Quick grease gland checks are a regular part of our piggy grooming routine and a necessary part of cavy care. Out of our six pigs (all girls), Peaches tends to need the most attention here. Since she has a more active grease gland her piggy rump certainly benefits from the occasional extra wash!
Here's what you need to know about your wheeker's grease gland and how to keep it clean.
WHAT IS A GREASE GLAND
All guinea pigs have a grease gland that produces an oily secretion for scenting and marking purposes. This dime-sized area is covered with fur and located at the base of their spine. Look for it about half an inch away from their genitals, about where you'd imagine a tail to be.
WHY IT NEEDS CLEANING
Although male guinea pigs are more prone to greasy buildup in this area, females can also have an active grease gland. When ignored the area can become irritated. Accumulated buildup can also lead to infection. All the more reason to include a grease gland inspection as part of your guinea pig's grooming routine!
HOW TO FIND IT
Place your pig on a flat surface facing away from you and trace your fingers down his or her spine. Starting at the point where your finger meets the table, feel around for an area where the fur is slightly tacky.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR GUINEA PIG'S GREASE GLAND
- Trim the fur surrounding the grease gland if needed. This makes it easier to see the area especially if your pig is of the long-haired variety.
- If there is accumulated buildup, apply coconut oil to the gland and gently rub it in. Coconut oil acts as a natural degreasing agent to loosen the buildup.
- Lather shampoo or a degreasing dishwashing detergent onto the gland and let sit for a few minutes. Make sure to keep your cavy warm while he or she is waiting.
- Thoroughly rinse the area and repeat as necessary.
- Offer your piggy a veggie treat as compensation for the indignity of having their bottom washed!
Do any of your pigs have an active grease gland? How often do you clean the area?
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