Why the need for Dust Bath?
In the first place, do note that Chinchillas are very clean creatures. They also have very dense fur with no parasites or mites. In the wild, Chinchillas are known to clean themselves by using volcanic ash or clay that they can find around their original home in The Andes Mountains. These chinchillas in the wild, they take frequent dust baths to keep themselves clean and healthy.
However, there are no volcanic ash or Andean clay lying around in our homes. This might be a major problem because your Chinchilla needs help to stay clean.So how do you help your Chinchilla stay clean?
By giving it Chinchilla dust bath of course!
What is in the Chinchilla Dust Bath?
Chinchilla Dust Bath achieve 3 important benefits:
- A Chinchilla cleans itself by having a vigorous dust bath, which is one of their natural behaviors. Frequent dust baths to help absorb skin oils, ammonia trapped and dirt from their fur to keep their coats clean and healthy.
- Chinchillas do not only do it to help themselves keep clean but it also as a fun activity which may help relax them. They really enjoy the activity and can be so vigorous in having their dust bath just like a dog who enjoys frolicking in the mud or grass.
- Besides fun activity, the bath dust helps to cool down the chinchilla. The cool dust removed heat trapping oil and absorb heat thru the skins and fur, naturally cooling the chinchilla in the process.
Access to dust bath will help your Chinchilla stay clean and allow its fur to be soft, lush, and shiny. It is an absolute need for your Chinchilla’s well-being.
5 Major Tips to make it work for you
Chinchillas really get into their dust bath. This is why we need to keep in check these important considerations like the following:
Get the Right Chinchilla Dust Bath
For the dust bath to work properly, it is important to use the proper type of dust especially made for Chinchillas and don’t use just any dirt or powder you can get elsewhere. Not all dust are made the same. Although it is important to buy only dust which is specifically labelled for Chinchillas, they may not be suitable for use on Chinchilla. They may not work the same way for your pet.
Mount St. Helens ashes were analyzed for major, minor, and trace composition by a variety of analytical techniques. Results indicate that the basic composition of the ash consists of approximately 65% SiO2, 18% Al2O3, 5% FetO3, 2% MgO, 4% CaO, 4% Na2O, and 0.1% S. Thirty seven trace metals are reported including Ba, Cu, Mn, Sr, V, Zn, and Zr.
Most commercial dust bath are of grounded volcano rocks. Most popular US brands were Blue Cloud or Blue Sparkle. In Europe, Sepiolita dust is quite popular and widely used.
Pumice or called pumicite in its powdered or dust form, is a volcanic rock that consists of highly vesicular rough textured volcanic glass, which may or may not contain crystals. It is typically light colored. It is also another good material for chinchilla dust.
Avoid calcium carbonate. It is closely resemblance to pumice in colour but have different properties. Calcium carbonate is widely used medicinally as an inexpensive dietary calcium supplement. But excess usage of calcium carbonate can cause milk-alkali syndrome, which has serious toxicity and can be fatal.
Choose the Right Container
Since Chinchillas really roll in the dust, the particles can get airborne and would be very difficult to clean. Choosing the right container for your dust bath will help your Chinchilla stay clean and your cage clean as well.
The right container is a bit heavy so the Chinchilla cannot tip it over. It would be great to have a oval bottom as all the dust would settle back to the bottom of the container. Some owners would not recommend plastic containers but they work fine as long they are not left inside the cage after bath.
Use Only the Right Amount Of Dust
We always put about a very thin layer of dust on your dust bath container and nothing more. Typically one or two tablespoon. Although most owners love to recycle after use, we recommend only 1 time reuse only. Most of the time, it would have lost all its absorption properties and exposed your chinchillas to fungal problem.
Give the Chinchilla Dust Bath on Ground Level
Chinchillas really love to roll in the dust. Sometime it can be excessive and can be so vigorous in having their dust bath that it cause the heavy container to move.
- Avoid doing it on a table.
- Avoid doing it on a high platform
- Avoid doing it while you are away.
- Always remove it after usage. (Prevent poop and pees staining the dust/sand)
If left on the cage, your pet will cause the dust to go all-over which will just result to mess or injured themselves. Also, they might soil the dust if left on their cage unattended by you. Do note that there are cases of chinchilla died after feeling out from their container on high level such as platforms and tables.
Give the Chinchilla Dust Bath Only As Needed
Typically, twice a week or every other day is sufficient unless you are showing it soon. If it is humid, bathing your Chinchilla every other day would be advisable but if you live in a dry area, then once per week is adequate. The right timing would be in the evening around the time when your pet is most active and social.
Never leave the dust bath in the cage. It is best to only leave it for 10 minutes each time you offer it to your pet.