The more dominant guinea pigs are usually examined to see if they have a more active grease gland when compared to the other guineas.
The grease glands are usually dormant after the boars have been neutered. Scent glands and sebaceous glands are other names for this structure.
Now that you know what a grease gland is and what it does, let’s take a look at what it does and how we should take care of it in the future.
Do female guinea pigs have grease glands?
Yes, female guinea pigs (sows) have grease glands, just like their male counterparts, and they produce a similar amount of saliva. However, the grease gland in sows is not nearly as active as the grease gland in boars.
Some sows also have a functioning grease gland, though this is a relatively uncommon sight among sows.
If your sows have an active grease gland, there is nothing wrong with them; it is quite normal for some guinea pigs to have an active grease gland.
Why do guinea pigs have grease gland?
Guinea pigs primarily used their grease glands to mark their territory, which was why they were called “markers.” In most cases, it secretes a greasy substance that solidifies after being adhered to a surface for an extended period of time.
It is also believed that guinea pigs use the scent of grease to attract sows to them. When they rub their grease gland against the surface, they leave behind secretions that act as an attractant for other insects.
While male and female guinea pigs have the grease gland, it is only found to be active in male guinea pigs, which is unusual for this species.
After reaching puberty, a male’s grease gland typically becomes more active, according to the literature.
As male guinea pigs mature, they can become aggressive and territorial, making it difficult to keep two boars in the same cage at the same time.
Typically, the dominant guinea pig will use the grease produced by these glands to mark their territory and disseminate their scent throughout the territory.
You can learn more about Guinea pig dominance by reading our in-depth article on the subject.
- Male vs Female Guinea Pig: Which guinea pig gender is better?
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Where is a guinea pig’s grease gland?
The task of locating a grease gland in guinea pigs is relatively simple. Looking for it just above the spot where their tail would have been would be the most reliable way to find it (if they had one).
You can also follow their spine until it reaches the back of their body, where you will feel a tailbone and their grease glands, which are located just above the tailbone.
It is easier to detect grease gland activity in male guinea pigs, especially after puberty, because their grease glands are more prominent. However, female guinea pigs and young guinea pigs are also known to have one, though it is more difficult to find them because they are not as active and noticeable.
If you happen to have a long-haired guinea pig with a grease gland that isn’t very active, it can be quite difficult to locate the gland.
Long-haired guinea pigs with active grease glands, on the other hand, can be easily distinguished and are much more difficult to clean due to the fact that their entire coat can be covered with the substance.
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Before you read on, here are some supplies for your guinea pigs that have been hand-picked by our experts and that you should add to your wishlist right away:
How often should we clean the grease glands of guinea pigs?
The grease glands of guinea pigs need to be cleaned on a weekly to monthly basis, depending on their size and breed. It is entirely dependent on how active the grease glands of your guinea pigs are.
The accumulation of grease in your guinea pigs must be closely monitored at all times. It is important to note that each individual guinea pig is unique; for example, while some guinea pigs accumulate grease very quickly, others accumulate it more slowly.
Some people believe that cleaning it on a daily basis is a good idea, but this is not true. Cleaning it every day can cause the area around the gland to become rough and dry because the water removes the natural oil from the guinea pig’s skin.
Read More: What is the function of a guinea pig’s sweat gland?
Consequences Of Not Cleaning A Grease Gland (grease gland infection)
Guinea pigs with active grease glands require regular cleaning of their grease glands to ensure that the grease does not build up too much in their bodies.
If the guinea pigs’ grease glands are not cleaned on a regular basis, it can cause irritation in the animals.
Severe cases can also result in infection of the guinea pigs’ grease glands, which is potentially fatal.
If you notice any signs of infection in a guinea pig’s grease glands, you should take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Furthermore, failing to clean the grease gland for an extended period of time may result in clogging of the gland, which can be difficult to resolve later on. As a result, it is highly recommended that it be cleaned on a regular basis.
The time to clean their grease glands should be considered when you notice that the hairs around their grease glands have become greasy or hard and that a lot of stuff such as bedding, hay, or other things has become attached to it during the course of the day.
How to clean a guinea pig grease gland?
Cleaning your guinea pig’s grease gland can be a simple process if you do it on a regular basis and do not allow the grease to accumulate too much in the glands. Let’s take a look at the steps you must take in order to clean the grease glands of your guinea pigs:
- The first step would be to trim the hair around your guinea pig’s grease glands, which would depend on the breed of guinea pig you have. Long-haired guinea pigs, in particular, may develop lumps of grease in their hair that are difficult to remove with a brush. (For this job, I’m using this incredible scissor that I purchased from Amazon.)
- The second step entails applying some organic coconut oil to the affected region. Applying some oil and allowing it to sit for a few hours loosens the hard grease, making it much easier to clean later when lumps and grease are found in the mixture. Using your fingers or a soft towel, apply the coconut oil around their grease glands until it is completely absorbed.
- So, after allowing the oil to sit for a short period of time (half an hour to an hour or so), you should proceed to give them a bath in the tub. It is possible that simply cleaning their bum with regular water or shampoo will not be sufficient. As a result, it is recommended that you use Swarfega or a fragrance-free dishwashing/handwashing liquid. It is important to note that you should not wash their entire body with it, only their bum.
- Once you’ve obtained the cleaning agent, simply apply it with very little water at first, concentrating on cleaning up the hard grease portion of the mess first. After that, you can wash it once more and use it again with more water to create lather and completely remove the grease from the surface.
- Then you can use regular guinea pig shampoo to either fully bathe them (if necessary) or just give them a final touch at their bum part, depending on how much grease has been removed. This will also remove any chemicals from their skin that may have been absorbed through their skin from the cleaning agent.
You can now dry them with a soft, dry towel to remove any moisture. You should apply coconut oil to the area around the grease gland if you notice that it is rough and dry, and then return the animals to their cages.
If your guinea pig is suffering from an infection, it is recommended that you have the grease gland professionally cleaned. Once it has been cleaned, you can consult your veterinarian for advice on how to keep it clean on your own.
Please see our shampoo recommendations if you wish to use them to give your guinea pig a good bath: shampoo recommendations
- Best shampoo for your guinea pigs
- Guinea Pig Grooming Kit
- Best Odor Control Bedding for Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pig grease gland smell
Yes, the grease glands of guinea pigs can emit a foul odor from time to time. If there is a lot of grease buildup around their grease glands, the odor is usually quite strong and unpleasant.
Guinea pigs use this scent to mark their territory, so if you have a dominant boar in your colony, you will notice the scent emanating from their cages as well. Cleaning their cages on a regular basis is an effective way to keep it under control.
I would strongly encourage you to read the following article to learn more about their smell and cage cleaning:
Do guinea pigs smell? How to get rid of the smell? and How To Keep A Guinea Pig Cage From Smelling? (Avoid Unsafe Ideas)
As a result of this, what exactly is the grease gland of the guinea pig? Glycerin glands in guinea pigs are simply a part of their body that secretes an oil-based substance that they use to mark their territory as well as to attract other animals to their area of residence.
Grease glands, rather than sores, are more active in boars than in humans. It is extremely important to keep an eye on the amount of grease that your guinea pig is accumulating. In addition to maintaining the health of your pet guinea pig, cleaning it regularly will help to reduce the stench that can be unpleasant.
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Sources: Management of skin conditions in guinea pigs, Care of guinea pigs, Reduction in aggression and dominance status in guinea pigs, Guinea Pigs: Aggression and Dominance