What Do Hedgehogs Eat?

Pet hedgehogs are unique in both their appearance and their care as a small pet. Being insectivores, hedgehogs need nutrients that may not be found in many other pet foods. Historically, cat food was often used to feed these spiky pocket pets, but there are also quality hedgehog foods that provide ideal nutritional components for a hedgehog to eat. By knowing what a hedgehog should be eating you can make better food decisions for your pet.

Chitin is found in the hard exoskeleton of insects and is primarily a protein source but also provides some fiber. Live worms also provide a good source of mental stimulation since they move around and make a hedgehog have to work a little harder to catch its food.

Each day, one to two tablespoons of kibble should be offered to an adult hedgehog in addition to a teaspoon of fruits and vegetables and some insects.

What can I feed a hedgehog?

What should I feed hedgehogs? Hedgehogs will relish any combination of meat-based wet dog or cat foods, or dry cat/kitten food, as these are high in the protein that they need. Just remember, they will be getting most of their food from insects and worms in the wild, and this food is only supplementary.

What should you not feed hedgehogs?

Leave out foods like tinned dog or cat food and crushed cat or dog biscuits. ….Never feed hedgehogs milk or bread – milk can cause diarrhoea and bread isn’t very nutritious..Check the food and water bowls each day to top them up with fresh water and food, and remove any food that hasn’t been eaten.

What is a wild hedgehogs Favourite food?

Hedgehogs mainly eat creepy crawlies. The majority of their diet is made up of invertebrates (or creepy crawlies). … The most important invertebrates in their diet are worms, beetles, slugs, caterpillars, earwigs and millipedes. As well as these, they also eat a wide range of other insects.

How often do you feed a hedgehog?

How many times a day should you feed a pet hedgehog? A lot of pet hedgehog owners recommend once to twice a day. Some say they prefer a free feeding schedule and keep their hedgie’s bowl full at all times. Bear in mind that this could lead to obesity however as hedgies are greedy eaters.

Hedgehogs sure are sharp little creatures. These mammals are part of the Erinaceinae subfamily and there are seventeen different species under five genera found in the world. Unlike you may think, these spiny animals are not related to porcupines.

Meat or chicken cat dry foods have a high protein intake and are a good alternative for your pet. You can add tiny amounts of foods such as beans, peas, corn, apples, carrots, melon, watermelon, berries and more to your hedgehogs cage.

In addition to fruits and veggies, your hedgehog may enjoy consuming plant materials such as grassroots and mushrooms. You can also offer occasional supplementary foods such as fruits and veggies but keep quantities limited so your hedgehog wont overeat. Occasional or even daily treats such as insects can also be offered to your hedgehog in addition to their general dry food.

Wild hedgehogs are mostly insectivores and will consume any small reptiles they can find including snakes, lizards, and frogs. These animals will also consume natural plants like grassroots, wild berries, and any other fruits they can find in their environment. Domestic hedgehogs can also fall victim to your pet dog if these animals were not introduced to each other at an early age.

They are beloved pets in plenty of homes all over the world and these tiny animals play a huge role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.

Hedgehogs have a rare ability to digest chitin, which is a source of protein and fibre found in insect exoskeletons, a trait they share with some fish, including cod.

Hedgehogs will eat pretty much anything and are prone to gaining weight Credit: Getty – Contributor The main part of a hedgehog’s diet is creepy crawlies such as worms, beetles, caterpillars, slugs, earwigs, and millipedes. Although wild hedgehogs feed themselves, they sometimes supplement their diet with food we leave in our gardens for them.

The crunchy animal feed kibbles are good for hedgehogs teeth, like some of the hard items in their natural diet such as shells and small bones. Berries such as strawberries are safe for hedgehogs to eatCredit: Getty – ContributorHedgehogs find it hard to digest vegetable fibres, but can manage a little, or you can give them cooked veggies. They can have roots such as carrots, beetroot, turnips and sweet potatoes, greens like asparagus, spinach, kale, dandelions, broccoli and cauliflower, and pumpkins, squashes, aubergine and cucumber.

