How to bathe a chinchilla


Many people do not know about the chinchillas sand bath, but the reality is that is the way these rodents are cleaned, Because they can't get wet! If you have a chinchilla at home, you should never bathe it with water, much less soap. The alternative is the sand bath, and they give it to themselves! We tell you.

The sand bath of the chinchillas

The sand bath of the chinchillas it's a totally instinctive behavior, is what they do in nature, in their wild state. They cannot bathe with water because this could cause serious problems, from fungi to diseases such as pneumonia, because They have a very dense coat that takes too long to dry.

Do you think a sand bath doesn't work? Really yes, they end up super clean! The truth is that The sand is excellent for absorbing dirt and moisture from your body, in addition to eliminating possible parasites.

And what about domestic chinchillas? They can't get wet anyway, but the truth is that They are very clean animals and reject dirt a lot. So you will have to allow them to take their sand bath at home! In nature they usually use volcanic sand, but there are equally valid alternatives.

Prepare a sand bath of the chinchillas at home

Your chinchilla you will need to clean yourself with the sand bath a couple of times a week or three at most, for 15 or 20 minutes. If you live in a very humid environment, you can let the bath take place daily, but for less time, no more than 5 minutes!

To prepare the sand bath, there are special containers in pet stores. In addition, you will have to buy specific sand for the chinchillas bath. Do not use other types of substrates! The one that is specially developed for this purpose has the appropriate minerals and consistency, if you use another one it could be harmed or suffer allergies, poisonings ... It is not absolutely necessary that you buy a bathtub for chinchillas, this yes you can replace it with another container of suitable size.

You just have to fill the container with 2 or 3 fingers of the special sand and your chinchilla will roll until it is perfectly clean! You don't have to permanently leave the bathroom in its cage, but put it on every time it touches you. If not, you could bathe more than necessary! Or even pollute her by doing her needs inside. Of course, every time you go to put the bathroom, you must put new sand.

Sand baths

Chinchillas are the cleanest animals and, unlike other rodents, they do not give off any smell if they are clean. These rodents roll in volcanic ash being wild but being domestic chinchillas you have to try to clean them whenever they want by providing sand for the bathroom. When you buy the sand for the bath of the chinchillas in any pet store you must make sure that the product contains attapulguita or sepiolita, two ingredients necessary for the cleaning to be complete. In addition, it is important that you use the concrete sand because if you use another one that is not specific to chinchillas they could get sick when you inadvertently ingest the sand or they could get into your eyes causing itching.

Containers that serve as sand baths for chinchillas can also be purchased at pet stores. In them the sand is deposited and thus the chinchilla will be put inside to batter and clean your hair. The sand penetrates between the hair of the chinchillas and thus they will remain dry, untangled and without any parasite. If you did not deposit any type of container in the cage with sand, the chinchillas would try to clean your hair by rolling over the straw or the substrate that you use for the bottom of the cage, something that is not highly recommended if it is not one hundred percent clean . It is not absolutely necessary to buy one of the sand baths, it would be enough to introduce a container with about 3 centimeters of sand so that the chinchilla can 'bathe'.

What you should keep in mind to prepare the sand bath

To prepare the sand bath of the chinchillas in the correct way, consider some things:

  • The chinchillas begin to be more active in the afternoon, take that time to give them your bath.
  • While he is bathing, leave her alone and in privacy, if I couldn't get anxious.
  • Check your eyes after bathing if sand has entered. If so, wash them well with saline.
  • If you notice that your skin or mucous membranes irritate you, I may be giving you allergy. Consult the veterinarian, maybe you should change sand.
  • Don't bathe her more than necessary, as your skin may dry out too much.
  • Do not fall short of bathing it either, or your hair will be oily, dirty and caked.
  • Remember: no water!

Did you know anything about the chinchillas sand bath? Did you think they bathed in water?

How often should it be done?

Far from what you might think and as with other types of rodents that remain in the cage, the sand container or bathtub must not be inside the cage all the time. The baths of the chinchillas have to be every little time but not on a daily basis, so you have to introduce the container approximately two or three times a week. In addition, it does not have to stay many hours in the chinchilla cage, only with about 15 minutes would be enough.

If the environment is humid, the chinchillas can bathe daily because their hair will be somewhat more sticky and less light as they should have it. In this case, if the chinchillas bathe in sand on a daily basis they should only do so for five minutes. As the time we have for our chinchilla as a pet passes we will see what the needs of our pet are and how often it is appropriate to give them a bath. If you appreciate that your pet has sand in the eyes and that it produces tearing it is convenient that you clean them with physiological serum and thus any rest will be eliminated.

