Read about what to feed your hedgehog & provide the best nutrition for a healthy lifestyle.
Nutrition: Basic nutrition
The best suggestion we can give you is to feed your hedgehog with dry cat food. It should be given as the main food. We do recommend a few brands that have been proven to be good for your hedgehog. They are :
- 1st Choice
- Purina Pro Plan
- Royal Canin
These three brands have the best nutritional values. Your cat food should contain at least 30 % protein, less than 10 % of fat, and 15% or more fiber.
If you want to vary, you can also use dry dog food and mix it with some cottage cheese. Make sure your hedgehog adjusts well to a change in his nutrition.
For baby hedgehogs, until they are adults, you can opt for Nutrience kitten food with vitamin D. It helps grow strong bones and brain development.
We have to mention the brand Iams. Though it is excellent for your cats, this brand is not recommended for hedgehogs. Their liver might not tolerate the fat found in this brand.
Nutrition: Commercial Foods
Even though there are many commercial brands out there for hedgehogs, the results are not always satisfactory. Often still at experimental stages, they lack fiber, vitamins, or excess fat. It is not a bad idea to mix your basic cat food with a commercial brand. The specialized food sold in pet stores can be very expensive and isn’t as good as your dry cat food.
Many allergic reactions were noted when people were using ferret food. To prevent future problems, we don’t recommend giving it to your hedgehog.
The Vitacraft Hedgehog brand should be avoided. It contains too much flour and preservatives.
Your hedgehog is not a rodent but an insectivore. That means he will eat insects like crickets and mealworms. You can get those in any good pet store, either alive or dried. It is recommended to wait until your hedgehog is 12 weeks old before feeding him insects.
If you feed your hedgehog insects every day, don’t forget to lower the quantity of cat food you are giving him. You want to avoid an obesity problem.
Your hedgehog needs between 70 to 100 calories a day. The recommended quantity to serve him daily is 20 to 50 grams, depending on his age and weight of course. If your hedgehog has a weight problem, you should go with a weight management cat food formula and not give him as much as usual. You can leave the food all day in the cage or you can separate his ration in two: once in the morning and once at night. It’s up to you.
Nutrition: Healthy alternatives
All food you give to your hedgehog should be in a small quantity and cut into small pieces.
The following protein can replace insects from time to time. They should not contain fat, spices, or skin.
- Tuna & canned snails: Keep it in its original juice because it contains minerals that help to grow healthy bones.
- Salmon: Must be well cooked and given without any fishbones.
- Minced meat: Must be mixed with mashed potatoes in small quantity or with mashed carrots. No seasonings.
- Chicken & Turkey: They are excellent sources of protein and a favorite with hedgehogs.
- Eggs: Must be boiled for at least 7 to 10 minutes.
- Fresh fruits: Must be washed with fresh water and without any skin or pips. We recommend the following fruits :
* Banana, pear, peach, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and apple. (cooked in the oven or steamed)
* As for exotic fruits, as long as they are soft and without pips, they are safe to give to your hedgehogs.
- For your vegetables, you go through the same preparation as described above for fruits.
* Cabbage is always good in small quantities. Too much will disturb your hedgehog’s digestion and give him gas.
- All the fresh food should not stay more than 3 hours at room temperature. Bacteria will start to contaminate the food and might give your hedgehog serious health problems.
- All Bran cereals are a great source of fiber for your hedgehog. You can mix it with dry cat food.
- Baby food is a good alternative. It’s easy to consume for babies and for older hedgehogs who might be missing some teeth. Calcium and vitamins are present in baby food but make sure it doesn’t contain any milk Only maternal milk is digestable by the hedgehogs.
- Applesauce without added sugar or cinnamon is healthy for your animal. Too much sugar will excite your hedgehog and make him nervous.
Nutrition: Dangerous foods
- Never give your hedgehog raw meat or raw eggs.
- Peanuts and nuts : They can stay stuck in the back of the throat and suffocate your hedgehog.
- Chips, popcorn or chocolate : Everything with preservatives and sugar should be avoided. They are toxic for your animal.
- Table food
- Sunflower seeds : The shell can get stuck in your hedgehog’s teeth. Avoid.
After talking with many experienced breeders in Canada and in the United States, you can give your hedgehog dry fruits if you put them in the blender first. Small pieces will not hurt your hedgehog’s throat or mouth.