Why Do Chinchillas Bathe in Dust? [Easy Answer +3 Tips]


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I’m sure if you are a new chinchilla owner you are probably curious about many things and want to know the best approach to keeping your chinchilla clean and healthy.

It’s just the nature of being a pet owner.

We wall want to take care of our chinchillas the very best we can.

I had a specific question as well in the beginning.

Why do chinchillas bathe in the dust?

After owning a chinchilla for several years, here’s what information and insight I can provide on this topic.

So why do chinchillas bathe in the dust? Chinchillas take dust baths because it’s what they are accustomed to in the wild and it’s the best solution for their dense fur. Due to having such a dense coat of fur, dust bathes help a chinchilla to absorb natural oils and dust keeps the fur and coat clean and healthy. Chinchilla’s can’t handle getting wet with a traditional bath and water. Always use chinchilla formulated dust to keep your chinchilla clean.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Our brilliant pets found a way to find natural dust in the wild to freshen up and it’s the same approach you have to take as a new chinchilla owner.

In this specific post, I want to give you more details on this subject.

In fact, I’ve created easy to navigate links directly below that you can use to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire to learn more about:

Here’s what’s on the agenda for today:

This post from beginning to end is about a 2-minute read.

As stated before, if you are in a hurry, use the links above to skip to the section you need specific information for.

Otherwise…

Let’s dive into some more specifics and give you a full-scope view of how to properly bath your chinchilla in the dust to keep that fur silky, clean and healthy.

Here is what you need to know.

Why Do Chinchillas Take Dust Baths?

I was clueless about this as well in the beginning.

Why do chinchillas take dust baths?

What kind of dust do chinchillas bathe in?

What is the best chinchilla dust?

All three of these questions popped to mind immediately before and during the early days of my first chinchilla adoption.

Let’s start with the first question.

Why do chinchilla’s take dust baths?

As stated previously, chinchilla doesn’t know anything else or any other method for remaining clean.

Luckily, this works out perfectly because no other method for bathing a chinchilla is advised.

Chinchillas specifically rolled themselves in dust in the wild to remain clean and to absorb oils for their fur.

Their fur is much too dense to tolerate water.

In fact, water could cause illness or death for a chinchilla.

Their fur simply can’t dry due to being so dense.

Period.

If that’s the case, as a new chinchilla owner, what can you do to accommodate and maintain a clean and healthy chinchilla?

Good thing you asked because that’s the next subject of this discussion.

What Kind of Dust Do Chinchillas Bathe In?

I’m going to keep this as simple as possible.

Don’t overthink this.

You should always use store-purchased dust.

It is specifically created for chinchillas for the direct purpose of bathing.

Store-purchased dust will resemble the natural way chinchillas bathe in the wild.

Chinchilla dust is usually composed of volcanic ash.

I personally use the Blue Beauty Chinchilla Dust (Link to Amazon).

It can be purchased in large containers that will last a few weeks if you afford your chinchilla 2-3 dust baths per week.

I typically place an order for 2 at a time and then restart the following month.

It makes life easy for me and my chinchilla but ultimately, that’s up to you.

Keep one thing in mind.

Dust is dust. 

It can be messy if you allow your chinchilla to free-roll in the dust like a maniac.

Luckily, chinchilla dust bathhouses exist to fix this problem and they do a fantastic job.

Let’s touch on those specifics briefly.

Finding and Using The Best Chinchilla Dust Bath House

For the most part, finding the best chinchilla dust bath house comes down to personal preference more than anything.

One significant recommendation I can provide is to ensure it’s relatively enclosed.

For starters, your chinchilla loves the enclosure, feels safe and it helps contain the dust inside of the bathhouse.

This, in turn, makes clean-up very easy to complete.

Outside of that, have some fun with it.

If you have a female chinchilla, perhaps you choose a pink chinchilla dust bathhouse.

If you have a male, have some fun and go with a male colored dust bathhouse.

I personally use two different dust baths.

Don’t feel obligated to have several of these small bathhouses.

I simply knew I wanted to try a few for the purpose of this blog.

My favorite chinchilla dust bathhouse hands down are the Kaytee Chinchilla Bath House (Link to Amazon).

I like that they are slightly larger compared to the image you see below and your chinchilla can roll as crazy as they prefer and the cleanup is minimal.

Obviously, as stated previously, have some fun with this and choose your own but I would definitely recommend sticking with the dust bath house previously mentioned.

Common Mistakes To Avoid With Your Chinchilla Dust Baths

Other dust-like substances have been tried and don’t get the job done for your chinchilla.

Don’t try using sand or other dust-like substances.

It’s an easy process picking the correct dust for your chinchilla.

Any dust designed specifically for chinchillas and commercially purchased will get the job done.

Anything that doesn’t fall into this category, should be avoided.

It’s that simple my friends.

Another common mistake is placing the dust bath container inside of the chinchilla cage.

In theory, this isn’t the end of the world but should still be avoided for a few reasons.

First and most importantly, it’s going to prematurely dirty up your chinchilla cage and requires more frequent cage cleanings.

Secondly, a chinchilla dust bath is perhaps a chinchillas favorite activity.

It’s recommended to keep this as something you can use for leverage.

For example, if my chinchilla is being non-cooperative about going back into her chinchilla cage, I can simply tap her dust bathhouse.

