Why Do Chinchillas Take Dust Baths?

A regular dust bath is an absolute necessity for all chinchillas (and degus, too). Taking a vigorous dust bath is one of their natural behaviors and it is how chinchillas keep their lush coats clean and healthy. Not only does a dust bath help to keep their thick fur smooth and silky, it is thought to be relaxing and fun for chinchillas. Chinchillas really get into their baths, rolling and flipping in the dust with great abandon. If you have never seen a chinchilla in a dust bath be sure to look up some videos of them rolling around in one.

Why can you not get a chinchilla wet?

Your chinchilla has 80 hairs in each follicle — quite a lot more than your one hair per follicle. If you were to get your chin’s dense fur wet, it could clump up and mat. On top of that, if your chinchilla gets wet, he could lose body heat quickly and easily become chilled, leaving him vulnerable to getting sick.

Can I leave dust bath in chinchilla cage?

The dust bath should only be made available to the chinchilla intermittently, rather than left in the cage indefinitely. Too much bathing can dry their skin out and if the dust is left in the cage, chinchillas will often sit in the bathtub and/or use it as a litter box.

What is the point of dust baths?

Dust bathing (also called sand bathing) is an animal behavior characterized by rolling or moving around in dust, dry earth or sand, with the likely purpose of removing parasites from fur, feathers or skin. Dust bathing is a maintenance behavior performed by a wide range of mammalian and avian species.

What happens if you bathe a chinchilla in water?

What Happens if You Get a Chinchilla Wet? If a chinchilla gets wet, the fur is so dense that it does an excellent job of holding the moisture in. The fur therefore takes a very long time to dry and, if the moisture stays in it long enough, fungi can start to multiply and cause a skin infection.

It might seem odd that the soft and fluffy chinchilla cleans itself by bathing in dust. However, these adorable pet rodents actually need weekly sessions in volcanic ash to keep their fur healthy.

Check your chinchilla’s skin frequently as signs of flaking can mean they’re too dry and bathing too often. Other materials like sand or powders like talc will not work well and will not help them stay clean and healthy.

This is a good option for containing a mess but will need a larger cage to fit in compared to the All Living Things bath. The Living World Chinchilla Bath House has an adorable “turtle” shape, and the design helps to keep more dust toward the middle of the bowl and away from the sides. It’s made from plastic so it’s easy to clean and the clear lid helps to keep a dusty mess from blowing around the cage.

A chinchilla will need regular dust baths weekly to keep their fur and skin healthy.

Why do chinchillas take dust baths? Discover why chinchillas need dust baths, the best dust to buy for a chinchilla dust bath, and special dust bath houses.

Just in case you havent seen it before, theres also a super cute chinchilla dust bath video at the end. If you decide to make a purchase from one of the links marked by an asterisk, we may earn a small commission on that sale.

One of the things that make chinchillas so special are their extremely dense and soft fur coats. They developed these coats in their natural habitat, high up in the cold and arid Andes mountain ranges of Northern Chile. The dust bath removes all the dirt, loose hair, moisture and oil from their coats keeping their fur clean, soft and luxurious.

Precisely because a chinchillas coat is so dense, its never a good idea to get it wet. If you were to try and wash your chinchilla in regular water, it would be incredibly difficult to dry the coat completely right down to their skin. A wet coat could lead to a bacterial or fungal infections, not to mention how it could make your chinchilla lose body temperature quickly.

Use a slightly damp hand towel to wipe the sticky substance clean. Firstly you need a container thats big enough for your pet to fit into comfortably and that wont tip over while he does his cute spinning to-and-fro. Theyre awake and active from dusk till dawn and so the best time for their dust bath is usually in the evening.

This should be increased in very hot and humid weather to keep your pets coat dry. It can penetrate all the way down to your chinchillas skin to remove excess oils and moisture. Over time the dust gets full of oil, dirt, hair even urine and poop and wont work effectively.

You can get a range of different containers specially designed to help your chinchilla have a lovely dust bath. The dust bath allows your pet to groom themselves just like they would in the wild, keeping them clean and healthy.

Chinchillas are cute, fluffy pets with the softest fur youll probably ever feel. Their unique fur is so soft because of the abundant, fine hair follicles. With up to around 80 hairs per follicle, their dense coat is not meant to get wet because it can be hard to completely dry. The best way to keep their fur healthy and clean is by providing the right resources for your chinchilla to self-clean. While humans use water and soap, all these pets need is a bath container with the proper dust or sand. Dust baths are a chinchillas way of staying clean and healthy.

Dust for Chinchilla Baths

Always use store-bought chinchilla dust for bathing your chinchilla. This dust is specifically made for chinchillas and for this purpose. When the chinchillas roll in this dust, it penetrates their coat down to the skin and absorbs oil and dirt from the fur which in turn keeps the coat clean. Other powders or sand may look or feel similar but they just won’t work the same way. Chinchilla dust is made to mimic what they would have access to in their native habitat (in the wild they use volcanic pumice). The dust should be at least a couple of inches deep in whatever container you use so that the chinchilla can effectively roll in it.

