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If there’s one thing you know about chinchillas, it’s probably that these cute little rodents are known for their chinchilla dust baths. If you’re thinking about getting a pet rodent, you will definitely want to know what you are getting into when you choose the right pet for your family.
Today we’re going to take a minute and understand a little bit about chinchillas, and why your chinchilla takes dust baths. Since this is such an important part of your pet chinchilla’s life, you’ll want to make sure and buy Blue Cloud chinchilla dust, widely considered the best dust for chinchilla dust baths.
- 1 What are chinchillas?
- 2 Caring for a pet chinchilla
- 3 The chinchilla dust bath
- 4 A chinchilla dust bath is best with Blue Cloud dust
- 5 How to keep your chinchilla’s dust bath from making a mess
- 6 Making the best dust bath for your chinchilla
What are chinchillas?
Chinchillas are a type of small rodent native to South America. There are two different species of chinchilla: the long-tailed chinchilla, and the short-tailed chinchilla. In the wild, they are found in dry, rocky areas.
Chinchillas are crepuscular critters. This means that rather being mainly active during the day or night, they are most active during dawn and dusk. They have become increasingly rare in the wild as illegal hunting has pushed them toward extinction.
Caring for a pet chinchilla
As pets, chinchillas have very specific needs and should only be owned by people with the experience and time to properly care for them. There are several specific traits about them that create this difficulty.
Chinchillas don’t sweat, making it very important that you keep them in a range between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Chinchillas regulate their temperature through their ears. A sign that your chinchilla is too hot is warm, red ears. Always consult a veterinarian with any concerns about your chinchilla’s temperature.
Chinchillas teeth never stop growing. This is a trait shared with many other rodent pets, like rabbits. If you get a chinchilla you will need to make sure you understand how to properly trim their teeth and provide ways for the chinchilla to naturally grind them down on toys or other accessories.
Again, if you have any questions or doubts about caring for your chinchilla, always consult your veterinarian.
One of the most well-known traits of the chinchilla is their need to take dust baths. Chinchillas take dust baths because of their incredibly dense fur.
The only mammal with fur more dense than a chinchilla is the sea otter, clocking in 165,000 hairs per square centimeter. This density keeps the sea otter completely dry at skin-level. For comparison, chinchillas have 20,000 hairs per square centimeter.
Why do chinchillas take dust baths?
Chinchillas take dust baths to properly clean their dense coat of fur. The chinchilla dust bath removes dirt and oils from the chinchilla’s fur, which sheds throughout the year. The thick fur coat helps protect the chinchilla from fleas and other dangers.
The chinchilla fur coat does not come without consequences though. If a chinchilla gets wet, it can be next to impossible for the fur to dry. This can cause fungal growths and infections, making it very important for pet chinchilla owners to provide adequate time and supplies for their chinchilla to take a dust bath.
How do chinchillas take dust baths?
Chinchilla’s bathe themselves by rolling around in a fine dust mixture derived from volcanic ash. As a pet, chinchillas need a container that can hold enough dust to be about 2 inches deep. The process takes about 10-15 minutes and once you provide the container of dust there’s little for you to do but set back and let your little pet go to town.
After your chinchilla is done bathing you can remove the container of dust from their enclosure. The dust mixture should be changed at least once a week – especially when looking clumpy or dirty.
How often do chinchillas take dust baths?
Chinchillas should be given the opportunity to bathe themselves two to three times per week. If a chinchilla bathes too much, their skin can get dry and irritated. Some owners have no problems letting their chinchilla take a dust bath daily. The most important thing is paying attention to the health of your specific chinchilla and making sure their skin does not get dry and irritated.
In more humid weather, chinchillas may need to bathe more often to keep their coats dry and free of fungus.
A chinchilla dust bath is best with Blue Cloud dust
The best dust to use for a chinchilla bath is derived from pumice. Pumice is a light, porous rock that is formed from rapidly cooled volcanic lava. Dust forms from this type of rock in chinchillas’ natural habitats in South America and can be purchased to use for your pet chinchilla’s dust baths.
The best dust to use for a chinchilla dust bath is Blue Cloud dust. Among chinchilla owners, this is considered the gold standard. Blue Cloud dust is mined by the Blue Cloud Mineral Company in Southern California for the sole purpose of providing material for chinchilla dust baths. Other very similar variations include Blue Sparkle and Blue Beauty.
The quality of the dust you use for your chinchilla’s dust baths is very important. You want to make sure that the dust your chinchilla is bathing in has no sand, glass, or other potential irritants mixed into it.
Many people see videos of chinchillas bathing themselves and assume that the mixture they are rolling around in is some sort of sand mixture. Sand is very dangerous to use for your chinchilla’s dust baths. If you let your chinchilla bathe in sand, their skin can end up irritated and infected.
Where can I buy Blue Cloud chinchilla dust?
Blue Cloud chinchilla dust can be bought in bulk from certain suppliers or wholesalers. However, it is also available from a variety of different brand names.
We recommend Oxbow’s Poof! Chinchilla Dust, made from 100% Blue Cloud dust. Oxbow’s Blue Cloud dust is available in a 2.5lb container on Amazon. A container of this size should last at least 2-4 months depending on your chinchilla’s bathing frequency and how often you change out their dust.
With Amazon Prime, you can even subscribe to automate your chinchilla dust bath shipments, making sure your chinchilla always has a fresh supply of dust available.
One of the downsides of having a chinchilla is the mess that their frequent dust baths can create. All the rolling around a shaking in such a fine mixture can cause the Blue Cloud dust to live up to its name and create a literal cloud in your house!
Often times people will use a spare container they have lying around the house, maybe a large bowl of some sort. One common solution to this problem is to use an enclosed cat litter box. However, there are specific chinchilla bathhouses made for this purpose that will take up less space than a litter box.
Pet supply company Kaytee makes a chinchilla dust bath house made specifically to address this problem. This chinchilla bath house is durable, doesn’t take up too much space, and keeps your chinchilla’s dust where it belongs, in the bath!
Making the best dust bath for your chinchilla
Hopefully, this has provided some insight into why it is important to provide your chinchilla with a great bathing environment. As always, make sure and adjust any recommendations based on what works the best for your specific pet, along with any advice from your veterinarian.
Do you have a pet chinchilla? We would love to see pictures or videos of them enjoying their dust baths! Tag us or post using @petsupplygeek on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.