Combing your chinchilla helps remove mats, cleans her coat and removes dead hair to reduce shedding and prevent fur ingestion that can lead to intestinal blockages. It's also a great way to bond with your tiny friend. If you've never combed your chinchilla before, expect a bit of resistance the first few times. Most chinchillas grow to enjoy grooming, however, provided you do it properly and gently. Fortunately, the process doesn’t take much practice to perfect.
Wait several days after giving your chinchilla a dust bath before attempting to comb her. It's possible for a comb or brush to catch on fresh clumps of dust, potentially pulling healthy fur from your pet's skin.
Use a metal comb designed for use on chinchillas or rabbits. These are designed to remove loose hair and are dull enough to prevent injury to your critter's skin. Make sure all grooming supplies are within easy reach before you begin combing.
Place a towel across your lap to catch hair removed during combing, and then gently set your chinchilla on top of the towel. Pet her until she is calm, and keep one hand on her at all times during the grooming session.
Start at the base of your chinchilla's tail and work toward her head. Proceed slowly and speak reassuringly to your pet while combing her. If your chinchilla strongly resists grooming, place her back in her cage and try again another day.
Comb small sections at a time, removing any tangles or clumps of fur before proceeding to the next section. Pay close attention to the genital area, which is where matting tends to occur. Stop when you reach your chinchilla's face.
Cut out tight mats with scissors. Excessive pulling at individual mats with a comb can lead to skin irritation and pain.
Fill a container with chinchilla dust and allow your pet to roll around in it. Dust baths are best immediately after combing. This is because combing removes excess hair, allowing the dust to penetrate the coat to the skin.
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."