Dust Baths for Your Chinchillas
A dust bath is a natural behavior for chinchillas. They never go into water. To remove the moisture and other dust particles in their fur they need an absorbent. Taking a bath in volcanic ash cleans their lush coats and makes their fur smooth and silky. They not only relax but also love to roll and flip in the dust bath. It's really something to see.
Owners who are new to the behavior of chinchilla might have difficulty in cleaning their new pet. It is not at all complicated. However, you have to remember that you cannot bathe a chinchilla in water. The natural oils that protect the skin of chinchilla and regulate its body temperature are lost, if immersed in water. It is better to buy dust from a local pet store to give your chinchilla a healthy dust bath. That is specially prepared for chinchillas. They are many powders and sand that may look similar to the kind of dust available in their natural habitats, but they may not clean the chinchillas coat the way the special chinchilla dust does. The special powder is prepared to replace the dust available in their natural habitats. This powder acts as an absorbent for the oil and dirt in chinchilla's fur.
Spread the chinchilla dust in a large bowl, larger than chinchilla, or a deep dish. Do not go for a glass fish bowl or canister, because it will blow the dust around the room. The bottom of the container must be filled with dust up to a few inches. Twice a week at night keep the dust bath in the cage of chinchilla, when they are not sleeping. As long as you remove the wastes left by chinchillas, it can be used myriad number of times. If the dust looks very murky or lumpy, put fresh dust in and discard the old dust. Chinchilla's skin can become dry if they bath too much. Make sure it does not become a litter box, so avoid keeping the bowl in the cage. Once chinchilla's have their bath for 10-15 minutes, take the dust away from them. There is a chance of irritation or infection to the chinchilla's eyes or eyelids if dust is exposed for longer intervals.
Giving a bath twice a week is sufficient for the chinchilla. It is always recommended to give a bath when they are very active. You can give more than two times, if you feel that the chinchilla's fur starts to look coarse, damp, or oily. Dry weather requires fewer baths for chinchilla, whereas, it needs frequent dust baths in humid weather. 10-15 minutes is ample time for the dust bath but decrease the frequency if your chinchilla has flaky, dry skin or itchy.
It is always a spectacle to watch the chinchilla flipping and rolling in the dust bath. Owners really feel proud watching their chinchilla's cute behavior. It's better to have a glass dish for them to use, so that you can watch them enjoying their dancing in the dust. Don't go for the plastic dish as it becomes scratchy and may impair your sweet friend after some time.