Are Chinchillas Hypoallergenic? (Can You Be Allergic To Them?)

Chinchillas are adorable small mammals native to the Andes Mountains in South America. They are social animals and love the company of other chinchillas and their owners.

Some people who have cat and dog fur allergies don’t have as many problems or any at all with chinchilla fur.

So, are chinchillas hypoallergenic?

In this article, we will discuss whether they are hypoallergenic or not. And why most chinchilla owners are less likely to be allergic to them.

Key Takeaway:

Chinchillas are considered hypoallergenic because although they produce dander, they do so in much smaller quantities than other furry animals. Even though they are less likely to cause allergic reactions, if you have severe allergies, you must still be very careful around them.

Are chinchillas allergy-friendly? Can they cause allergic reactions?

Coming up next in this article, you will see a couple of reasons why people say chinchillas are hypoallergenic and what you must do to keep the dander they produce at bay. So, keep scrolling!

chinchilla being petted

Are Chinchillas Hypoallergenic?

Chinchillas are adorable, interesting furry pets and people simply love them. They are popular among people who typically have allergic reactions to other animals, such as some breeds of cats and dogs.

Why are chinchillas so popular? Are chinchillas hypoallergenic pets?

Chinchillas are often considered hypoallergenic pets because they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other animals.

Chinchillas shed allergy-triggering skin cells and dead skin in smaller quantities than other furry pets. This makes them less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

So chinchillas are better pets for people who suffer from pet allergies, but if the person suffers from severe allergies, they will still need to be very careful around a chinchilla.

Chinchilla Allergy Symptoms

The chinchilla is said to be a hypoallergenic pet. This is because they shed fewer allergy-triggering skin cells and less dead skin.

Can people be allergic to chinchillas anyway?

Yes, if you have severe allergies, these animals may not be suitable for you. Here are some of the allergic reactions that are commonly associated with pet chinchillas.

  • Rhinitis. Contact with chinchillas, especially its fur, can cause allergic rhinitis in both children and adults.
  • Conjunctivitis. Chinchillas suffering from conjunctivitis can pass on the ocular disorder to their owners.
  • Asthma. Chinchillas and the fine dust they roll in can cause problems for people with asthma. The upper and lower respiratory tracts are usually most affected by allergens from these pets.
  • Contact urticaria. Chinchillas can provoke a wheal and flare reaction in some people with severe pet allergies.

Allergens In Chinchilla Cages

Severe allergy sufferers have to contend with allergic reactions not just to the chinchillas themselves but also to the items that come with chinchilla care.

Coming up next, you’ll see a list of different items that are essential for good pet chinchilla care that may trigger allergies.

Timothy Hay Allergies

Chinchillas must have constant access to hay to snack on throughout the day.

How does this hay cause allergy issues?

Some people are allergic to Timothy hay. People with asthma might find that the hay makes them wheeze or cough.

People who have more severe allergic responses might even develop hives when they touch Timothy hay.

Chinchilla Dust Allergic Reaction

For some people with advanced allergic reactions, it is not just the pet allergy that is the problem. Rather, the chinchilla dust also makes them ill.

chinchilla dust bath

What is it about their dust baths that is an issue?

When a chinchilla rolls around in a dust bath, it kicks up fine dust into the air. This dust can trigger allergies in some people, including respiratory issues.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as hypoallergenic chinchilla dust that would eliminate the problem. But there are still some ways to minimize it.

(More about that in just a mo.)

Wood Shavings and Allergies

Chinchillas need soft bedding to rest on. Many people line at least a section of the chinchilla’s cage with wood shavings to absorb urine and reduce odors.

Why does pet chinchilla bedding often cause an allergic reaction?

Some people are allergic to wood dust and begin to feel unwell when handling it or when the dust goes into the atmosphere as the chinchilla runs along the wood shavings.

Common symptoms of allergies to wood shavings are itchy, dry, or red blistering skin and dermatitis.

How to Minimize Allergies

The chinchilla is said to be a hypoallergenic pet because it does not cause allergic reactions in people as often as other pets do. But we cannot say they are completely allergy-free.