Hedgehogs lose a lot of body fat when they hibernate from November to March, so you can help by feeding them up beforehand. You can help hedgehogs to feed themselves by leaving parts of the garden wild, or making piles of logs and leaf litter. You should not give onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, fatty red meat, nuts and seeds or chocolate.

One or two tablespoons of high-protein animal food biscuits, plus a teaspoon of fruits and vegetables, and some insects, is sufficient for a hedgehog per day. Hedgehogs can often be seen eating underneath bird tables but sunflower seeds and mealworms should be restricted.

The African pygmy hedgehog can eat cooked meat, canned and dried cat or dog food. Their favourite food are usually live insects such as worms and invertebrates. You can even include fruits and vegetables as part of their diet.

They get their main source of fiber and chitin from the exoskeleton of insects or invertebrates. You will also find them devouring small snakes, mice, and frogs occasionally.

Both ways can lead to illness, diseases and even organ failure. As you run through this guide, you will find out all types of nutrients a hedgehog requires and why anything more or less is no good for them. It is imperative to understand every gist of the hedgehog diet requirements and how much nutrients are just right for them.

And also to avoid certain ingredients that can lead to nasty consequences in the long run. Hedgehog essentially is able to share a similar diet as cats and dogs. However, as they are pretty small animals, the number of nutrients they can take have to be cut down in proportion to their size.

So a good example of cat or dog food will be something that owners feed their kittens or puppies with. you can just refer to their nutrient label for the percentages of protein, fat and fiber levels. So before we touch on the exact food types in the next sections below, let us look at the correct amount of nutrients that you want to go for:

For an adult or juvenile hedgehogs , the ideal nutrient levels you want to go for is: Protein: 28% 35%Fat: 8% 15%+ (dependent on the hedgehog weight)Fiber: 3% 8% This may seem normal, but it stresses out a hedgehogs kidneys and, in the long run, result in problems such as renal failure.

For fat percentage levels, going above 15% will definitely cause obesity in the long run. This potentially leads to illnesses like fatty liver and heart problems. As fiber is not as critical since you could get that nutrient from feeding your pet hog insects and vegetables in their diet.

Similar to nutrient count, look at the food labels behind the packaging to see what ingredients it is made up off. Whether is it for hedgehog, cats or dogs, these grains are fillers that have little nutrients. Just make sure to check the percentages of the nutrients for protein and fat levels.

These are things that can be made from animal internal organs like their livers, brain, kidneys, and intestines, etc. You want the first ingredient to show meats such as beef, turkey, chicken. Usually, the first ingredient makes up of a larger weight to the pet food you are buying.

So want to know exactly what you are feeding your pet with, just look at what comes before the fat/oil ingredient. Dry food like kibbles is common staples for cats, dogs, hamsters, and many others. Dry food is also said to help keep hedgehog gums and teeth healthy.

More expensive Smaller packaging and quantity Some stores still may not carry them Most dont fit hedgehog nutrient requirements. They are heavily marketed and dont serve any use from a nutrient standpoint. Easily available Slightly cheaper It is said to keep gums and teeth healthy compared to wet food Well balanced nutrients But usually higher in protein and lower in fats.

Cat food generally tends to be slightly higher in protein Seasoned hedgehog owners will usually recommend dry cat food for many reasons. They are smaller bite-size, has the right amount of protein to fat ratio and definitely more cost efficient compared to commercial dry hedgehog food.

Dog kibbles generally are larger so hedgehog may find it difficult to bite. It is said to keep gums and teeth healthy compared to wet food Good quality dog food can be more expensive.

Dog food generally tends to be slightly higher in fats. Dog food that is larger may need to be broken down into smaller pieces or just grind them up. In general, they are cheaper than hedgehog food and can last really long if you buy the right brands.

