Chinchillas have 4 paws, 2 hands with 4 fingers & 2 feet with 4 toes. Their hands are made to grab and hold on to items like sticks, toys & bars. Their feet are 2" long & made to absorb the shock of drops from their jumps. Their hands & feet also have pads to help them keep traction. It's very important for owners to be aware of the conditions of their pet's paws.
Flaky Dry Skin
When a chinchilla bathes too often in dust or is exposed to a rather dry home it's not uncommon to notice your pet has dry skin. Their ears, hands, and feet can become flakey and dry. This is a VERY simple thing to correct when noticed and treated quickly.
All that needs to be done is to 1. Limit the dust bath or 2. Moisturize the skin. The best item used to moisturize a Chinchilla's dry skin is Bag Balm. It's primarily used to moisturize Cow udders for nursing calfs. Bag Balm is a non-toxic and easy way to add moisture to the skin and it's safe if licked.
If you neglect to hydrate the skin, it can begin to crack. This cracking is what makes it much more serious because the outer protective layer of skin is now left open to infection. Cracked feet need to be kept clean and moisturized. Chinchilla's who have cracked feet or feet with simple sores need to have their cages cleaned frequently until healed to prevent infections.
If the feet do not heal or become worse, your chinchilla may have Bumblefoot and needs to see a vet immediately.
Minor cuts & lost fingers or toes
Gasp! What!? Yes. When you own 2 or more chinchillas, don't be surprised when you discover one is missing a finger. It's like, the #1 attack spot. I think it's because they put their little hands on the bars making them an easy target. This is actually something totally treatable at home!
1. Clean up the paw. You may have to "burrito" your chin in a towel.
2. Access the situation. Most of the time, a dab of Blu kote, Vetericyn , or Neosporin will do the job.
3. Keep the cage floor as clean as possible and watch your pet closely. It may or may not swell. If you notice your pet is in discomfort, notice discoloration, or the paw feels feverish you need to visit your vet for some antibiotics.
Tip: You can apply corn starch to cuts and bites to stop bleeding.
** Warning - Blu Kote will turn everything you love purple. . .**