Another aspect to consider is the use of sand. As with the substrate used for the bottom of the cage, the sand can be reused since it is only used for a few minutes and once a day. To remove any dead skin cells that have left the skin and the chinchilla fur, sand should be passed through a strainer and thus the remains will be left aside, both of hairs and needs. You can only do this two or three times and then you must remove all the sand used and replace it with clean sand. The bath of the chinchillas should be done in the afternoon, which is when they begin to activate. Also, it is better to leave them alone because they like to do it without pressure.

Why not wet them?

So far we have talked about the benefits of sand for chinchilla fur and how easy it is to bathe these animals but we have not mentioned why it is not good for these animals to wet them with water directly. The chinchillas have such an amount of hair and it is so thick that if it gets wet it can take a long time to dry. This is a serious inconvenience because it can cause fungi, cause pneumonia and even death.. In times of heat you can think that they need some water because they have a lot of hair, but nothing is further from reality. If you think they are going through a lot of heat, soak a cloth with water and put it on top to cool it, but you never have to put water in your body.

How do chinchillas bathe?

Unlike most living things, because of their fur the chinchillas cannot bathe with water like any other rodent but are kept clean thanks to the special sand baths They occur in their natural habitat when you are wild.

Actually this sand is nothing more than volcanic ash, and although it may seem like a contradiction, the water rather than cleaning them could cause some common and / or serious diseases such as pneumonia or fungal infections, since their fur is very dense and takes A lot in drying out well. So even in cases where they suffer heat stroke you never have to bathe chinchillas with water, but you have to soak a towel well and refresh them with it.

Despite what many people think, the sand bath that the chinchillas take instinctively and very often wallowing over and over again by volcanic ash, is enough to clean and keep their fur in good condition, without tangles and without parasites, since that fine grains of sand penetrate between your hairs and absorb all the excess moisture and / or grease that may be present.

As at present, the chinchillas we have are domestic, but like their peers they are very clean and they despise the dirt, surely if you have any you will have seen it roll and cleaning the substrate of their cage to finish feeling cleaner. And unlike other rodents such as guinea pigs or hamsters, clean chinchillas do not give off odors.

To take a sand bath, the domestic chinchillas do not have volcanic ash as in their natural habitat so you must provide them with a specific product for these rodents and make sure that their main component is the attapulguita or sepiolite. This bath sand for chinchillas can be found perfectly in animal stores and veterinary centers so please, do not use common sand or with other components because you can cause eye irritation or even ingest it by accident and have problems digestive

Only in very necessary cases

It has always been said that the bath of the chinchillas should be exclusively with sand of special bathroom for them. There are a number of myths about it: that it should not be done because the weight of the water in the dense fur could not be supported by the chinchilla and the organs are crushed, they die instantly by a decompensation mass, they completely lose their hair, etc.

This is not true: the only reason to be advised not to wet them is because of the difficulty that exists at the time of dry them quite good, since moisture could create skin infections, dermatitis, fungi, or cause them to get a flu or pneumonia. Simply for this reason it should not be done, and if we also add the use of a shampoo, it can be a irritating primary mucous membranes, such as the connective membrane of the eyes. .

When to bathe him with water

On many occasions the chinchillas escape from their cages, sometimes for a brief neglect or because they simply learn to open the cages and leave. On those occasions we may have left the mop bucket with water and detergent, or a jug with water, a vase, the open toilet lid, etc. and the chinchilla is given a dip.

Other cases that put your health at risk may include excess urine - which should be removed with a wet cloth or trimming stained hair - a fall in a container with oil, nicotine attached to the hair and cases of incontinence, so a bath is sometimes necessary. The wet bath is done only in cases where only sand-based is impossible that the chinchilla is clean, for example stains that are impossible to remove or if the animal has bathed in a not very hygienic place like the water of the mop or the toilet bowl.

The first alternative to remove traces of nicotine and tar, pee stains on defense of another chinchilla, excess semen in the hair after intercourse or attempted intercourse, is to clean these stains with a damp cloth with warm water and dry it immediately with a towel, to later place it in the sand bath. In case of incontinence, the hair of the area should be trimmed a little so that it does not continue to stain and prevent infections.

