For chinchillas and other tiny pets like birds and degus, a dust bath is a frequent self-grooming practice. These animals' natural inclination is to take regular dust baths to maintain their luscious coats clean and healthy.
What is a dust bath?
Many animals and birds take dust baths, in which they roll around in dust or sand to absorb oils and debris off their skin. Dust baths also aid in the removal of parasites that may reside inside their fur or feathers.
A dust bath not only keeps your chinchilla's hair clean and silky, but it's also a calming and enjoyable exercise for your pet. take their baths seriously, rolling and flipping in the dust with gusto.
Dust for Chinchilla Baths
When washing your chinchilla, always use store-bought chinchilla dust. This dust was created particularly for chinchillas and for this use. When chinchillas roll in this dust, it penetrates their coats all the way to their skin, absorbing oil and debris from the fur and keeping the coat clean. Other powders or sand may have a similar appearance or feel, but they will not perform in the same manner. Chinchilla dust is meant to seem like what they might find in their natural surroundings (in the wild they use volcanic pumice). In order for the chinchilla to successfully roll in the dust, it should be at least a couple of inches deep in whichever container you choose.
Chinchilla Dust Bath Bathtubs
For your chinchilla's dust baths, choose a hefty, tip-resistant bowl or deep dish that is somewhat larger than your chinchilla's size to enable room to roll. Fish dishes or canisters made of glass work nicely. A plastic house-type container with a rounded bottom, which is meant for this purpose, may also be obtained at a pet store.
Fish bowls and plastic house-style bathtubs have the benefit of being relatively enclosed, which can help reduce the quantity of dust in the space. Sand will be strewn everywhere during the bath, but having a chinchilla comes with the territory. Even if you use a covered bath, your chinchilla will still shake and groom after a dust bath, leaving a fine coating of dust on everything around them. Invest in a nice duster and remember yourself that offering frequent washes is part of being a good chinchilla keeper. The sand that remains in the bathtub can be reused for a while if all garbage is removed.
Chinchilla Dust Bath Schedule
The chinchilla should only have access to the dust bath on occasion, rather than leaving it in the continuously. Bathing too frequently will dry up their skin, and chinchillas will frequently sit in the bathtub and/or use it as a litter box if dust is left in the cage. Give your chinchilla a dust bath at least twice a week, in the evening when they are most active, for 10 to 15 minutes. Bathe your chinchilla at least twice a week, however you can give it a wash more frequently if its fur becomes harsh, moist, or greasy. Baths should be administered more regularly in humid conditions. Reduce the bathing duration and frequency if your chinchilla's skin is dry, flaky, or scratchy.
Some owners give their chinchillas a dust wash every day. This is OK as long as their skin isn't too dry and they aren't itchy. It'll simply make a bigger mess for you to clean up, but chinchillas adore baths so much that it can be difficult to resist giving them one.