Bathing a Pet Hedgehog

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. November 24, 2016
Bathing a Pet Hedgehog

At AnimalWised we've noticed how more and more people are choosing to keep a hedgehog as a pet. Just like any other pet, hedgehogs need to be cared for in particular ways so that they can develop and live happily.

One of these requirements is hygiene. If you've just got a pet hedgehog, or you don't know exactly when and how to wash your hedgehog, don't worry about a thing. Our new article will tell you all you need to know about bathing a pet hedgehog.

Don't forget to leave a comment and share your pictures at the end of the article!

You may also be interested in: Caring for a Hedgehog

Caring for a hedgehog before the first bath

The first thing you need to know is that hedgehogs need to get used to human contact. When scared or feeling uncomfortable, a hedgehog will curl up into a small ball of sharp quills. This means that, at first, you will need to handle it whilst wearing gloves.

Be patient, since this adaptation period will be a very slow one, which is perfectly normal. Consider the fact that your pet has just gone through a very drastic life change. Therefore, you should allow the hedgehog to smell you so that it will later be able to recognize you. Take your pet with you, even have it in your lap, so that it gets used to you.

This process can last a month. Don't worry about the hedgehog's hygiene for the time being. Hedgehogs are very clean animals, so as long as you keep its cage in an optimal state you will have no problems in this regard.

Care during hedgehog quilling

A hedgehog's quilling could be compared to a child going from milk teeth to adult teeth. "Milk" or "baby" quills fall out to leave space for the new quills.

The change usually takes place between 8 and 12 weeks of age. During this time, the hedgehog will often be more unsociable or reluctant to being picked up. This is because the quilling process, in which the quills pass through their skin, is painful for them.

Be careful with mites

It's very important for you to keep an eye on your young hedgehog's quills, looking out for any small little white balls. This might not be dirt, but mites.

Bathing a Pet Hedgehog - Care during hedgehog quilling

Bathing a hedgehog: Step by step instructions

As mentioned before, hedgehogs are very clean. Therefore, you can bathe your hedgehog every 2 or 3 months. In order to bathe a hedgehog all you need is:

  • A pH neutral shampoo
  • A hairdryer
  • A towel
  • A toothbrush
  • A bowl

You can also use shampoos for dogs, but it's always recommended that you ask your vet beforehand.

Step by step instructions:

  1. It's very important that the water is tepid, and not hot. You must be careful not to overfill the bowl in which you will bathe your hedgehog; the water should be 1-2 cm deep at most, as otherwise it could drown.
  2. Put shampoo in your hands and gently rub your hedgehog. Pay special attention to its feet and legs, as these are the areas that get dirtiest.
  3. Pass the toothbrush over all of your hedgehog's quills.
  4. Next rinse it carefully, paying special attention not to pour any water over its head.
  5. The most important thing when bathing a hedgehog is drying it. Start with the towel, removing as much water as you can.
  • Tip: Use oat powder used to soothe and soften its skin.

Use a hairdryer to remove any remaining moisture, but always from a distance and with a very mild temperature: Be careful. In order to use a hairdryer on your pet hedgehog you'll need to get it used to it from a young age, doing so very gradually. There are some special noise-free pet dryers available on the market.

  • Tip: Make sure you don't put your hedgehog back in its cage while still wet.
Bathing a Pet Hedgehog - Bathing a hedgehog: Step by step instructions

Caring for a hedgehog's nails

You should only trim your hedgehog's nails if they are too long. This is an important step, as the animal could rip out its too long nails when playing on the wheel.

  • Use manicure scissors or small nail clippers.

  • You should only trim the end of the nails, since if you cut any further up you could make it bleed.
Bathing a Pet Hedgehog - Caring for a hedgehog's nails

Caring for hedgehogs: Other tips

If you've chosen to get a hedgehog as a pet, you should be concerned about other areas of its life. We recommend the following articles:

If you want to read similar articles to Bathing a Pet Hedgehog, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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