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Chinchilla Dust Bath - How to do it

Updated on September 9, 2010

Introducing Dust Baths

Chinchillas, even as a baby chinchilla, are blessed with thick fur. It is so thick that it usually has around 60 strands of hair growing out of a single follicle! This makes them virtually protected from the very cold harsh weather up in the South American mountains where they originally came from. And is also why they are unable to thrive in warm climates.

Chinchillas, because of their super thick fur, should never be given a water bath. The only way they can clean themselves is through a chinchilas dust bath. This special sort of dust is made to almost copy the quality of volcanic ash that is found in their native habitat. It absorbs excess oils and moisture from the chinchilla’s fur and brings back the luster in their coat. This simple grooming method is all they need and they can be fun to watch as they carelessly roll around in their “bathtub” without a care in the world.

This Chinchilla Loves His Dust Bath
This Chinchilla Loves His Dust Bath

Steps and Procedures

Chinchilla dust - this is available in most pet shops, especially those that have chinchillas for sale, they have a fine and powdery like consistency but baby powder or human powder should never be used to substitute for chinchilla dust. For one thing, the kaytee chinchilla dust bath is common amongst chinchilla owners. Artificial powder may be too fine for your pet and they might inhale plenty of it, getting into their lungs and putting them at risk for coughing and other sickness. Some chinchilla dusts are scented and you may choose those if you want your pet to smell nice after a good roll. A homemade recipe of adding a tiny amount of baking soda into your pet’s dust bath may help eliminate odors and even get rid of that ammonia-like odor from their pee.

Dust bowl- the dust should be placed in an open container, preferably, made of glass or hard plastic. The dust should at least be an inch thick so that it will effectively cling on to your pet as he rolls around in it. If it is too shallow, the dust might just scatter around and end up on your floor. If it is too thick, it may suffocate your pet and he may get sick or cough.


Bath time- depending on the area where the chinchillas are housed and the amount of oil that has accumulated on their fur, they may be given a 15 to 25 minute bath twice a week and during the nighttime or evening as they are most active. Their dust bowl should never be left in the chins’ cage as they may take too long a bath making their skin dry or they may turn it into a litter box furthermore defeating the purpose of it.

Reusing the dust bath- if the dust still has a fine powdery consistency, then it is fine to reuse. But once it turns moist and clumpy then a new batch will have to be poured into your container. To be safe, never reuse the dust bath more than 3 times even if it still looks clean. This may already have bacterial and fungal growth in them and should be discarded.

Cleaning up after- an ordinary vacuum cleaner or duster will do the job quite well. Unfortunately, chinchillas have a tendency to enjoy their bath time a little too much, it is for this reason that more dust may end up on the floor than stay on the bowl. Your pet will also dust off any excess dust left on his coat and they will be scattered all around your home.

As an added tip, you can also look for a chinchilla dust bath video online in order to further help you understand the procedure.

A dust bath
A dust bath

For some pet owners that are allergic to dust, you may wear a face mask to avoid inhaling the stuff and still enjoy watching over your pet. Watching a chinchilla taking a dust bath is surely entertaining and they are really quite cute to look at, however it is important to keep in mind that they must not be allowed to linger too long. Their skin may flake and itch and this may irritate your pet, signs and symptoms of irritation will never be easy to spot as they are hidden under thick fur. It is best to have your veterinarian take a look at your pet at least twice a year to make sure he is in perfect health.

Another chinchilla dust bath
Another chinchilla dust bath

However, unlike most animals, water is their main enemy. They should never be washed with water and water bottles must be placed in their cage so that they will not tip it over and get themselves wet. Moisture trapped in their coat may lead to bacterial and fungal infections and can considerably weaken your beloved pet. Chinchilla dust bath are reasonably priced and can be found at most pet stores along with other accessories like sticks and pumice stone for them to grind their teeth with.

Sadly though, a chinchilla dust bath house isn't common in most parts of the world.

Lastly, a long with chinchilla cages, which look like guinea pig hutches, and chinchilla toys, dust baths are one of the most important things to do in grooming and taking care of a chinchilla.


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