Most of the time, owning chinchillas is nothing but fun, laughs, and entertainment. Not to mention an extremely soft and loving pet to own. However, what is often not discussed is how to maintain that soft fur and keep your chinchilla clean and their overall hygiene at top-notch quality.
It’s an extremely important part of being a chinchilla owner and it’s not very difficult to accomplish. With a few tips, words of advice and best practices, you can be well on your way towards always keeping your chinchilla as clean as a whistle, healthy and even your chinchilla’s cage at peak cleanliness.
That’s what it’s all about right?
I know. It’s not very fun to discuss but unfortunately, when I adopted my chinchilla I was looking for answers and best practices to implement and never stumbled into the best information. At the very least, the information I did find was very entertaining or easy to read.
Then, Planet Chinchilla was born, and I figured it was time for me to give my two cents on how to keep your chinchillas hygiene at peak levels and what practices to implement to do so.
Okay, enough rambling. Let’s dive into the details and break down exactly what’s needed for you to take your chinchilla’s fur to show quality and have your chinchilla as clean as possible.
How Clean Are Chinchillas?
A lot of people before they even adopt probably are wondering this exact same question. Are chinchillas really that clean?
The answer is a very loud yes. Chinchillas are very clean animals.
Heck, chinchillas don’t even smell under most circumstances. Of course, exceptions apply but it’s hard to find a family pet that you can adopt that rarely produces any odor.
Additionally, chinchillas have hard nuggets for poop with no odor and steps can be taken to ensure urine doesn’t become a factor with odor in the future.
If you don’t believe me, you need to make sure to check out my post that breaks down how clean chinchillas are compared to other animals that you can see here. It’s incredible.
It takes nothing more than a routine, plenty of the correctly formulated chinchilla dust and a bowl to roll in (we will cover this shortly)
That’s right people. Chinchillas are extremely clean animals. One of the cleanest animals you can likely adopt and own. The rest of this post is going to break it down further for you and advise you of some critical tips you can implement to take your chinchillas hygiene to the next level.
Be sure to stick around for just a few more minutes for the details.
How to Keep Your Chinchilla Clean
Now we know how clean chinchillas are but how do we keep them so clean? Another big positive about owning a chinchilla is that it doesn’t get much easier to keep an animal clean. For a chinchilla, we need to ensure that we have the correct chinchilla dust and a bowl to get the job done.
Of course, a few other factors that we will cover in this post are also important but a chinchilla dust bath and a routine with the dust bath is by far the most important piece of the equation for keeping your chinchilla clean. Here’s a look at the specifics.
Dust Baths and The Proper Care
A chinchilla dust bath is necessary and is nearly identical to how chinchillas remain clean in the wild. It’s also how to keep a chinchilla fur healthy, silky and not overly oily. Another important factor about a chinchilla dust bath is the pure fact that chinchillas love it, relax and they enjoy every minute of it.
Don’t Purchase the Wrong Chinchilla Dust
This is something that hopefully isn’t overlooked often but it surely gets overlooked from time to time. You must ensure you purchase the correct dust for your chinchilla to take a bath in. It’s easy to do this. Just ensure it’s purchase from a reputable vendor such as Amazon or in a Pet Store.
The labels will say “chinchilla dust” to make things simple. It is typically a light grey sand-like substance and comes in a plastic container. Chinchilla dust is specifically formulated to penetrate the fur and remove oil and dirt which in turn is what your chinchilla needs to remain healthy and clean.
Using another knock-off brand dust isn’t going to effectively work to clean your chinchillas’ fur and can eventually lead to overly oily fur and potential fungus infections and other illnesses. Additionally, the correctly formulated chinchilla dust strongly resembles how chinchillas clean themselves in the wild.
You also need to always be placing an adequate amount of dust in the bowl. A small layer won’t give them enough to roll around in to get the job done effectively. I always use 2-3 inches of dust in a big kitchen bowl that I no longer needed in my kitchen.
Once I place the dust in the bowl and place it on the floor, all that’s left to do is open the door on the cage, allow your chinchilla out for playtime and allow them to roll around and have a blast. They will take care of the rest of the work.
Except for vacuuming and cleaning up the excess dust of course but that takes all of 3-5 minutes with a shop-vacuum and a Swiffer wet jet. Seriously, it doesn’t get easier than this.
Avoiding Water Always
In addition to only using dust to bathe your chinchilla, a critical piece to ensuring your chinchilla remains healthy, never develops un-needed illnesses and doesn’t potentially die is ensuring that your chinchilla is never bathed in water.
It’s a big no-no and can cause some major issues to your chinchillas’ fur and health.
This is due to your chinchillas’ fur being much to dense to handle water. A chinchilla having more than 60 hairs per follicle makes water a recipe for disaster. A chinchilla will not be able to dry adequately and can easily develop a respiratory infection or other illnesses if they are exposed to water.
Keep That Fur Pretty and Soft with the Proper Frequency
Up next on the to-do list is ensuring that you not only offer your chinchilla a dust bath but ensuring that you offer your chinchilla a dust bath frequently enough. This should be every 2-3 days at most. Which makes the math simple. Your chinchilla should be taking a dust bath at least once every 2-3 days.
Any less than this and when the improper humidity levels are present during certain times of the year can lead to poor health for your chinchilla’s fur and lead to further issues in the future if you don’t stay proactive about this.
Again, offering your chinchilla a dust bath is a very easy task and shouldn’t be much of an issue for you. If 10-15 minutes of your time is too much to ask, then you have a good indicator that perhaps, you don’t need to be adopting a chinchilla in the first place.
Hate to break it to you but it’s the truth.
Unfortunately, your work isn’t quite complete. You still need to do a few other small things to make sure your chinchilla’s hygiene stays at peak levels. No worries however, it’s also very easy to complete the task.