Feeding your pet hogs, in the long run, will cause terrible problems with their kidneys. So make sure you watch out for the ingredients used and nutrients level on the labels before you buy. Here are some examples of popular dry food and kibble brands that are recommended by seasoned hedgehog owners:

They are very suitable for aged hedgehogs who have problems biting or have lost their teeth. Even though the labels you see may seem to be in the acceptable protein and fat range but there is more than meets the eye. The protein/fat recommendations you see here are based on Dry Matter Basis or DMB percentages .

When looking at canned pet food you will notice this other label called moisture percentage % that is shown on their packaging. So in order to calculate the actual amount of DMB fat/protein levels, you will need to use this formula: Based on the calculation, you can see that soft food are generally higher in fat and protein percentages.

Hence it is advisable to use soft food as treats or if it is part of the main diet, you have to make sure to calculate the actual DMB percentages of protein/fat Soft and easier to digest Very suitable for an aged hedgehog or those with gum problems Protein and fat levels can be quite high for hedgehog main diet.

Soft and easy to eat Suitable for hedgehogs with teeth and gums problems or those that are too old to bite Very nutritious Protein and fat percentages can be high so make sure to mix it or calculate DMB and purchase those within range. Just that soft food tend to be higher in protein and fats so make sure you only go for those that are within the acceptable range.

Unseasoned cooked meats like chicken, turkey, beef or pork are all suitable for the hedgehog. But do keep in mind the amount of fats they will be eating so you should feed them cooked meats in moderation. If you dont mind the hassle, cooked food is actually great for hedgehogs as you can mix them up with vegetables.

In the wild, they feed on insects and invertebrates to build on fats and their exoskeleton for chitin. Hedgehog in the wild requires the fat in their body to go into hibernation. So if you dont want an obese hedgehog with health problems it is better to keep the insect diet in moderation.

Live insects, in general, is good for hedgehogs but it can be a hassle for upkeeping. Some examples like their high nutrition or using as treats are great but what about the downsides? Secondly, if you plan to purchase them from pet stores, prepare to make space for storage in your refrigerator.

They come in bulk and very often hedgehog feeding portions are really small. Mealworms are easily accessible and cheap Can be cultivated to provide a steady supply of food source Hedgehogs love them Can be fed to hedgehog at all stages larvae, pupae, and adult stages Not suitable for people who are squeamish around insects Requires freezing to slow down their transformation.

The great thing about mealworms is that regardless of which stage they turn into, hedgehogs are still able to eat them. However, mealworms in their larval or pupae state are still preferred over full grown beetle. You can also hide mealworm pupae within their substrate and have them burrowing under to find their food.

Crickets are the number 2 choice when it comes to live insects because they are lower in fat and are loved by hedgehogs. Crickets can be cultivated for steady food supply Some hedgehogs love them Lower fat Easily available and cheap Easily available at pet or online stores A great alternative treat for your hedgehog Very good source of fat for runners or hedgehogs that are underweight Can be refrigerated to last longer

Here is a list of other suitable insects that you can add into your hedgehogs diet: Nightcrawler or earthworms Huge controversy if they are even nutritious for hedgehogs. Many do not know that fruits and vegetables can actually be a part of hedgehogs diet.

In fact, hedgehogs are omnivores, so they are able to receive nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Lets explore the full list of fruits and vegetables that are suitable for them here: Apples Bananas All berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, etc.

Pear Plum Cherries Melons such as watermelon, honeydew (but make sure they are offered moderately as treats as sugar levels can be high) All fruits and vegetables should be fed moderately to your hedgehogs either as treats or part of a diet mix. To prepare them, make sure they are cut or broken down into small pieces as a hedgehog can choke on them.

You can bake, roast or just water boil beef, chicken, duck, turkey, lamb and even fish. There are several sauce type of food that commonly for babies are also suitable for hedgehogs. Some examples are, unsweetened applesauce, natural peanut butter sauce is some suitable treats for your hedgehogs.

