Chinchillas are social and friendly rodents that are native to South America. Their awesome thick coats make them really popular pets.
But you may wonder, can you shave a chinchilla’s fur?
In this article, we’ve listed why you might want to shave a chinchilla’s fur and what you must do instead.
Only a veterinarian should ever shave a chinchilla’s fur. Chinchilla owners should never shave their pets as their skin is very sensitive and prone to dryness and infections. Good husbandry usually takes away the need for you to shave a chinchilla.
What can you do instead of shaving your chinchilla?
Find out next in this article.
Table of Contents
Can You Shave A Chinchilla?
You love your chinchilla and adore its super silky fur. You want it to feel comfortable every day.
But what if your chinchilla’s fur has something wrong with it? Can you shave a chinchilla?
Chinchillas have very sensitive skin that is prone to irritation and dryness when it is not cared for properly. Shaved chinchillas suffer from many skin problems because their skin is far too delicate for this abrasive treatment.
Although veterinarians may shave a part of a chinchilla in extreme circumstances (more about those in a mo) as a chinchilla owner, you must never shave your pet’s fur.
When do people think a chinchilla’s fur might need shaving?
Up next we’re going to take a look at some common fur issues and see how you must deal with them.
When Your Chinchilla’s Fur Is Matted
Pet chinchillas need to live in an environment that closely mimics the one their ancestors lived in in the wild. Variations in their environment or foreign objects might cause extremely matted fur.
Here are some of the most common reasons why chinchillas develop matted fur.
- High humidity. This causes your chinchilla’s coat to become clumpy and makes it difficult to groom.
- Infrequent dust baths. A chinchilla that doesn’t have a dust bath often will develop greasy, matted, and dirty fur.
- Foreign object. Chinchillas move about very fast and are active animals. Because of this, they sometimes run into sticky objects that get caught in their fur.
Your chinchilla's matted fur may seem like a job that a razor can quickly fix, but this would be a very abrasive way to solve the problem and could create additional health problems for your pet.
When Your Chinchilla Has a Fur Slip
Wild chinchillas are constantly on the run from their predators and have to use many defense mechanisms to stay out of their grasp. In captivity, a chinchilla can feel threatened by its owners.
Here are some reasons why wild and pet chinchillas can suffer from a fur slip.
- Being caught by a predator. A chinchilla when caught by a predator can use the fur slip defense mechanism to release itself from the jaws of its enemy. It will release the trapped patch of fur and the chinchilla will run away.
- Improper handling. When a chinchilla does not feel safe in the grasp of its owner a fur slip occurs for it to release itself from their grasp.
When your chinchilla uses this defense mechanism it ends up with bald patches that are very noticeable. You might think that shaving the rest of the chinchilla’s fur down will make it less noticeable.
But shaving your chinchilla’s hair would be very bad for your pet.
When Your Chinchilla Needs Surgery
A chinchilla has a wonderfully luxurious coat. This coat can though sometimes hinder your small pet from receiving the proper medical care it needs.
Here are some occasions where a chinchilla’s coat might get in the way.
- When you take your male to be neutered or your female to be spayed.
- When your chinchilla needs to undergo some other kind of surgery.
Whatever the case, you might think that shaving the chinchilla’s fur yourself before the surgery is a good idea. Removing your animal’s fur on your own, however, is not wise.
When Your Chinchilla’s Coat Begins Shedding
Chinchilla fur is thick and soft but it goes through the following cycles that may concern some first-time chinchilla owners.
- In the spring, chinchillas begin shedding their fur. They do this to keep cool in time for the hot weather.
- In the summer, chinchillas may shed even more loose fur. They will stop shedding in the autumn and winter months.
If the summers are particularly warm where you live, you might think you'll be doing your chinchilla a favor by shaving it to help it keep cool. But shaving its thick coat will only lead to a whole host of problems.
When Your Chinchilla Is Fur Chewing
Chinchillas suffer from hair loss because of chewing their fur or their cage mate’s fur. This can create bald patches on your small pet.
Here are some of the reasons why chinchillas bite their own hair.
- Boredom. A bored chinchilla will begin to fur chew because there is nothing to keep it stimulated throughout the day and night.
- Cage size. If your chinchilla’s cage is too small it will feel stressed and will begin chewing its fur.
- Genetics. Some chinchillas chew on their fur because their parents did and they passed on this behavior to their offspring.