Nerdy and White tell us about Matilde's Mission that on many occasions have been in need of bathing a chinchilla with water and shampoo for rodents, due to the terms where they come from: hair full of other animal droppings, external parasites, fat, etc. The first bath with water results traumatic for the animal, due to their nervousness and the natural fear they have of the water, but once they perceive that they are going to be clean the thing changes, they do not enjoy, but they do leave.

It is important to emphasize once more that the sand bath should not be replaced For the water bath under any circumstances, if the chinchilla does not know how to perform her bath with sand it is important to create her habit.


To bathe a chinchilla we will need two people, warm water (never hot or cold) and, preferably, we will not use shampoo or soap, but if there is no alternative we will use a rodent shampoo without a strong odor (the more neutral, the better). We will avoid currents of air closing the window and the door. If it is winter, place a device to warm the environment. The ears should be protected so that water does not enter, as well as the nose and eyes.

We will perform the operation as much Quick and delicately possible, moistening it, applying the shampoo (only in extremely necessary cases) with gentle massages to try not to entangle the chinchilla. Do not use conditioner and rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue. A medium water pressure should be used so as not to harm the animal, or better yet, collect the water with a cup and wet it with it so that the sound of the tap does not scare plus. Remember not to be scared: they are not usually as pretty wet as they are dry and they will look a little weaker than they really are, do not convey your fear or surprise to the chinchilla.

Then the other person will wait with a towel so that, once the bath is finished, he can wrap it. Several towels will be required to leave it as dry as possible. Once the bathroom is finished, use a hair dryer minimum temperature and keep drying with the towel, you may need the other person to hold the chinchilla. Remember to put the dryer moving constantly and not looking at a single area, and check frequently If the air is hot or too cold.

If the ears start to redden or to mark the veins is that the temperature is too high, turn off the dryer, continue with the towel and then resume drying with the appliance. When you have to do this there are no alternatives, no public is allowed, you need to be in the environment more quiet possible. Once the chinchilla dries, we will place a sand bath so that it removes the remains of moisture that we do not see or perceive.

Source of information: National Association of Friends of the Rabbit


Best answer: Because of their characteristics, chinchillas require some special care, as well as taking some precautions. If we do not respect these simple guidelines, our pets will never be in an optimal state, and therefore their life will be shorter and the possibility of suffering diseases will increase.

Fur care

The dense and soft hair of the chinchillas, perhaps its most outstanding feature, requires a little attention from us to maintain an optimal state.
The first thing to know is that you should never bathe a chinchilla. Because they live (or perhaps they would live would be more suitable) in high mountain regions, where the temperature at night could drop drastically, these animals adapted to keep their fur in good condition without having to bathe. A wet chinchilla, in these conditions, was a dead chinchilla, so these animals resorted to an abundant element in their habitat, which allowed them to take care of their natural shelter without getting wet, and without therefore running the risk of dying from hypothermia. We are talking about the dust coming from volcanic ash that abounds in the Andes mountain range. The adaptation has reached such a point that the water spoils the chinchillas' fur, and the dust baths are essential for their hair to remain loose and spongy, thus retaining the layer of air that is essential for them to perform their function. insulating.

How to provide a powder bath to our chinchillas?

