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Why Do Chinchillas Bathe in Dust? [How Often & What to Use]

Chinchillas are clean animals and like to clean themselves for 15 – 20 minutes per bath. Most animals clean themselves by bathing in water or grooming themselves, but why do chinchillas bath in the dust?

Why do chinchillas bathe in the dust? Chinchillas have dust baths to clean their dense fur coats. The dust protects their fur by removing moisture, oil, and dirt and cleaning the chinchilla.

It’s vital that chinchillas take dust baths twice to three times a week and that the dust is regular. You should replace the dirt once a week or when the dust becomes clumped or becomes dirt.

READ MORE: Are Chinchillas Rodents?

Why Do Chinchillas Bathe in Dust?

a chinchilla dust bath, what is chinchilla dust bath

Chinchillas need dust baths to stay clean [1]. It is one of the most crucial tasks every chinchilla pet owner needs to do.

Chinchillas are clean animals, and because of their highly dense coat and unable to regulate their body temperately, it is dangerous for them to bathe in water.

Water can course their dense fur coat to clump up and may cause them to lose body heat very quickly. If your chinchilla gets too cold, it leaves them vulnerable to illnesses [2].

Chinchillas have up to 80 hairs per hair follicle [3], which is considerable compared to other animals.

In the wild, chinchillas clean themselves in clay or volcanic ash.

Dust baths remove excessive moisture, oils, and dirt from the chinchilla’s fur coat and clean its coat.

Chinchillas enjoy bathing in the dust as they find it therapeutic. Below is a video of a chinchilla having a bath.

Dust baths are essential for the health and tidiness of your chinchillas and should be done two to three times a week.

Here’s how a dust bath looks like:

How Do You Give Chinchillas Dust Baths?

Use the following method to provide your chinchillas a dust bath:

Firstly, pour about 2 inches of chinchilla dust into your bathing container. Once the bathtub is set up, put the chinchillas in the bathtub, and leave the rest to the chinchilla.

Chinchillas usually know what to do when placing them in a bath container. You only need to let them enjoy their bath to keep them clean and fresh.

Do not forget to change the dust bath at least once per week. Dust can quickly spread through the cage if not removed.

When dust clumps or becomes dirty, it is time to replace it.

Here’s a video tutorial:

How Often Do Chinchillas Need Dust Baths?

A dust bath should be given to your chinchilla around three times per week.

a chinchilla in a girl's hand

It’s vital not to over bathe your chinchilla.

Giving them dust bathes too regularly can cause the chinchilla’s skin to dehydrate and get very dry.

If your chinchilla’s skin seems to be itchy, flaky, or dry, reduce the frequency and bathing time.

Please don’t leave the dust bathe in the chinchilla cage for too long, and it should only be given to the chinchilla when they need a bath.

There are several ways to tell if your chinchilla needs a bath. Check your chinchilla’s fur. If it’s excessively oily, scraggly, or rough, then it is time for the chinchillas to take a bath.

If the skin is flaky or dry, you may want to reduce the number of baths you give your chins.

Chinchillas don’t show any difficulty in understanding how to bathe correctly. Most chinchillas will jump into their dust once you put the bathtub in the cage.

You want to place your chinchilla in front of the bathe. Let them sniff the dust bath so that they are aware of what is going on.

Should You Give Chinchillas Dust Bath Every Day?

Some people let their chinchillas take a dust bath every day.

This is fine if their skin does not itch or become too dry.

a cute chinchilla

Chinchillas do not need to bathe every single day. You should remove the bath from the cage when not in use.

Otherwise, they may assume that the dust bath is a litter box.

The best time to bathe chinchillas is in the evening when they are most active.

They can bathe for as long as fifteen to twenty minutes. It is a good idea to give your chinchilla a bath when you’re cleaning their cage.

How Often Should I Replace The Dust in My Chinchilla’s Bathe?

The best thing to do is to change the dust in the bath as often as possible, but you can also use the same dust several times before discarding it.

It’s recommended to change the dust once a week.

You need to make sure your chinchilla hasn’t pooped in the dust, and if they have, it will need to be changed.

You should also check that the dust hasn’t clumped together.

What’s The Best Type of Bathtub For Chinchillas? Can You Use a Regular Bowl?

Do not use regular bowls but instead, look for a heavy and lidded container. Chinchillas can be aggressive at times when cleaning themselves. Some popular baths include the following:

Kaytee Chinchilla Bath House

dust bath

An average chinchilla requires a good size tub.

Kaytee Chinchilla Bathtub is undoubtedly an ideal house as it measures 9-inch-wide and 8.5 inches high.

It is made of plastic to allow you to watch your chinchillas take a bath and roll in the sand. The bathtub comes in different colors.

Kaytee Chinchilla Bath House, Assorted Colors, 9.25''X9''X8.5''
  • Enclosed design prevents messes and ensures quality dust bath
  • Encourages natural dust bath instincts of chinchillas
  • Includes: sample of Kaytee chinchilla bath sand
  • Colors vary, comes in assorted colors
  • Dimensions: 8.62" X 9" X 8.5"

Laak Small Creature Ceramic Bath House

dust bath

Consider the Laak Small Creature Ceramic bathtub if you are looking for a classy and modern ceramic bathhouse.

