Keeping a pet healthy and happy involves more than proper nutrition and a clean living space, whether you own a horse or a guinea pig. Good hygiene is also a major component to keeping your animal buddies in peak condition. In the cavy world, that involves making sure the furry guys' grease glands are always fresh and spotless.
Guinea pigs' grease glands are situated slightly higher than their anal regions. These glands emit thick and waxy substances that are disagreeable in odor. Guinea pigs employ these glands -- and the conspicuous scents that come out of them -- for claiming turf. Although guinea pigs of both genders are equipped with these glands, boys' are a lot busier and oilier, and therefore call for even more frequent and diligent hygiene maintenance.
Eliminating the Grease
Cleaning your guinea pig's grease gland is vital to keep your pet fresh and clean as can be. If you notice big masses of grease on the glands, you can usually manually get rid of them. For the harder to eliminate remnants of grease, opt for a degreasing agent. If you need recommendations for specific degreasing products, consult your veterinarian before proceeding.
After all the pesky grease in the gland has been handled, it's then time to put your guinea pig in a bath. You can start the bath off by putting a gentle dish detergent onto the gland. Dish soaps can be beneficial as follow-ups to degreasing because they often are highly effective at getting rid of icky grease, too. They're also typically not at all aggressive on the skin and coats of guinea pigs -- another serious bonus. Your vet also might be able to recommend a mild dish soap formula suitable for cavies.
Rest of Body Bathing
Once you've cleaned the scent gland using the dish detergent, you're finally ready to move on to the rest of your guinea pig's body, which is important for managing any leftover grease or dish soap that might be lingering on the sweet guy's coat. Bathe your guinea pig as normally, but only use a gentle shampoo that is specifically made for guinea pigs. If the shampoo is formulated for small animals, read the labeling to ensure that it mentions guinea pigs. Their skin is way too fragile for anything else.