Here’s the scoop.
Keeping the Cage Clean Is Equally as Important
Here it comes. The cage cleaning process. I don’t need to go into a great long lecture about this topic. If you need the full details, you can begin by reading my post about how often you need to clean a chinchilla cage here.
The most important thing to mention is that cleaning the chinchilla cage is one of the most significant factors in keeping your chinchilla clean and healthy. Urine soaked bedding needs to be removed and you don’t want wood that’s been chewed into shavings sitting around the cage.
Of course, you also will have all the poop nuggets around the cage. A great tip I can give you about avoiding more of a mess is to read my post about keeping chinchilla poop inside the cage here.
It’s just a small extra bit of knowledge and trial and error that I wanted to afford you purely out of gratitude for being loyal readers and visitors to Planet Chinchilla.
On the topic of cleaning your chinchilla cage, I like to point out that this is not a one time a month deal. It needs to be completed several times a week and this is critical. Urine soaked fleece or bedding could cause other oils and damage to your chinchillas’ fur. Not to mention potential fungus infections.
Clearly, this is something we want to avoid at all at cost. All it takes is a routine and the more you do it the easier every cage cleaning moving forward will be for you. It’s as easy as 1,2,3.
Especially if you are well organized and plan of time.
For me, I shop-vacuum the poop out of the cage daily and use fleece liners (we will touch on this shortly) that I wash once a week to ensure no urine or odor is present in the cage. Outside of this, you are nearing the finish line for ensuring your chinchilla has great hygiene and remains clean and healthy.
Additional Cage Cleaning Tips
In addition to the tips we have already discussed, you can also do a few other things to keep the cage clean as often as possible. Here’s a look at three more tips I always have for you to keep the cage clean.
- Never place the dust bowl and dust bath inside the cage (this is an outside the cage activity)
- Remove chewed wood items such as chew sticks and hanging toys daily
- Wipe down shelves and hiding boxes with vinegar/water mixed towel weekly
Don’t Ignore Fleece Liners When Possible
Fleece liners are one of the newer additions I’ve stumbled upon recently. It’s been a huge benefit inside of my chinchilla’s cage. I never have to purchase bedding anymore and I know it’s better on my chin’s little feet.
It also helps greatly in keeping the smell to a minimum. Unfortunately, unless you know how to make your own fleece liners, you may run into issues finding the best liners for your cage trays if you don’t purchase the Critter Nation 2 cage.
It’s currently the cage I use. Additionally, if you are a bit leery about the safety of fleece for your chinchilla, you can begin by reading my post about fleece liners and if they are safe for chinchillas here.
It should help to put your mind at ease on the topic.
Fleece liners only need to be washed in cold water once a week and air-dried if you have 1 chinchilla and a few times per week if you have two chinchillas present in the cage.
You can find the exact fleece liners I use on Amazon using the link I previously mentioned and visiting my post purely dedicated to explaining the benefits of fleece liners.
Poop and Pee Are the Biggest Hassles with Chinchillas
This is by far where most of the complaints likely come from when you speak to chinchilla owners and keeping everything clean. Chinchilla poop happens all the time. So much so that I had to make a post dedicated to speaking about how often chinchillas’ poop that you can read here.
This isn’t anything to get to worked up over. Again, chinchilla poop is very easy to clean and a broom and dustpan or a shop vacuum will be your best friend to keep the cage clean daily. I always keep the shop vacuum next to my chinchilla’s cage.
I turn it on, take care of business and then I’m done for the day until my weekly larger cage cleaning. It’s that easy and nothing to worry about.
Additionally, the urine issue is greatly reduced using my fleece liner trick and even more so if you use my next trick which is breaking down the ability to potty train a chinchilla.
Don’t Ignore the Ability to Potty Train
This is taking your chinchilla’s hygiene to the next level and really turning up the ability for your chinchilla to be at peak cleanliness. This isn’t the easiest task to complete. You must be willing to put some time into the process.
You need room for the litter training pan you also need to purchase critter litter to get the job done. I have a full post breaking down how to potty a train a chinchilla that you can see here if that’s something you are looking to do.
Chinchillas Are Great for Allergy Prone Pet Owners
Compared to any other animals, it’s minimal.
Additionally, due to a chinchilla’s dense fur, you don’t have to worry about your chinchilla getting anything such as fleas.
For the full details about when and if a chinchilla can get fleas, read my other post here.
Chinchilla owners report that the only issues that they encounter when it comes to allergies are the dust a chinchilla uses to bathe in can sometimes activate the sniffles and some allergies for certain individuals but for the most part, this shouldn’t be a significant concern and nothing to sweat.
It’s All Easier Than You Think to Maintain Your Chinchillas Hygiene
If I haven’t made it clear by this point in this post, I want to do so now. Chinchillas are easy to keep clean and it doesn’t require much. This post may have made you think the opposite but once you adopt a chinchilla, you will realize what I’m talking about.
It’s extremely straightforward and easy to get the job done.
Final Word, Chinchilla Hygiene Is Important but Extremely Easy
At the end of the day, chinchillas are clean animals mostly by themselves.
They self-groom themselves and do a good job retaining the soft and friendly pet we all have grown to love. However, keeping up with the tips we have laid out in this post can always help your chinchilla to remain clean and healthy.
After a few short weeks of implementing everything laid out for you in this post, you will become an expert on the topic as well.
When that happens, be sure to share your stories and additional concerns by dropping a comment below. If you feel I have left out anything important about your chinchilla’s hygiene or ability to remain clean, be sure to drop a comment below as well.
If not, as always, me and “chili” appreciate you stopping by and reading. We will catch you next time.