Dry skin is very common in hedgehogs. There are a variety of causes for your pet’s flaky and cracked skin. You will see them scratching off dry flakes constantly. But not to worry, dry skin on hedgehogs is fixable! There are even ways to try to prevent dry skin on hedgehogs before it even happens.
What is Dry Skin?
Dry skin in hedgehogs is a common condition where the skin appears dry and flaky. It is usually seen on the belly, ears, and back. The pet will scratch their bellies, backs, and ears with their claws and dry skin can flake off. Scratches can appear on the skin. Dry skin can have many causes and result in the discomfort of your pet.
What Causes Dry Skin?
Many things can cause your pet to develop flaky dry skin. It could be a simple fix or it could be something more serious like an infection.
- Overbathing or incorrect bathing (full bath only 1-2 times a month)
- Dry air, season, and climate
- Poor diet or moisture lacking food
- Dry or irritating bedding (allergies, dusty, or steal their moisture)
- Constant irritants (poop in claws when scratching, bedding, soap used to wash cage, etc…)
- Mites, parasites, bacteria, and fungal infections
A vet might be needed to treat certain causes. In a few cases, dry skin can be due to parasites, bacteria, or fungal infections. It can sometimes be apparent if there are bald patches or fungus present. You should consult with your veterinarian if you suspect something is seriously wrong with your pet. They might have additional tips, medication, and advice. Go to the vet before trying these tips if you think it could be one of those causes or if the issue has not improved after these tips.
How to Prevent and Heal
To heal up dry skin you need to treat the area, provide additional amenities, and practice better care of your hog.
- You can use certain oils like flaxseed oil, omega 3 oil, olive oil, or vitamin e oil (1-2 drops). You can place it on their back after a bath or add it to their kibble.
- A humidifier can be placed close to the cage. It will add moisture to the air and to the skin. This helps heal and aid in preventing dry skin. Make sure to fill it with distilled water, it is better for the machine and yourself. This is especially useful in the wintertime. Also, your skin will appreciate it too!
- Overbathing causes dry skin. Therefore, keep baths to a minimum. Try to only wash their feet when you need to. By keeping the feet clean, the need for baths is reduced. Only do full-body washes one a month, unless you are trying to heal already dry skin.
- Take away improper bedding and replace it with the right kind. Bad bedding causes irritation and messes with the wounds. It can slow healing and cause dry skin. So, check out our bedding guide for more info.
Good Cleaning Supplies
- Cleaning supplies can irritate the skin. So, make sure you are using pet-friendly cleaning supplies. Don’t leave puddles or strong smells behind. You also need to try to keep the cage clean to reduce the chances of infection.
Good Bath Wash
- Good bath wash can actually heal the skin. While too many baths can hurt, using a nourishing bath wash can help. It needs to have some kind of ingredient that helps with moisture. Aveeno baby washes are usually a great choice.
- Dirty feet and claws cause the skin to be covered and irritated. Trim and clean the feet regularly, especially if the hog is scratching. Poop or bacteria can enter the skin when scratching occurs. Cleaning reduces the chance of bacteria in wounds and keeps the skin open and clean. Additionally, a toothbrush is good for cleaning claws.
- Oatmeal soaks work wonders. Humans even use this trick. Put old fashioned oats in a breathable bag. Then let is run under the bathwater. You can squeeze and drizzle the cloudy water over the infected areas.
- Place recommended oils on their back during the final rinse of the bath or after the bath (1-2 drops)
- For the next best result and to avoid baths, apply a small amount of one oil before their bedtime (should not look oily on the back)
- Flaxseed, omega 3, and vitamin e oil can be added to kibble: 1-2 drops 2-3 times a week (reduce as the consistency if poop changes)
- Don’t over bathe or over product, even if you are trying to heal the skin
- Use little bags, cloth, pantyhose, teas seak bag, or socks to hold the oatmeal for the oatmeal soak
- You can use a Q-tip or a small dropper to get oil in hard to reach places and to rub it in
- No tea tree oil or tea tree oil shampoo
- No grapeseed oil (hogs can anoint and consume it)
- No beauty products (could have harmful additives or chemicals)
- No overbathing (excluding feet washes)
- Do not over-product (no more than recommended amount of oil)
- Do not wash accessories or bedding with any chemicals or strong scents
- Do not use regular water in a humidifier (bad for the product, your respiratory, and the hog’s respiratory)
Recommended Products and where to find them coming soon, so check back!
I hope your hedgehog feels better soon! Let me know in the comments if your hedgehog sufferers from dry skin?