Chinchilla Dust Bath Bathtubs

A heavy, tip-resistant bowl or deep dish can be used as a bathtub for your chinchilla’s dust baths and it should be slightly larger than your chinchilla to allow room to roll. Glass fish bowls or canisters can be used and work well. Also, a plastic house-type container with a rounded bottom can be purchased at the pet store and are designed for this purpose.Fish bowls and the plastic house-type baths have the advantage of being fairly enclosed, which can help minimize the amount of dust flying around the room. Sand will be thrown everywhere during the bath but this is just part of having a chinchilla. Using a covered bath can help, but your chinchilla will still shake and groom after a dust bath, resulting in a fine layer of dust on everything around your chinchilla. Invest in a good duster and remind yourself that you are being a good chinchilla owner by providing regular baths. The remaining sand in the bathtub can be reused for a time, as long as any waste matter is removed.

How Chinchillas Bathe

The dust in the chinchilla’s bath helps to remove oils on their skin and makes their fur softer. Using water to clean their fur will not work, as their very dense fur takes a very long time to dry fully. Damp fur can lead to health problems like mold and infections. Avoid getting your chinchilla wet and use the dust bath method instead.

The Chinchilla Bath Bowl or House

In order to give them a “bath”, you will need a bowl large enough for the chinchilla to roll around in. It also should be heavy enough that the chinchilla can’t knock it over when they’re rolling around excitedly. Ideally the bowl should also have high sides to keep as much dust in the bowl as possible which will mean less clean up for you. Some options can be a small fish bowl, plastic shoe-sized container, or a heavy stoneware or ceramic serving bowl. You can also purchase a “bath house” for your chinchilla.

Making a Homemade Chinchilla Dust Bath

When looking for a chinchilla bath dust for your pet, look for brands that are made specifically for chinchillas.

Why do chinchillas dust bath?

One of the things that make chinchillas so special are their extremely dense and soft fur coats. Whereas you and I have only one hair growing out of each hair follicle, chinchillas have 50-75 hairs in each follicle.They developed these coats in their natural habitat, high up in the cold and arid Andes mountain ranges of Northern Chile. The thick fur protected them against loss of heat and moisture.Also in their natural habitat, chinchillas had access to volcanic ash. They kept their fur clean by rolling around in this fine dust. Much as we would use dry shampoo.So the answer to the question “Why do chinchillas take dust baths?” is that flopping around in the dust is their natural grooming process. The dust bath removes all the dirt, loose hair, moisture and oil from their coats – keeping their fur clean, soft and luxurious.You may be wondering whether you can’t simply bath your chinchilla now that they’re kept as pets where there is enough water around.

Why can’t chinchillas just bathe in water?

Precisely because a chinchilla’s coat is so dense, it’s never a good idea to get it wet.If you were to try and wash your chinchilla in regular water, it would be incredibly difficult to dry the coat completely right down to their skin. This could spell disaster for your pet’s health and skin.A wet coat could lead to a bacterial or fungal infections, not to mention how it could make your chinchilla lose body temperature quickly.What if your pet chinchilla gets something sticky in his coat? Use a slightly damp hand towel to wipe the sticky substance clean. Be sure to just clean his surface coat.So now that you know why you need to provide a chinchilla dust bath let’s have a look at the how, where and when.

What is chinchilla dust?

The Chinchilla dust available from pet shops or your vet is a special kind of dust which is similar to the volcanic dust in their natural habitat. It can penetrate all the way down to your chinchilla’s skin to remove excess oils and moisture.It cannot be substituted with similar looking dust or sand. This will irritate your pet’s skin and eyes and eventually damage their fur.Most of the commercially available dust comes from the Blue Cloud Mine in Southern California as it’s the closest dust to the volcanic ash in their natural habitat.

Kaytee Chinchilla Dust

Kaytee Chinchilla Dust* is a popular choice.The bottle is well designed with a lovely picture of a chinchilla!

Oxbow Poof! Chinchilla Dust

As is Oxbow Poof Chinchilla Dust*.You’ve got to love that little face on the bottle!Usually you can use the same dust for more than one bath – just clean out any dirt and top it up. Over time the dust gets full of oil, dirt, hair – even urine and poop – and won’t work effectively. So you need to change it once you notice that it’s becoming dirty and clumpy.

Best chinchilla dust bath house

While you can use any sturdy container for your pet’s dust bath you may find a specially designed bath house more convenient. A semi-enclosed or enclosed dust house will help to reduce the amount of dust that’s kicked around in your home.You can get a range of different containers specially designed to help your chinchilla have a lovely dust bath.

Kaytee plastic chinchilla dust bath

This plastic chinchilla dust bath* by Kaytee is easy to wash and keeps all of the dust inside.It’s perfect for your chinchilla!

Wooden Chinchilla Dust Bath

This wooden chinchilla dust bath* is in a similar shape with a different look.

Chinchilla dust bath video

Are you are curious to see what the whole process looks like? Then check out this fun video here:If you watch carefully you will be able to identify the three phases of a dust bath. First they dig in the sand and pull it towards their body, then they rub their cheeks in the sand and finally, the spin, that looks like such fun.Notice how happy the chinchilla appears when spinning about in the chinchilla bath dust. Surely it’s just as good for their mental health as for their coat.

Chinchilla dust bath – Summary

Hopefully you now have all the answers to your question “Why do chinchillas take dust baths?”. The dust bath allows your pet to groom themselves just like they would in the wild, keeping them clean and healthy.You need to help your chinchilla have regular dust baths for 10-15 minutes at a time when they’re awake and active.For this you need a suitable container and specialized dust – and to keep the dust-cloth handy.Do you have a pet chinchilla that loves their dust bathing? We would love to hear your experiences in the comments section below!

Why Do They Take Dust Baths?

The dust bath routine is not only a self-cleaning behavior, they also love it. Chinchillas have a fun time rolling around and doing flips in the dust.