Chinchillas are exceptionally adaptable animals that have evolved to live in harsh, mountainous environments. Despite these remarkable adaptations, their skin might nevertheless become sensitive and susceptible to dryness. Bag balm is useful in this situation.
Bag balm is a carefully formulated material that aids in preventing and relieving dry, flaky skin. It’s made to soften and hydrate the skin and treat severe calluses, cracked skin, minor abrasions, and sunburns. It’s been dubbed “Vaseline on steroids” by some.
This article will go through the ins and outs of using bag balm, including all of its different uses and applications. If your chinchilla is exhibiting any of the problems mentioned above, this is the information you need.
What Exactly is Bag Balm?
A topical emollient is a chemical that moisturizes and softens the skin. Bag balm is one of them. Many of these emollients are available to treat dry skin. However, not all of them are suitable for use on animals.
Bag balm, on the other hand, was made specifically for animal use. Its initial purpose was to avoid chafing and sores on cow udders while they were being milked. It was also known as “udder cream.” In 1899, it was invented to prevent this udder chafing. It was created to be more effective than Vaseline, with more medical properties and potential applications.
However, the thickness of the balm distinguishes it from the competition, giving enhanced hydration and skin damage restoration.
What is Bag Balm Made From?
Bag balm is one of the top health products on the market because it is produced with fewer components, which is always a plus when it comes to food and pharmaceuticals.
The ingredients for bag balm contain:
- Paraffin wax,
- water, and
- 8-Hydroxyquinoline Sulfate (only about 3 percent).
But there are a couple of these ingredients that I’d like to call attention to.
Petroleum jelly is the chief component, as it is in most other topical emollients. Petroleum is responsible for the thick, gelatinous texture of these ointments, which is still creamy and spreadable. Petroleum jelly is used as a thickening in burn creams and ointments and is frequently blended with aloe to create a more emulsifying product.
Another significant component of bag balm is lanolin. It is a perfectly natural substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wooled animals (sheep, alpacas, and llamas) as a type of protection for their wool. This glossy oil not only keeps their wool soft and moisturized but also acts as a natural weatherproofing tool.
As a result, lanolin is an essential ingredient in moisturizing creams and other natural skin care products.
What’s the Difference Between Bag Balm and Vaseline?
It’s a frequent misunderstanding that Bag Balm and Vaseline are identical. Despite their similarities in texture and features, they are very distinct.
Bag balm is effectively “souped-up Vaseline,” according to Sam Bunting, a cosmetic physician at the MRCP.
Vaseline is the most widely used petroleum jelly brand. Its contents are typically 100 percent petroleum jelly blended with water, and it is occasionally treated with necessary vitamins and minerals to improve its topical properties.
Bag balm, on the other hand, was made with sensitive skin in mind. It not only soothes dry, chafed skin but also has therapeutic capabilities that can aid in the repair of damaged skin, hair, and nails.
As previously mentioned, many of its components can be found in high-end moisturizing creams and ointments. A special ingredient, 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate, is an antiseptic that can eradicate bacterial infections, which is responsible for the improved healing qualities. Bag balm’s medicinal advantage comes from this essential component.
What Can Bag Balm Treat for Chinchillas?
Dry and Cracking Skin
As a chinchilla owner, you’re well aware of chinchillas’ perplexingly effective (and adorable) dust baths. The chinchilla’s paws (and sometimes ears) might become dry and flaky due to this. Given the natural and organic components of bag balm, it usually works wonders on their little appendages.
The dry and cracked skin should become fully hydrated and recover to its original healthy texture after a regulated application of bag balm.
If you discover your chinchillas’ feet aren’t mending and are getting worse, it’s time to get professional help, as they could be suffering from BumbleFoot.
