June 6, 2022 by Umair Shahid
The chinchillas are the cutest animals that humans can have as pets. They are cute little rodents who love to play around. Mostly the animals are eager to groom themselves naturally. But the chinchillas need external grooming to maintain their heavy fur.
Chinchillas grooming is as crucial as grooming any other pet. The chinchillas dislike the grooming process. Therefore, the chinchilla grooming process requires creativity and patience.
The chinchillas do not need grooming only to maintain their looks. It is necessary for their health as well. A prolonged period without grooming and fur care can lead to loss of hair and fur in chinchillas. Like cats, the chinchillas also prefer self-grooming.
However, you must keep an eye to follow a regular cleaning schedule for your pet chinchillas. Chinchilla grooming includes cleaning the fur, cleaning the eyes and ears, and cleaning the teeth of your chinchillas.
Why should I groom a chinchilla?
The chinchillas have the thickest fur in the animal kingdom. This reason is alone enough to emphasize their grooming needs. However, these are two basic reasons to get a regular grooming schedule for your chinchilla.
To prevent heat stress:
The primary purpose of grooming your chinchilla is to remove dead fur and matted areas of the hair coat. Sometimes the chinchillas cannot shed their fur that is trapped close to the skin. This trapped coat becomes matted and looks dirty because the dust bath cannot penetrate deep into the hair shaft.
Similarly, if you do not groom your chinchillas, they become unable to maintain their body temperature effectively. The dead and matted fur affects the ventilation process in the skin.
To prevent gastric foreign bodies:
Just like cats, the chinchillas also try to remove the dead fur by licking process. The chinchillas usually shed their hair coat in fall and spring.
By combing your chinchillas, you can help them get rid of dead fur. If they try to remove this hair by licking, this ingestion can cause intestinal blockage or foreign body blockage in the stomachs of your little rodents.
To prevent fur problems:
Several problems can arise with the fur of little chinchillas. If you are a chinchilla owner, you must know the struggle. The common problems that might occur with the fur of your chinchillas include excessive fur shedding, wavy hair coat, greasy fur, fur slip, bald patches, and clumping or matting of the fur.
All these problems can cause permanent damage to the fur coat of your chinchilla. To address these problems, a regular cleaning and grooming routine is essential.
Chinchilla grooming tips:
The chinchillas are very sensitive animals. They become stressed easily. A meager mishandling during the grooming process can cause the fur slip in chinchillas.
The chinchillas lose their fur due to stress. Therefore, make sure you do not perform the grooming process harshly. Following are a few tips to follow while grooming your pet chinchilla.
The first thing in grooming your pet chinchilla is to be gentle with them. The chinchillas, just like other pets, dislike the grooming process.
Sometimes they become scared of the process and try to run away. However, you can give your chinchillas treats to encourage the positive reinforcements methods for chinchilla grooming.
Use metal combs:
To remove the thick fur of chinchillas, the breeders prefer to use large metal combs. The metal combs make it easy to remove the matted fur.
The fur near genital areas and anus is troublesome to remove. Therefore, use the metal combs to remove matting and dirty fur. However, do not run the comb too close to the skin. It might cause lacerations on the soft skin of chinchillas.
Clean the cage:
Cleaning the cage is as much important as cleaning the chinchillas. You can do this by using a vacuum cleaner because chinchillas can also ingest the already removed fur.
Similarly, urine and feces might get stuck to the hair of chinchillas. Therefore, make sure to clean the cage as well.
Avoid water baths:
The chinchillas do not need shower or water baths to clean themselves. They need a dust bath. The frequency of a dust bath can be once or twice a week.
However, water can damage the fur, and it causes irreversible matting of the chinchilla’s hair. Never try to dampen your chinchilla’s fur because it causes permanent damage to their beautiful fur.
The damping of the hair coat also causes bacterial and fungal infections in chinchillas. The chinchillas have dense fur, and moisture does not completely dry off from the chinchilla’s fur.
This moisture penetrates deep into the skin. Excessive moisture retention for a longer duration promotes fungal growth.
Clean the teeth and ears:
It is also an essential step in chinchilla grooming. The ear of a chinchilla might drip if excessive ear wax accumulates in them.
You can use the cleaning solutions to remove debris and wax from the ears of your chinchillas. To maintain dental health, you do not need to brush your chinchilla teeth. Just provide them with chew toys to clean their teeth.
Visit a vet:
The chinchillas also need a general checkup to maintain their skin and fur health. A visit to the vet can help you avoid fur problems, alopecia, and skin infections like dermatitis in your chinchillas. Chinchillas can also have skin infections like ringworms and ticks. To treat all these conditions, I suggest taking your chinchilla to an exotic veterinarian for grooming and checkup.
How can a vet do chinchilla grooming?
According to veterinarian experience, there are several fur problems in chinchillas that a vet can identify and solve. Therefore, I recommend you take your chinchilla to a vet for grooming. The vets can restrain the chinchillas properly to do combing because most chinchillas dislike being combed.
Similarly, vets can treat skin infections right on the spot. The dust baths are available in a veterinary clinic to give dust baths to your chinchillas.
If you do not provide any wooden surface in the cage, the chinchillas might also need a nail trim. The veterinarian has special nail trimmers for all sizes of nails.
Similarly, in breeding male chinchillas, the hair rings are formed around the penis after mating. This condition can block the blood supply to the penis and make your chinchilla infertile.
Sometimes, the condition is so bad that the penis cannot retract, or urinary retention occurs in chinchillas. However, do not clip the hair rings on your own. Always visit a vet if you notice any problem with your male chinchilla.
Frequently asked questions:
- Do chinchillas require hair cut or summer shave?
The chinchillas rarely need such interventions to protect them from the warm climate. However, if the hair coat of your chinchillas is too damaged, waxy, or greasy, then you can shave the chinchillas. Hair cut is also not essential. However, a little combing can improve the look of your chinchilla.
- Can I use a lint roller to remove excess fur on my chinchilla?
Yes, a lint roller is perfectly safe for chinchillas. You can use it instead of combing. But the combing is more efficient and easier to remove deeper matting. A lint roller cannot penetrate to the deeper layer of chinchillas fur.
Chinchilla grooming can be a tricky process if you are new to this process. The thorough cleaning needs patience. The chinchillas become very uncomfortable during the cleaning process. However, the grooming needs the removal of matted fur and loosely attached fur from the body of chinchillas. Besides this, ear cleaning and oral hygiene are also important.
I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.