As one of the most social rodent pets currently, most people think that keeping degus clean is a painstaking task because they are always playing. Degus, just like most rodents clean themselves and they are very clean animals.
However, as a responsible pet owner, you need to lend a helping hand to maintain your degu’s cleanliness. Keeping the cage clean is crucial for your degu’s health and also for avoid smell.
Ensure you use pet-safe cleaners for the cage because most household cleaners contain chemicals that might affect your pet rodent.
But what about bathing your degu? Should you give a bath to your pet degu?
Unlike dogs, degus don’t need a bath to stay clean. Most degus don’t like getting wet and forcing them into water can make them stressed. However, there are few things you can do to keep your degus clean and healthy.
The following are some guidelines on how you can best keep your pet degu clean.
Do Degus Need a Sand Bath?
Yes, degus will need a sand bath to keep them clean. Bathing for degus is not in the traditional sense comprising water and soap but instead involves sand. The sand, in this instance, removes the oils secreted naturally by degus and stuck on their furs while getting rid of the items their fur has picked in the environment.
Degus will need sand baths at least twice weekly to keep them clean and dry. Maintaining dry fur for your degu is important because it prevents the proliferation of fungi or mold. After they bathe in it, you can choose to either leave the sand bath in your pet’s cage or take it out.
Nevertheless, leaving it in the cage puts it at risk of being used as a bathroom by your degu after it has finished rolling in it. Therefore, it is best to take it out if you have not yet toilet-trained your degu.
There are several pet-safe bathing sands for your degu. Even so, the best for your pet are the ones that are also meant for chinchillas because these are natural. Moreover, they effectively boost the health of your degu’s fur and keep it clean.
However, the wrong sand bath or a dirty one for your degu can cause respiratory issues. It is best to change the sand bath as the manufacturer recommends though you can wipe it down now and then to clean it.
The sand bath should be an inch or two kept in a shallow bowl in an area that is visible and easily accessible for your degu. Let the animal roll in the bath for at least half an hour.
Can Degus Get Wet?
Yes, degus can get wet. Though there has not been extensive research into degus’ swimming capabilities and how well they can handle water, they have been shown to use their paws to paddle in the water.
However, in their arid natural environments, the animals are not exposed to large water bodies. As such, the bodies of degus are not well-adapted to coping with water.
As such, if your degu comes into contact with water, it will try to get out of it as quickly as possible. Even so, its fur can still get wet. If wet, the degu should be dried quickly to avert deadly effects.
What Should You do if Your Degu Smells?
Degus, like most rodents, will use their saliva to clean their bodies and remove parasites from it. If, however, you notice that your degu is smelly, this is a sign that it needs extra help with its grooming. The following are some steps you can take to get rid of smells in your degu:
- Use a dust bath to “wash” your pet.
- Use a washcloth to gently remove dirt and parasites from your degu as if you are petting it. You can then wipe down the rodent with a soft dry towel. In this case, do not put your degu in a water bath but wet the washcloth then wipe the rodent. This is, however, the last resort for getting rid of smells in your pet.
- Clean out the degu’s cage and its accessories.
- Air dry the substrate used for bedding in your degu’s cage or change it.
What Should You do if Your Degu Gets Wet?
Though you are careful, there are times when your degu can be rained on or fall in water. The following are some risks associated with your degu getting wet:
- It will be challenging to groom your pet because the water will get rid of the natural skin oils on your pet.
- The animal might contract pneumonia, a potentially lethal condition if untreated.
- Exposing your degu to water might stress it and cause it to become aggressive and bite.
- The animal might get hypothermia, a condition where it loses its ability to control body temperature.
To prevent these eventualities, the following are the steps to take when your degu gets wet:
- Remove the excess water on your pet’s fur using a soft dry towel.
- Ensure your pet is warm.
- Dry the pet’s fur using a hairdryer on a cool setting.
- Be vigilant to pick signs of disease for about a week after the incident that makes your pet wet. One sign that should inform your trip to a vet is sneezing.
You would not want to stop playing with or holding your degu because it is dirty. A dirty pet will also mean smelly interiors. With the above information, you now know how best to keep your degu clean without affecting its well-being.
Other than the comfort that a clean pet will guarantee, the costs of maintaining it will be reduced. This is because cleanliness reduces the risks of diseases in your degu and this translates to reduced trips to the vet.
Degus are very intelligent animals and are easy to train. In addition to their cleaning, consider toilet training your pet to minimize the dirt in its cage. Remember to use positive rewards to reinforce hygienic habits in your degu during the training so that your pet is motivated.