Food that is fed to babies is great treats to hedgehogs as well. 1 to 2 tablespoons of cooked shredded or minced meat, 1 to 2 tablespoon of baby food, 2 to 4 types of vegetables and 1 to 2 types of fruits all blended down or chopped into small pieces. The above diet mix is just an example, you will have to experiment on your own to see what works for your hedgehogs.

So with that in mind lets move on to the next section on what food that you MUST AVOID when it comes to their diet. They are actually known to cause renal failure in dogs and are not suitable for hedgehogs too. Some argued that only the skin is toxic, some blamed it on grape seeds, while others think to avoid it entirely.

They cause stomach irritation that can lead to damage within their blood cells. Citrus food contains citric acid and essential oil that are not good for hedgehogs. With the exception of cottage cheese and some yogurt in small amounts, milk and dairy are a definite NO.

These foods can get stuck in the root of their teeth or choke on them. Seasoned or salty food will result in increased thirst and frequent urination. Too much of these can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, increased urination, and excessive thirst or even death.

This includes shampoo or soap that contain tea tree oil. A small dose of tea tree oil can cause renal, liver failure. #9 Raw food namely uncooked meat, eggs, and bones

Some people may think that raw food is fine, considering wild hedgehog do occasionally eat animals whole including meat, fur, and bones. Bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli can be found in raw meat and egg. As you can see, from hedgehogcentral, there are some that feed hedgehogs with pinky mice, grounded meat, etc.

I will not recommend any raw food at all, except live insects, fruits or vegetables that are brought fresh or from a reputable source. Raw food diet is only good if you as an owner know what you are doing. You will find that some owners that are happily feeding their hogs with avocado while others strongly insist they are toxic for them.

With all our busy schedules, preparing meals for hedgehog should be fast and easy. It is recommended to purchase several smaller bags rather than one large bag of kibbles as once they are opened, they may turn bad within weeks even though their shelf life is 1 year. So a good way to prevent this is to purchase smaller bags of kibbles and air seal them in a container once opened.

To make it easy for your daily preparation, you can count your kibbles a week beforehand and separate them into several pills dispenser. So just pop open those dispensers daily and serve them to your hogs. According to hedgehogcentral, one way is to mix your soft food by blending or shredding them into really tiny pieces, then fill them up in ice cube trays and freeze them into ice cubes to keep them fresh.

Then before feeding, just pop 2 to 3 ice cubes, place them into the microwave for about 10 secs and voila! It will require you to stay up later to feeding your hedgehogs as they are active at night. You want to take down how much they eat so that you can switch to free feeding in the future if necessary.

Then clear any leftover raw food or they may turn bad. Feel free to leave some kibbles behind for hedgehog to snack on in the middle of the night. So preparing food and feeding them at a specific time could turn out to become a chore later.

It can be suitable for owners who already have a record of how much food to feed them. Make sure to count the amount of food or kibbles you are putting into the cage. Use a bowl that has a good height to allow your hedgehog easy access to their food.

A typical hedgehog snack bowl that has a height of approximately 45mm should do fine. The next morning, make sure to count how much food is left to keep a record of how much your hedgehog has eaten. If it is your first time, have plans to change diet or your hedgehog is overweight, scheduled feeding will be more suitable.

Syringe feed will require you to hold your hedgehog so getting them nice and warm in a towel can firstly protect your arms and secondly get them to loosen up. Make sure that their hands and feet are wrapped up in the towel to prevent them from moving too much. Sometimes, your hedgehog might curl up in the towel so you have to make sure to put your finger under their face to keep it exposed.

They might struggle or start to fidget as you place the syringe in front of their faces. During the feeding process, very often hedgehogs will struggle to reject the syringe. So its probably gonna break your heart as you may have to add some slight force to get the syringe into their mouths as they struggle.

Lastly, slowly squeeze the syringe to push out the medication or food into their mouths. In general, you can prepare about 60 to 70 pieces of dry kibbles as their main staple diet. With a good grasp of their eating habits and amounts, you can then change to free feeding with no problems.

