Can Chinchillas Get Wet?

Chinchillas are unique and fascinating pets known for their incredibly soft fur and playful nature. However, one common question among chinchilla owners and enthusiasts is whether these small rodents can get wet. Understanding the reasons behind their sensitivity to water and how to care for them properly is essential for ensuring their health and well-being.

Why Chinchillas Should Avoid Getting Wet

Chinchillas have one of the densest fur coats of any land mammal, with around 80-100 hairs per follicle. This dense fur helps them stay warm in their native cold Andean mountain environment but poses a problem when it comes to water.

Due to the density of their fur, chinchillas have a hard time drying off if they get wet. Moisture can become trapped close to their skin, leading to prolonged dampness, which can cause a range of health issues.

Risks of Getting Wet

When a chinchilla's fur remains damp, it creates a perfect environment for fungal infections, such as ringworm. These infections can be painful and difficult to treat.


Moisture can also lead to bacterial infections, causing skin irritations and sores. These infections can be severe and may require veterinary intervention.


Exposure to moisture and cold can increase the risk of respiratory problems, including pneumonia. Chinchillas are particularly susceptible to these issues due to their delicate respiratory systems.

Proper Cleaning and Grooming


Instead of water, chinchillas maintain their fur through dust baths. Special chinchilla dust is used to mimic the fine volcanic ash they would encounter in the wild. This dust helps absorb oils and moisture from their fur, keeping it clean and healthy.


Place a shallow container filled with chinchilla dust in their enclosure for about 10-15 minutes, several times a week. Ensure the container is large enough for them to roll around in, as this is how they clean themselves.


Using soft brushes and combs designed for chinchillas can help remove loose fur and prevent matting. Regular grooming sessions can also help you monitor their skin and fur for any signs of problems.

Never use water-based products or sprays on a chinchilla's fur. Stick to dust baths and dry grooming methods to ensure their fur remains healthy and clean.

What to Do If Your Chinchilla Gets Wet

Drying Your Chinchilla

If your chinchilla does get wet, it's crucial to dry them off as quickly as possible. Use a clean, dry towel to gently blot away moisture. Avoid rubbing, as this can cause stress and damage their fur.

Keep your chinchilla in a warm, dry environment until they are completely dry. You can use a low-heat setting on a hairdryer, held at a distance, to help speed up the drying process. Be cautious and ensure the air is not too hot, as this can cause burns or overheating.

Monitoring for Health Issues

After getting wet, closely monitor your chinchilla for any signs of skin or respiratory issues. Symptoms may include scratching, redness, swelling, difficulty breathing, or lethargy.

If you notice any concerning symptoms, consult a veterinarian experienced with chinchillas. Prompt treatment can prevent minor issues from becoming severe health problems.


Chinchillas should avoid getting wet due to the risks associated with their dense fur and susceptibility to infections and respiratory problems. Instead, regular dust baths and dry grooming methods are essential for keeping their fur clean and healthy. If your chinchilla does get wet, quick action and proper care can help prevent complications. Understanding these unique needs is key to providing the best care for your chinchilla and ensuring their well-being.

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