BumbleFoot is a condition in which the callus of a chinchilla’s paws becomes enlarged and inflamed, as well as a collection of fluid beneath the calluses, known as “serous fluid,” forms, causing the chinchilla great agony. Furthermore, this may lead the skin to dry and form blisters, which may rupture due to the increasing pressure, allowing bacteria to enter the wounds and potentially cause serious infections.
Chinchillas have cushioned paws that assist them in navigating the difficult mountainous terrains from where they come. Callus forms on these pads to help protect them from harm. Therefore some callus is required. Bumblefoot is more prone to form if a chinchilla grows sluggish and is forced to stand on hard and abrasive surfaces for long periods of time.
As a result, wild chinchillas are rarely affected by bumblefoot. Caged chinchillas, on the other hand, are particularly vulnerable to this.
Bumblefoot is associated with dry, cracked skin, and bag balm can help reduce and possibly cure this ailment. Always seek expert advice if you are unsure.
Minor Cuts, Missing Toes, and Fingers
Yes, you read that correctly. As frightening as this may sound, it is more common than you might believe. Chinchillas’ hands and feet are frail, and they occasionally lose a finger or toe. You don’t need to be overly concerned, even if you want to act swiftly.
Bag balm will not heal this, but it will keep the area hydrated and prevent infection from spreading.
Remember: never directly apply bag balm to the cut or wound.
Is Bag Balm Safe to Use for Chinchillas?
Is it Toxic?
Bag balm contained less than 5% ethylmercury when it was first created. Even if the concentration was minimal, it was nonetheless alarming. However, it has subsequently been removed as a result of shedding awareness of its negative consequences.
Bag balm has been considered completely harmless in every way since then, to the point where it is currently considered a mild antiseptic. All of the ingredients are natural and organic, except for 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate.
What if My Chinchilla Ingests Bag Balm?
Most bag balms are designed to keep pets from licking them, but if they do, they’ll be fine. As previously said, bag balm was developed with animals in mind, making it completely safe to consume. However, it is not advisable to do so.
The only thing you need to be concerned about is it not getting into your eyes. Some of the substances may produce minor eye irritation, but they will not harm or injure you.
Bag balm is excellent for dry skin, blisters, and minor wounds, but it’s best used as a preventative ointment.
When it comes to problems like bumblefoot, it’s essential to get ahead of the game. If your chinchilla shows early signs of bumblefoot, dry skin, or blisters, apply a light coat of bag balm to the affected areas. This can aid in the prevention of more serious conditions from developing in the first place.
It is always preferable to prevent these situations from becoming more serious.
How to Apply Bag Balm to Chinchillas
The application of bag balm is simple and painless.
- First and foremost, make sure the cage (particularly the bedding) is clean, and temporarily remove the dust bath.
- The majority of bag balms come with easy-to-use applicators. If you have the tin, simply dab a Q-tip on the troublesome regions and lightly dab. This may not be to your chinchilla’s comfort, but it will not hurt them.
- Replace the dust bath after the balm has dried. Some owners keep their chinchillas in separate pins while the balm dries, but this is optional.
Do Not “Over apply” the Balm
The feet of chinchillas are expected to have some callus and roughness to them. It prevents ripping and other harm to their feet and pads. If you use too much bag balm, their paws will become “too soft,” which can be just as dangerous to them as dry, cracked paws. A little indeed goes a long way. Keep an eye on them and only use them when absolutely required.
Never Apply to Open Wounds
Do not apply the balm directly to blisters that have ruptured or minor cuts that have formed due to cracked skin on your chinchilla. Wait for the wounds to heal and close up before using the balm, or only apply it to the surrounding area.
It isn’t always hazardous, but it can give the chinchilla a lot of suffering if applied to an open wound.
Dry skin, paws, and ears are common in Chinchillas, as they are in many other pets. If this becomes a bigger issue, bag balm will come in handy for you and your pet. For chinchillas, bag balm is safe, effective, and healthful, and it not only cures damage but also can prevent it.
However, if you have any further concerns, you should always visit your veterinarian.