Can Chinchillas Get Wet? (Grooming Tips)

Bathing is an important task that helps your pet to remain clean and hygienic. If you have pets, like a dog, bathing them can be a joyous occasion. But caring for your pet chinchillas is not the same as caring for a pet cat or dog. The rules are entirely different when it comes to grooming them. 

A chinchilla should never get wet because these rodents are well known for their dense coat. Once wet, it is challenging to dry the dense fur of a chinchilla completely. When wet, the fur of the rodents gets compacted together, creating a ball of fur. It enhances the risk of fungus attacks and can cause other skin problems. The wet fur can also cause chilling issues for your pet chinchilla. 

However, in some extreme emergency cases, like chemical burns or infections, you will have to wash the chinchillas with water. You need to take some extra special steps to ensure that the bath does not create any health hazards for your pet chinchilla. But, before explaining these steps, let’s check out the reasons why you should avoid that situation as much as possible. 

Why can’t a chinchilla get wet?

The water and chinchillas do not gel together. As you already know, a chinchilla has dense fur, which takes a significantly long time to completely dry. The reason is, moisture can penetrate the silky fur of the chinchillas easily. That is what allows the undercoat of the animals to get wet easily. If left in this condition, wet fur can cause bacterial or fungal infections, creating an even more significant problem.

Dust Bath

So, the chinchillas should not get wet. But how can you keep these small rodents clean? Well, keeping the chinchillas out of water does not mean that you should not bathe them. Instead, the chinchilla will bathe themselves by moving and rolling their body in dust. 

It would be best if you also used dry and clean dust to bathe them each time 

The dust soaks up the oils from the coat and keeps it shiny and healthy. You can visit your local pet store or a reputable online store to get dust for bathing for your chinchillas. Just pour some dust in a bowl, and the chinchilla will take care of the rest. 

When is it okay to give a chinchilla a water bath?

While water is a strict no-no for your pet chinchilla, there might be some time when you have to bathe them. For example, in extreme cases only, if your pet chinchilla accidentally gets covered with dangerous substances, faeces, cream, oil, or even urine, you will need to give your chinchilla a water bath right away. However, if you are hesitating to do so, remember that the infections that may occur from the substance can be more dangerous than wetting your pet chinchilla for a couple of seconds.

Quickly make that decision, so the substances are not left to rot on your chinchilla. 

What should I do if my chinchilla gets wet by mistake?

If your chinchilla gets wet accidentally, you should use a piece of cloth to wipe the water away. If your chinchilla feels afraid or restless during this process, give it a chinchilla chew toy to distract it from the discomfort caused by the wetness. 

Chinchillas love their toys, and they love to play and be active, so providing them with a distraction will help dry them efficiently.

Once you have wiped all the visible water from its body, wrap the towel around your pet chinchilla so that it can keep on absorbing the water. The towel will also act as a wrap and stop the temperature of your chinchilla from dropping too quickly. 

Blow Dry

You can use a blow dryer to dry the fur of the chinchillas out. Just keep the dryer a considerable distance away from your pet chinchilla. Also, make sure to keep the heat setting at the lowest possible level. 

Do chinchillas get wet in the wild?

You may think that the chinchillas get wet in the wild quite often, but that is not the case. The chinchillas naturally live in high altitude places in the Andes Mountains. The geographic locations of the chinchillas protect the chinchillas from extra moisture and rain. 

The wild chinchillas are also masters at finding cover. This ability helps them to find shelter when and if necessary. Wild chinchillas will use natural dust, ash and dirt to protect themselves from moisture and never choose or need to get wet.

Grooming Tips

Even if you think it is impossible to keep healthy and happy chinchillas in your home, it is possible. You have to replace all your plans that involve H2O. Just like the cats, the chinchillas are also very enthusiastic groomers. You need to provide them with a dust box, and the chinchillas will take care of the rest. 

However, do not forget to clean the cages of your pet chinchillas more often. You can also try to potty-train your chinchillas.

How often should a Chinchilla take a dust bath?

Chinchillas should take dust baths a couple of times per week. Arrange for 5-10 minute long dust baths in the evening, a couple of days each week. The chinchillas remain most active in the evening. So, it is better to arrange the bath at this time.

  • Twice a week, for 5-10 minutes at a time

It would be best if you did not leave the bath box inside of their cages. In this scenario, the chinchillas may start to use the dust box as a litter box. Also, frequent bathing can dry out their skin and cause skin problems. Arrange for the bath depending on the requirements of your pet and the humidity of your area.

  • Do not leave the dust bath in the cage
  • Always use new dust each bath time
  • Dont over bath your chinchilla
  • Best to bath in the evenings

If you are thinking about getting a chinchilla for yourself, start getting the bits you need, especially a dust bath. Your pet chinchilla will love to roll in the dust, and you will love to watch it. If you face any issues or have any doubts in your mind, do not hesitate to visit the local vet. Keep in mind, the care procedure of the chinchillas are different from other common pets. So, you need to gather more information about these adorable pets before welcoming one into your home. 

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By Teresa Mine

Teresa has studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition. She loves sharing her knowledge and educating through her articles. She loves binge-watching animal documentaries. Teresa has some pets; she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster.