A healthy chinchilla will be active and alert when removed from its cage. Do not purchase an animal that continuously scratches its ears or seems to have difficulty walking properly.
Closely examine the eyes, which should not be red, swollen or surrounded by pus. Make sure its nose is not running, and the area under the mouth is dry. If you can manage to peek in its mouth, make sure the incisors are properly aligned and not cracked.
Thoroughly examine the animal’s coat to ensure it is not matted, wet or inconsistent in any way. Check the feet for lesions.