Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Do Chinchillas Take Dust Baths?

short-tailed chinchilla

A regular dust bath is essential for all chinchillas. Taking a healthy dust bath is one of their innate behaviors, and it is how chinchillas keep their thick fur clean and healthy. A dust bath helps keep their dense coat smooth and silky, and it is also known to be fun and relaxing for chinchillas.

Chinchillas get into their bathtubs, rolling and flipping in the dust with great impulse. It is crucial to provide the proper supplies and offer the right care for your chinchilla as a pet owner.divider-chinchilla

How Often Should Chinchillas Take a Dust Baths?

Your chinchilla only requires a couple of dust baths every week. Therefore, make sure your chinchilla doesn’t have continuous access to the dust bath. Place the dust bath two to three days a week, so your chinchillas can bathe themselves.

In addition, each bath should only take 10 to 15 minutes. Observe your chinchilla during the dust bath and ensure you remove the tub after the allocated time.

Too long or too frequent dust baths can dry out your chinchilla’s skin. Because the dust baths are helping eliminate oil, too regular baths could clear out all of their oil.

There are several ways to know whether your chinchilla requires a bath. Check their fur. If it is unduly scraggly and oily or rough, then it is time for your chinchillas to take a bath. However, if the skin is dry or flaky, you may need to reduce the number of baths you give your chinchillas.

Chinchillas don’t display any strain in understanding how to bathe correctly. Most of them will jump into their dust once you place the bathtub in the cage.

How Chinchillas Bathe

Using water to clean chinchilla’s fur will not work since their dense fur takes too long to dry completely. Avoid getting your chinchilla wet and instead use the dust bath method.

Use only commercially purchased chinchilla dust, as it is made to mimic the dust in their natural habitat. When your chinchillas roll in this dust, it penetrates their coat down to the skin and absorbs dirt and oil from the fur, which keeps the coat clean and healthy.

The Chinchilla Bathtub or House

To bath your chinchillas, you will require a container big enough for them to roll around in. In addition, it should be heavy enough to make sure the chinchilla cannot knock it over when they are excitedly spinning around.

The container should preferably have tall sides to hold as much dust in the tub as possible, which means less cleaning for you. Some options may include a plastic shoe-sized container, ceramic serving container bowl, small fishbowl, or heavy stoneware bowl. However, if you want something firm and durable, consider buying a bathhouse for your chinchilla.

Here is how to give your chinchilla a dust bath step-by-step.

The best time to bathe your chinchilla is at night since they are twilight and will be more awake during the late evening.

  • First, fill your bathhouse or container about 2 inches deep with chinchilla bath dust and place it in your pet’s cage.
  • Once the bathhouse is set up, place the chinchilla in the container and leave it. Your chinchilla will take care of the rest as they will naturally know to roll around and have fun while cleaning themselves in the dust.
  • Allow the chinchilla to roll around and have fun in the dust for at least 5 to 15 minutes. You should not leave it longer since the chinchilla can dry their skin out if they roll in the dust for a long time. In addition, they might use it as a litter box when left in the case too long.
  • Remove the bathtub from the cage. Ensure to get rid of any debris from the dust and throw it away.

You can put the dust on a container or plastic bag and reuse it a few more times. Once the dust is filthy and full of clumps, it is time to find a fresh batch of dust.

How Often Should You Replace the Dust in Your Chinchilla’s Bathtub

The best thing to do is to replace the dust in the bath container as many times as possible. However, you can use the same dust several times before discarding it.

It is recommended to replace the dust once per week.

However, check frequently to make sure your chinchilla has not defecated in the dust. Depending on how long your chinchillas bathe or how nervous they are while bathing, your chinchilla might poop a lot in their dust baths.

Some may poop once every two or three baths, so make sure to wash and clean the bowl regularly.

Why Can’t Chinchillas Bathe in the Water?

When it comes to chinchillas, these miniature creatures cannot take baths like normal fur-bearing pets. The reason is that chinchillas particularly have thick, compounded fur. Although it is possible to give your chinchillas an occasional water splash on their coat, it will take some while for the skin to dry, even if it is a small amount of water.

If you bathe a chinchilla in water, it may take an extended period for the far to dry completely. Dump fur could potentially cause a bacterial infection on the chinchilla’s skin, leading to a chain of health issues. Therefore, it is crucial only to give your furry friend dust baths but not regular baths.

divider-chinchilla

Final Thoughts

Chinchillas instinctively love taking dust baths, and it can keep their skin and fur fresh and healthy. In addition, it is an adorable sight to watch. The dust is meant to imitate the volcanic ash chinchillas would use in their natural habitat to eliminate dirt and oil from the fur.

Chinchillas should not be bathed in water to avoid fungal infections and other health problems. Luckily, they are self-cleaning pets and don’t require too much assistance to stay soft and fresh.

Just provide the dust in a secure bathtub for 10 minutes or so frequently a week. They will enjoy the fun, and you will enjoy the cute.


Featured Image Credit: benjamingross83, Pixabay

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets