Dust Baths For Pocket Pets

Did you know that smaller animals don’t typically bathe in ponds or puddles in the wild. Many use dust baths to clean themselves. This may sound odd, but dust baths actually work quite well as beauty routines for tiny pets. If you have a smaller pet, you may want to offer them a dust bath. A LaPorte, IN vet offers some insight on this below.


Dust baths are, as the name suggests, an alternative type of bath for animals that don’t bathe in water. The fine dust dislodges any dirt, food, or feces in their fur. It also absorbs excess oil, which is then released as they shake off. Even if your furry pal is pretty clean, they’ll enjoy rolling around. 

To Bathe or Not To Bathe?

For some pets, choosing dust baths over regular baths isn’t just a matter of preference. Chinchillas, for instance, can get skin infections from getting wet. Some animals enjoy both. Gerbils are a good example of this. They will lick themselves clean, but also regularly give themselves dust baths. However, don’t assume that dust baths are right for every pocket pet. Guinea pigs don’t naturally use dust to clean themselves, and do best with being brushed and perhaps occasionally bathed with water and pet-safe shampoo. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Choosing Sand

This is also something you’ll want to check with your vet with, because different types of pets use different types of sand. Don’t use dust that is meant for a different type of pet than what you have. This can actually be dangerous! For example, chinchilla dust may cause respiratory issues in hamsters.


Setting up a dust bath isn’t complicated. You can buy ‘tubs’ made just for this, but you can also use a ceramic dish or a plant pot. All you really need is a small container that your pet can roll around in. Choose one they can easily get in and out of. 


Once your pint-sized pal is finished, remove the container from the cage and clean it. If you leave it in, they may use it as a litterbox! You can reuse most types of dust, but check label instructions to be sure. Replace the dust when it gets clumpy or soiled. 


Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your LaPorte, IN animal clinic, anytime! 

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