Sand, dust or both for baths

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JohhnyBishop

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Feb 21, 2021
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Hi,
I would like to know your opinion on that.
I have been using sand for their baths, it's definitely not a dust or there is some small amount of dust in the sand but if I reuse the sand after couple of uses the dust is no longer there.

I see people on videos using only fine dust but I heard that this is not healthy for chinchillas because it causes respiratory problems and dries skin.
I know this dust makes chinchilla's fur very soft and fine combed (good for videos and photo shots) but there are disadvantages.

I think the best option is to use sand with some small amount of fine dust added to it.
Please let me know your opinion.
 
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Amethyst

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You actually want good quality pumice dust not sand (also not powder which is too fine), it's literally what chins evolved to bath in. Chins pinch their nose closed, effectively sealing it shut when bathing, like a seal does underwater, so there is no danger of them inhaling dust just bathing normally. Sand is not good because it doesn't get deep enough in the fur to properly clean it, and doesn't absorb oils as well as dust. It's also courser so it can damage the fur as well as cut the skin leading to infection, and if sand gets in their eyes it can cause damage and infection. So I wouldn't use sand at all even mixed with dust.

Dust is really only an issue if left in the cage 24/7, but it shouldn't be left in the cage for long periods of time let alone all the time. Dust baths should only be offered for about 10 minutes or so, or as long as your chin wants to bathe, and only a couple times a week not everyday. If left in the cage all the time it can lead to respiratory issues since they can't seal their nose all the time, I also like to have my chin bathe outside the cage so their is less dust in the cage after baths. As well as having access to dust all the time can cause dry skin from over bathing, like a person taking showers all the time. A lot of chins will also pee and poop in the dust if it's left in the cage all the time or for too long, making it unsanitary.
 

JohhnyBishop

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There must be a decent level of misinformation then or there is not enough pumice dust in Europe.
I only see sand and sand with calcium powder on sale.
This is the only pumice dust I found from California:
 

Jawramik

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Nov 3, 2021
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I usually put my chin's dust bath in her cage for a few minutes right before I clean it. I used to put it in her playpen for a few minutes while I worked on her cage ...but then I had to sweep all the dust out of her playpen. Since I'm cleaning the cage anyway, it makes more sense to me to just let her bathe in the cage, then any dust that escapes the bath gets cleaned up when I clean out the cage a few minutes later. This ensures that she's not exposed to excessive dust in her day-to-day living environment.

All the research I've done agrees with Amethyst: fine pumice dust is best, and it only causes health issues when a chin is constantly exposed to it or allowed to over-bathe (like giving them a dust bath in their cage every day and then not cleaning up the dust that escapes the bath, or leaving the bath in their cage all the time, so they're living in a perpetually dusty environment).

My favourite dust I've tried is Chill Dust, but I've heard that shipping outside of the US is pretty pricey, so it may not be the best option for you. I think the Lixit dust you posted is a-okay, though, so that's probably a better option for you in terms of cost.
 

Amethyst

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I didn't even pay attention to the fact you were in the UK, I know a common confusion in terms happens when talking about "dust" baths. What people in North America call bathing powder people in Europe call dust, which is not safe to use and does cause respiratory issues. What we call dust you call sand, which is not actually the same as the bathing sand they sell in the US.

So doing a little more searching around another chin group, if
Critters Choice 4.5kg Bathing Powder Specifically for Chinchilla Care : Amazon.co.uk: Pet Supplies is what you are talking about as the "sand and dust mix", I've heard people in the UK say that it's ok. It would likely be called dust over in the North America, it's a much finer and softer, more like what people in North America would call a dust then a sand.

I don't think there are any volcanoes with the right rock type in Europe to make pumice (volcanic rock) similar to the kind found in South America where chins are from. So you are pretty much limited to the US, and possibly South America for actual pumice dust bath for chins. Lixit dust is good, it's actually Blue Beauty now, the Blue Cloud mine closed, but it's pumice dust as well, just from a different mine. Blue Cloud use to be the best dust you can get. The new "best" is ChillDust, but it's only in the US, I can't even get it up here in Canada unless I want to spend more for shipping then for the actual dust.

Just doing a quick looking on the UK Amazon, if you want actual pumice dust, aside from Lixit, you can also get Oxbow Poof


and Petpost, I've never tried it, so I don't know too much about it but I've heard other chin owners say they use it and seem to like it.

 

JohhnyBishop

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Feb 21, 2021
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Location
London, UK
Thank you Amethyst.
Yes the pumice dust has to come from US unless they start mining it somewhere near volcanoes in Italy or Iceland.
I try your suggestions. The sands I used so far are not fine enough.
 
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