Learn about the Chinchilla Dust Bath

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Published: 11th November 2010
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Chinchillas are originated in the South American mountains. As a result of their natural surroundings, these petite animals have had to adapt to the Andes Mountains and learn how to clean their pelt without the resources many other animals have. A chinchilla in the wild has to clean itself in the volcanic ash on the mountain. This is called a dust bath. The chinchilla uses the dust bath to maintain its fur. The ash causes this luxurious fur to stay clean and smooth. Many people feel that the chinchilla enjoys the dust bath too.

If you have never given your chinchilla a dust bath, you may be somewhat worried, but don't be. This is essential to their care. Resist the temptation to just put the chinchilla in water and bathe it like a regular pet. Water harms the chinchilla's fur. Your chinchilla's coat has natural oils which have several purposes. The oils help the chinchilla to maintain their own body temperature and it protects their skin from irritation and injury. The dust bath without a doubt is the best way to keep your chinchilla clean and healthy.

An easy trip to the pet store will yield you some chinchilla dust. This product simulates the natural volcanic ash your chinchilla is accustomed to using to clean himself. Do not use sand or powder designed for humans. Even if you think they feel alike to you, they will not be as effective. The ash the chinchilla uses in its natural habitat s unique and it will step down into the chinchilla fur. This dust will penetrate into their skin and help clean and safeguard your chinchilla.

You will want a deep bowl or container to pour the chinchilla dust in. Choose something that your chinchilla cannot tip over once inside. If you are worried about protecting your home from the chinchilla dust, then employ an enclosed container. A canister that has a wide opening or an aquarium would work effectively.

Your chinchilla needs a couple inches of dust in which to take their bath. As an alternative, you can shake the couple inches of dust into the chinchilla's cage at bedtime. Chinchillas are night creatures, so they will bathe themselves in the dust at night. You do not have to change out the dust every day. Leaving the dust for a few days in a row is fine, as long as the cage is the home of only your chinchilla. If the dust starts to look dirty or you see clumps in it, then you should sweep it out. You cannot add a batch of dust into the cage and allow it to stay there forever. You must replace it.

The chinchilla dust must not be in the cage all the time anyway. Chinchillas in the wild do not spend all of their time bathing in dust. Think about it; do you stay in the bath 7? Over- exposure to the dust can be harmful. (It might get into their eyes and result in an infection.) Additionally, you do not want your chinchilla making use of the dust like a cat uses its litter box. So be certain that you leave the dust up to a few days and then change it.

Your chinchilla only has need of a dust bath a couple times a week. It is best to put the dust in there at bedtime and let the chinchilla take care of this bath. If you notice that his fur seems oily or wet, then you can give him a dust bath. When the weather is humid, you need to increase the amount of dust baths per week. If you inhabit a dry climate with your chinchilla, you can reduce the amount of dust baths he has to have. If your chinchilla's fur starts getting flaky, his skin is dry, or he appears to be scratching, then cut back the dust baths. It's not necessary to leave the dust in the cage for a long time. Fifteen minutes is actually more than enough time for your chinchilla to take care of his hygiene needs.

Chinchillas are fun to look at and dust-bath time is an opportunity to observe them that you don't want to miss. If you desire to watch this marvelous creature when it's time for his bath, use a glass container for the dust bath so you can see. A plastic container is not a good choice as the claws of the chinchilla will scratch the plastic, and the scratches will impact your view.

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