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FOR AGES 3 YEARS TO 18 YEARS
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A chinchilla's fur is extremely soft, having about 80 hairs per follicle, compared to humans who have one hair per follicle, and this makes them extremely cute and fluffy pets to have.
This makes their skin coat extremely dense. As a result, keeping their fur clean and healthy is their top priority.
A chinchilla's skin is not meant to become wet given its thickness, as it can be very difficult to completely dry. Damp fur in chinchillas can cause their fur to grow mold or infections. Interestingly, chinchillas bathe in sand or dust baths to keep their fur dry and their skin clean! In the wild, chinchillas take a lot of dust baths to pull out the oils and dirt from their fur and coats, keeping them clean. It might seem bizarre to you for this fluffy animal to keep its coat nice and healthy by taking dust baths, but it is actually very normal behavior for them.
If this is your first time having a chinchilla as a pet, don't worry because we've got you covered! All you need to do is provide your pet chinchilla with the right resources and they will do most of the cleaning themselves! Chinchillas take dust baths or sand baths to pull out all the oil, moisture, dirt, and grime from their fur and skin. Pet stores and shops sell a high-quality dusting powder called 'chinchilla dust' which is a distinct type of dust that has a close resemblance to volcanic ash or dust in their natural habitat. The color of this dust is a fine gray. Another option you can look at that is, even more, superior to the chinchilla dust is the 'chinchilla bath sand' which is made from 100% volcanic pumice. It is extremely easy to use too.
The next item that pet chinchillas need is a bath container or a bathhouse for them to take a dust bath. A chinchilla dust bath is a very interesting process. Even a deep dish or a plastic bowl will do. Having an enclosed bath also leaves a minimal mess and allows your pet chinchilla to have complete contact with the dust. These dust baths are specially designed to hold a good amount of dust or sand in them, allowing your pet chinchilla to roll around, flip, and spin in the dust.
Put around 2 in (5.08 cm) of dust in the bath container so that your chinchilla can bathe and clean its dense coat in the dust properly. Ensure that the container is larger than the body size of your chinchilla with slightly higher sides so that it doesn't knock the bath container over as it is rolling around. This dust bath container can be left in the cage of your pet chinchilla for a brief period of 10-15 minutes and no longer, as they can begin to use the bath as a litter box. Leaving your furry friend to bathe in the sand for too long can also make their skin dry and itchy.
Provide your chinchilla with dust baths more frequently during humid weather. Make it less frequent if you notice your chinchilla scratching or picking at its skin. This could mean that their skin is dry or flaky. A chinchilla's dust bath is essential for maintaining overall health, and they love their dust baths too! Generally, pet chinchillas can take a dust bath about two or three times a week, in the evenings, preferably when these furry animals tend to be the most active. The dust in your chinchilla dust bath can be reused up to a maximum of two times, but when you notice clumps of dirt in the dust, it is time to use a clean new batch.
An important factor to keep in mind as a new chinchilla owner is that your pet cannot get wet. If their fur is damp or has moisture in it, the risk of infection and the growth of mold increases.
Therefore, the way they clean their dense coats and fur is a very unique process that is very normal and natural. This process is also extremely fun for the furry little animals. It is probably this technique that allows these animals to have such soft fur!
The fur of this rodent is so soft because of its abundant fine hair follicles, with more than 50 hairs in each follicle! Chinchillas in their natural wild habitat tend to roll and frolic in volcanic ash or dust to pull the dirt, grime, and unwanted oils from their coats and fur. In turn, it distributes the natural oils evenly and keeps their fur silky and soft. This applies to chinchillas as pets too. They need access to dust or sand in order to take dust baths just like they do in the wild. Hence, chinchillas have a way of maintaining the health of their coat and keeping it clean without the use of water.
Chinchillas take dust baths not only as a way to clean themselves but also because they enjoy it! They have a great time rolling around and bathing in the dust and doing some insane flips in the tub to coat themselves fully and eliminate any moisture, grime, or oil from their fur and coats. Chinchillas take a complete dust bath since they cannot use water because once their fur gets wet, it can be very difficult for them to dry it out due to their fine hairs and the large number of them too. When their fur and coat get damp or wet, it can also trigger the growth of mold and cause infections too.
Here are some tips to keep in mind for chinchilla dust baths. If you're wondering what type of dust or sand is required for your chinchilla's dust bath, there is one that is readily available in pet stores and shops. It is high-quality chinchilla dust and goes by the same name too. This dust shares a very close similarity to the volcanic ash or sand that chinchillas in the wild use. There is another type of chinchilla dust that is superior called chinchilla bath sand, which is made from 100% volcanic mountain pumice. It's very easy to use and is highly efficient for your pet chinchilla. Put some of this dust in a container or a bathhouse that has high sides and is large enough to fit the body of your chinchilla. Having an enclosed bath house works well too, as it doesn't create much of a mess in the cage. Place this container in the cage of your pet and allow your chinchilla to roll around and bathe in the dust for a maximum of 10-15 minutes. You can do this, preferably in the evenings when they are most active. Leaving your pet in the dust bath for too long is not very good for their health as it can dry out their skin and coat, making them flaky and itchy. Furthermore, if the dust bath is left in the cage too long, chinchillas will begin to use it as a litterbox.
These adorable and fluffy pets need weekly sessions to roll around in dust or sand to remove the oil and dirt from their fur and to keep it soft. Water cannot be used to wash and clean them because of their dense coats that take a long time to dry. Chinchilla dust baths, especially baby chinchilla dust baths, can be quite challenging at first, but practice will make you perfect, and eventually, you will get the hang of it. For baby chinchillas, a dust bath can be given from a relatively young age, at about 10 days old. If your baby chinchilla is well and healthy, then giving them dust baths at a young age is not a problem. In fact, vets advise following this procedure from a young age so that chinchillas get used to it as they grow and the number of dust baths can be increased with age too. As a baby, your pet chinchilla can be given a dust bath one to two times a week, and this can be increased to two to three times a week as they grow. Ensure that the dust used for the chinchilla dust baths is authentic and real, as there are some chemically-made and fake dust products available for chinchillas that can affect them in the long run. The best quality chinchilla dust is a fine gray in color and is made from volcanic sand or ash. For a high-quality bathhouse, there is a brand that is popular among chinchilla owners called 'Kaytee Chinchilla Dust Bath' that is readily available on Amazon.
Chinchillas need dust baths, and water will not do as it can lead to certain complications that should be avoided. The wet fur and hair of a chinchilla are also hard to completely dry due to their thickness. Ideally, chinchilla dust or chinchilla sand bath are the two main products that are ideal for helping your chinchilla clean themselves as they are of high quality too. Chinchilla dust is very different from sand, so do not use sand as it can irritate both the eyes and skin of your pet. If purchasing proper chinchilla dust or chinchilla sand bath becomes too much of a difficulty, there are some other alternatives and hacks you can follow that are bound to work. If you notice some stains on the fur of your chinchilla, you can use a damp washcloth or baby wipe to gently wipe and clean the stain. After wiping, make sure that the fur of your chinchilla is completely dry. When your chinchilla rolls in the dust, you can also add a small spoon of cornstarch to the dust to remove and lighten the stain.
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