Loving Your Hedgehog… to Death?

treats

So, of course you love your hedgehog. Who wouldn’t? But, can you love your hedgehog too much?

Possibly.

Imagine a family with a child who loves hot dogs and chips. What child does not love hot dogs? It is not too hard to imagine. Now imagine that the parents give the child hot dogs and chips every single day.

Obesity

Obesity is one of the leading causes of death in hedgehogs. Treats shouldn’t be fed every day. A basic healthy staple food should be the majority of every pet’s diet. Treats should only be fed sparingly. I’d recommend no more than a few times per week (e.g. a few mealworms at a time).

Over the years I have heard many pet owners tell me how spoiled their pets are and how they are given treats all the time. Just as often I see overweight and unhealthy pets. Our pets depend on us to provide a healthy diet, just the same as children depend on their parents.

We as pet owners sometimes feel that a pet’s diet is boring and monotonous, so we want to spice it up by adding lots of treats. Ultimately, the health of the animal should be more important.

Keeping Your Hedgehog Fit

If your hedgehog starts to look too plump (you can tell by looking at the underbelly or from above since hedgehogs should have a tear shape) reduce the amount of treats and be careful to limit their daily food intake. In the wild, hedgehogs may need to walk for miles to find food, so obesity is not usually a concern. Pet hedgehogs need significantly less fat intake. Each hedgehog is different. Some are more active than others (e.g. running in their wheel all night). Owners should monitor their hedgehogs weight and feed their hedgehogs accordingly. You will have a happier and healthier pet in the long run.

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