Why Do Chinchillas Bathe in Dust?

chinchilla in a sand

When it comes time to get your chinchilla clean, a dust bath is by far the best option. This is necessary to maintain your pet’s hygiene, and therefore keep them healthy. 

If you are going to own one of these animals, it helps to know about this.

The Importance of Dust Baths for Chinchillas

While bathing your chinchilla in water might seem like the logical thing to do, this is almost never a good idea. These animals soak up lots of water, and they dry off very slowly. This is why you will need to use dust, specifically the kind that is made for chinchillas to bathe in.

Your chinchilla will roll around in the bowl of dust you place it in. This will help with removing any debris that is in their fur. Regular dust baths will keep them clean, which reduces the chance of illness. Another benefit of these baths is that they prevent excess oil buildup, which can cause skin problems. A clean chinchilla is a happy chinchilla.

It’s a Matter of Instinct

A chinchilla will instantly start rolling around in a bowl filled with dust to clean itself, because it is their natural instinct to do so. This is how they keep themselves clean in the wild.

  What Do Chinchillas Like to Play With?

These animals have up to 75 hairs per follicle, which is pretty incredible when you consider that humans just one hair per follicle. Their coat is very dense and thick, which means that it needs to be kept clean on a regular basis.

chinchilla in a wild

When Should I Give My Chinchilla Dust Bath?

It is a good idea to give your chinchilla a dust bath at least once or twice every single week. Each bath should last around five to ten minutes. You don’t want to put a bowl of dust in their age, as they are likely to urinate in it. When bath time comes, you should take them out of their cage and put them in a bowl with dust inside.

Buying the Dust

You’ll want to buy dust that is specifically made for bathing chinchillas, which you should be able to find at your local pet supply store. This dust usually isn’t very expensive, so you can buy a month’s worth for relatively cheap. This dust is made mostly of volcanic ash, though there are sometimes other ingredients.

Choosing a Bowl

You will need to choose a somewhat deep bowl for your chinchilla to bathe in. They will need to have enough space to roll around freely. Make sure that it is deep enough so they cannot easily get out on their own. The last thing you want is for your pet to dart out of the bowl mid bath. A fish bowl is one idea, and it makes for a good dust bath container

How to Give Your Chinchilla a Dust Bath

Before you go ahead and give your chinchilla a dust bath, there are a number of things you should consider. These tips will help make this process as easy as possible every single time.

  The Ideal Temperature for Chinchillas

You’ll want to put about two inches of dust into the bowl before putting your pet in. This will ensure that they’ll be able to get enough to cover their entire body easily.

All you really have to do is just gently put your chinchilla into the bowl and let them do their thing. Just make sure that they are thoroughly covered in dust before taking them out. This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes at the most.

You won’t have to worry about cleaning the dust off your chinchilla after removing it from the bowl, as it will naturally fall over within the next hour or two.

You might get a little bit of dust around the bowl when taking your pet out, so have some paper towel nearby. The more you do this, the less of a mess you are going to make.

Tips for Bathing Your Chinchilla

1. Always Avoid Water

You should always avoid bathing your chinchilla in water, as it will take a long time for their fur to dry out completely. This will leave your pet cold and shivering for hours. These animals come from regions where they are rarely exposed to water or even rain. Dust is the best medium for getting your pet clean, and it is effective most of the time.

Bathing your chinchilla in water can actually cause a bacterial or fungal infection. This is due to the fact that these animals have thick fur that retains moisture for long periods of time.

Fleas are a common problem with lots of different types of furry pets and they can be extremely frustrating to deal with.

2. Don’t Use Just Any Dust

As we mentioned above, you will need to buy dust that is specifically meant for bathing chinchillas. Make sure that you check the packaging label before buying any dust. This will help you avoid irritating your pet’s skin, as well as other issues.

  Do Chinchillas Poop a Lot?

3. Keep the Bowl Clean

Make sure that you clean out the bowl you use to bathe your chinchilla after every use. This will help you maintain proper hygiene with your pet.


  • Dust baths are crucial for keeping your chinchilla’s dense and thick coat clean.
  • You should give your chinchilla a dust bath two to three times every week.
  • These animals clean themselves with dust in the wild, which is they instinctually roll around in it when given a dust bath by their owner.
  • Choose a deep bowl that your chinchilla can roll around freely.
  • Put a two-inch layer of dust on the bottom of the bowl before putting your pet in.
  • These baths should last about five to ten minutes each.
  • Make sure that you get dust that is specifically made for bathing chinchillas.
  • It is never a good idea to bathe your chinchilla in water, as their fur retains moisture for long periods.
  • A water bath could result in your pet getting a bacterial or fungal infection.
  • Thoroughly clean the bowl after each dust bath to maintain your pet’s overall hygiene and health.