Some people are allergic to the accessories you’ll find in a chinchilla’s cage. So up next, we are going to consider some tips that will help you minimize allergies to these things.

Change Your Hay

The issue for some chinchilla owners is the Timothy hay and hay dust. Some people find that changing the hay they give to their chinchillas can help with this problem.

If you are allergic to Timothy hay, have a go at the following.

  • Swap the hay. Use alternatives to Timothy hay, such as Orchard grass, Alfalfa hay, and Meadow hay.
  • Don’t use loose hay. Opt for hay cubes or a hay rack. These hay options have less loose dander than regular hay and are more allergy-friendly.
  • Use hay just for feeding and lay shredded paper for bedding. Reducing slightly the amount of hay in the cage can make it more bearable.

Change Your Dust Bath

Some people suffer from an allergic reaction when their chinchillas take a dust bath. If that is your case, changing the bathing dust might help.

Here’s what to do.

  • Get high-quality dust. There is no such thing as hypoallergenic dust, but 100% pumice dust is made of all-natural materials and is more allergy-friendly. Cheaper dust that contains lime, silicone, and glass powder, on the other hand, might have toxic substances in it. These substances often cause respiratory issues not just in humans but also in small animals.
  • Get bath sand. While bath dust is made of natural volcanic minerals, bath sand is made from natural sepiolite. This natural material is low-dust and is often better for people who suffer from dust allergies.
  • Put the dust bath outside. Instead of giving your chinchilla a dust bath inside its cage, allow it to roll about and clean its soft fur outside. That way, the dander will be released into the atmosphere outside and will not accumulate in your home. If you cannot let your animal outside, give it a dust bath in a well-ventilated room. Use an air purifier after your chinchilla finishes bathing itself.

Don’t Use Wood Shavings

Many chinchilla owners use some kind of wood dust to line the floor and reduce the odor from the chinchilla’s urine. If you are allergic to this, stop using it and do the following.

chinchilla wood shavings
  • Line the floor with fleece covers. These covers are gentle on your pet’s feet and are washable. They are great at helping you keep your chinchilla’s cage clean.
  • Put a litter box in the enclosure. Train your pet chinchilla to use a litter box. A metal pan litter box with a splash guard and a removable mesh floor will make a great allergy-friendly alternative to a wood dust corner. Some good litter boxes will attach right to the chinchilla cage. They are easy to wash and make training your pet a lot easier.

Use an Air Purifier

Some chinchilla pet owners keep their animals in one room in the house. The build-up of dander in the room where they live can cause runny noses, wheezing, coughing, and other allergic reactions.

If you are mildly allergic to chinchillas, consider using an air purifier in the room where you keep your pets. The purifier will clear the air of some of the dander and should help to reduce your allergic reaction.

If you are going to use this tool, make sure you change the filter regularly. Keep the purifier on more regularly during the summer months when your pet will shed more.

Another good practice is to keep the room well-ventilated so fresh air is always circulating.

Wear Gloves

For some, simply handling their pet chinchilla or the things inside its cage causes them to have an allergic skin reaction such as dermatitis. If you have severe skin allergies, a chinchilla might not be the pet for you.

But if your allergies are mild, here are some ways to keep it at bay:

  • Put gloves on. When touching your chinchilla or handling anything inside its enclosure, put gloves on. Disposable gloves are ideal for cleaning out your chinchilla’s enclosure.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching your chinchilla. This is especially important before you eat or touch your face.
  • Change your clothes. If you have been handling your pet and stroking your chinchilla’s fur, you will find it useful to change your clothes before you do anything else. This is essential before you sit on surfaces where dander could easily collect and cause you problems, such as on a sofa or your bed.
  • Wear a dust mask. If you are mildly allergic to chinchillas, wearing a dust mask could help you. Put one on while changing the chinchilla’s bedding or cleaning its enclosure.

See Your Healthcare Provider

If you have a chinchilla allergy you want to control, you must see your local healthcare provider. A visit to an allergist will help you get the medication you need and will also provide you with more tips on how to control your allergy.

