Do you have a pet hedgehog? These adorable little pets are becoming very popular. Just like any other pet, Hedgie needs a proper diet to thrive. A local Tumwater, WA vet offers some advice on this below.
Hedgehogs are able to digest chitin, which is what that hard outer shell insect exoskeletons are made of. In fact, chitin is an essential part of Hedgie’s diet. You’ll need to regularly give your pet creepy-crawlies, such as crickets and mealworms. Be sure to offer only store-bought bugs. Most insects will need to be dusted with nutritional powder before becoming lunch. This is called gutloading. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Kibble should actually make up the biggest portion of Hedgie’s diet. In the past, people often used cat food, but you can get hedgehog kibble. Just avoid those that include raisins and seeds.
Just like any other pet, hedgehogs love treats. Waxworms are a favorite with these guys. You can also offer Hedgie some cooked chicken, turkey, or egg. Low fat/high protein wet cat or dog food is also fine, as is the occasional pinky mouse.
Hedgie will also appreciate having some fresh fruits and veggies. Some safe fruits include apples, bananas, berries, and melons. As for Hedgie’s veggies, you can offer tomatoes, green beans, and cooked squash. Ask your vet for recommendations.
Hedgie is nocturnal, so he may be hungrier at night than he is during the day. Keep this in mind when feeding the little guy. Discard leftover food the next day, so it doesn’t spoil.
Like any other pet, hedgehogs need fresh water available at all times. If you get Hedgie a bottle, make sure he knows how to use it. Refresh the water every day.
Not everything we eat is safe for our animal companions. Some things to avoid giving Hedgie include raw meat and eggs, milk, nuts, seeds, and hard foods, such as carrots and dried veggies. Avocados are also off the menu, as are chocolate; garlic and onions; starchy foods, like corn and potatoes; and anything that contains xylitol. Lettuce and celery aren’t poisonous, but they are best avoided, as they offer almost no nutrition. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you have questions or concerns about your pet hedgehog’s health or care? Contact us, your local Tumwater, WA veterinary clinic, today!