Treat your pet

Photo by Narisa via Flickr

If you’re wondering what kind of hedgehog food makes great snacks your hedgie, you’ll be happy to know you’ve got a lot to choose from! Hedgehogs are omnivores, so they can successfully eat both meat and plants. Just like with any animal, some foods are better for your hedgehog than others, and some treats will delight him more than others. Here’s what to feed your hedgehog to keep him healthy and happy.

For regular, daily feeding, it’s best to buy some kind of commercial hedgehog food, since that way you’ll be sure your pet is getting the vitamins and minerals he needs. Commercial food is specially formulated to meet the unique dietary requirements of hedgehogs, and is always the best choice, especially for new hedgehog owners. You can get commercial food online through places like eBay and Amazon.com, or from your local pet store.

Once you’ve got the main part of your pet’s diet sorted out, you’ll need to figure out what kinds of treats to offer him. Hedgies love treats, just like humans do, and a healthy treat once or twice a day is sure to keep him happy. Most hedgehogs love mealworms and crickets, which can be purchased at most pet stores and make excellent snacks. Sometimes, you can even find these things freeze-dried, which makes them easier to serve. Just shake some out into your pet’s bowl.

Fruit is also good hedgehog food, and each hedgie seems to have his or her own personal favorite.  Blueberries and strawberries may please your pet, as will bananas and pieces of seedless melons. Avoid apples, though, as these can upset a hedgie’s tummy.

Things your pet hedgehog can’t eat

Grapes

Grapes are toxic to most small animals including hedgehogs. They cause renal, liver and organ failure.

Raisins

Raisins are not only toxic but can get caught in the roofs of their mouths.

Tea Tree oil

This includes, tea tree shampoo, tea trea oil, tea tree sprays and anything tea tree. This can be fatal in as little as one dose or application. It causes renal, liver and complete organ failure.

Avocados

Many people believe avocados are toxic, others feel they are safe.

Ivermectin

Injected ivermectin has been the cause of many hedgehog deaths yet it has also been widely used on many hedgehogs with no problem. As a safe alternative is available, Revolution, it is simply not worth the risk to use ivermectin. Topical and oral ivermectin has been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancers.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and Seeds can get caught in the roofs of their mouth and there is a risk of them digging an eye out while trying to claw out the nut. Nuts are fattening and provide minimal nutritional benefit.

Chocolate 

Milk, dairy products

Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and cannot digest dairy products. Dairy products will cause an upset stomach and diarrhea.

Now that you know the kind of hedgehog food your spikey critter enjoys the most for treats and snacks, you can stock up so you always have something on hand to please his palate. Hedgehogs bond to us through the use of treats, as well as cuddling, so be sure to incorporate treats into your routine for hedgehog care. Just be sure you don’t overfeed him, so he doesn’t get fat!