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Chinchilla

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Want A Chinchilla As A Pet? Here's Where To Start

If you want a chinchilla as a pet, you can keep a domestic chinchilla. They are
known to have nervous tendencies and are night owls. They like to stay up at
night and be active. They also don't care for someone holding them. However,
they can be friendly animals, but it will take a while for them to get used to
their owner. They're not easily coerced into getting close to people. The owner
has to earn their trust, just like a human relationship.

Chinchillas that become captive have a life span from 15 to 20 years. They can
be noisy, making sounds in the form of chirping, barking and squeaking. They use
these noises to communicate and express their feelings. If you are not an early
riser, you may have to deal with them making noise in the wee hours of the
morning. If you are sensitive to noise while you sleep, a chinchilla may not be
for you.

It's ok to have more than one chinchilla of the same gender, as long as their
personalities don't clash. If they interact when they're still young, they have
a better chance of enduring each other. If they're older, it may take a little
longer for them to form a bonding. If you have a male and female in the same
domain, they will have to be sterilized so to prevent procreation of offspring.
The chinchillas are so full of life, that it's necessary for them to have plenty
of space for them to roam.

If you have a house, you should set aside a room just for them. You can also
house them in a cage, as long as it's large enough with items that they can
play with. They also require wooden toys (birch, willow apple tree or manzanita
is acceptable) and chew toys to entertain them. Please keep in mind that
chinchillas should not have plastic toys because the plastic can damage the
intestinal area. The cage itself must have plenty of air circulation because
they don't sweat much.

Getting too sweaty can cause them to have a heat stroke. Don't keep the animals
in the cage the whole time. It's good if they get some outside exposure (at
least 30 minutes a day, under the watchful eye of the owner). They need
exercise and get a feel of their outside surroundings.

If the chinchilla gets wet, they have to be dried off rather quickly. If not,
their fur will collect fungus. You can use a blow dryer on a low cool
temperature and you can also use a towel (best choice).

For their eating regimen, chinchillas cannot consume fatty foods. They can only
eat so much of green plants. The best dietary plan for them is loose hay. They
can also have a raisin or other kinds of dried fruit, but only in moderation.
Don't give them fresh vegetables as their stomach can expand and cause a fatal
reaction. When they eat, they do so in small portions and they also drink water
in small sips.

They can drink water from a water bottle and the water must be fresh at all
times. Because they can't ingest a lot of fat in their system, nuts are to be
avoided.

What You Should Know About Buying A Chinchilla

Chinchillas are available for purchase from breeders or pet stores. When you
purchase one from either place, you're probably getting a reputable one. Beware
of those who are amateur breeders. They try to sell their chinchillas also, but
it's usually in classified advertisements. Personal preferences decide on
whether or not they should buy the pets from breeders or pet stores.

If you do buy one from a pet store, make sure that facility has a reputable
following. The employees there should be knowledgeable about what you're
looking to buy. They should also be able to offer you tips and suggestions to
keep your pet healthy. If you're looking more on the breeding side, you should
get one from a breeder. They will be able to advise you on the different aspect
of breeding, etc.

Buying a chinchilla from a pet store is not without its risks. It's been noted
that some pet stores take chinchillas that can't be bred or the skin can't be
removed. If you are considering one of these pets from the pet store, ask about
the breeders and related sources, along with a history of how they were raised.
This way, if they have any problems, you'll know up front.

Then you can decide whether or not you want to still take on the task. If you
can' insist a breeder in your area, then a pet store is probably your only
recourse. If you have to get one from the pet store, ask how long have they
been in the store's care. If you do decide to buy one from there, consult with
the employees about getting a contingency agreement. This agreement allows you
to return the pet if they don't pass a checkup. You would also get a refund
from your purchase.

There are other factors to consider before buying a chinchilla. Make sure your
are prepared to take care of the animal. This is something you have to be
committed to and it takes time for them to nuture and develop. Check and make
sure that the chinchilla is healthy. Check out their entire body for any
abornormalties. The animal's cage should be clean. If it isn't, it may mean
that it wasn't taken care of properly. The chinchilla may be disturbed and
irritable if it has been paired up with different animals, such as birds or
rabbits. This throws off their system during the day because chinchillas are
night owls.

If you do buy a chinchilla, get one that is at least four months old. Anything
younger than three months is not ready to be trained. Make sure the animal is
in a cage that is located in a dry area. They need to be somewhere where they
don't have direct exposure to the sun. They need to be away from heat and
humidity because it can cause them harm. If you find that the chinchilla has a
nervous tendency when you get close to it, it may be a sign of being nervous
and scared. It's difficult to use these type of pets.

It is important that the chinchilla have food, hay and water. These are
essentials that your pet should have in order to stay healthy.

The History of the Chinchilla

This exotic animal was named after the Chincha people of the Andes region. The
Andes Mountains in South America. Chinchilla actually means "little Chincha".
Back around the close of the 19th century, the animals were known for their
thick and soft fur.

There are two types of chinchillas. The chinchilla brevicaudata, which is also
known as the Bolivian, Peruvian and Royal chinchilla, has a short tail. They
came from the Andes Mountains in the regions of Chile, Peru and Bolivia. This
chinchilla was on the verge of becoming extinct and were known for the
exquisite fur. Even with the fur, the population of these animals continued to
decrease. The chinchilla lanigera, which is also known as the Chilean, Coastal
or Lesser chinchilla, has a long tail.

This species of chinchilla can be found in Chile. Even though the word
"lanigera" means "having a woolen coat", they are covered with hair instead.
The hair is soft, sleek and sticks to their skin. There are three types of
chinchilla lanigera: The LaPlata are muscular, round and have a short head. The
Costina has longer hind legs, slight hump and a pointed nose. The Raton is
similar to the LaPlata in they way it's structured. It has a pointed nose and
they are of a smaller size.

Burrows or cracks in rocks are where chinchillas reside. They can jump very
well and at least up to 5 feet high. When residing in the wild, chinchillas
consume fruits, seeds, plants and small insects. As far as breeding is
concerned, that can take place at any time of the year. When the female
chinchillas do procreate, their average length of pregnancy is 111 days. For a
chinchilla, that's a long period of time compared to other animals in that
group. Because their pregnancies are so long, their offspring are born with
their eyes open and their body full of fur. At the time of delivery, their
litter is usually one or two, with the two more times than not are twins.

The first try of breeding started in 1895. In that same year, the first animal
was born and each year two litters were born. In the summer of 1896, an unknown
disease halted the breeding process. By then, there were 13 animals and all of
them succumbed within two months time. Around 1918, there was a resurgence of
chinchillas. A man from California was interested in trapping chinchillas so he
could raise them as pets.

At first, the Chilean government refused, but as the man kept asking, the
government relented. During three year period, only eleven chinchillas were
captured. They were brought back and bred in the United States. This process
started the first chinchilla farm. This also started the process of the
domestic chinchilla.

The interest in chinchilla fur started in the 16th century as international
trade. Chinchilla fur is prevalent because it has a soft texture. Because of
even color across the board, people like to use it for lining large pieces of
clothing or small pieces of clothing.

The fur can also be used to create an entire large piece of clothing. So many
chinchillas must be destroyed in order to make a coat because their skin is so
small. Because of this, one of the species became non-existent and supply for
the other became scarce. People still hunt and kill domestic chinchillas to
create clothing, but wild chinchillas are no longer targeted for hunting.