This entices her to run to me, jump in her dust bath in which I use to get her back in her cage.

Lastly, the dust bath is the equivalent of a human taking a shower.

Let your chinchilla come out to play and roam a bit and allow them to get out of their cage for a few minutes to enjoy the dust bath.

Don’t get me wrong here.

If you prefer to allow your chinchilla to bathe in dust inside of the cage, it’s not the end of the world.

However, if you have the time and you have the choice, I advise against it.

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The Previous Chinchilla Dust Bath House I used.

How Much Dust Does A Chinchilla Need in A Bath?

I know, I was confused by this as well.

How much dust does a chinchilla need in a bath?

Chinchillas need at least 2 inches of dust in the bottom of the dust bath container or bowl.

No matter which method or container you use for the bath, 2 inches is the adequate amount of dust for your chinchilla to roll in and clean themselves.

Although chinchilla dust, if it remains clean after use, could be used a second time, I recommend simply discarding the dust in the bathhouse after each use.

Stick to the recommended 2 inches of dust in the container to give your chinchilla the adequate amount of dust for their fur to absorb and you will be in good shape.

A Chinchillas Love For Dust Baths

Chinchilla absolutely loves their dust baths and it helps create a unique bond with your chinchilla.

It’s a win-win.

You can get in some laughs and smiles while your chinchilla is getting nice clean and ready for some cuddles.

Dust baths are also essential and critical for proper hygiene and fur care for your chinchilla.

Don’t be mistaken.

A skipped dust bath from time to time isn’t going to cause your chinchilla to smell by any means.

As long as it doesn’t get out of control.

Also, don’t replace other duties with a dust bath.

You still have to clean your chinchilla cage daily for small items such as poop and weekly for larger items such as the bedding and shelves.

You could also lean towards using items such as chinchilla litter boxes and learn to potty train them for optimal hygiene.

Do this in addition to using my recommended best chinchilla bedding and you will take your chinchilla’s hygiene to an entirely new level.

What am I referring to here?

Fleece liners!

They help a ton with hygiene but for the sake of staying on topic, you can use the link 1 sentence back to read my blog post specifically dedicated to that topic.

I also wanted to throw in one more bonus perk.

Here’s a quick video that you can see that shows my chinchilla taking one of her dust baths.

Clearly I use dust baths for some interaction and to hang out with my chinchilla a few times per week.

Dust baths are one of the many things that make chinchilla a great pet to own.

It’s a great time for you and your chinchilla so make sure to keep up with it and provide your chinchilla adequate amounts of time per week to roll around in the dust and naturally build your bond with your chinchilla.

When Should I Give My Chinchilla a Dust Bath?

I had the same question at one point?

When should I give my chinchilla a dust bath or how often do chinchillas need a dust bath?

Chinchillas should be offered a dust bath a minimum of 2 times per week.

Make sure it’s during active times of the day for your chinchilla and increase the number of dust baths if you feel the fur is oily or dirty.

If your curious about when active times for your chinchilla may be, you need to read up on when chinchillas sleep and what they do at night.

Unfortunately, these are some of the most alert and awake times your chinchilla will offer for some well-deserved dust bath time.

You also want to be careful not to overdo it.

Too many dust baths can irritate your chinchillas’ fur, skin, and possibly even ears and eyes.

You don’t want to dry them out.

Find a happy middle ground 2-3 times per week and your chinchilla should not only be happy but squeaky clean and ready to play!

I wouldn’t exceed 3 times a week at 20 minutes per dust bath.

More than this may dry out the chinchilla’s skin and fur and cause other issues.

The only time you may consider increasing is if you notice fur issues such as additional shedding.

Additionally, increase frequency if you are worried about potential fleas or other issues taking place on your chinchilla’s skin or fur.

What is Chinchilla Dust Made Of?

I wasn’t sure what chinchilla dust was made of either.

After some research, here’s what I learned.

Chinchilla dust resembles gray sand.

It depends which commercially purchased dust you choose.

Some chinchilla dust for baths is made of 100% pure volcanic mountain pumice.

This is what you want.

It strongly resembles exactly how the chinchilla would clean itself in the wild.

How Much Does Chinchilla Dust Cost?

Giving your chinchilla the care he or she needs is relatively cheap.

Chinchilla dust is only about 5.00-15.00 depending on which dust you buy and where you buy it from.

A 2.5-pound jug of chinchilla dust by Kaytee ranges between about 10.50 and 15.00 per jug on Amazon.

Fairly cheap to let keep that chinchilla fur soft, silky and gives your chinchilla 10-20 minutes of pure enjoyment.

Bust Out The Dust to Get Your Chinchilla Clean

To sum it all up, be sure to use the correct dust for your chinchilla, give him or her plenty of chances to roll around and get crazy for a bit a few times per week.

I also want to recap on the original question posed.

Why do chinchillas take dust baths? Chinchillas take dust baths because it’s what they are accustomed to in the wild and it’s the number 1 option to keep your chinchilla’s fur healthy and clean.

Whether that’s in a bowl or one of the fancy new dust houses, that’s completely your choice.

They love it and I’m sure that you will love it just as much as they do.

Share Your Thoughts on Chinchilla Dust Baths

Do you have any related stories to dust baths with your chinchilla?

Any recommendations for all the other readers?

Drop a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 1 year old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know.

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