Animals are said to be hypoallergenic when they aren’t likely to cause an allergic reaction. This doesn’t mean they aren’t allergic.
It just means that the likelihood of them causing allergic reactions is pretty low. Before you get a chinchilla, you have to know whether they are hypoallergenic or not.
So, are chinchillas hypoallergenic pets? Yes. They are hypoallergenic because they don’t have dander like cats or dogs.
Therefore it’s rare to find someone who’s exposed to enough dander from them to actually have an allergic reaction. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
There are certainly other ways that chinchillas can cause an allergic reaction.
Summary of today’s article:
- Are chinchillas hypoallergenic pets?
- What does it mean to be hypoallergenic?
- Chinchillas are the most hypoallergenic pets you can get
The short answer is yes.
Despite the fact that they have lush, soft fur, they don’t shed nearly as much dander as you’d expect. Chinchillas produce very little dander, so the chances of getting an allergic reaction from a chinchilla are pretty low.
This means that they don’t shed the way other furry animals like cats, dogs, or other rodent pets do. This is true because many studies have shown that people allergic to animal dander don’t have a strong reaction when they come in contact with chinchillas.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that they don’t shed dander. Because they do, and when seasonal temperature changes they shed more dander than normal.
It’s important that the chinchilla isn’t the only thing you could be allergic to. You could also be allergic to its food, beddings or items in his habitat.
If you know someone who claims to be allergic to chinchillas, they are probably allergic to other stuff that comes with it, not the chinchilla itself.
You should also probably know that chinchillas are also odorless. If your chinchilla smells, it’s because their cage isn’t clean or because they are sick. So you should take care of that.
But why do chinchillas not shed dander like other pets? There has to be an answer to this, right?
Why Do Chinchillas Not Shed Dander Like Other Pets?
It’s pretty clear at this point that chinchillas aren’t like other furry animals when it comes to dander. Does this mean there’s something wrong with them? The answer is no.
So why do chinchillas not shed dander like other pets? The clue is what dander is.
Dander is basically dead skin. These skin cells usually fall off from the body when they die. And since chinchillas do have skin, it’s reasonable to assume that they should shed dander.
Because if they don’t, where would the dead skin cells go?
Chinchillas don’t shed dander like other pets because its thick coat of furs catches the dander as it drops. When other animals shake up against something or rub it, it leaves dander behind. But the chinchilla’s dander stays in its furs.
This is why they are better for people who are allergic to chinchillas. It doesn’t mean they won’t cause allergies at all. It just means they are less likely to because they don’t drop dander over everywhere.
You should probably also know that chinchillas are one of the cleanest pets you could get. Asides a random dust bath that’s important for their health, chinchillas take care of themselves quite well.
Can You Be Allergic To Chinchilla’s Food?
If you suffer from allergic reactions and you fear it’s because of a chinchilla, you should have a rethink. You may just be allergic to the chinchilla’s food.
Chinchillas eat food pellets, but they also eat Timothy hay and dry alfalfa.
If you have a disease like asthma, or if you get allergic to furry animals, you’d certainly be allergic to the hay dust that becomes airborne when you feed your chinchilla. This means you’re probably allergic to the chinchilla’s food, not the chinchilla itself.
But what can be done to this? Your chinchilla must eat, and you cannot starve it because you’ve got an allergic reaction.
The reasonable thing would be to wear a mask and gloves when feeding it. You should remember to wash your hands after handling the hay, regardless of whether you served it with gloves on or not.
You should also wear an old shirt, apron or even overalls over your clothes while serving the hay. If your allergy is serious, you certainly would not want hay all over your clothes throughout the day.
What Of Their “Dust” Bath?
Chinchillas are known to love bathing in dust several times a week. This fine dust is important to the chinchilla because it allows it to remove the greasiness from its fur.
After this bath, they make a habit of shaking everything off. This dust can easily escape into the air in the room and float up to where you are.
If you’re allergic to these particles (which many people are), you’d certainly experience an allergic reaction that you may have attributed to the chinchilla.
To avoid getting caught up in this festival of allergens, as it were, try to sit far away from the chinchilla once it starts dusting itself off. After that, make sure to clean its cage and around, as the dust may settle on other places.
The solution here to make sure to keep the cage clean. That way, you won’t have any allergies to react to.
Sadly, you cannot purchase hypoallergenic chinchilla dust. Chinchilla dust is created only for chinchilla bathing and has not gone through any “treatment” to make it hypoallergenic.
The dust is specially designed to pull oil and dander from your chinchilla’s fur, and that’s it’s only role. This means that hypoallergenic chinchilla dust is not a choice you can make.
Can You Be Allergic To Chinchilla Cage?
There’s also the matter of the chinchilla’s cage. Most of their cages have wood shavings beneath it to absorb urine.
This isn’t unique, as most pet rodents have cages that are formed in this manner. The problem is that people who are allergic to wood dust may react to the pine dust that would get raised due to the chinchilla’s regular activity.
Since the chinchilla is a rather active rodent, it’s very likely that the dust would rise and allergic people would get bothered by it.
The best solution to this problem would be to get safe bedding for your chinchilla. Some options you should consider include paper, aspen shavings or kiln-dried pine shavings.
You could also consider using fleece if you can lay your hands on it. Since it has no shavings and no tiny particles to fly about, it would be a perfect solution.
However, if you do get fleece, make sure to get two sets. This way, you’d be able to clean one while the other is in use.
You should avoid beddings like mixed wood shavings, corn cob, synthetic bedding and cat litter. They do not fit well with chinchillas.
If you have the time, you could try to set up a small litter pan with shavings in it and encourage your pet to use it to go in. However, you should note that this may not work as chinchillas aren’t the most attentive pets.
Hypoallergenic simply means that a thing is less likely to cause allergic reactions.
When something is referred to as hypoallergenic, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cause allergic reactions. All it simply means is that it’s less allergic than others.
Lots of people conflate being hypoallergenic to being non-allergic, which isn’t the same thing at all.
Since Chinchillas produce very little dander, they could technically be referred to as hypoallergenic. This may mean that people who are allergic to other furry pets may own chinchillas with no problem.
How Do You Know If You’re Allergic To Chinchillas Or Other Things That Come With It?
Experts believe that keeping the animal in a clean cage with no accessories or bedding in an hour or so, and spending about an hour or two around it will tell you whether you’re allergic to the chinchilla or something else.
If you’re looking for an hypoallergenic pet, the chinchilla is probably the best choice. They produce little or no dander, and have little chance of causing allergies for people who adopt them as pets.
However, chinchillas aren’t considered non-allergic because there’s a chance that they could still cause allergic reactions. But this chance is extremely low.
We now know that chinchillas are hypoallergenic. We’ve explained why they are hypoallergenic, and what this means for you.
We’ve also spoken at length about how to prevent allergic reactions that are caused by caring for chinchillas, and what the likely source of those reactions are. These allergens are usually gotten from the food that chinchillas eat, or the dust bath that chinchillas use to get rid of the grease on their fur.
It could even be from their urine soaked bedding.
As long as you keep your chinchilla’s cage clean, stay away from them during their dust bath, and wear gloves and masks when you feed them, you’re unlikely to experience any allergic symptoms.