How To Keep Your Chinchilla's Cage Clean And Safe

Before you put your pet chinchilla in their cage, it must be cleaned
thoroughly. Once they've made it their home, you should clean it at least once
a week. To keep the cage smelling fresh, you can use baby cornstarch powder or
baking soda (preferably the Arm & Hammer brand). It should be sprinkled in the
areas where they urinate. Usually, your pet won't venture into those areas, but
if they do, they may contact a fungus.

If your pet's cage has solid flooring, the bedding needs to constantly stay
fresh. Keep the flooring area clean and use a disinfectant for the area.
Pull-out litter pans that have a wire mesh may be in conflict with solid
flooring. If the flooring is wire-based, make sure that you have shelves and
mats installed to give your pet relief from standing on the wire mesh.

If you're cleaning your pet's cage at in your shower or outside, you must use
disinfectant by scrubbing the cage with pet-safe cleaner soaked brush. Make
sure you scrub the cage thoroughly and with lots of elbow grease. Only use hot
water to rinse; it is easier to use something that sprays it off, like a hose
or a shower attachment. Be sure that the cage is completely dry after rinsing.
Any damp spots can produce mold or fungus, which would be detrimental to your
pet.

It is strongly suggested that an opaque sheet is used around your pet's cage.
This is to contain the dust and other mess that is in the cage. It is also used
as a barrier to chinchilla conflicts, in particular from the opposite gender.
The sheet gives them the assurance that their area is safe and secure. It also
shields them from some of the light during the daytime.

The mesh in the chinchilla's cage should be no more than 1" by 1/2" on the
sides and 1/2" by 1/2" on the flooring area. Do not get any mesh that exceeds
those measurements; it is dangerous for your pet. If you're not sure about the
cage measurements or recommendations, do a search online for assistance.
Because they're so active, having ample room to run around is crucial. If you
install mesh that is more than what's required, you risk the chance of your
chinchilla breaking the leg or foot bones if it gets caught in the mesh. The
legs and feet are the most fragile parts of their body.

If your pet does experience difficulty with the mesh, they can suffer the loss
of their legs and feet. They can also experience stress from being in the state
of being caught up in the mesh. If this stress is not relieved and they remained
trapped, your pet can succumb from shock related to the stress. Some chinchillas
won't even run around in the cage if they sense that there is too much mesh in
there. Somehow they have a sense of their surroundings and know when they can
move about freely. Not until they know their area is safe will they resume
activity in the cage.

How to Groom Your Chinchilla Properly

Chinchilla dust allows your pet to stay clean. If they were still living in the
Andes Mountains, they would have to use volcanic ash to stay clean. Oils and
dirt stay in your pet's coat because of the dust. The dust then causes the oil
and dirt to be released from your pet. This is the process of how the
chinchilla's fur is cleaned.

A chinchilla's cleanliness relies on regular dust baths. If they don't have
them, they can end up being stressed which can turn into health issues. They
can also suffer from behavioral issues as well. When it's warm, give your pet a
fresh dust bath every other day for about ten minutes. Their fur will not be
matted and greasy. If their fur stays like that, they can get overheated. When
it's cold, you should dust bath your pet twice a week. When you're giving them
a dust bath, cover the cage with sheets to prevent dust from flying everywhere.

You can give your chinchilla a dust bath every day if their skin doesn't get
dry. They did it when they were running wild. This may help them especially if
their fur is continuously matted and greasy. You may want to consult a
veterinarian just to be sure.

It's not good to smoke around your pet. The second hand smoke is detrimental to
your pet's health as it is a human's health. The tar from the cigarette covers
their fur. The chinchilla would be able to taste the smell because they clean
their fur with their mouths. The tar is ingested in their bodies. You must give
a new chinchilla in your care a wet bath if you find this to be the case for
your pet.

Another idea for the dust bath is to mix Arm & Hammer Baking Soda to the mix.
This helps your pet to smell fresh. If your pet is urine-sprayed, wipe him with
a damp cloth and dry them completely with a towel. Then you can administer the
dust bath. Usually the chinchilla learns to roll in the dust bath from their
parent. If not, that means that the parent was not throughout in their training
of the pet.

If your pet is sensitive or allergic to dust, you should wipe their nose. The
sensitivity can result from inhaling particles. You will know this by the
chinchilla clearing their nose. Other symptoms include the eyes watering. You
must beware when you see this happening to your pet. It could be a sign of
pneumonia or an issue with the respiratory system.

If your pet is not using the dust bath, give him a massage everyday. Once your
pet starts accepting feeling the cleanliness, he'll use the dust bath on his
body. If they still refuse it, it may mean something more serious, like an
injury. You will know this if they don't move around like they normally do or
if they can't roll without feeling pain. They may also refuse it because of the
texture of the dust bath. Some stores carry a heavier texture than others. If
that's the case, check with the pet store to see if they have a lighter texture.

However you do it, make sure that your pet feels clean and fresh at all times.

Your Pet Chinchilla And Environmental Stress

Environmental stress can affect your pet chinchilla in different ways. This
type of stress results in either health or behavioral issues. Your pet can
experience the following: anti-social behavior that includes biting, fighting,
spraying urine, fungus, or irritation of the eyes. Your pet can also feel angst
toward other chinchillas, biting the fur, gnawing on their cage or even
depression.

Unless you know in advance, you won't necessarily detect that one of these
actions can come from environmental stress. You usually find out when the
behavior or illness becomes a chronic issue. If you are not aware of the issues
of environmental stress, your pet may be more prone to suffer the after-effects.

If your pet is hyper, environmental stress will just compound the way they're
already feeling. In order for them to get a grip, behavioral rehabilitation
would help them regain their footing. Of course, if your pet is already
easy-going, then rehabilitation is not necessary. Environmental stress can
affect how the chinchilla was treated, before and now. Environmental stress can
affect your animal if they were abused or handled badly. This in turn, can cause
them to exhibit anti-social tendencies towards the next owner.

If your pet is experiencing boredom, this may eventually suffer from stress.
Your pet should be in an environment where there is some movement and noise. On
the other hand, enduring constant loud noise can take its toll on them, also.
It's better for them to have noise, but it should be at a moderate level. This
way, if they do experience noise out of the ordinary, such as people,
thunderstorms, etc., they'll know how to handle it. Your pet has to have a
happy medium between the two extremes (boredom and chaotic noise).

Your pet will have to make adjustments if they came from an environment where
there was boredom or chaos. They'll have to make adjustments to the unfamiliar
and unknown. Like a human being, your pet will feel strange because all they
know at the moment is the environment to which they were accustomed to. It may
take your pet at least a week to regroup. You can help by putting them in a
quiet room with some soft jazz music. There should be no other pets in the
house while your pet is getting acclimated to different surroundings, including
the owner.

Giving your pet this transition time is crucial and imperative because if they
came from a chaotic environment, they will have to learn to relax and if they
came from a boredom environment, they must have time to get in the groove to
handle noise in a timely manner. If they take on too much too quickly, your pet
can get overwhelmed, causing additional stress.

You will have to learn to be sensitive to their needs and get a sense of when
they might be ready. It's always best to start out small and gradual, then work
your way up with your chinchilla. This way, your pet can accept the gradual
transition with ease.

What To Do When Your Child Wants A Chinchilla For A Pet

Let's say your child wants a pet. Ok, you think, "I can deal with a small puppy
or a kitten". Hmm......so you think. What if your child told you they wanted a
chinchilla for a pet? A chinchilla? Yes, your child says again, a chinchilla.
You think, they probably don't know how to spell it, let alone pronounce the
word.

It looks like you'll have to do some research on chinchillas. First, you'll
have taken into account the age of your child. Find out why they would want a
chinchilla. Maybe they saw someone else with one and couldn't resist. Children
like to compete against each other. Are they old enough to take care of a pet
such as this? If so, will they need assistance? If it's an exotic animal like
this one, more than likely they will need your assistance. They would probably
need your assistance anyway because most children have a short attention span.