While the pen might be smaller for your chinchilla, you can let it chill around your bathroom sink. The bathhouse measures 5.9″ by 4.7″ x 5.1.”

LAAK Small Animal Pet House Adorable Shell Shape Ceramic Igloos Nest Hideout Critter Bath House Cave Mini Hut Cage for Chinchilla Hamster(Blue)…
  • Material: Made of durable chew proof ceramic material, easy to clean and resistant to odors.
  • Size: approx. 15*12*13cm/5.9"*4.7"*5.1". Please note the size of this product, ensure that it meets your pet!
  • Adorable ceramic house helps greatly to cooling, provides a cool nest for small animal to play and rest.
  • Adorable, small animals can be attracted attention and increase the fun of raising. Ideal for hamsters and similar-sized animals.
  • Unique shell shape design, it can be also used as small things storage box,Fish Tank,dog bowl or home decor.

Green Farm Chinchilla Bath House

dust bath

Some people prefer wooden baths such as the Green Farm Chinchilla Bath House.

It is a good bathhouse for your chinchillas as it is durable and sturdy. It is also an enclosed area so the dust can’t escape.

Can I Bath My Chinchilla in Water?

It would be best if you never allowed your chinchillas to bathe in water. Water will damage their fur and make it matte or clumped.

Chinchillas have about 80 hairs per follicle, and because of this, their fur can easily clump when in contact with water.

Other than that, washing chinchillas with water may expose them to sickness. This can be a big issue, especially if you live in an area where vets are not easily accessed.

Water can cause other things such as fungal, bacterial infections.

What Should I Do if my Chinchilla Gets Wet?

Once you realize that your chinchilla is wet, the first thing that you should do is to remain calm and composed.

Panicking may trigger you to do something that may injure your pet or, instead, make matters worse.

 a chinchilla in a warm blanket, why do chinchillas bathe in dust

As soon as you notice that your chinchilla is wet, you need to dry your chinchilla as soon as you can.

It’s recommended to use a dry towel to wipe your chinchilla gently.

Some people recommend using a blow dryer set on a low setting. If you do this, you need to make sure the dryer isn’t too hot and overheat your chinchilla.

We don’t recommend this. Instead, blow-dry a towel to warm it up. We wouldn’t recommend directly using it on your chinchilla if it is too hot!

This will ensure that you remove all the water from your pet and end up with a dry and healthy one.

For more detailed instructions on drying your chinchilla and what to do if they are wet, check out our article here.

How Do I Ensure My Chinchillas Remains Clean and Happy?

Chinchillas enjoy taking dust baths. That’s why there are a couple of factors to consider before giving your chins a dust bath:

Buy the Right Chinchilla Dust Bath

Dust is not the same, so it is imperative to purchase dust specially made for chinchillas.

Never use generic dust products because they may not work well with your chinchillas, even if they look and feel the same.

Chinchilla dust is exceptional, and you should only purchase from credible stores. Oxbow POOF is good bathing dust for your chinchilla.

Get The Tight Container

Chinchillas can sometimes roll in the dust aggressively, and it may cause the dust to spill out of the container.

Therefore you should choose a bowl that prevents this and is easy to clean once your chinchilla has finished taking a bath.

Look for a heavy container that cannot be flipped or tipped over.

The container should be able to store the dust well. Many chinchilla owners prefer fish bowls and plastic house-type boxes. (You can get both at your local chinchilla store or online at eBay and Amazon).

Use the Right Amount Of Dust

Pour a single layer of dust into the dust bath. Around 2 inches is enough. You can reuse the dust, but make sure to remove any dirt that might get into the container or be left by the chinchilla.

The dust needs to be replaced regularly.

Bath Your Chinchilla Only When it is Necessary

As stated earlier, bathing twice or three per week is enough for your chinchilla.

The best time for a dust bath is in the evening when the chins are social and active or when you are cleaning their cage.

Never leave the bath container in the cage. Leave it for about 20 minutes, which is more than enough time for the chinchilla to have a bath.

Otherwise, they will spread the dust all over the cage and cause a mess. Chinchillas might tip over the dust if you leave the container in the cage unattended.

FAQs

Where do I buy chinchilla dust for their bath?

You can purchase a chinchilla dust bath from pet stores or the internet. Make sure to check reviews from other online customers.

How does chinchilla dust bath work?

Dust baths help get rid of clogged-up dirt, grease, and oil from your chinchilla’s fur.

How do chinchillas bathe in the dust?

How to help your chinchilla stay clean?

Chinchillas clean themselves by rolling in the dust bath. Chinchillas wash in dust not only to clean themselves but also to have fun, which helps them to relax.

Resources

  • 1. How to Give Your Chinchilla a Dust Bath [Internet]. www.petmd.com. [cited 2022 Jan 19]. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/exotic/care/how-give-your-chinchilla-dust-bath
  • 2. Chinchillas – Heath Conditions [Internet]. vca_corporate. 2009. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/chinchillas-diseases
  • 3. Chinchilla – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics [Internet]. www.sciencedirect.com. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/chinchilla
chinchilla is taking bath in dust

Why do chinchillas bathe in the dust? Please share your opinion below!

Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own mom blog.
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