Your allergist might prescribe you some of the following medications.

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Corticosteroids or leukotriene modifiers (in the case of more severe allergies)

The Hypoallergenic Pet – Chinchilla FAQs

Are you allergic to animal dander?

If pets like cats and dogs cause you to suffer an allergic reaction, you no doubt wonder how you would fare with a chinchilla as a pet.

Coming up next, we are going to answer some of the most asked questions about chinchillas and how hypoallergenic they are. Take a look.

Do Chinchillas Cause Allergies?

Chinchillas are often considered hypoallergenic pets because they shed very little dander and dead skin cells. Because of this, chinchillas are less likely to cause allergies.

But is the chinchilla allergy-free?

No, the chinchilla is not completely allergy-free. It can cause allergic reactions in people with very severe allergies.

Here are some of the most common allergies:

  • Rhinitis
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Asthma and respiratory problems
  • Contact urticaria

What Are Chinchillas Allergic to?

Your chinchilla is a sensitive pet, and there are some things you must never give it.

What things are bad for chinchillas?

When lining your chinchilla’s enclosure, you must be wary of the wood shavings you use. Aspen shavings are a great option as they are low in dust.

Cedar and pine dust, on the other hand, are not good choices as they are particularly dusty and can damage your chinchilla’s respiratory tract.

There are many foods chinchillas cannot eat. Here are some of them:

  • Citrus fruits. These are too acidic for chinchillas.
  • Dairy. Chinchillas cannot digest dairy, and dairy consumption is often fatal in these pets.
  • Fruits with a high water content. These cause diarrhea in chinchillas.

Can You Have a Chinchilla if You Have Allergies?

A chinchilla is an excellent pet because it is easy to take care of, feed, and clean up after.

But, what if you have allergies, can you get a chinchilla?

Allergies come in different severities. Some people are only mildly allergic to animals like cats and dogs, so they find that the chinchilla does not trigger their allergies.

But people with more severe allergic reactions must still be careful around these rodents. They can trigger rhinitis, asthma, contact urticaria, as well as other reactions in more sensitive people.

As good practice, always wash your hands after touching your chinchilla, change your clothes after stroking it, and put a dust mask on when cleaning its enclosure. Use an air cleaner and ventilate the room regularly where you keep the animals.

If you are unsure whether you have a chinchilla allergy or not, talk to your healthcare provider or get an allergy test from an allergist.

Does a Chinchilla Shed Dander?

The chinchilla is commonly called a hypoallergenic pet because it is less likely to trigger allergies than other small animals.

But does a chinchilla shed dander?

Yes, the chinchilla does shed dander. It does this when it sheds its dead skin cells.

People are sometimes allergic to the accessories that come with the chinchilla rather than the animal itself. These include the following:

  • Bathing dust
  • Hay
  • Wood-based bedding (shavings)
  • Fine dust from their food pellets

To reduce these allergens, swap bathing dust for bathing sand and change the hay you give your animal. Put the shredded paper down instead of wood bedding and experiment with different food pellet brands.

Is a Chinchilla a Rodent?

The chinchilla is a rather large animal when you compare it in size to other small pets.

chinchilla rodent

But is it a rodent?

Yes, the chinchilla is a rodent.

There are two known species of chinchilla still alive today: the long-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) and the short-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla chinchilla). These mammals are of the Chinchillidae family and the Chinchillinae subfamily.

Chinchillas, the Hypoallergenic Pets

Chinchillas are not as common as other pets, such as cats and dogs. And because of their dense fur, many people wonder whether chinchillas are hypoallergenic or not.

Chinchillas are considered hypoallergenic rodents because they shed allergy-triggering dander in smaller quantities than some other pets do. As a result, they are less likely to cause allergies, but they are still capable of making people with very severe allergies unwell.

Did you find this article interesting?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best articles about pet rodents such as chinchillas, hamsters, guinea pigs, and other pets. For more guides on what you must feed your pet and how to groom it, visit our website.

Thanks for reading!

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