When they find out the child's explanation for wanting this exotic animal, they
have to think about if they really want it in the house or not. Will they be
good company for your child? Will the animal and your child have a human to
animal relationship? Are they going to be responsible? You'll have to make your
child understand that caring for an exotic animal such as a chinchilla is very
different than taking care of a puppy. A chinchilla requires more maintenance.

Once the decision is made to get the chinchilla, there are other factors to
take into consideration. You must recognize and be ready for changes in your
home. Their sleeping habits are different. Chinchillas are basically night
owls, so if you or your child is not sensitive to noise in the wee hours of the
morning, more power to you. Chinchillas are known for making noise early in the
morning, before the roosters do their cackling. You will need to set aside a
room for the chinchilla.

Chinchillas like to roam free, so they need plenty of space. Or you can
purchase a cage for them. The cage has to be big enough so they can roam
around. You must also provide the animal with wheels and chew toys to play with
inside the cage. The wheels are moreso for exercise than playing. They cannot be
still and must be able to have a few outlets. They are allowed to get out of the
cage each day for at least 30 minutes. /When they're out of the cage, they must
have supervision so they won't trip over anything or get their legs caught up
in wires, etc. Their legs and feet are very delicate.

Then there's the task of keeping them clean. You must use a dust bath to keep
their fur fresh and clean. This must be done at least once a week. Keeping them
from excessive heat and humidity is another issue. The chinchilla must be kept
at a comfortable temperature at all times. Not too hot and not too cold. The
moderate temperature must be constant. They can consume dried fruits, such as
raisins, but only in moderation. Their body cannot digest fried fruit every day.

After finding out all of this and you still want your child to have this exotic
pet, by all means, give it a try.

An Experienced Vet is Worth the Search

Establishing a good working relationship with a veterinarian can be a challenge
for any pet owner, but is a special challenge for the exotic pet owner. The
exotic pet owner must find a vet who is willing to see their pet, knows
something about their pet, and has the facilities, equipment and materials to
treat their pet.

An interest in exotics doesn't necessarily equal proficiency in treating them.
I say this from experience, as although I am fascinated with exotic pets, I
have no special training in treating them medically. When I was practicing as a
veterinarian, except for very routine care, I generally referred exotics to a
specialist nearby. Thing may have changed a bit since I went to school, but
during my training, exposure to exotics was still very imited even though I
sought out extra exposure to exotic pets in my choice of clinical rotations. If
at all possible, try to locate a vet who specializes in exotics and has taken
specialized training (e.g. a residency in exotic animal medicine, or one who is
board certified in an exotics specialty).

Such specialists can be hard to come by, so the next best is someone who has
lots of experience treating exotic pets. Ask a potential veterinarian about
their training, credentials, and memberships in specialty organizations such as
the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) or the Association of Reptile and
Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV). At the very least, choose a veterinarian with a
real interest in exotic species and who is willing to learn about them and who
will consult with a specialist when needed.

Personal recommendation or word of mouth is probably the most efficient way of
finding a veterinarian. Friends, breeders, or organizations (e.g. the local
herpetological society, other clubs) are good starting points. Other places to
locate veterinarians include the yellow pages/phone directories (look for
clinics that specifically advertise that they treat exotics), the
state/provincial veterinary association directory, or even web pages that have
veterinary directories (including the AAV and ARAV sites mentioned above).
Several species specific web pages have sections where readers can submit
contact information for veterinarians they have used.

Most importantly, do not wait until an emergency to find a vet. If your pet
should get sick, a veterinarian with whom you feel comfortable and who is
comfortable dealing with your pet will make the situation less stressful. An
initial check up is well advised for any new pet and this is a good chance to
see how a veterinarian handles your pet and how comfortable they are with your
pet, and also to see if you and the veterinarian make a good match -- sometimes
there is a personality clash and you won't develop a good rapport with a
certain veterinarian.

A veterinarian familiar with exotics will spend a good deal of time discussing
the care and husbandry of a particular pet, as many problems with exotic pets
are related to improper diet or husbandry. The veterinarian should also appear
confident handling your pet.

There are several criteria which can be used to evaluate a practice in general
and the following web pages discuss these in detail:

- How to Find a Veterinarian -- advice from About's Guide to Veterinary Medicine
on finding and evaluating a vet, with a link to some online vet finder
directories.

- How to Find an Avian Veterinarian -- helpful tips for finding a veterinarian-
geared toward bird owners but also applicable to any exotic species.

For exotics there are more specific considerations, including:

- special training or continuing education related to exotic pet medicine

- how often exotic species are seen in their practice

- special facilities or equipment to handle exotic pets

- experience (personal or professional) and familiarity with the husbandry and
medicine of a particular species

Finding the right vet can be a challenge and may not seem that important when
your pet is healthy, but the effort will be well worth it if your pet should
fall ill!

Should Your Child Take A Pet Chinchilla To School?

If your child asks you if they can take a pet chinchilla to school, please show
wisdom and tell them no. There are obvious reasons why. Under no circumstances
should a child take a pet chinchilla, or any pet for that matter to school
(unless it's a seeing-eye dog). They should not be stored as pets at school.

The chinchilla and schoolchildren operate on two different schedules. When the
chinchilla is up at night, the children are sleep. The chinchilla cannot be
surrounded by a lot of noise, and schoolchildren make noise. It's just in their
nature. The chinchilla needs relatively no light or as little light as possible
in order to get some sleep. They can get stressed if they don't get enough rest
due to lights and noise. The stress can lead to them biting their fur, spraying
urine and acting unfriendly.

Another reason why your child should not bring a pet chinchilla to school is
because they need a large case and constant supervision, especially when
they're being let out of their cage for exercise. They also require constant
attention every day. Bring a pet chinchilla to school will hinder the everyday
regimen for them. Temperature is another concern. The chinchilla has to remain
comfortable and not too hot.

They cannot stand high heat or humidity. If the air conditioner goes out for
any reason, the chinchilla would start to get hot and sweaty. If there were an
emergency, more than likely, the teacher would be responsible for securing the
animal's safety in addition to the students. That would be too much on the
teacher because her first priority is the safety and welfare of her students.

Your child's classmates probably have an agenda in mind. They probably want to
take turns holding the animal. What they don't realize is the chinchillas like
to move around and not be held or petted. They are very independent and get
irritated if you try to hold them. Chinchillas like to roam free and most times
are hyperactive. They must be dealt with gently and not manhandled.

Some of the children might see the chinchilla as something to play with, but
don't realize how fragile the animal is. The children must also control their
temper when they realize that the animal doesn't want to play with them. Then
they'll be ready to retaliate against it. If they drop it, whether it is
accidental or not, their legs and feet can be fractured. This in turn, can
cause amputation in that area and eventually they succumb.

There may be students in the classroom who have allergies, and they may be
allergic to fur. So if they were to come in contact with the animal, they could
suffer itchy skin, watery or itchy eyes, or other allergic reactions. So
allergies are definitely something that needs to be taken into consideration.

Having a chinchilla would be too much for students to handle. Besides, schools
have rules in place forbidding students from bringing pets to school. To
prevent a fiasco with students, teachers and most of all parents, it's better
if the child does not bring a chinchilla to school.

How To Discipline Your Pet Chinchilla

When you want to discipline your chinchilla, you have to be mindful of how you
do it. Please note that they are not responsive when you verbally berate, hit,
or smack them in anger. The physical actions can result in wounds and
abscessing. The physical actions don't serve a purpose because your pet already
has a sensitive body. Chinchillas are already fearful and chewing them out
verbally will do nothing but escalate the situation. The negative verbal
actions are not effective at all.

