Chinchillas are beautiful animals with wonderfully soft fur. They are easy to look after and are popular pets among families.
Have you begun to worry about your chinchilla’s coat because it looks patchy or its skin seems irritated?
Then look no further as in this article, we have pooled together all of the reasons why chinchillas suffer from hair and skin problems and what you must do to fix them.
Chinchillas suffer from fur loss because of fur slips, excessive grooming, and illnesses. Carefully handling your pet, good husbandry, and giving it regular access to a dust bath can help prevent these problems. Chinchillas normally shed their fur in the spring and summer.
How can you prevent fur loss in chinchillas and does chinchilla hair grow back?
To find out the answers to these questions and more, check out the extended guide up next in this article.
Table of Contents
Why Is My Chinchilla Losing Hair?
There is no other animal on land with denser fur than the chinchilla. In fact, about 50 hairs grow from each chinchilla hair follicle.
But what if your chinchilla’s hair doesn’t look quite as dense as it used to?
Does it have bald spots in some places, will it end up naked? Chinchilla fur loss is not unusual.
Find out the common cause of alopecia in these animals up next.
Does your chinchilla have some of its fur missing?
A common reason for bald patches in chinchillas is something called a fur slip. A fur slip is a defense mechanism chinchillas use to get away from their predators.
How does it work?
When your chinchilla winds up in the grasp of the jaws of a predator, it can release that caught patch of fur and get away safely. Wild chinchillas often have bald spots because of struggles with their predators.
But why does your pet chinchilla have a bald spot?
Pet chinchillas often develop bald spots because of the way their owners hold them. If you are too rough or your chinchilla does not you to hold it, it may release some of its fur in an attempt to get away from you.
Does your chinchilla chew on its own fur?
Another reason why chinchillas suffer from hair loss is because of a habit called fur chewing. This is where a chinchilla will chew its fur or even the fur of one of its cage mates.
Why does it do this?
Chinchillas will chew on their fur for many reasons one of them being boredom. A chinchilla that is bored will feel stressed.
If your chinchilla’s cage is too small or there is nothing in it to keep it stimulated, it may begin chewing on its fur.
A chinchilla may also chew on its fur simply because its parents did the same and they passed on this behavior to their offspring. If your pet does this, it may not be in any physiological turmoil but simply has a bad habit.
Does your chinchilla look poorly and is suffering from hair loss?
A bald chinchilla might be the result of an illness. Some illnesses can attack a chinchilla’s fur and skin and cause irritations.
Which illness can cause hair loss?
Ringworm is a fungal infection that leads to fur loss in chinchillas. Ringworm causes the chinchilla’s fur to fall out in patches and also leads to dry and scaly skin.
Are you finding strands of chinchilla fur all around your house?
Both a short and a long-haired chinchilla go through hair-shedding cycles where they lose fur. This is where the old hair all over the body falls out and new hair replaces it.
When do chinchillas shed their hair?
A chinchilla will usually begin shedding when the seasons change. This usually happens in the spring and in the summer when a chinchilla loses some of its fur to be able to keep cool during the hotter months.
Remedies for Your Chinchilla’s Fur
If your chinchilla’s coat has already suffered loss, do not despair as with proper hygiene and the right care it will grow back to normal. Find out what you must do to rectify the problem up next.
How to Prevent Fur Slips
Fur slips in the wild are inevitable because chinchillas are prey animals and their predators are constantly chasing them. But protecting your chinchilla from fur loss in captivity is a lot simpler.
Chinchillas suffer from fur slips in captivity due to improper handling.
Always be gentle when you go to pick up your furry friend. When you hold your chinchilla correctly it will feel safe and secure and will not panic and struggle to get away from you.
To lift your pet, hold one hand under its hind legs and the other under its chest. Support the chinchilla’s body and hold it close to yours.
Always supervise children when they handle your pet chinchilla.
Spend plenty of time with it each day so the animal can get used to you and feel more comfortable when you handle it. Make sure your chinchilla sees and hears you before you attempt to pick it up.
If your chinchilla already has a fur slip do not worry as the fur will grow back within 6 to 8 weeks. Note, however, that it will take longer for the fur to grow back in such a way that the bald patch is unnoticeable.
Tips to Stop Fur Chewing
A chinchilla that is stressed, bored in its environment, or in an enclosure that is too small will begin chewing its fur and the fur of its cage mates. Thankfully, there are a few ways to stop this negative behavior.
Ensure your chinchilla is in the right size cage. A cage that measures 4x4x3 feet is the right size for one chinchilla.
If you have more than one chinchilla you will need an even bigger enclosure. If you have several chinchilla pets, it may be best to keep the animals in a small room rather than a cage.
Make sure your chinchilla has enough to stimulate it inside its enclosure. Chew toys and hide boxes are great at keeping your chinchilla occupied.
A change of environment can often stop a chinchilla from excessive grooming. But a chinchilla that chews its fur as part of a genetic behavior may never stop this habit.
Prevent Illnesses That Cause Hair Loss
A chinchilla bald spot may be the result of a ringworm. This illness and other fungal infections are more likely to attack your pet when they are living in substandard conditions.
To prevent this from happening, you must keep your chinchilla’s cage clean. This means spot-cleaning the cage regularly and completely replacing the bedding once a week.
You must disinfect the entire enclosure at least once a month. However, if you have multiple chinchillas, you will have to do this job once every few weeks.
The Keys to Healthy Fur
Your chinchillas already have smooth, thick coats and you want them to stay that way. That’s why up next, you’ll see tips on things you must do to keep your chinchilla’s skin and coats shiny and healthy all year round.
To keep their skin healthy your chinchillas must take regular dust baths. A dust bath will not only clean the fur but will also promote natural grooming behaviors as well as good physical and mental health.
To prevent fur problems, your chinchillas must eat the right food and drink enough water.
The right diet includes 1 to 2 tablespoons of commercial pellets every day. It also means feeding your pet a small portion of leafy greens each day.
Your chinchilla will also need to have round-the-clock access to Timothy Hay. It must be able to eat a healthy snack whenever it feels hungry.
Dietary imbalances occur when a chinchilla eats too many sweet things so you must limit treats like raisins and dried fruit to just one or two pieces per week.
Your chinchilla must have access to fresh drinking water at all times. It must drink about 55 ml of water every day.
To prevent hair loss, your chinchilla needs to go to the vet on a regular basis.
You must take a new pet to the vet within the first few days of taking it home. Adult chinchillas must go to the vet for annual checkups.
Elderly chinchillas will need to visit the veterinarian for checkups every 6 months.
Your veterinarian will examine your pet for evidence of weight loss, dietary deficiencies, and other signs of illness. It will take a fecal sample to check for the presence of parasites and prescribe oral medications as necessary.
If your pet looks unwell, you must take it to the vet immediately.
Understanding Chinchillas and Hair Loss
Chinchillas are sensitive animals and are not immune to health issues. Why is your chinchilla hairless in some places?
Thanks to this article, we have seen the common reasons why chinchillas lose their hair. These include stress from predators, improper handling, bad living conditions, and even boredom.
Thankfully though, your chinchilla’s hair will begin growing again as long as you hold it correctly, help it feel comfortable in its enclosure, and give it a dust bath at least twice a week.
Did you find this article interesting?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best articles about your favorite furry friends such as chinchillas, guinea pigs, gerbils, and other pets. For more information on how to prepare an enclosure and what to feed these and other animals, check out our website.
Thanks for reading!