While looking into getting a chinchilla this question was high on my list to get answered. If you are considering a chinchilla you too are maybe concerned about this. I will let you know what I found out.
Are Chinchillas Hypoallergenic? Chinchillas do not shed as much as some other pets. They can shed lightly during the changing of the seasons, however, their dander is still mostly trapped by the thickness of their fur. Many people that can’t tolerate other pets due to allergies do fine with chinchillas.
First, let me define hypoallergenic: It does not mean that you can not have an allergic reaction. It simply means that you are less likely to have a reaction. Non-allergenic is the term used when you will not have a reaction at all. With this clear, yes chinchillas are hypoallergenic.
It is not the fur that usually is the cause of allergies, but, rather the dander, which is dead skin cells that are released during shedding. Chinchillas have such dense fur that their dander is gets trapped in their fur and is only released very lightly. Some people with very acute allergies may still have reactions to chinchillas.
If your allergies are more severe it may be wise to go and spend several hours at a breeder where you can interact with chinchillas for an extended period of time and see how you react before deciding on a purchase.
There are other factors along with the chinchilla that may cause allergic reactions, even if the chinchilla does not. These are things you need to be aware of before deciding.
Chinchillas require a dust bath several times a week in order to be comfortable and maintain their overall health. This can be bothersome for some allergies. There are a few ways to help with this. And hopefully not have a problem that you can’t live with causing you to get rid of your chinchilla.
You can use a bathhouse that is almost entirely closed, this will help minimize the amount of dust that gets out into the air. When you offer the bath, do not stand and watch, back off, and if need be even cover the cage while your chinchilla does its thing. Be sure to vacuum up all dust as soon as possible so it doesn’t get stirred up again.
You can also use Chinchilla sand instead of chinchilla dust. It is virtually dust-free, However, you may still want to take safety measures and stay back a bit during its use. If you are not the only chinchilla parent, you could leave this for someone else.
The basic bedding of wood shaving will emit dust as your chinchilla runs around. This can be bothersome to those with allergies. There are several things that you can do to help with this.
You could try kiln-dried shavings, or use strips of newspaper instead of wood shavings. Or eliminate shavings sitting around and the cost of replacement and use felt liners, Having a couple of sets allows for using one while washing the other.
Chinchillas require hay, and pellets, as a large part of their diet. Timothy Hay is needed to keep their digestive tract in working order. If it is the hay dust and particles that affect your allergies, you can replace the loose hay with hay cubes.
There are ways to make the things that go along with a chinchilla easier on your allergies as well. So if you are determined to have a pet, you may be able to have a chinchilla. Let’s explore a few more ways.
How Often To Clean The Cage
This can vary greatly depending on what you use for bedding, food, and dust baths. And how bad your allergies are affected by each. At the very least you will want to do a thorough cleaning at least once a week. This will include completely scrubbing all parts of the cage, ledges, dishes, and toys. They need to be cleaned with either bleach or vinegar and water. You will want to make sure that everything is rinsed well.
You can make this task just a bit easier by doing periodic vacuuming of the cage between cleanings. This will also help with keeping the dust from hay, bedding, and baths from lingering around to be stirred up by your chinchilla’s movements.
If you notice that your chinchilla is starting has an odor, it is most likely that the cage has urine that your chinchilla has picked up in its fur. You will need to clean out any wet bedding.
Grooming a pet chinchilla is something that is rarely needed. A chinchilla will do its own grooming or groom each other when there is more than one. Generally, a chinchilla does not sit still long enough for you to brush or comb them. And the process of trying can cause stress to both you and them.
A dust bath is the main thing to keep your chinchilla clean and oil-free. And afterward, he will groom himself much as a cat does. The frequency and the length of the baths can vary for many reasons. If it is hot and humid they will need them more than if it is cold and arid. If they start to get dry skin you will want to give less and maybe cut the time down as well.
You can take a lint roller and roll it over them to collect loose hairs. They do not shed a lot but this will help the loose hairs from getting tangled and matted in the fur. If they do get a small tangle you can usually get it to comb out easily after a dust bath. This will only cause them a bit of stress but they will feel better afterward.
If they do get a mat you can use a special chinchilla comb and you will need to pull the mat out. By slipping the comb under the mat and giving a steady tug the fur will come loose. This will hurt them, and they are likely to be annoyed with you afterward. You could also cut the mat out very carefully.
If you give them regular dust baths and keep their cage clean you should never have to do any grooming to your chinchilla. The most often used is the lint roller as it is the least stressful for both you and the chinchilla.
Chinchillas do not smell, therefore, if you notice that your chinchilla has a smell it is ether the cage needs to be cleaned or that he is sick and needs to see a vet. The underlying cause of the odor may be that there is an internal digestive problem that needs to be addressed.
Chinchillas are hypoallergenic. This means that you have a much less likely chance of a reaction to them than a cat or dog. You will need to see how well they will work for you. It is more likely to be some other factor that goes with the chinchilla that will cause an allergic reaction.
There are ways to minimize allergic reactions due to their food, bedding, and dust. You will need to test these out and see if they will work before getting a chinchilla.
There is not much needed in the grooming area as a chinchilla will usually take care of all this for itself. As long as you provide a clean area and a good dusting regularly your chinchilla will need very little else.