Since they are fearful, when their owner treats them as such, they start to
feel withdrawn and stressed out. Like a human, they can feel your hostility and
anger. In turn, they will become more defensive. You should never blow in their
face to punish them. The germs from your air can transmit onto them. They are
susceptible to catching a virus, the cold or the flu.

When a chinchilla gets hostile, they will spray urine. They are acting out on
their need to withdraw. They still feel defensive, and you may not know why.
The withdrawals won't start until the root cause of it is revealed. When the
owner finds out what the problem is, the pet will feel better and can be safe
in their habitat.

They will definitely make a change when they sense that you are not trying to
put them down (degrade). You will have to spend time giving them lots of love
and patience. This scenario is reminiscent of what humans go through in
relationships.
Women, for the most part, want respect. If their boyfriend or husband can't or
won't give it to them, then they won't be happy campers.

As long as you show your pet genuine love, concern and compassion, they will
respond to you with a more accepting reaction. When you give them a warning, do
it in a stern, but loving manner. Don't get in the habit of just saying "no" all
the time. Doing this will just take your pet back to square 1. That's not a good
idea. On the other hand, there are some chinchillas that have no personality and
tend to be harsh, abrasive or moody. These kinds of pets are very vocal.

If you have a pet chinchilla that is withdrawn due to owner neglect or abuse,
it may be helpful for them to have their behavior rehabbed. This type of
rehabilitation can help your chinchilla to change their tune. You have to be
very mature to take care of an exotic animal such as a chinchilla. Just
remember that you have to be even-tempered, calm and non-threatening. You also
have to have patience because changes just don't happen overnight. You'll have
to look past it and do your part to help in the change. The chinchilla is
scared and they may pretend to be threatening, but they're really not.

You must continue to love them, be compassionate, gentle, constantly give them
assurance and lots of affection. In time, they will change to the loving pet
chinchilla you want them to be.

How To Find A Good Pet Sitter For Your Chinchilla

When you have an exotic animal such as
a chinchilla, because they're in the exotic animal family, they need special
care. So if you're going away, you'll need someone to take care of your pet.
However, it can't be the same kind of person who can pet sit dogs or cats. They
have to be someone who is experienced in taking care of exotic animals such as
chinchillas. Where do you find someone who fits that mold?

If you don't know anyone offhand, you can start by checking out a professional
pet sitting service. See if you can find one that deals with exotic animals. It
may take you a little more time than usual because these types of services are
not common. You'll want to start your search at least several weeks before you
leave; that is, if you know that far in advance that you're leaving.

You can check with Pet Sitters International and The National Association of
Professional Pet Sitters for more assistance. You would probably have them do a
few more additional tasks, like get the daily newspaper and check the mail. You
may also have them maintain the lighting by turning them on and off at
different intervals of the day.

Getting a referral is a great way to get a sitter for your pet. Make sure they
know enough about exotic animals before you consider them to take care of
yours. In addition to professional pet organizations, ask around to see if
anyone knows of people that are experienced in taking care of exotic pets such
as chinchillas. If by chance, you happen to know someone that has a chinchilla,
see if they're available and willing to watch your pet.

Just because they have the same kind of pet doesn't mean they're willing to
take on the extra duties. Ask your veterinarian if they know of anyone who can
and are available to be a pet sitter while you're gone. Or even try the pet
store. Ask the employees if they can recommend someone.

Once you do have a candidate available, ask them questions to make sure they
are knowledgeable about chinchillas. Make sure they know how to take care of
them, what to feed them, etc. When you do find that person that will be able to
take care of your pet, the next step is to find out the setup. If you can move
your chinchilla and the cage, then you may be able to transport it to a
facility or take it to the sitter.

There is a downside to this: if you do have to transport, beware that they may
come in contact with other animals that have contagious diseases. Also, since
chinchillas don't adapt to change well, especially an abrupt change, it may
cause them to be stressed. You can also have the pet sitter come to your house
if you feel comfortable with that. At least your pet will be in familiar
territory. They already know the surroundings, and they would be able to
thrive. If you use this option, you must be able to trust the person to stay in
your home.

When you have found the right person, make sure you provide them with detailed
instructions on how to care for your pet. This is very important, because you
want them to care for your pet like you care for them, so the chinchilla won't
notice a difference in that. You should also leave detailed instructions and
information for the pet sitter in the event of an emergency.

If your pet needs treatment and you can't get back right away, then you may
want to give them permission to get treatment for them. Leave a contact number
for your veterinarian as well as a contact number where you can be easily
reached.

It may take time for this process, but once you find the right person, your
mind will be at ease.

The Effect Of Exercise For Chinchillas

Chinchillas raised on a ranch get treated differently than those that are
raised by breeders and pet owners. Breeders and pet owners raised and treat
their chinchillas like pets; ranchers treat their chinchillas like livestock.
To the ranchers, this is a business and they could care less about the animals
getting adequate exercise or any exercise at all. Their main concern is making
a profit at the animal's expense. Don't tell that to the breeder or pet owner.
In order to sustain their livelihood, they make sure that their pet chinchillas
get in enough exercise to get them through each day.

Chinchillas should have time to exercise out of their cages every day. They
need to have time to be free, provided there is supervision. This would only
happen with breeders and pet owners. They know that these exotic animals get
stressed when they feel they are being confined. Stress can cause them to be
anti-social and withdrawn. They get irritated and start biting their fur. The
chinchillas raised on the ranch can't move very well because the ranchers don't
take the time for them to exercise. When they do get a chance to roam, it's at a
snail's pace because of the confinement.

In order for the chinchilla to live a long and healthy life, it is imperative
that they get out of their cage and get some type of exercise, even if it's
just walking around. The chinchilla will also stay happy. So if you're a
breeder or a pet owner, you should do what you need to do to make this happen.
A regular exercise regimen will decrease stress and in turn keeps your immune
system from harm.

When you really care for a chinchilla, they know it. They know when you really
love them and have their best interest at heart. They have a positive attitude
and they will be able to trust you and relate to you better. This will
definitely show when you allow them to have time out of their cage. This
eliminates other stress-related actions, such as spraying urine or fighting
with other chinchillas. This will help them relate to other chinchillas and get
along with them as well.

The best exercises for them are walking and getting on the wheel located in
their cage. Doing exercises on the wheel can reduce the presence of being
overweight and/or obese.

There is no such thing as a chinchilla getting too much exercise or eating too
much. They know when they've had enough of both. When they're tired, they'll
stop and take a break. Exercising on a regular basis can eliminate potential
health or behavioral problems, including stress.

The key with exercise is that it needs to be regular and consistent. You can
help your pet do this by increasing the muscle tone, agility and mobility. You
have to remember not to confine them like they're in jail. Otherwise, they'll
look dumpy like the ones that are raised on the ranch. That is one way for them
not to stick around for the long haul.

Chinchillas Staying Healthy With Pellets and Hay

The chinchilla's process of consuming food is quite different than other
animals. They should have a lot of roughage and fewer nutrients. One of the
things that they must have enough of is pellets.

Chinchilla pellets can be purchased from a breeder or a pet store. Not all
brands contain the same ingredients. When your purchase them, be sure that the
basic ingredients are in the mix. This would include alfalfa meal, wheat germ,
molasses, oats, soybean oil meal, corn, and added vitamins and minerals. The
chinchilla pellets are long because the animals eat with their hands and they
must be able to grasp them.

