It can be exciting to adopt one of the three types of chinchilla rabbit breeds, but you also want to look after your new pet properly. There are many questions that may come up as you care for them.
Whether you have a small Standard Chinchilla, a medium American Chinchilla, or Giant Chinchilla, you may wonder if you can expose them to water? Can chinchillas get wet? If so, what are some situations where they can be exposed to water? If not, what happens if they are exposed to water? Can you bathe them safely?
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Why Would a Chinchilla Get Wet?
A chinchilla rabbit may get wet, just like a young child around your home, but it’s not a good thing. If your rabbit has outdoor access, there may be small puddles of water on the grass. You may be surprised at how smart your rabbit is, but on the other hand they can also get into mischief and want to play around.
They may try to dig into a potted plant on the porch, balcony, or patio too. Inside the house, a chinchilla may knock over a glass of water, or, they may hop into the shower where there’s still water. The scenarios are endless, so yes, it’s possible a chinchilla may unintentionally get wet.
Is It Harmful for a Chinchilla to Get Wet?
Yes, it can potentially be harmful for your chinchilla rabbit to get wet, whether it’s inside the house, or outside. If it’s outside, it’s even more serious. Rabbits are susceptible to freezing temperatures and this can cause death. A rabbit is not a dog or cat and should be treated with extra care. There is also harmful bacteria in the ground and soil that can cause diseases and infections in your rabbit.
Water can potentially be inhaled by your rabbit and cause suffocation in their narrow nasal passages. Indoors, they could fall into a bathtub full of water. And you’ll also have to consider if you have young children who may not understand that the rabbit should never be tossed under the outdoor sprinkler, no matter how much fun that is for the kids.
How Can I Keep My Chinchilla Dry?
Prevention is better than trying to figure out how to wash or dry a chinchilla, but we’ll cover that topic shortly. For now, it’s important to keep your rabbit dry and healthy. Ensure that their cage space has a secured water bowl that can’t be tipped over. You should have some living space where your bunny can safely run around.
Block off any access to houseplants or a table where there may be human food or water. If you allow your rabbit outdoor access, it should be a safe “rabbitio”, where there is a clean smooth plastic sheet on the ground, and a caged fence around it. This keeps the rabbit from picking up external bacteria, but will also keep them away from your pool, pond, sprinkler, kids’ wading pool, or any other potential disastrous situation for them.
Can I Take My Rabbit Out in the Rain?
Do you bring your chinchilla to work with you? Perhaps you need to take them to the vet’s clinic for their annual checkup? But it’s raining outside, so what to you do? It’s important that your pet chinchilla rabbit has a safe and secure pet carrier. There should be enough airflow for them to breathe, but secure enough that rain and snow can’t get inside.
If you have to walk or take transit, then it’s important your rabbit stay secure and dry. If you can, ask a friend or family member for a ride to the clinic. You can also take a taxi cab or a ride-share. If not, and it’s imperative that your chinchilla be seen by the vet that day, you’ll have to find other ways to keep the chinchilla warm.
Line the base of the carrier with a soft warm blanket or towel. You can also use a second towel to warm around the carrier. This not only makes it warmer inside, but also keeps the rabbit from stressing out from seeing unfamiliar territory outside the carrier. Ensure there is still a small gap to let air in so they can safely breathe. Bring extra towels in case the first set gets wet. You can swap these out at the vet clinic.
How Can I Dry My Chinchilla If They Do Get Wet?
Sometimes accidents happen, even when we take the utmost care in looking after our pets. If your chinchilla rabbit happens to get wet, it’s best to get them dry as soon as possible. Gently place the chinchilla on a towel. Give them a quick examination. Check their nostrils first, to ensure they can still breathe fine.
Next, check their paws. Is it just their four paws that are wet? If they are wet, what was it caused by? If there is mud on their paws, you’ll need to gently clean them first with pet-safe wipes. If their tail or body is wet, dry that gently too. Check around their ears. Rabbits are prone to ear infections, so if their ears are wet, it’s important to dry them fully. You can use cotton puffs to gently dry them. Once your rabbit is fully dry, let them go off to do their own thing.
They will most likely re-groom themselves. Monitor them over the next three days. If they are acting fine, then no additional care is required. But if they appear to be getting sick, with crusty eyes or ears, or have diarrhea, it’s time to book a vet’s appointment.
How Do I Bathe My Chinchilla?
What happens if your rabbit got into something and is filthy? Perhaps they knocked over a house plant and got into the soil? Perhaps they got outdoors and ran through mud? Perhaps they had diarrhea and it’s all over their butt now? If the rabbit is so filthy, there may be no option but to bathe them, but we suggest you call the veterinary clinic first to ask what to do.
You may also be able to use the pet-safe wipes to clean them. Another option is to use a damp face cloth to wipe them clean. Use warm water, never hot or cold. Rabbits aren’t used to being immersed in water, and it’s not just a case of them getting an eye or ear infection from the water, but that the actual stress of being bathed can trigger a heart attack, which is fatal. Basically, don’t bathe your chinchilla, ever. If there is a specific incident, ask the vet first, or take the rabbit to the vet where they can be cleaned safely.
How Do Chinchillas Keep Themselves Clean?
With all of this talk about chinchilla rabbits, you may be wondering how do rabbits clean themselves? Rabbits are just like cats, they self-groom. Rabbits are very clean animals, and will groom themselves several times a day, just like cats do. They use their tongue to clean every millimetre of their bodies. This includes their face, ears, tummy, back, and bottom.
If you have a pet chinchilla, there is no need to give them a bath. They are not dogs that need to be bathed on a regular basis. It’s important to understand how to look after chinchillas properly, because you don’t want to have them suffer a heart attack because you put them through a stressful incident.
At times they make look a bit filthy, but then are perfectly clean the next hour or two. You may even want to wait before deciding to clean the chinchilla, as they end up resolving the situation by cleaning themselves.
What If I’m Hiring a Petsitter or Have Guests Over?
Just like if you had a baby or young child, when guests come over, or you are heading away on vacation and have a petsitter coming in, it’s important to provide proper education. You can never assume that someone will know what to do.
And you do not want to have an emergency phone call from them because something went wrong. Be sure to let everyone know that the chinchilla and other rabbits should be kept safe and dry. If they get a bit dirty, a pet-safe wipe should suffice. Most of the time the rabbit will quickly clean their dirty fur anyway.
Ensure that they know to keep the rabbit away from the bathroom. If you have other pets, keep the bunny away from the dog’s or cat’s water bowls. No one should be allowed to take the rabbit outside but you. You can also write these guidelines on your computer, then print them out and keep them by your rabbit’s foods on the kitchen counter so they can be a simple reminder to everyone.
Now that you understand that prevention is better for your chinchilla, then trying to dry them after the event, your rabbit will have a happy and long life. The more you can do to look after your pet chinchilla, including keeping your pet chinchilla dry and warm, the happier everyone will be.