The first thing we need is precisely the dust, and this is precisely the most complicated part. You can not use any type of material for chinchillas to use in the maintenance of their coat, an inappropriate type of material for your bathroom not only will not contribute to the good condition of your hair, but it is possible that its effect is the opposite . In addition, there is a risk of causing serious problems to the chinchillas when we use incorrect elements. It is clear that we are not going to the Andes to look for volcanic ash dust, the solution is to use special sand, which simulates the characteristics of this dust, in the bathrooms of our chinchillas. The sand for the bath of the chinchillas is not usually easy to find (perhaps the most correct thing would be to say that it is very difficult to find). It has the advantage of being an inert material, and therefore is not susceptible to expiration or damage if we keep it in a suitable place. If we find a place where they sell the sand for bathrooms, and it is not precisely near our home, it is convenient to get a good supply. There are those who risk using substitutes with greater or lesser success. Perhaps the most used is cornmeal. It has the advantage that even if the animal ingests a small amount it will not be harmful. The other element that is sometimes used is crushed cat litter to reduce it to dust. Both breeders and in general the owners agree to recommend that nothing other than specific sand be used for the baths of the chinchillas, so it is more than advisable to strive to find it.
Once we have got sand for the bathroom, we will need a container. We will be worth anyone in which our pet can move freely, and that has a depth such that it can add sand up to a height of 5 cm. and that we still have a high enough edge so that the chinchilla in its ecstasy does not fill the house with sand. It is preferable that the tray we use is made of a resistant material and allows us to disinfect it. It is also recommended that the container be heavy to avoid accidental tipping.
The tray must be able to be introduced through the cage hatch without problems, hence the need for doors of adequate size (large) in the chinchilla cages.
Chinchillas should be allowed to use the sand bath for 5 or 10 minutes. N this time our pet will have more than enough time to take a relaxing dust bath and it will not occur to him to use the tray for other things. Most of the animals that like to take dust baths urinate in the tray when finished using it, but it has been proven that if it remains for longer than the indispensable one inside the cage it can become the particular toilet of The chinchillas The frequency of the bath will vary according to the animals, the atmospheric humidity. In general it is usually enough with a bath every two or three days, but there are a number of signs that can help us determine if we fall short or go by. If the hair of our chinchilla is matte, caked or wet, we need to increase the frequency of sand baths. If, on the other hand, our pet constantly scratches itself for no apparent reason, its skin is drying excessively due to the abuse of dust baths, and we will have to reduce its frequency.
After each use, the sand that has been stained with urine and / or ejections must be removed. If a chinchilla has not been allowed to bathe for a few weeks, it will take time to get used to using the bathroom tray.
The best time to provide our chinchillas with your bath is in the morning soon, after your period of night activity. It is preferable that each animal has its own bath tray to avoid the transmission of contagious diseases as much as possible.
It is recommended that every 2 or 3 months empty and disinfect the bath tray of each chinchilla.

Chinchillas completely shed their hair every three months or so, start at the head and end at the tail. An effective way to reduce the amount of hair that our chinchilla looses around the house and in its cage, is to subject it to daily brushing. For this we will use a thick and separate barbed comb first. We will always brush from tail to head. Once we have finished with the thick barbed comb we will proceed to make a second pass with a fine barbed comb, always following the same direction. It is not necessary to comb the ventral region of the chinchillas. The best time to comb our pet is before the sand bath. The sand will penetrate better, the bathroom will get dirtier and the results for the fur will be better

The sand bath for chinchillas

As cleaning with a sand bath is a natural and instinctive behavior for these rodents, it is necessary to provide at least a few 2 or 3 times a week and with a duration of 15 or 20 minutes maximum, although they can also bathe every day if the environment is very wet but only for 5 minutes. The more humid the environment where we have our chinchilla, the more frequently you will have to take a sand bath to keep your fur clean and shiny, and not dirty or caked.

For the sand bath of the chinchillas there are some special containers or bathtubs that are sold in the pet stores so that you can use them together with the sand for the specific bath. But in reality you don't have to buy those bathtubs since it is enough that you prepare a container with a layer of sand between 3 and 5 cm so that it covers the bottom and where your chinchilla can roll comfortably, so it all depends on its size. But you should not always leave it at your disposal but you have to take it off once it's over because otherwise you could use that special container or bathtub to do your needs.

What you can do is reuse the sand several times by sifting it through a sieve or strainer every time your chinchilla has bathed, in order to eliminate the dead skin that has been left or the possible remains of urine, etc. Of course, once a week you will have to change the bath sand for chinchillas completely and place a new layer, to keep your rodent well taken care of and without risks of skin problems ..

Things to keep in mind for the sand bath

For the sand bath of the chinchillas it is advisable to take into account a number of things that we They will facilitate the process and avoid unnecessary risks how:

  • It is better to bathe the chinchillas in the afternoon, which is when they start to be more active.
  • Do not disturb them or be very close when they take their sand bath because these rodents are reserved and it is better that they are calm and not stressed.
  • Try to check their eyes whenever they finish bathing with sand in case they have left any rest inside and have irritated or watery eyes. In this case, wash them with physiological serum.
  • If you notice that your chinchilla sneezes a lot or that some part of the body has been irritated with that sand dust you may have to buy it from another brand so that it does not have that reaction. If the problems still persist, see your veterinarian.
  • It is not necessary to bathe with sand your pet in excess because the skin could be reserved.
  • But you don't have to bathe the chinchillas a little because it could accumulate moisture in your coat and it would be caked, frizzy and not very shiny.

With all this, the last thing to know is that the sand baths for the chinchillas They are essential, since it is a behavior that comes to them by nature, they also love it, and if they do not they can get sick and even become depressed. So take good care of your chinchilla with these baths, a good diet and a little exercise so that you are healthy and happy by your side.

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