The chinchillas consume the pellets until they feel full. When they get to that
point, they will stop and refrain from overeating. You can either feed them once
or twice a day. You'll want to figure out which feeding regimen is best for
them. Stick with whatever works best and be consistent. If you're not, the
chinchilla will know and the inconsistency will cause them to be stressed.

A chinchilla's livelihood is based on routines. You can feed the pellets to
them either from a hopper feeder or a ceramic bowl. The hopper feeder is good
to use because you don't have to concern yourself about it falling over.
Ceramic bowls are good because they are heavy and the chinchilla can't chew it,
like they would a plastic bowl.

Chinchilla pellets are one of the best things they can eat; but if for some
reason you can't locate them, you can substitute rabbit or guinea pig pellets
for them. These are fine to consume as long as they contain plenty of fiber and
are low in fat. If for some reason you do have to switch their pellets, do it
gradually. Once they get used to a system, it's difficult for them to change
suddenly. They will adapt, but they get stressed if it happens all at once.

Hay is good for them because it also provides fiber for their system. You can
choose from two kinds: alfalfa or timothy. They can be purchased in loose or
small compressed blocks with a measurement of 1" X 1" X 2". The animals will
eat both kinds and it must be chemical and mold free. Because of their
sensitive digestive system, chinchillas can only consume fresh hay. To remain
fresh, it must be stored in a dry place.

Fifty-pound bags may be too much for a chinchilla owner, so cubes can be
purchased in smaller amounts. It's better if the cubes are broken into smaller
pieces. This way, they can handle them easier as opposed to being one
cumbersome piece. One pressed cube or a handful of hay is all an adult
chinchilla usually eats.

An alternative to hay would be Bermuda grass. If your house has a lawn with
Bermuda grass, you can feed that to your chinchilla. However, the grass must be
chemical and fertilizer free. Just wash it off and give your chinchilla a few.
Bermuda grass helps to remedy any digestive issues.

Water And Supplement Treats For Your Chinchilla

Like humans, chinchillas need water. Their water should be fresh and changed
daily. This is crucial because if this is not followed, bacteria can grow and
it would affect the chinchilla's health. It's not a good idea to have them
drink from standing water in a bowl. They'll be sure to catch bacteria that
way. Also, they may accidentally tip the bowl over and then you have a wet
mess. A preferred vehicle for drinking water would be a water bottle. The
bottle should be placed on the side of the animal's cage.

If you do use a water bottle, it should be cleaned thoroughly to avoid any
germs or bacteria. Clean the entire bottle with hot water and have another one
on stand-by. The chinchilla will drink the water more if nothing has been added
to it. So, if you want your pet to drink plenty of water, it should stay as it
is.

Since a pet chinchilla is special to their owner, it's not surprising that they
would want to reward their animal with a treat. However, the owner must know
that this can only be done in moderation. Too many of these can cause the
animal's sensitive digestive system to go out of whack. Not only will they gain
weight, their lifespan would be short-lived.

If you're going to give your chinchilla treat, give them raisins. This is
something that chinchillas love to eat. They should only be given three to four
raisins a week. If the chinchilla is a baby or a young one, half a chinchilla
will do. Dried fruit, without sulfite preservatives, is fine. Examples of this
are a blueberry, a grape or a tiny apple slice. If your chinchilla has
diarrhea, you can give them wheat (spoon shredded size) or rolled oats minus
the preservatives. Raw, black oil sunflower seeds that are used for feeding
birds are good for the animal's outer coat. You should not feed your animal
cabbage, corn or lettuce. These would be heavy on the digestive system.

When feeding them, the treats should be fed separately from anything else,
including pellets. If you mix them, they will not eat the pellets and just go
for the treats instead. If you give them something to gnaw on, let it be white
pine or apple wood. These wood types are good for their teeth and won't cause
damage. Pine boards can also serve as a bottom platform for a chinchilla's feet
when they're walking on a wire mesh material in their cage. Any other type of
wood may not be suitable for them.

Stay away from cedar, plum, plywood, cherry, fir, spruce and any other wood
that can be harmful to their teeth. If you're not sure which wood type is good
for them and which isn't, check your local pet store. They can assist you with
your animal's needs.

If you have a young or expectant chinchilla, their diet will have to be altered
from the normal regimen. If you're not sure on what to feed them, check with
your veterinarian or chinchilla breeder to get more information. As you get
acclimated to what your chinchilla needs, they can be assured of an uneventful
and healthy lifestyle.




How To Keep Your Chinchilla From Suffering In The Heat

Heat and high humidity are not kind to chinchillas. Their bodies cannot survive
grueling heat and high temperatures. Their thickness of their fur is higher than
other animals. In fact, they have the highest thickness of fur than any land
animal worldwide. It is the thickness of their fur that causes them to be
resistant towards heat, especially high heat and humidity. If they come in
contact with this, they can suffer from brain damage or heat stroke.

It is important that your pet chinchilla be kept inside a controlled climate in
order to survive. You will need an air conditioning unit if the temperatures
reach 70 degrees or above. The air conditioning unit should also have an auto
function, where it will turn on and off by itself. Having fans is not enough to
cool them. However, a ceiling fan is good for cold air circulation.

If your chinchilla takes in too much heat, they can suffer from heat
prostration. Heat prostration is when your pet is lying on their side with
labored breathing. They feel like they want to give up because this is too much
for them to bear. Don't allow your pet to stay in that position. Pick up the
chinchilla carefully and gently. Keep your pet mobile and moving. Provide
massages and head rubs. In the interim, while you're still trying to keep your
pet going, make sure you have the temperature lowered; otherwise, they may not
make it after all.

Use a cloth and make sure it is not fringed or has any loose strings. Put it in
the freezer to cover your frozen items. Then put your pet in there for few
minute intervals. Leave the door slightly ajar. Put your pet's feet on the
cloth so it won't touch the metal in the freezer. Spray mists of lukewarm or
cool water on your pet's body, stopping at the neck. After your pet becomes
alert, use a towel to lightly dry their body. Make sure you're in a cool room
while you're doing this. Provide a dust bath after they are completely dry.

If you keep your chinchilla in the basement, they will need a dehumidifier.
They cannot stay anywhere where the humidity is high because it will create a
fungus, which is harmful. The pet will also need an instrument like a
thermometer that measures the temperature and humidity levels. These levels
must be continuously watched to make sure they stay at a comfortable
temperature for your pet.

During the winter season, the temperature should not be more than 70 degrees.
The humidity should not be more than 80 percent where your chinchilla is
existing. The sum of the two is not to go past 150. If it does, your pet is in
danger for brain damage and death.

Other ways you can keep your chinchilla cool are providing them with frozen
fruit bars. These are good for them to take small nibbles from. Ice cubes put
in a bowl that won't spill are good, also. Your pet should have a consistent
supply of fresh water. No matter how you do it, make sure that your pet is
properly cared for during the times of heat and humidity.

Prevent Your Pet Chinchilla From Experiencing Environmental Stress

There are ways you can prevent your pet chinchilla from experiencing
environmental stress. You as the owner should make sure all their needs are
satisfied. You should also make sure that you are reliable enough to take care
of their needs. Your pet depends on you to take care of them physically and
emotionally.

Make sure the cage is large enough where they can run around and play. Be sure
to include a wheel where they can exercise, some toys they can chew on and a
hideaway. All of these items can prevent your pet from being bored and stressed
out. You should also cover their cage will also help them be less stressed and
provide a sense of security. Make sure they get their daily exercise away from
their cage. This helps them to be able to roam around and not be holed up 24
hours a day.

This by itself can be stressful because they'll feel locked in to one entity,
which would be their cage.

