...and now, a word about allergies.
Owning chinchillas can be a challenge to those who suffer from allergies and/or asthma. It is not unusual for a person to develop allergies after having been exposed to a trigger. But just because a person is exhibiting an allergic reaction to their chin, does not necessarily mean the beloved pet has to go. With chinchillas, the majority of allergy triggers stem from the bathing dust, hay or cage bedding. Rarely is it a result of being allergic to the animal itself.
Whimsy is allergic to all animals, dust, pollen, molds AND has asthma. Therefore, when people contact us to surrender a chin because of allergies we are able to offer firsthand knowledge and options to those who are seeking a solution, rather than an excuse.
Normal chinchilla dust bath is highly irritating, especially for those with respiratory problems. Our allergy and asthma friendly dust is a lifesaver (literally!) Instead of the microscopically sharp, angular volcanic dust, our bathing dust is made with a mixture of microscopically flat hypoallergenic cosmetic clays and minerals. It’s soft and gentle, and much easier on the lungs. But please keep in mind, switching dust takes at least 30 days to work its way out of your home and mixing our allergy friendly dust with regular dust is totally worthless.
Timothy hay is a dietary staple for chinchillas, but the heavily pollinated seed heads are also highly irritating. There are easy options to give instead of loose timothy. Orchard grass and other quality, weed-and-seed-free hays are much less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in pet owners. In a pinch, you can provide hay cubes instead of loose hays.
Sometimes the cage bedding is the culprit. Dusty or dirty bedding is a breeding ground for bacteria, molds and spores. The cage should be cleaned at least once per week. This should include not only emptying the bedding, but wiping down all surfaces with a chin safe cleaner. A water and vinegar solution works well. Some people choose to use a fleece liner instead of dusty loose bedding. Those should be washed at least every 3 days.
There is a workable solution to owning chinchillas and having allergies and/or asthma. It all depends on how much one is willing to commit to make it happen.