While chinchillas are remarkably low maintenance companions to own, they do still require a thorough knowledge of how to keep them clean and happy. Following, are some basic care and maintenance tips that every chinchilla owner should become familiar with, so that they can enjoy their fuzzy friend for years to come.
Bathing Your Chinchilla
New chinchilla owners may wonder how often it is necessary to bathe their chinchilla. The great thing about chinchillas is that they are naturally very clean animals. Because of their natural propensity towards cleanliness, a traditional bath with water is never recommended for these creatures. A chinchilla should never get wet. Because a chinchilla’s coat is comprised of extremely densely packed fur, that density can cause it’s fur to clump up and matte over if it becomes wet. This can leave your chinchilla at risk of developing skin infections, which could lead to other health related complications and an urgent trip to the veterinarian.
Chinchillas are bathed in a specialized “dust” powder, which removes excess oil from their coat, helping to protect it’s natural softness and sheen. These “dust bath” formulas should only be purchased by reputable pet supply companies. Always make sure that your dust bath solution does not include harmful chemicals which may damage their lungs. You should give your chinchilla a dust bath at least twice a week, for about fifteen minutes per session. After your chinchilla has enjoyed their dust bath, be sure to comb their coat with a soft bristle brush.
Cleaning Your Chinchilla’s Habitat
While you may take your pet chinchilla out of their habitat occasionally to allow them to safely explore their surroundings, your chinchilla will likely spend most of it’s time snuggled safely inside it’s habitat. Chinchillas are quite happy with having a space to call their own, and will remain content, so long as their living conditions remain clean, safe, and sanitary. Cleaning your chinchilla’s habitat on a regular basis is a vital component of keeping your pet chinchilla healthy.
There are a few guidelines you should follow in order to keep your chinchilla as healthy and clean as possible. Clean your chinchilla’s living space thoroughly at least once a month. Thoroughly cleaning their space will require you to take everything out of it’s habitat, including shavings, bedding, food and watering station, toys, and anything else which may be part of it’s habitat. A thorough sanitization of everything in it’s habitat requires little more than a diluted bleach solution or a little vinegar. Be sure to keep your chinchilla far away from it’s habitat while undergoing the sanitization process and allow it to completely dry before reassembling it.
A thorough cleaning should happen once a month, however, you should also make sure to clean your chinchilla’s bedding or covers at least once per week (or more often, depending on whether it contains urine or poop). In order to keep your chinchilla healthy, be sure to clean out any fresh urine or poop on a daily basis, and assess it’s living environment for anything else which may be amiss (such as blood or any damaged toys or bedding which could cause harm to your chinchilla).
Chinchillas are wonderful small companions with a big heart and an even bigger personality. With the proper care and upkeep of this unique pet, you will be able to enjoy their companionship for years to come.