If you must employ a change with your pet in the way of ownership, living
arrangements or meeting other chinchillas, introduce it gradually. Your pet
will be more accepting of a slower process than they would of a quick and rash
one. A quick and rash one does nothing but contribute to more unnecessary
stress.

Added stress can contribute to shock. In your pet's case, this happens when
they feel they can't consume the magnitude of what's going on around them. The
chinchilla feels their situation is out of control and can't be corrected.
They're unable to digest the scenario. This type of shock can result in
immediate declining health and/or death; sometimes, they may decline slowly and
eventually expire. Stress-related shock doesn't happen often, but if your pet
has hyper activity, they'll more likely to experience it.

It's normal for your pet to be wary of the unknown. Eventually, they'll learn
to adjust. Chinchillas are used to routines. They like to stay in the land of
familiar surroundings and not rock the boat. They don't particularly care for
challenges, especially when it means making a change that affects them directly
and swiftly. If they have to, they will change, but they prefer to remain
uninterrupted. If they are in an unsafe environment, then it is essential that
changes are made. Eventually, your pet will appreciate your efforts to move
them into better surroundings.

Your pet prefers to be in a setting where they're not threatened by change.
However, if they do have to change scenery, the most important thing is that
they have time to get adjusted. Depending on how old they are and their health
status, some chinchillas adjust faster than others. The biting of fur would
occur mostly in an older animal. This may come from having another animal in
the house. The older one would feel that their territory was being invaded.

Changes that would make your pet feel happy are a new cage, television or a new
movie or a new chew toy. More times than not, they would welcome these with open
arms. If in the event, any of these items don't satisfy them and cause stress,
you'll have to make some adjustments so they can adapt and eliminate the stress.

Having The Right Exercise Wheel For Your Chinchilla

With a cage for your chinchilla, they should also be some chew toys, a
television and a wheel for exercise. This way they'll have plenty of things to
do while they're in the cage. In order for the wheel to fit in properly, you
should measure the door of the cage. Even though your pet will still get their
outside exercise, a cage is strongly recommended for exercise inside.

Sometimes, your pet chinchilla may not adapt to the wheel right away. Don't
fret--sometimes it may take them a while to get acclimated, especially since
it's new to them. Older chinchillas don't adapt to change very well and it may
take them longer to get used to it. It may take them weeks, or even months to
get acclimated to the device. When they do, they usually like it and take to
the wheel well, especially when they realize that it's benefiting them.
Anything that benefits them is good, and they try to keep a positive demeanor.

Another aspect of having a wheel in your pet's cage is safety. You have to make
sure that they are able to exercise on a running surface. The surface should be
solid or made from mesh. The measurements should be no more than 1/2" X 1/2".
Anything more than that can result in the chinchilla having leg, foot or toe
injuries. Their lower extremities are very delicate and can result in
amputation if not attended to properly.

As with chew toys, the wheels should not be made of plastic. Plastic can harm
your pet by causing issues with their intestinal area. The pet can chew and
ingest the plastic pieces which can cause this. If you use a wheel with spokes,
you are asking for trouble. Not only can your pet chinchilla face injury to
their arms or legs, the risk of having their limbs amputated increases.

Even your pet can sense when there's danger with these type of wheels. When
that happens, they're reluctant to exercise on them. These type of wheels are
not recommended to be installed in their cages. If you do use them, you are not
looking out for your pet's best interests. Another type of wheel, called a safe
wheel, has screws in the inside center. They seem to have more fun on this type
of wheel because of the decreased danger.

The recommended measurement for a wheel is 12", even though there is some
debate about that. Most people seem to do ok with that size wheel. Pet stores
normally sell the wheels with the spokes, which as stated in the previous
paragraph is dangerous for chinchillas. There have been reports that the wheel
may cause your pet's spine to curve, because there's only so much room; of
course, that's probably remain to be seen.

If you find abnormal issues with your pet after getting on the wheel, you
should stop until your find out what's going on. If you are unsure about what
type of wheel to purchase, contact your local pet store or consult with your
local veterinarian.

How To Select The Right Vet For Your Chinchilla

When an owner is looking for the right veterinarian for their exotic pet, they
want someone who can relate to their pet's special needs. They must also have
the available resources to take care of their pet on an ongoing basis.

Just because they may like exotic animals doesn't mean that they're qualified
to take care of them. They must have special training to medically care and
treat them. You will probably have to do a "Sherlock Holmes" number in
searching for the right one to treat your chinchilla. It's best to search for a
veterinarian that specializes in exotics and exotic animal medicine or one who
is board certified in it). You can ask veterinarians what kind of training
they've had.

You can also check through certain organizations, such as the Association of
Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) and the Association of Avian
Veterinarians (AAV). If you still need assistance, try a regular veterinarian
with an interest in exotic animals that can consult with an exotic animal
specialist. It's better if they're experienced, but if not, this would be the
route to go.

You can also try finding one through recommendations. You can ask people that
you know or search out some breeders. You can also try other organizations that
are into exotic animals. Search for forums online that discuss chinchillas and
exotic animals. Try the yellow pages, your state veterinary directory or on the
web to look for local veterinarians that specialize in exotic animals.

You should try to find one as soon as you can. It's not best to wait until your
chinchilla has an emergency where you'll need someone right away. Then you'll be
taking more time away trying to find someone. It could be a matter of life and
death for your pet.

When you do find one that specializes in chinchillas and other exotic animals,
set up an appointment. Check to see how the veterinarian handles your pet and
see if your pet takes to the veterinarian. That's very important in
establishing a relationship. If there's not bonding between the two and
yourself, then that's probably not a good match and may not result in a quality
relationship.

A good veterinarian will sit down and talk with you about your chinchilla's
care, health and diet. This is also important because they should be
comfortable in talking with you as well. Besides, it's your pet and you are the
owner.

During the visit, you should evaluate the facilities to see if they are up to
standards for taking care of exotic animals. Find out how frequent do they have
exotic animals for patients. Do they have special equipment or facility to
accommodate them? Have they had much experience with exotic pets?

What kind of training was involved? If your veterinarian can answer these
questions, then you may have yourself a winner. It's not easy to find the right
person to fit the bill. Even though looking for one may be a challenge, when you
find the right person, it will be worth it for you and your chinchilla.

Mistakes To Avoid When Purchasing A Chinchilla

The maintenance of exotic pets is different than say, a dog or a cat. With a
dog or a cat, you don't have to spend a lot of time caring for them as you
would a chinchilla. In addition to spending more time with a chinchilla, you
will have to spend more money. This is because a chinchilla is a specialized
pet and specialized pets cost more because they require different maintenance
than regular animals. Before you run out and get one, please keep in mind some
things that you'll need to know or at least consider before you jump in with
both feet.

The chinchillas may look cute at the pet store and you just have to have one.
Before you do that, research information on the pet. Take a few more days
before you decide on whether you really want it or not. Sometimes it's one of
those, oh you really think you want it deals, but when you get home with it,
it's a different story. So doing research can save you and the pet a lot of
time and possible heartache.

Plan ahead -- This is the most important thing you should do before you even
think about checking out a chinchilla. They may look cute, but you need to know
in advance how much it's going to cost you to maintain the pet, the time you'll
be spending with it, buying them special food, and trips to the veterinarian.
All of these things require time and money, and if you have neither, you might
as well wait until you can take on this responsibility.

Do your research before you decide to purchase an exotic pet. Laws vary from
state to state regarding these kinds of animals. You should also look into the
local, county and federal laws to see what applies to your situation. You can
check with the office in your area that deals with wildlife animals or exotic
pets. Avoiding this action can get you in big trouble if you don't have the
proper permits or any permits at all.