Chewed chinchilla fur will have some bald spots in it and may look unsightly. But shaving the remainder of its fur off will only increase your chinchilla’s mental health issues.
Alternatives to Shaving Chinchilla Fur
Chinchillas are fantastic pets with soft, thick coats. We love to look after them and make sure they are as happy and healthy as possible.
But what must you do when your chinchilla has an issue with its fur?
Coming up next, we are going to talk you through the very best alternatives to shaving your chinchilla’s coat no matter what problem it is suffering from.
Solutions for Matted Fur
Matted fur often occurs when your chinchilla lives in a very humid area.
Chinchillas need to live in low-humidity environments. The ideal humidity levels for these animals are between 40 to 50% and must always be below 60%.
If you live in an area where the humidity often exceeds these levels, you must keep your chinchilla in a room with temperature regulation.
Matted fur is also common when your chinchilla does not take enough dust baths.
Chinchillas must take frequent dust baths. They must do this at least twice a week but if your chinchilla has a problem with greasy, matted hair, give it a dust bath more often, up to four times a week.
Make sure you give your chins high-quality dust baths made of 100% pumice or volcanic ash.
Chinchillas can develop matted areas of fur when they get a foreign object stuck to them.
To prevent this from happening, you must monitor your chinchilla while it is outside of its cage.
All of these tips will prevent future fur matting.
But what must you do with your pet’s already matted fur?
Here is the best method.
- Use sharp scissors to cut out any foreign objects from your pet’s fur.
- Take a metal comb and gently work your way through the matted portions of hair.
- If the hair mats often, groom your chinchilla every day.
How to Help Patchy Fur
Your pet chinchilla will leave a patch of its coat behind when it does not feel safe in your grasp.
Chinchillas must feel secure when you hold them. To pick your chinchilla up, follow these instructions.
- Spend time with your pet every day. Chinchillas are social animals and love the company of their owners and other chinchillas. The more time you spend with yours the faster it will get used to you.
- Talk to your chinchilla and make sure it sees you. This way, you will not frighten it when you go to pick it up.
- Hold one hand under its hind legs and the other under its chest. Gently remove the chinchilla from the cage.
- Keep your chin close to your body. Do not make any sudden movements that will frighten it.
- Always supervise children when they handle your pets.
Taking your chinchilla out of its cage regularly and holding it gently will help it become more used to you and prevent future fur slips.
But what must you do to solve the animal’s current patchy problem?
There’s nothing you can do to fix your chin’s coat apart from wait. Within 6 to 8 weeks hair should cover the bald spot again.
However, it will take longer for the coat to grow back in such a way that the old bald spot is no longer distinguishable.
How to Prepare for Surgery
A chin will need to shave some of the hair off its body so it can be accessed during surgery.
But as a pet owner, you must never shave your chinchilla yourself. Instead, your veterinarian will prepare your chinchilla for surgery.
It will shave the surgical area and then disinfect it before the animal has the operation.
What must you do to prepare your chin for surgery?
The best thing to do is to follow the instructions of your vet on the days leading up to the surgery. Tend to your pet’s proper grooming needs, feed it the right diet, and make sure it has enough exercise before the operation.
How to Control Shedding
Your chinchilla will begin to shed some of its fur in preparation for the summer months.
To ensure your chin stays cool in the summer, keep its enclosure between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
To help it while it sheds, comb its coat through every other day with a soft animal brush or comb. Brush the comb all over its body but avoid its ears as these are sensitive.
How to Stop Fur Chewing
A bored chinchilla will chew on its coat and the coats of its cage mates.
To prevent your animal from becoming bored, make sure it has enough inside its cage to keep it occupied. Hide boxes and chew toys are great for your small chinchilla pets to play with.
A chinchilla that is in a small cage will chew on its fur with its teeth.
Ensure your chinchilla is in the right size cage. An enclosure that measures 4x4x3 feet is good for one chin.
If you have two chinchilla pets you will need an even larger enclosure. For a small group of these animals, you will need to house them in a room rather than in an enclosure.
Say “No” to Chinchilla Shaving
Many people think that shaving their chin is a good way to solve problems with patchy fur that mats easily. But as we have seen in this article, good husbandry is always the best way to solve this problem.
The only person that should shave your chin is a veterinarian.
Did you find this article interesting?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best articles about chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils, and other pets. For more guides on what to feed these and other animals, check out our website.
Thanks for reading!