Why Do Chinchillas Bathe in Dust? Dust Type, Water and More Info

a chinchilla inside a cage

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

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

Why Do Chinchillas Bathe In Dust?

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

Chinchillas are clean animals and because of their extremely dense coat and unable to regulate their body temperate 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 was to get too cold it leaves them vulnerable to illnesses.

Chinchillas have up to 80 hairs per each hair follicle which is a very large amount when compared to other animals.

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

Dust baths removes excessive moistures, oils, and dirt from the chinchilla’s fur coat and keep their coat clean.

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

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

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 bath tub is set up, put the chinchillas in the bathtub, and leave the rest to the chinchilla.

Chinchillas usually know what to do when you place them in a bath container. You only need to let them enjoy their bath to keep 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 if it becomes dirty it is time to replace the dust.

How Often Do Chinchillas Need Dust Baths?

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

It’s very important 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.

Don’t leave the dust bathe in the chinchilla cage for too long and 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, or 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 bath 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 as long as their skin does not itch or become too dry.

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 give chinchillas bath is in the evening when they are most active. They can bath 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 you can, but you can also use the same dust several times before you discard 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 

An average chinchilla requires a good size tub. Kaytee Chinchilla Bathtub (Click here to check the price on Amazon) is certainly an ideal house as it measures 9-inch-wide and 8.5 inch high. It is made of plastic to allow you to watch your chinchillas take bath and roll in the sand. The bathtub comes in different colors.



Laak Small Creature Ceramic Bath House

If you are looking for a classy and modern ceramic bath house, consider the Laak Small Creature Ceramic bathtub. 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.”

Green Farm Chinchilla Bath House

Some people prefer wooden baths such as the Green Farm Chinchilla Bath House. (Click here to check the price on Amazon) It is a good bath house 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?

You should never allow your chinchillas to bath 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?

The first thing that you should do once you realize that your chinchilla is wet is to remain calm and composed. Panicking may trigger you to do something that may injure your pet or rather make matters worse.

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 that is set on a low setting. If you do this you need to make sure the dryer isn’t too hot and doesn’t overheat your chinchilla. We don’t recommend this. Instead, blow try and towel to warm it up. We wouldn’t recommend to directly use it on your chinchilla in case it is too hot!

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

For more detailed instructions on how to dry 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, and so, it is imperative to purchase dust which is specially made for chinchillas.

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

Chinchilla dust is exceptional, and you should only purchase from credible stores. Oxbow POOF is a good bathing dust for your chinchilla. (Click here to check the price on Amazon).

Get the right 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 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 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.

Related Questions:

Where do I buy chinchilla dust for their bath? You can purchase a chinchilla dust bath from pet stores or on the internet. Make sure to check reviews from other online customers.

How does chinchilla dust bath work? Dust baths help to get rid of clogged up dirt and grease and oil from your chinchilla’s fur.

How do chinchillas bathe in dust? 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.

Charlotte Silcock

Charlotte lives in the United Kingdom and has worked in animal shelters looking after small animals. She owns a hamster as well as a dog and a cat and hopes to spread her knowledge about rodents to help other pet owners.

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