Factor in the cost of having an exotic pet such as a chinchilla. In addition to
food and veterinary visits, you must factor in things like their cage, equipment
and other supplies. You should also include in this assessment funds for
possible emergencies that could come up. Speaking of emergencies, exotic pets
sometimes like to feign sickness until it gets unbearable. Don't wait until an
unexpected emergency hits to find a specialty veterinarian. Not only will it
cost you time, it could mean a matter of life or death.

If you have to go out of town or away on emergency, you should have someone
available on stand-by to take care of your pet while you're away. Remember,
chinchillas need constant care and if they are neglected, they'll suffer.

If you're looking to buy a chinchilla, you home has to be chinchilla-proof. It
can't stay the way it is. Chinchillas require different settings and you have
to adjust them to their specifications. They can reside in moderate
temperatures and it can't be hot or humid in the house.

You can either set aside a room in your house for them or purchase a cage (your
best bet). The sooner you make the changes, the sooner they can adapt to your
home.

How To Set Up A Home That Your Pet Chinchilla Will Love

When chinchillas are out in the wild, their fur is their protector from the
elements. When they are captured and turned into pets, adjustments have to be
made in order for them to be comfortable and survive.

If you plan to keep a pet chinchilla in your house, the animal needs to be
somewhere where the area is cool and serene, but eliminating drafts. If you
have an available room in your house, make sure there is plenty of room for the
animal to roam. Chinchillas are very active and they need to have enough space
to move freely.

It's better for them to have a large cage, in part because of what was stated
earlier. The length should also be tall (long). The floor space needed is about
24 by 24 inches. If you get a tall cage, get one with shelves and ladders for
climbing. This is a great way the chinchilla can stay active. Don't get cages
that are manufactured with plastic; a wire cage is the best quality cage to
purchase.

If you want to make it easier for cleaning purposes, find one with a pull out
tray. The pull out try can have wood shavings (except cedar). A wire floor is
good for them because it keeps their bottoms from getting dirty. In the event
you have a wire floor, you should have a wooden piece to cover the bottom wire
area. This way, their feet won't wear out from constant activity.

Secure the cage in an area of your house where they won't be disturbed by
others. It should not be exposed to any sunlight. Sunlight causes the
chinchilla to sweat and could lead to overheating. In the summer, the area
where the cage is sitting should be watched and if need be, move it to a cooler
section of the house. You can turn on the air conditioner for a while, or you
can add a pan of ice cubes.

You should have glass water bottles for the animal. They are better than
plastic because they can't chew through glass. If you do use plastic water
bottles, you can get chew guards for them. Get a ceramic food bowl so it won't
tip over so much, if at all. The heavier the bowl, the less chance it will tip
over and will stay steady in the cage.

The best toys for your pet chinchilla are wooden blocks and tree branches. The
branches should be pesticide free. Willow balls and rings are good for them to
have, also. The toys should be free from small or plastic parts where the
animal can accidentally swallow them. They can also use pumice blocks; in
addition to using it for playtime, these blocks can maintain their teeth.

Wheels may do your pet chinchilla good, provided that they start using them at
an early age. A wheel that is 12 -- 15 inches is the best choice and the surface
should be solid and made of metal. Having wheels installed in the cage provides
them with good exercise. As mentioned, it is only beneficial if they're
introduced to it early on.

As long as they're closely supervised, your pet chinchilla should get some time
outside of the cage. Make sure that you don't have things in the area that can
harm or cause some type of danger to them, such as electrical cords. You should
be able to coax the animal back to their cage with a raisin or some other dried
fruit. Sometimes, they just make their way back to their cage without any help.
If possible, refrain from chasing them, as this does nothing but frustrate you
and the pet.

What You Should Know If You're Allergic to Chinchillas

Chinchillas are capable of emitting proteins that cause allergies. This can
happen through the presence of saliva or urine. They are also known to shed
their fur every few months. The hay and dust that come from chinchillas seem to
be the biggest factor in people that have allergies. It is not advisable to have
a chinchilla for a pet if you are allergic to hay and dust from them.

In general, warm-blooded animals with fur have proteins in their body. When
these furry animals wet their fur by licking, saliva sets in. After it dries,
parts of the protein flutter about and end up on different material in the home.

This is why even though people initially get a pet chinchilla, they have to
give it away because the hay and dust proves too much for them to handle. Not
only do the owners suffer, but their pets suffer as well. They don't get the
hay or dust bath their supposed to get on a regular basis. When they have to
return the chinchilla it's called re-homing. Basically the pet is sent back to
be reassigned to a new owner and a new home.

It can get so bad that as an owner of the pet, being allergic to hay and dust
can cause breathing problems. There have been cases where some owners ended up
using an inhaler for breathing purposes.

The owner can become allergic to the pet itself and end up with rhinitis.
Rhinitis is when the mucous membranes of the nose get inflamed with a mucous
discharge. You can get contact with allergens just by touching the chinchilla.
The transmittal of this (antigens) can cause you to rub your eyes or touch your
skin. The interesting thing about this is allergies don't always affect you
right away. Depending on your system, it can take weeks months or even years
for the exposure to take affect.

It's not surprising, even if you've had a pet chinchilla for a while, to
eventually develop an allergic reaction to the dust and hay. Especially dust,
since it can accumulate from anywhere. However, if you should become allergic
to your pet's allergy-causing proteins, you may have to consider re-homing
(returning the animal so they can have another owner).

There are ways that you can minimize the allergic impact of dust from affecting
you. Keep your pet's cage covered with a sheet and in a room where the door can
be closed. When applying dust to your pet, don't turn on any fans. The
container should be your pet's cage and place the sheet around it. Leave the
room for about ten minutes, making sure you close the door on your way out. It
should take that much time for the dust to get situated.

There are some different brands of bath sands you can use to reduce the dust
from flying all over the place. You may want to check it out thoroughly prior
to purchase. It's been noted that it can reduce the amount of dust ingestion;
it may not be effective in cleaning your pet's fur. It may take more than one
pack and this just defeats the purpose of any cost-cutting measures.

How To Get Your Chinchilla To Trust You

If your chinchilla is not tamed, it may take them a while to get used to you.
Just like with human relationships, you will have to earn their trust before
they allow you to form a close bond with them. You will have to provide your
pet with a lot of love and care. Don't get discouraged if after a few months,
they still don't reciprocate. It just means it may take a little longer than
you thought. It is much easier to get a baby chinchilla to trust you than it is
an adult.

Chinchillas have more of a problem with being tamed than say, dogs or cats.
They are filled with a lot of smugness and they demand your respect. They don't
pay attention to you when you call their name. If you want your pet to really
trust you, try doing some of the following:

- Provide treats for your pet as they come to whatever side of the cage you're
located on.

- Talk to them in a calm tone to keep them calm.

- You will know when they no longer fear you if they remove the treat from your
fingers in the cage.

There are other things you can do to get your pet's trust. There are also some
things you shouldn't do in order to get their trust:

- A Chinchilla's body is delicate and you must handle it with care. If you pick
them up, avoid grabbing their ribcage. You could injure it or possibly fracture
a bone.

- Your pet should be close to your body if you're carrying it.

- Like humans, chinchillas need to breathe easily. Don't squeeze or hold your
pet tight. They will let you know when you are by squealing loudly or biting
you.

- Help your pet feel safe by allowing it to bury their head under your arm or
cover their face with your hand. Chinchillas like to know that their owners
like to keep them safe in any way possible. They want to know they have a
protector at all times.

- Hold your pet by it's tail base and hold your pet's weight with your other
hand. Don't hold on to the tip of its tail. If the chinchilla tries to get
free, that part will come off.