A general rule of thumb is to feed your hedgehog 1 to 2 times a day. Not with any intensive activity but more like cuddling them to sleep on you covered under a blanket or sweater. Most hedgehogs from reputable breeders are water bottle trained so they should not have any problems with that.

The only thing that owners should be aware of is the frequency of cleaning your water bottles. So in such cases, opt for a water bottle instead unless you dont mind cleaning them up often. Just make sure to track whether your hedgehog is drinking enough to keep themselves hydrated otherwise, it can lead to really bad consequences.

For those of you here who have stick to one food all your hedgehogs life, it can be difficult to have a sudden change in their diet. They may get stomach problems and green poop or in some case, they will just refuse to eat the new diet. If hedgehogs go into a hunger strike, you may have to do syringe feeding after a day or 2 otherwise their organs will shut down leading to possible death.

You have to monitor your hedgehogs appetite, poop, and check for any allergy every day. The simplest way to solve this is to get a neighbor or family member to refill their food bowl and water while you are away. It is best that you prepare their food in the right portions so that your neighbor or family member can easily refill your hedgehog bowls daily for free feeding.

As most hedgehogs need time to get accustomed to your new pet caretaker, they might get nervous when handled by someone new and start curling up, prickling him or her in the process. Alternately, you can also get your neighbor or family member to bond with your hedgehog first when you are still around. Hoglets or baby hedgehogs have to be fed with special lactose-free pet milk.

They are lactose intolerant so feeding them with normal cows milk can kill them. Intravenous (IV) cannula Fennel tea bags Food warmer Sterilizer to clean everything before feeding Once it is feeding time, warm up milk formula with food warmer.

You can wrap hoglet in a warm towel on your lap or hold it up. For premature and newborn, it is good to attach the syringe to an intravenous(IV) cannula as a feed tube or teat. The IV cannula has a soft and flexible tip that is less likely to injure your new hoglets.

Position the tip of the syringe or rubber tubing under the lip and slowly push it into the side of their mouths. If that happens, use your index finger and thumb to gently hold the sides of their mouths. Alternatively, with its mouth opened, you can attempt to drip some milk into its lips

Hoglets have to be weighed the same time every day and records must be taken to monitor their growth. Hoglets should be fed up to 25% of their body weight every day in multiple feeds. You can also refer to the following feeding frequency according to their different stages of growth for a more detailed breakdown:

But for some reason, if they are rejected by their mother or are orphaned hoglets from the same litter, you will have to feed them yourselves. Lastly, note that for premature hedgehogs, their first week is very important. Stage 2: Birth to 3 days old Weighs approximately 15 to 25 grams You will see white spines coming out of their skin first before their second coat of dark brown spikes grows out Hoglets at this stage may jump if disturbed

When that happens, you can give 1 to 2 ml of milk substitute every 2 hours. Stage 3: Three days to one week Weighs approximately 25 to 30 grams Hoglets are still blind and deaf at this point Spines continue to grow out. As they grow out they become darker Hoglets at this stage can jump if disturbed.

You can feed approximately 1 to 2 ml of milk substitute every 3 hours. You can feed approximately 2 to 3 ml of milk substitute every 3 hours. For some reason, if they are not gaining weight change the frequency of each feed to 2 hours,

Hoglets should be steadily gaining weight, if not, increase the frequency of feeds to every 2 hours for a few days Stage 5: Two to three weeks old Eyes and ears start to open 2nd coat spikes grow even more Fine hairs on the snout 3rd coat of strong spikes starts to develop You can feed approximately 3 to 5 ml of milk substitute between every 3 to 4 hours.

Most spines will be 3rd stage spikes in brownIncisor teeth start to develop You can start leaving some of their soft foods in a dish to condition them to eat on their own. Stage 7: Five to six weeks old Looks like smaller versions of adult hedgehogs May begin self-anointing May also start to build a nest Less wobbling when walking.

Use small amounts of milk substitute to mix with liquid food. When hoglets, stop feeding, you can try tickling the roof of their mouth with a teat. Once hoglets can see, it is good to always leave a fresh clean dish of milk substitute.

