One of the better known characteristics of chinchillas is their aversion to getting wet, thus a chinchilla bath is filled with special sand often called chinchilla dust. It is a very fine type of volcanic ash. And they will use the sand to clean themselves with. Water is not used as it can be dangerous for your pet. Your pet will get hours of delight out of cleaning itself in the sand.
A local chinchilla breeder will be able to supply you with the needed dust, and if you are going to leave the bath in the cage, you should replace the dust at least once biweekly, or when it is visibly soiled. It is preferable however to remove the bath until you wish your chinchilla to bath to avoid over-use and potential mess.
The sand bath can be bought at any pet shop or pet supply store, but you should be sure that it is big enough for your chinchilla to easily bath in. If you cannot find chinchilla dust, normal children’s play sand can be used, however the special volcanic ash is the best suited for the animal.
Chinchilla pets are very vulnerable to changes in temperature, and as such both the cage and the chinchilla bath need to be kept at a constant temperature between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius. Temperatures over 28 degrees Celsius can be fatal to the chinchilla, and they could die from heatstroke.
You should not clean a chinchilla with water, as this is very stressful for the animal and may have fatal consequences. Should you let your chinchilla out of its cage and it somehow ends up getting something sticky or paint in its fur then it is best not to try to use water to remove it yourself. You should take your chinchilla to your local veterinarian or to the local chinchilla breeder if he or she is suitably experienced and qualified enough. You must never wash them and leave them to dry on their own, as their fur takes a very long time to dry, and they may die from hypothermia, as their body quickly loses heat.
If the chinchilla is soiled beyond normal dust-cleaning capabilities, you can take it to the vet to have its fur trimmed and cleaned, which is a much safer option than cleaning it with water. If you have experience with trimming the fur of small animals, you can clean it yourself, but a veterinarian is always the safest option.
It is clear that keeping your chinchilla clean does not have to be an expensive or time-consuming job, however you have to take certain precautions to keep the chinchilla bath clean and at optimum conditions for your chinchilla.