- You can also hold your pet as though it were standing up. Use one hand for
its hind legs, and your other hand to hold his body. Your pet's hands should
rest on yours.

You will know when your pet trusts you when they start doing these things:

* Snuggling up to you * Allowing you to stroke their body * Follows you around
* Comes to see what's in your palm * Sniffs your clothing and other items on
your body * Allowing you to curl their tail * Sniffs your nose

It is an honor to have a pet such as a chinchilla that is fond of you and you
have gained their trust. You must remember to continue doing things with your
pet to continue that trust.

How To Keep Chinchilla Coats Healthy

Chinchilla coats have to stay healthy and clean. In order to do that, your pet
chinchilla must have dust baths on a regular basis. The dust baths also help to
keep their coats silky, shiny and keeps the coats looking thick. Your pet enjoys
these types of baths because they get to roll and flip in the dust. As long as
they get to move around, they're fine, hence the reason for rolling and
flipping in the dust.

The best type of bath dust to use should be bought from the store. That is
because the product is tailor made for chinchillas. As they roll and flip in
the dust, the dust infiltrates through the coat and goes in their skin. This
causes the dust to soak up oil and dirt from their fur. The bath dust for your
pet should reach several inches deep in a container.

Two types of dusts used most often are "Blue Cloud Chinchilla Dust" and "Blue
Sparkle Chinchilla Dust". Make sure the bath dust you purchase is specifically
tailored for your pet chinchilla. You risk not having the same effect on your
pet if your purchase something other than bath dust. Chinchilla bath dust
should work similar to what they would have in their homeland.

For a container, you can use a heavy bowl that won't tip over. Get one that is
larger than your pet. Some good suggestions are glass fish bowls or canisters.
Another suggestion is a plastic house type container. This type of container
should have a round bottom. You should put the bath in the chinchilla's cage
each evening as the chinchillas are moving around.

You can't bathe your pet chinchilla too much with the dust bath. This can cause
their skin to dry out. The dust should not be left in the cage because the
animal will sit in it and utilize it as a litter box. Give your pet a dust bath
at least twice a week. It's better to administer it in the evening, when they're
the most active.

However, if you determined that your pet's fur looks dull or moist, you can
give them the bath more than twice a week. Of course, when it gets hot and
humid, your pet should get more frequent baths. The baths should last about 
10-15 minutes. If you find that your pet's skin is dried out, flaky or itchy,
cut back on the frequency of the dust bath.

The bath dust can be reused several times before changing. After you've bathed
your pet, check for any waste and scoop it out. You should also use fresh bath
dust if you find the current dust to look dirty or clumpy. Throw it out and use
a fresh batch of dust. You may find it useful to try a covered bath, but the
downside is that your pet will still move around and shake off the dust. So a
covered bath may actually defeat the purpose. You should get a good duster and
continue to provide regular baths.

How To Cure Some Health Problems of Your Pet Chinchilla

As with humans, prevention is the key for your chinchilla to staying healthy
and not getting sick. Even though precautions are taken, sometimes steps are
still missed. It is crucial that your pet's cage have fresh food and water
daily. Their cage should always be kept clean and their food should not contain
fungus or insects. Any violations of these can cause adverse effects for your
pet. Keep in mind your chinchilla has a sensitive digestive system. It cannot
easily get rid of bad food from their system. This means they could get sick.

Please find below some health problems that could affect your pet and what you
can do:

Constipation:

You will know that your pet is constipated if their bowels are dry, small,
strangely shaped and have a foul odor. Provide them with more fresh water and
hay. Also, you can give them 1 -- 2 raisins.

Bloating:

Your pet will look like a balloon and their bowels will contain mucous. Their
bowels are also holey and sticky. Give your chinchilla a longer time to
exercise and give them food culture.

Diarrhea:

Your pet's bowels will stick and look like a grape. The diarrhea in your pet
could be caused by hay that is moldy or algae that has grown in their water.
Check the hay for mold and check the water for algae. It is imperative that
their water is changed out everyday and that it's fresh. Also check to see if
their diarrhea is caused by an environmental change.

Seizures and Cramping:

If your pet does not move or starts to tremble, this may be a sign of a
seizure. This can be caused by stress, injury to the head or lack of calcium.
You will know if your pet lacks calcium if their teeth turn white. This can
happen moreso with the female chinchilla. Don't allow your pet to injure
themselves. They should be kept warm. Since this is a more serious issue, see a
veterinarian immediately.

In addition to the above, you should see a veterinarian immediately if your pet
is experiencing any of the following:

Severe diarrhea or constipation, injury of the eye from a sharp object,
pneumonia, weight loss, ingesting poison, or broken bones anywhere on their
body. Any of these will require additional medical care from a specialized
veterinarian.

You hope that you don't have to experience any of this with your pet
chinchilla. There are things you can do to make sure your pet stays healthy and
not fall into any health dangers. Listed below are some of the tips:

- Keep their cage cleaned on a regular basis.

- Don't change their food too often; they have a sensitive digestive system.

- Don't move them around a lot; chinchillas can't withstand changes too well,
especially sudden ones. If you do have to move them, try to do it gradually.

- Make sure their roughage food is fresh.

- Make sure their water is fresh and constantly changed out.

- Their food should be administered in small portions.

- Since chinchillas are night owls, they should rest during the day.

Follow these tips and your chinchilla will live a long and happy life.

How To Re-home Your Chinchilla

Re-homing your chinchilla is not necessarily a delight to accomplish. However,
if you are in a situation where you can no longer properly care for your
chinchilla, the best thing to do is to seek out someone who can give it the
love and care that they need. It will break your heart to let your pet go,
especially if you've become bonded to it. It's also better if you let someone
else handle it rather than let it suffer and die.

You can start your search by placing classified advertisements in the section
designated for exotic animals or chinchillas. Make sure you let them know that
there is an adoption fee attached. You should set the fee at a starting price
of $50.00. It has been advised that you should set it higher than that. This
way, you will weed out the freebie seekers or cheapos. These types of people
are usually not interested in taking care of a chinchilla; they just want to
purchase it for their own corrupt whims.

The purpose of the adoption fees are to see if the candidate can properly and
is financially able to take care of an exotic pet such as a chinchilla.
Chinchillas need routine care not only from you, but also from a specialized
veterinarian. When you're dealing with specialties, that usually costs more
than general things. If the interested person has an adverse reaction to the
fees, then that's a strike against him. You'll know that they're not interested
in the chinchilla's well being. You want to make sure that the person getting
your pet is the most qualified.

Find out how long this person has been taking care of chinchillas. Did they
keep them healthy and active? Ask them what kind of food did they feed them.
Let them know what brand of pellets and hay you used, in the event it's
different from what they use for their pets. If they already have a chinchilla,
will they try to get them together as mates?

Find out more information about trying to have more than one chinchilla in the
same household. Find out about their veterinarian and how he or she takes care
of their chinchilla(s). Does he or she have the best interest of the pet in
mind? If the person were to go on vacation or had an emergency, is there
someone available who is knowledgeable in taking care of chinchillas?

If they can answer your concerns and you feel comfortable with them, then your
chinchilla may have a new owner and a new home. Before the prospect signs on
the dotted line, take your chinchilla over there to see if they will adapt to
their new environment.

The place should be clean and free from a lot of noise. Chinchillas aren't
comfortable with excessive noise in their domain and it's easy for them to get
infections. See how your pet interacts with them. If they do well and pass the
test, then you probably have a winner. If your pet clams up and doesn't get
comfortable, then you may have to continue looking.





Peace
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