March 29, 2023 by Umair Shahid
If you are owning a chinchilla, and you are curious about its hygiene. Then this article is for you. Chinchillas take dust baths to self-clean themselves and they also love rolling over in the sand.
As a pet owner of a chinchilla, you must know that a water bath is not a safe option for your pet. Moreover, it can cause various skin diseases, and last, your pet will suffer a lot.
In this article, I am going to give you a complete guide on chinchilla self-cleaning. If you are looking for details about how, when, and why chinchillas take a dust bath. And what special type of sand is required? Or if there is a need for a sand house.
Then, here we go! All details about chinchillas dust baths are given in this article.
Why do chinchillas require dust baths?
Chinchillas are beautiful fluffy rodents. These rodents have extremely thick and dense fur. We can estimate the density of their fur by knowing the fact that they have almost 80 hair per follicle. Other organisms have only one hair per follicle. This fact makes their fur extremely thick and soft.
These fur coats are because of their natural habitat high up in the mountains. These coats protect them from extreme cold and minimize loss of heat.
So, I am giving you these details to tell you that sand baths are necessary for your pet’s hygiene. Surprised? How can dust provide hygiene? In the next few paragraphs, I am explaining it briefly.
Chinchillas require dust baths for their self-grooming process. They roll in the dust to clean themselves.
Their dense fur can only get deep cleaning through the dust. Dust penetrates through the soft fur and cleans all the germs and all other things that we should clean regularly.
Dust absorbs all the oil present on the skin of chinchillas which can damage their skin if not removed. Dust baths are necessary for a chinchilla to remain clean and healthy.
In addition to the purpose of cleaning, they also love to roll and jump in the sand. So, it is a proper source of entertainment for them. They love flopping in dust or sand. This is part of their natural grooming.
How to give your pet a dust bath?
The first thing you need is a large and spacious container in which your pet can roll, jump and enjoy easily. The next thing you have to focus on while buying a container is that it should not tip off when your chinchilla is jumping and enjoying.
All you need to do is to place your chinchilla in that container with dust. Don’t overfill the container. Then, watch your pet enjoying and rolling over and doing all the fun stuff. They love their dust baths.
Things required for dust baths.
The first and most important thing you should have is chinchilla dust. Chinchilla doesn’t bathe in normal dust. A special type of chinchilla dust is required for their dust bath. It looks like fine grey sand. I would recommend you Kaytee chinchilla dust.
Another alternative to chinchilla dust is chinchilla bath sand. That sand is 100% natural volcanic mountain sand. And it is easy to use and has many other benefits.
In addition to this, you need a bathhouse. The bathhouse should be spacious in that your chinchilla can enjoy and roll. That bathhouse should be made up of a plastic or ceramic house in which your chinchilla can roll, flip and slip.
The enclosed bathhouse would be a more suitable option because it ensures complete cleanliness of the chinchilla and it creates less mess. Complete exposure to chinchillas with dust is necessary for the proper cleaning of their fur coats.
The amount of sand requires depends upon the size of your chinchilla. But giving you a rough estimate, place about a half-inch of chinchilla dust in the bottom of the bathhouse.
Recommended time and frequency
It depends upon the climate in which you are having your pet chinchilla. If you are living in a dry environment then, you should dust bath your pet 1 to 2 times per week. The duration should be no more than 10 to 15 minutes per session.
If you’re living in a humid climate, the duration should be a minimum of 2 to 4 times per week. The duration per session should be 15 to 30 minutes.
Water baths for chinchillas
Chinchillas’ fur is very dense and they have at least 80 hair per follicle. It’s not good for your pet’s health to get it wet. Due to various reasons, water is not suitable for chinchillas’ health.
If you wash your chinchilla with normal water, it would be almost impossible to dry the coat deep into the skin.
As a result, a wet coat could be led to fungal infections and even mold. In addition, this wet coat could make your chinchilla lose body temperature faster and it can get sick.
What will happen if Chinchilla takes a dust bath frequently?
Extreme dust bathing can lead to dry skin of your chinchilla and other skin diseases. Never place a dust bathhouse in your chinchilla’s cage. They will roll in the sand all the time and even can use it as a litter box.
How often do baby chinchillas need dust baths?
Baby chinchillas also need regular dust baths for their self-cleaning. They need dust baths the same as adult ones but it is somehow difficult for very young pets. In the start, they just need 1 to 2 times per week. But you can increase this frequency to 2 to 4 times which is ideal for older chinchillas.
Do chinchillas need special dust?
Yes, they do need a special type of dust. This dust or sand can be bought easily from pet stores. Normal dust can be unhygienic and it can cause several infections and even fleas and ticks.
Chinchillas need dust baths properly and regularly for their self-grooming process as well as for their self-cleaning.
Dust absorbs moisture and cleans the fur deep into the skin. Water is not a good idea for chinchillas’ health because it can be led to severe bacterial and fungal infections.
If your chinchilla over bath can lead to dryness of the skin then you have to visit your vet. Don’t ever place a dust bathhouse in a chinchillas cage otherwise, your pet will roll and flip all the time and can even use it as a litter box and this will add a lot to your to-do list.
I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.