Health Topics: Fur Chewing

How serious is it?

Not serious health wise, but the underlying reason is cause for concern.

What is it?

A chinchilla who chews his/her own fur or the fur of another chinchilla. Could be stress related, genetic, or a symptom of dominance by another chin.

How can I recognize it?

Patchy, uneven fur that looks cropped in areas. In severe cases, a chinchilla may chew his fur down to the skin all over wherever he can reach, leaving nothing more than a fluffy face and neck.

How do you treat it?

It can be reversed if treated before clinical signs show. Feed copious amounts of high fiber foods such as hay, loofah and prepared chin safe woods. Avoid all colorful food mixes and sugary treats, and absolutely NO nuts or seeds.

How can I avoid this?

Treat the underlying cause. If the chin is stressed out or bored, change the environment. A cage that is too small and/or has no toys or materials to chew on can give a chinnie no other option than to chew its own fur. If it is nutritionally based, make sure your pet has plenty of hay and other stimulating chew toys of all textures.