If you have any questions or like to share your favorite mix or even creative ways to make your hedgehogs exercise, leave them down in the comments below!

General Pet Hedgehog Food Guidelines

Hedgehogs are considered either omnivores or insectivores, depending on the source referenced. If you look at the actual diet of a hedgehog you’ll see that the omnivore description is probably a more accurate one since hedgehogs in the wild will eat a variety of foods, not just insects. Different species of hedgehogs will have slightly varied diets depending on the part of the world they are from, but most pet hedgehogs are African Pygmy hedgehogs so being a hybrid, their diet isn’t the same as a wild hedgehog.Hedgehogs have the unique ability to digest chitin from insects. Chitin is found in the hard exoskeleton of insects and is primarily a protein source but also provides some fiber. Chitin is a necessary component to a hedgehog’s diet but it isn’t the only thing a hedgehog needs from its food, so various items should be fed in addition to insects.

What do hedgehogs eat?

HEDGEHOGS are omnivores, which means they can eat all types of food.But they are greedy creatures and will scoff pretty much anything you put out for them, so you need to be careful and avoid certain foods.

What do hedgehogs eat?

The main part of a hedgehog’s diet is creepy crawlies such as worms, beetles, caterpillars, slugs, earwigs, and millipedes.But hedgehogs will take the opportunity to eat anything they come across such as frogs, baby rodents, bird eggs and even baby birds.Fallen fruit and vegetables also make up part of their diverse menu.Hedgehogs are mammals, so have a complex system to feed and need variety across their meals.Hedgehogs have a rare ability to digest chitin, which is a source of protein and fibre found in insect exoskeletons, a trait they share with some fish, including cod.

What can I feed hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are spiky, but they are chilled out about what they eat.But whether you are feeding a wild hedgehog in your garden or a pet hedgehog in your home, some foods are better than others.Although wild hedgehogs feed themselves, they sometimes supplement their diet with food we leave in our gardens for them.It’s important to replicate their natural diet, so meat-based products such as good quality cat or dog food is good.Less fatty meats like chicken are recommended.There are also specific hedgehog foods you can buy.The crunchy animal feed kibbles are good for hedgehogs’ teeth, like some of the hard items in their natural diet such as shells and small bones.Hedgehogs also like to have some fruit, but should be given as treats.They can eat apples and pears, soft fruits like blueberries and strawberries, bananas, stoned fruits like mangoes, peaches and cherries, and melons.Hedgehogs find it hard to digest vegetable fibres, but can manage a little, or you can give them cooked veggies.They can have roots such as carrots, beetroot, turnips and sweet potatoes, greens like asparagus, spinach, kale, dandelions, broccoli and cauliflower, and pumpkins, squashes, aubergine and cucumber.Peas and sweetcorn are also safe.Hedgehogs lose a lot of body fat when they hibernate from November to March, so you can help by feeding them up beforehand.You can help hedgehogs to feed themselves by leaving parts of the garden wild, or making piles of logs and leaf litter.This will encourage the invertebrate species hedgehogs feed on, as well as making a nice home for hedgehogs.You may be feeding lots of hedgehogs, because up to 10 different hedgehogs may visit a garden overnight.Hedgehogs need to drink too, so leave fresh water in a shallow bowl.

What can I not feed hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are small creatures with large appetites, and they will blow out on pretty much anything you feed them.So it’s up to you to ensure what you give is what they need.In general, fish-based food is not recommended for hedgehogs.Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, so you should avoid giving dairy products like milk or cheese, but some people report feeding small amounts of cottage cheese or yoghurt.You should not give onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, fatty red meat, nuts and seeds or chocolate.Grapes or raisins, avocados and citrus fruit are also a no-no.And although hedgehogs can eat stoned fruits like cherries and mangoes, the stones are poisonous to them so must be removed.The jury is out on pineapple, so it is best to avoid feeding that to hedgehogs too.

