How Chinchillas Bathe
The dust in the chinchilla's bath helps to remove oils on their skin and makes their fur softer. Using water to clean their fur will not work, as their very dense fur takes a very long time to dry fully. Damp fur can lead to health problems like mold and infections. Avoid getting your chinchilla wet and use the dust bath method instead.
The Chinchilla Bath Bowl or House
In order to give them a "bath", you will need a bowl large enough for the chinchilla to roll around in. It also should be heavy enough that the chinchilla can't knock it over when they're rolling around excitedly. Ideally the bowl should also have high sides to keep as much dust in the bowl as possible which will mean less clean up for you. Some options can be a small fish bowl, plastic shoe-sized container, or a heavy stoneware or ceramic serving bowl. You can also purchase a "bath house" for your chinchilla.
How to Give the Chinchilla a Bath Step-by-Step
- The best time to give a chinchilla a bath is at night as they are crepuscular and will be more awake in the early evening.
- Fill the bowl with about one to two inches of chinchilla bath dust and put it in your chinchilla's cage.
- Place your chinchilla in the bowl. He or she will take care of the rest as they will instinctively know to roll around and have fun cleaning themselves in the dust.
- Let the chinchilla roll around and play in the dust for at least five minutes to no longer than 15 minutes. You do not want to leave it longer as the chinchilla can dry their skin out if they roll in the dust for too long. They may also use it as a litter box if left in the cage too long.
- Remove the bowl from the cage. Scoop out any debris from the dust and throw away.
- You can put the dust in a plastic bag or container and reuse it a few more times. Once the dust is full of dirt and clumps, it's time to use a new batch of dust.
How Often Does the Chinchilla Need a Bath?
Your chinchilla should get a dust bath at least two to three times per week. Check your chinchilla's skin frequently as signs of flaking can mean they're too dry and bathing too often. If you see them itching and scratching, this is also a sign their skin is too dry. Usually in more humid climates you will need to allow them to bathe more often and less often in arid climates.
Buying Chinchilla Bath Dust
When looking for a chinchilla bath dust for your pet, look for brands that are made specifically for chinchillas.
- All Living Things Small Animal Blue Cloud Dust is made with dust sourced from the pumice at the Blue Cloud Mine in Castaic, California. It sells for about $5 for a 13 ounce jar or $10 for a three pound jar.
- ChillDust is made from 100% white pumice from the Hess mines in southeastern Idaho. It is denser than some other chinchilla dust bath products and this means less flyaway dust mess. It is also certified by the Empress Chinchilla breeders cooperative. A one-pound bag is about $6 and a five-pound bag is about $15. It's available in several sizes.
- Oxbow Poof! Chinchilla Dust Bath is also sourced from the Blue Cloud Mine. Users on Chewy.com give it a solid five star review. A two-and-a-half pound jar is about $8.
Making a Homemade Chinchilla Dust Bath
While it may be tempting to create your own chinchilla dust bath for convenience, this is not in the best interests of the chinchilla. Because of the unique properties of their fur, they require dust for their baths made of ingredients specifically for their skin and fur. It would be difficult to mimic the properties of the volcanic pumice that they need on your own. Other materials like sand or powders like talc will not work well and will not help them stay clean and healthy.
Chinchilla Bath Accessories
If you would like to purchase a bath house made for a chinchilla, you have several options that can work well for a chinchilla. The size and shape will depend on the size of your chinchilla's cage.
- The All Living Things Chinchilla Dust Bath is a round circular-shaped bath house made from heavy plastic. It's easy to clean and the high sides keep dust from flying around. They sell for around $18.
- A different design is the You & Me Chinchilla Bathtub which has a wider area for the chinchilla to roll around in but a lower "ceiling" with the plastic lid. This is a good option for containing a mess but will need a larger cage to fit in compared to the All Living Things bath. The bath sells for around $18.
- The Living World Chinchilla Bath House has an adorable "turtle" shape, and the design helps to keep more dust toward the middle of the bowl and away from the sides. This helps the chinchilla to have a constant deeper area of dust to roll in. It's made from plastic so it's easy to clean and the clear lid helps to keep a dusty mess from blowing around the cage. It sells for about $16.
Keeping Your Chinchilla Healthy With Dust Baths
A chinchilla will need regular dust baths weekly to keep their fur and skin healthy. Aside from their physical health, chinchillas also really love their dust baths! It's obvious how much fun they're having as you watch them roll around. Just make sure you use the right size bowl and dust to keep them clean and happy.