Chinchilla Dust Bath Information

An innate characteristic for the chinchilla is to clean itself in a dust bath. In their natural surroundings, known to be dry or semi-arid, the chinchilla has no other way but to regularly bathe in fine volcanic ash. As an aspect of chinchilla care, dust baths are needed to maintain its rich coat, keeping it unsoiled, silky and in the best of shape. More so, rolling in ash has become something of a fun activity for the chinchilla as well.

Sometimes new chinchillas owners may think that “bathing” their pets is difficult. It’s quite easy really. Though it is common to wash most pets in water, chinchillas are totally different. Bathing them in water can only cause them danger as it strips their coats of its natural oils which are necessary to help keep their body temperatures in check. Don’t worry, most pet shops carry everything required for chinchilla dust bath. This dust is specific only for chinchillas, replicating the ash they prefer in their natural environment. Some sand and kinds of powder may feel just as fine as those for chinchillas but do not really go through their fur. Chinchilla-specific dust manages to reach beyond their fur, down to the very skin. What it does is that it soaks all the grime and unnecessary moisture from their coats.

The first thing you can do is to find a bowl to put the chinchilla dust in. Make sure that it is heavy enough so as not to spill over. Better even if it’s bigger than the size of your pet. A good option is a container that has some form of covering that will help keep dust from flying around during bathing. About an inch of dust at the bottom of the container should be enough. Since chinchillas are active mostly in the evening, put the container in the cage during that time. Just like a cat’s litter box, your chinchilla dust container can be reused just as long as you take out the dirt that’s left behind. If the dust begins to look dirtier than the last time you replaced it, you can always refill the container with a fresh batch. Try not to leave the container inside the cage all the time. Too much bathing can eventually dry out chinchilla skin, and your pet may get used to using the container as a litter box. It’s best to let them get used to it only during bathing and for that purpose alone. Also, continuous contact with dust can irritate or infect your pet’s nose, eyes and eyelids.

A chinchilla dust bath is best done at least twice a week in the evenings. If your pet’s fur is constantly oily or dirty, bathing can be done more often. If the cage’s environment is in a drier climate, baths can be lessened. 10 to 15 minutes is enough time for chinchilla dust bath. Check if your pet’s skin begins to get dry, flaky and or if it constantly scratches its skin. If this happens, shorten the duration and number of times you bathe them.

Seeing a chinchilla grooming itself in dust is really fun. It’s like watching something so childlike and distinct. If you would like a better view of this behavior, you can choose a clear container. Glass is a better option because those made of plastic can get scratched from usage making it harder to see your adorable pet. And since chinchillas like to nibble, they could chew away at the plastic container.