chinchilla’s food.
But you cannot starve your pet, just because you are allergic to their food. Then what should you do? You should wear a mask and gloves while providing hay to your pet. If your allergy is serious, then you should also change clothes after handling the hay.
Chinchillas need wood shavings in the bottom of their cages, to absorb urine. People who are allergic to wood dust might get allergies from this airborne wood dust. Chinchillas are nocturnal animals and they are more active during nighttime.
At that time their normal activity also increases thus you can get an allergy to pine dust when it becomes airborne.
To avoid getting an allergy you have to provide safe bedding to your Chinchilla. Or the best possible replacement you can do is to provide paper or aspen shavings or kiln-dried shavings. Moreover, you should avoid mixed wood shavings, corn cub, and cat litter.
You can also set a small litter box with shavings in it and encourage your Chinchilla to use it to go in. But keep in mind that it is not easy to train Chinchillas.
The majority of the animals have several enzymes and proteins in their saliva. Chinchillas groom their selves by using their tongue.
This results in Saliva on their fur. So, when this has dried up on the fur, it becomes airborne and as a result, it lands on several things. Then, there is an increased risk of inhaling these allergens by you. This can also cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
As a result, Chinchillas bathe in dust to remove excess materials. But still, this dust from dust baths can also become airborne and can cause allergic reactions.
In addition to dander, you can also be allergic to urine. Urine has dozens of allergens all of its own. Pets that go to the toilet outside don’t spread allergens by urine.
But Chinchillas go to the toilet in the selected corner of the cage or in a litter box that their pet owner has provided.
Unless you constantly clean that specific spot in your chinchilla’s cage, your pet will sit at that place and you will get an allergy. In addition to this, you can still get allergies while cleaning that spot. The bedding that your pet uses it gets soaked in water can also be highly allergic.
Tips to avoid exposure to allergens
If you are facing allergy problems while handling your pet and now you are worried that how to take care of your health as well as Chinchilla’s health. Then I am here to give you all the possible points through which your exposure to allergens will reduce.
Wash your hands after handling hay
According to a doctor’s recommendation, one with allergies should avoid allergens. So while handling hay and providing this necessary food to your pet, you must cover your mouth and nose. In addition to this, you should always wash your hands whether you wear gloves or not.
If your allergy is quite serious, then of course you don’t want hay all over your outfit. So, you should change your clothes too after providing hay to your pet.
The cage of your pet shouldn’t be in your bedroom
If you are an allergy sufferer, then you shouldn’t visit your pet’s place frequently. The cage of your Chinchilla must not be in your bedroom where you spend almost eight hours of your day. You should place your pet’s cage in a room that you don’t visit often.
Stay away from a dust bath
As I mentioned earlier, Chinchillas bathe in dust. So, while they take bath in the dust you should stay away from them otherwise this dust can trigger a severe allergic reaction in you.
To avoid dust, place the container with a dust bath in the cage. Cover the cage with a cloth or anything and leave the room for ten minutes. Let your pet bathe in the sand for at least ten minutes and then you can go back in.
While cleaning the dust around the cage you have to wear a mask and gloves and after cleaning you should change your clothes as that dust can cause an allergic reaction.
Choose the sand that is less airborne
There are now many types of sands that are less airborne and thus less allergy-causing. Less airborne sand will not fly around in the air and will not contaminate the environment.
Purchase a high-quality air purifier
Air Purifier is the best possible measure you can take to avoid allergens. These purifiers remove a lot of dust from the environment and even allergens even before these contaminants settle. It is important to clean the filter regularly otherwise it will not remain operational.
Put the cage in a ventilated room
As Chinchillas are sensitive creatures so you should provide an environment that is well ventilated and that shouldn’t be humid. But the room shouldn’t be near the road as those loud noises can give stress to your pet.
The cage should be in a room where enough ventilation is present and make sure that there isn’t any drought otherwise your pet might get sick.
Take precautionary measures before cleaning the cage
As it is necessary for your pet to regularly clean its cage. But to provide them clean environment doesn’t compromise your health. You should wear a mask and gloves while cleaning the cage and while changing the bedding.
In addition to this, you should take the cage outside the house to clean it as it will prevent the allergens from spreading in the whole house.
You should always have antihistamines
As allergens trigger severe allergic reactions in your body. One of the substances that are released when your body is exposed to several allergens is histamine. You should always have your antihistamine doses near you. This non-drowsy antihistamine was maybe able to manage your allergy effectively.
Symptoms of pet allergies
These symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, sneezing, itchy nose and throat, and red and itchy eyes. Asthma patients can have symptoms like the tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, and coughing.
Can you purchase hypoallergenic dust?
No, Chinchilla dust is specific for removing excess oil and dander from their fur. Dust is made up of 100% natural material. Unfortunately, Hypoallergenic dust is not an option that you can make.
Are chinchillas allergy-friendly overall?
The answer to this question is complicated. Chinchillas are allergy-friendly because they produce minimal dander but still, you can get allergies from their hay, dust baths, and shedding process.
I would recommend you to take the advice of a medical professional. If you have slight allergies, he will tell you that owning a Chinchilla is safe. There are a lot of people who have slight allergies and they own these little chins and seem not to mind.
Chinchillas are hypoallergenic but we can’t say that they are non-allergenic. We call them Hypoallergenic because they produce minimal dander. They produce dander but their dander remains in their fur.
But you can get allergies from them during their shedding process. Yes, they do shed at a specific time of the year.
In addition to chinchilla itself, you can still get allergies from other things like Chinchilla’s hay, dust baths, urine, and even saliva. You can also get an allergy from Chinchilla’s cage.
Proper bedding is also very important. If you have severe asthma then I would not recommend you to own a Chinchilla because it can trigger asthma attacks due to several reasons.
I have mentioned all possible measures through which you can reduce your exposure to allergens. These include wearing a mask while handling hay, washing your hands, using an air purifier, staying away from dust baths, and using antihistamine medicines if you get an allergy.
So, if you have slight allergies then I would recommend you to own a Chinchilla as it won’t trigger your allergies but if you are a severe allergic sufferer then you shouldn’t go for a pet Chinchilla.
I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.