What do I feed my spiky little ball of fluff you might ask. Well, you have come to the right place! There are certain things that are safe for your hedgehog to eat and there are certain things that can be dangerous for your hedgie to consume. There are also tips and suggestions that are helpful to know when it comes to your hedgehog’s dinner time. You will be an expert after reading this ultimate hedgehog food and feeding guide!
Looking for healthy food to feed your hog? Find safe foods and good treats here.
Safe primary foods
- Dry Cat Food (Low fat, high protein)
- Dry cat food is usually the way to go. The small kibble size helps make it easy for your hog to chow down. The ingredients of some brands fit a hedgehog diet’s percentages well.
- Wet Cat Food
- Wet cat food also can be a great food choice but should only be the main food source if the hedgehog has broken teeth or eating problems. They require tooth abrasion that comes from tough food. Don’t leave it out for more than 4 hours. Also, this choice should be paired with added fiber and crunchy insects.
- Hedgehog branded dry food
- This is a touchy subject. In the past, brands designed for hedgehogs were unhealthy and not recommended. They have gotten better today but the decision is up to you. Just make sure they have the right percentages. It is also hard to find in most stores.
These numbers create the most healthy percentages for a balanced blend. It is important to get as close to these percentages as you can in order to give your pet everything it needs. It is easy to get these percentages with certain cat food brands.
- 20% or more protein
- 15% fiber
- 5% – 15% fat
- Optional: L-carnitine
Hedgehogs, like most living creatures, have certain diet restrictions. These are the most common restrictions you need to follow when feeding your hog. If you would like a complete list of unsafe foods, check out this article.
- High obesity risk
- Lactose intolerant
- Low-fat diet requirement
- Some fruits and veggies are harmful
- No nuts
- Low sugar
- Some forms of cooking are unacceptable
- Don’t feed only treat items (mealworms)
- No garden or bait shop insects (bacteria, insecticides, and chemicals)
- No raw meat
- No seasoned meat
- Nothing fried
- No processed/can meat
- Baby food acceptable only below stage two
- Small or crushed kibble (preferred ¼ inch)
- Cat food brands are usually good choices
- Try to feed in the diet percentages
- Trying to decide what food is unhealthy? Check out our unhealthy food list.
- No excessive treats
- Introduce new foods slowly (once a week and follow our switching directions below)
- Only feed in the evening
- Replace water daily (if in a bowl)
- Follow cleaning rules
- Follow diet restrictions
- Wash hands with non-perfumed soap before giving treats or touching food (helps with not getting bit and with creating positive bonds)
- Place food and water in one place
- Mix different brands of food for balanced results
- Add a teaspoon of different food 3-4 times a week (helps hedgehogs not get attached to one blend and makes it easier to switch, if the hedgehog requires different food or you run out)
- Hedgehog brand food is usually not the best or most convenient option. Cat food works well.
How to feed and clean up
- Feed them at night
- Feed them 1-3 tablespoons daily
- One or two treats max (only for training and bonding)
- Remove excess food in the morning
- Dump out water that is in a bowl and wash it out daily (gets food in it and bacteria grows)
- Wipe up crumbs in the bowl (keeps cage cleaner/ less smelly)
- Once a week, deep clean water and food dishes (try to not use anything scented)
- Use tweezers or hold treat with tips of fingers (over-nibbling risk is lessened)
Where do you find hedgehog food and treats?
- Pet stores cover cat food, sometimes hedgehog food, and sometimes insects (big places like PetSmart have freeze-dried insects in the bird or reptile section)
- Grocery stores will usually have cat foods and human food treats
- Most Walmarts have a section for cat food and an exotic pet section (big bags of mealworms in exotic section)
- Online has insects, cat food, and more
- Check the reptile or bird isle for insects
- Do NOT look for treats or food in the garden or at a bait shop
Hedgehog obesity is very common in hedgehogs. It is important to keep them at a healthy weight to reduce the risks of serious health concerns. Do not overfeed your pet on food or on treats. Check out our obesity guide for more information.
How to switch out food brands
Hedgehogs have a sensitive stomach and will react badly to abrupt changes. They also can go on hunger strikes due to new food. That is why it is important to feed them a tiny bit of different food every week. That also helps them not get attached to one brand. If you are in the process of switching, follow this system. All hedgehogs are different, so adapt this to your hedgehog’s needs. They might need a slower or faster-paced method.
- For a faster pace, do every three days instead of every week.
- For a slower pace, add weeks or add stepping stone percentages between the one below.
For completely new food
Week 1: 75% old food, 25% new food
Week 2: 50% old food, 50% new food
Week 3: 25% old food, 75% new food
Week 4: 100% new food
For new food mixed with old food
Week 1: 80% old food, 20% new food
Week 2: 65% old food, 35% new food
Week 3: 50% of each
Making your own treats
We have some special recipes just for you! Join our mailing list. Recipes are sent out at certain times of the year. You can also purchase our small recipe guide! It will be coming to our store soon.
I hope you enjoyed this article! Let us know in the comments what you feed your hedgehog?