Hedgehog diet and nutrients guide

You can feed a variety of food types to your hedgehogs. However, there are foods that may affect their health in the long run. Too much nutrients on one end will either get them overweight or when too little causes malnutrition. Both ways can lead to illness, diseases and even organ failure.
But do not panic just yet. As you run through this guide, you will find out all types of nutrients a hedgehog requires and why anything more or less is no good for them.It is imperative to understand every gist of the hedgehog diet requirements and how much nutrients are just right for them. And also to avoid certain ingredients that can lead to nasty consequences in the long run.
Hedgehog essentially is able to share a similar diet as cats and dogs. However, as they are pretty small animals, the number of nutrients they can take have to be cut down in proportion to their size.So a good example of cat or dog food will be something that owners feed their kittens or puppies with.
Simple! you can just refer to their nutrient label for the percentages of protein, fat and fiber levels.So before we touch on the exact food types in the next sections below, let us look at the correct amount of nutrients that you want to go for:For
For

What are considered bad for hedgehogs?

Protein levels that areOnly time protein levels are above 35% is only when you are mixing up food for your hedgehogs.For fat percentage levels,As for fiber, choose the food that has the highest percentage of fiber. If you can’t find it, don’t sweat it. As fiber is not as critical since you could get that nutrient from feeding your pet hog insects and vegetables in their diet.
Apart from the nutrient count, when you purchase food for your hedgehogs, make sure to look at the ingredients content of the food as well.Similar to nutrient count, look at the food labels behind the packaging to see what ingredients it is made up off.Here are some ingredients in the commercial food you should try to avoid feeding your hedgehogs:
You can’t entirely avoid grain in pet food. Grain-free food is not easily available and definitely have protein percentages above 35%. They also come at a price.So you can’t really avoid all grains in their food, but specific grains such as corn, brewer rice, and wheat, should be avoided when possible. Whether is it for hedgehog, cats or dogs, these grains are fillers that have little nutrients. They are cheap by-product use to make pets feel fuller.Rice or brown rice are acceptable as grains or carbs in their diet. Just make sure to check the percentages of the nutrients for protein and fat levels.
When you look at labels off pet food, sometimes you see unnamed meat or meat meals and you wonder “what the heck is that”!Well, these can mean any type of poultry. And since they are not named, it can be a mix of leftovers, bone meals or animal fat, etc from animals categorize under the 4Ds – disabled, diseased, dying or dead.So try to avoid food with unnamed meat as an ingredient.
The ingredient, by-products, can also be often found on ingredient labels for pet food. These are things that can be made from animal internal organs like their livers, brain, kidneys, and intestines, etc.These may seem fine, but you will not know exactly what goes in there. So best to avoid.

What ingredients are good?

There are some desired ingredients that are what we should look for in pet food. Here is a list of these desired ingredients:
You want the first ingredient to show meats such as beef, turkey, chicken. It can also be meat meals like duck meal or chicken/turkey fats.Usually, the first ingredient makes up of a larger weight to the pet food you are buying. So seeing a named meat as the first ingredient is good.
As mentioned above grains cannot be avoided. But what we want to see in the ingredients list are a little amount of grains. Maybe just 1 or 2 grains in the list of ingredients. You want the meat to be the one that makes the majority of what your pet is ingesting.

How to interpret the ingredients list?

A great tip from Hedgehogcentral is to look at the first few ingredients until a particular fat or oil ingredient. What comes after that particular fat or oil ingredient is not going to be significant.What mostly comes after that are your vitamins or minerals and probably supplements like probiotics to help with digestion. Sometimes they also have vegetables and fruits listed there too. The quantity won’t be much so it more like a marketing tactic to appeal to buyers.So want to know exactly what you are feeding your pet with, just look at what comes before the fat/oil ingredient.Now that you understand the nutrients and ingredients that are best suited for hedgehogs, we can zoom into every type of food that is suitable for the hedgehogs.

