Over the weekends, my two nephews came over for water play. Out of curiosity, they started to ask me so many questions regarding chinchillas, like can chinchillas swim? What happens if a chinchilla gets wet? Can we do a chinchilla water bath? How to wash a chinchilla? So, I’ll like to use this post to address the common question about whether chinchillas can get wet.
Chinchillas should not get wet because their dense fur is extremely difficult to dry, causing risk of fungus growth. However, there may be unavoidable emergencies when you need to wash a chinchilla quickly to avoid other skin issues such as infections or chemical burns.
But before we go into those exceptional situations, lets dive in on the reasons why we should avoid letting that happen.
Why can’t chinchillas get wet
Chinchillas and water don’t go well together. Chinchillas have very dense fur and it will take them a long time to dry if they come into contact with excessive water. This is because moisture can penetrate deep into their undercoat. If this moisture isn’t removed, your chinchilla may begin having issues with fungus and bacterial infections, which can in turn create a bigger problem for their skin.
Although we should always try to avoid getting a chinchilla wet, there will be times when a quick water bath is inevitable. For instance, if your chin has its fur covered in risky substances such as oil, cream, or even pee and wet poo, simply wiping and dust bath may not be able to help.
If you have exhausted all options and assessed that a quick wash under the water is the quickest way to clean up the mess, go ahead. Keep in mind that infections caused by pee-burn is even more dangerous than simply wetting your pet for a few seconds.
What to do if your chinchilla gets wet?
If you chinchilla got wet accidentally, quickly use a piece of cloth to gently wipe the water off it body. If he looks like he is frightened, give him some chinchilla chew toys to distract him from the wet body.
After that, use the cloth to gently wrap around the chinchilla’s body so that the cloth can continue to absorb the water, while preventing it from losing temperature too quickly.
You can also choose to use a hair-dryer to blow dry a wet chinchilla (it might be faster this way!). Just make sure that you hold the dryer at least half a metre away from you pet, and turn the setting to the lowest heat possible.
Dust Bath is the proper way to clean chinchillas
These animals have self-cleaning behaviors; their body produces natural oils to keep the epidermis functioning like normal. When their bodies create too much, chinchillas take matters into their own hands by rolling around in “dust.” If you wish to know more about this process, do read up our article on why do chinchillas dust bath.
The purpose behind taking dust bath is to help knock off and dry up excess oil to keep their skin and fur dry and clean. This doesn’t mean you should bring in a handful of dirt for your chin, dust can be purchased at almost any pet care supply store or online.
The Fine Powder Can Be Messy
It’s best not to keep the “bath” inside the chinchilla enclosure or in an area of the home that you don’t want dirty. As they complete their usual hygiene ritual, your chinchilla will kick up dust and it will inevitably end up all over carpets, sheets, curtains etc. Try using the bathroom or a room that can easily be sprayed and wiped clean.
What Kind of Dust Should I Buy?
Chinchillas Dust usually contains pumice, volcanic ash, and other naturally occurring volcanic minerals. When looking for a brand to purchase, you should definitely look into consumer reviews before making a decision. Dust that is low in quality can create serious problems for your chinchilla including itching and scratching.
Customer Approved Brands Online
- Kaytee Chinchilla Dust is a top seller on online stores and has a five star rating among eighty percent of customers who purchased this product!
- Kaytee Ceramic Critter Bath serves as a partially enclosed space so that your chinchilla can groom themselves comfortably, and there’s less cleanup for you. The bowl shape helps to prevent dust from spilling over the sides. It’s not require for baths, but it is a highly recommended product.