Chinchilla dust serves the important purpose of allowing chinchillas to stay clean, as they would in their native cold, arid environment. Several South American animals including chinchillas, llamas, and alpacas roll in natural volcanic ash as a means of staying clean. Chinchilla dust sticks to oils and dirt in the chinchilla's coat and then the dust falls off, cleaning the chinchilla's fur as is does so. Chinchillas can maintain a clean coat with frequent access to chinchilla dust. If housing conditions allow, chinchillas can have access to chinchilla dust at all times. The dust particles are very fine, and will get into an indoor ventilation system. If the chinchillas are being kept in a human dwelling, the air handling system will need to have a filter which can be changed often. It is not advisable to sift your dust or use it on multiple animals since this practice can enhance the spread of fungus and other pathogens.
Brytin Chinchilla Dust Bath, endorsed by Chinchillas.com, is mined from a deposit dated over 11 million years ago. It is the product of a massive supervolcano known as the Bruneau-Jarbridge Caldera. This dust is natural, inert and non-toxic.
Offer chinchilla dust a minimum of once a week using a specially made dust container, a shallow glass fish bowl, etc... Add a layer of dust (1/2 - 1 inch) to the bottom of the dust container and leave for at least 5-30 minutes. Do not offer chinchilla dust to kits/baby chinchillas (or their parents) when the kits are less than two weeks old. Each dust container should be used exclusively for one specific cage. Replace soiled dust with new clean dust as needed.
In preparation for show competition, keep the chinchilla's cage particularly clean to avoid pen stain. Starting four months prior to competition, dust your show chinchillas for 5 minutes twice a week.
For local competition: Beginning one month prior to competition, dust your show chinchillas once daily for 5 minutes.
For National-level competition: Beginning two months prior to competition, dust your show chinchillas once daily for 5 minutes.
In dry environments, remove all dust 72 hours prior to competition. In average humidity environments, remove all dust 48 hours prior to competition. In high humidity environments, remove all dust 24 hours prior to competition. Some adjustments to this schedule may need to be made acording to variations in environment, a chinchilla's particular habits, and personal preference.