Food that is controversial and debatable

There is some food till today is still debatable. Just like raw food that we talked about before, some say they are fine, some say they are not.So apart from raw food, let’s take a closer look at what they are:
Fish is one of the foods that is largely controversial. Many believe it to be harmful to hedgehogs. But in fact, as long as they are cooked without any seasoning, they are fine.The only problem with fish is that they produce very smelly poop. So avoid fish if you feel smelly poop is something bad.
There are 2 totally different opinion on avocado. You will find that some owners that are happily feeding their hogs with avocado while others strongly insist they are toxic for them.
The only thing certain about avocado is that they are high in fats. Whether or not they are really toxic, there are always two sides.So the best advice is – whenever in doubt, just don’t do it.

How to prepare meals for your hedgehogs

Meal preparation comes first before anything. With all our busy schedules, preparing meals for hedgehog should be fast and easy. So over here, I have accumulated a list of some quick meal preparation methods that can help you prepare meals efficiently.
It is recommended to purchase several smaller bags rather than one large bag of kibbles as once they are opened, they may turn bad within weeks even though their shelf life is 1 year.Pointed out by Steven Brown, renown author and expert in pet food formula, once pet food is unsealed, due to oxygen and humidity, food quickly turns bad. So a good way to prevent this is to purchase smaller bags of kibbles and air seal them in a container once opened.To make it easy for your daily preparation, you can count your kibbles a week beforehand and separate them into several pills dispenser. So just pop open those dispensers daily and serve them to your hogs.
According to hedgehogcentral, one way is to mix your soft food by blending or shredding them into really tiny pieces, then fill them up in ice cube trays and freeze them into ice cubes to keep them fresh.Then before feeding, just pop 2 to 3 ice cubes, place them into the microwave for about 10 secs and voila! Your hedgehog meal is ready to be served.

How to feed your pet hedgehog

Depending on your hedgehog eating habits, there are many ways to feed them. I will be listing out all the different ways of feeding, why and when to use which method and also step by step on how to do it.Let’s begin

#1 Scheduled Feeding

There are 3 methods of feeding that I will be covering:

#3 Syringe Feeding

Free feeding means sorting out food for hedgehog then place them in their cage overnight and let them eat on their own.

Make sure to count the amount of food or kibbles you are putting into the cage. Mix them with vegetables or fruits if necessary. Just make sure to document the amount you gave them.
Use a bowl that has a good height to allow your hedgehog easy access to their food. A typical hedgehog snack bowl that has a height of approximately 45mm should do fine.
The next morning, make sure to count how much food is left to keep a record of how much your hedgehog has eaten.
This method may be the simplest. But for starters, you might not know how much to feed your hedgehog with. So there is a chance, you might overfeed them leading to overweight.If it is your first time, have plans to change diet or your hedgehog is overweight, scheduled feeding will be more suitable.

Hedgehog feeding frequency

A general rule of thumb is to feed your hedgehog 1 to 2 times a day. But ultimately, it depends on your hedgehog weight and activeness.If you have already fed your hedgehog in the evening, you can do so one more time during the day. But it requires you to wake your hedgehog. They may get cranky when disturbed during the day.It is advisable to do some bonding in the day. Not with any intensive activity but more like cuddling them to sleep on you covered under a blanket or sweater. Before you do your cuddling session, you can feed them too.

Water in a bowl

Just like all pets, hedgehog needs water to keep themselves hydrated. So it is an important part of their diet.There are 2 ways to set up a drinking station for them:Let’s explore its pros and cons:

Switching food for hedgehogs

The water bottle can definitely last longer than using a bowl but they do have some disadvantages that can only be replaced using a bowl.

Hoglet feeding stages and frequency

Hoglets or baby hedgehogs have to be fed with special lactose-free pet milk. They are lactose intolerant so feeding them with normal cow’s milk can kill them. Goat’s milk with Goat’s colostrum is a temporary substitute if there is nothing else to feed them with.

Other hoglet feeding tips

Ready for a cat or dog food. And the diet mix.