Blog

Can Hedgehogs Eat Dog Food? Nutritional Puzzle!

Photo of author

Updated:

Author: Jeanette Hampton

Hedgehogs are unique animals with unique and interesting diets, but “Can hedgehogs eat dog food?

Their diet includes many important elements, they need a nutritious balanced diet too. Without proper nutrition, they may face some health issues.

In this blog, we will figure out the hedgehog’s proper diet and whether or not they can eat dog foods. So, without further ado, let’s explore…

Can Hedgehogs Eat Dog Food

Can Hedgehogs Eat Dog Food?

Hedgehogs are insectivores. This means Hedgehogs mainly eat insects. In the wild, in their natural home, they find various insects and creepy crawlies like beetles, worms, caterpillars, etc.

“This insect-rich diet fulfils their nutritional needs. Hedgehogs normally need a diet that provides them with enough protein to support their growth, muscle development, and energy needs. However, they need to be careful about not overeating and excessive fat intake”, confirms Dr Gregory Rich from VCA Hospitals.

Maintaining the right balance is important for their health and ultimate happiness. Just like us they also enjoy variety in their diet, this is where dog food comes in the scene. Dog food is made to provide dogs with nutrient needs, it is a mix of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.

However, we need to consider different factors as well because dog food is made for a dog’s nutritional needs, which may not align with Hedgehog’s nutritional needs. Let’s understand those facts in detail:

1. Protein

Protein is the building block of the body, which helps in growth, maintaining muscles, and overall energy. In the wild, hedgehogs eat protein-filled insects, so dog food needs to provide this.

Can Hedgehogs Eat Dog Food
Choose dog foods with good quality protein, like meat or insects. Normally 25-35% protein in their diet is considered good.

2. Fat

Fat provides energy, but too much can lead to health issues like obesity. Hedgehogs need a balance, fat should be to keep them active and healthy only, not more than that.

Choose 5-15% fat content. Check out fats that are healthier including animal fats rather than plant-based fats.

3. Fibre

Fiber helps in digestion and prevents constipation. Too little can lead to stomach issues while too much can ruin the nutrient-absorbing capacity so hedgehogs need a balance.

A diet with 3-15% fibre is right for hedgehogs. Good sources of fibre include vegetables.

4. Vitamins and Minerals

Hedgehogs, like all animals, need important minerals and vitamins too. These nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, etc ensure almost everything from bone health to the immune system.

These dog foods are a good supplement for these nutrients. For a balanced diet, maintaining the right ratio of these factors is important.

Risks of Feeding Hedgehogs Dog Food

Dog food is made for dogs and not hedgehogs, so naturally there may be some risks for hedgehogs in consuming dog food. Out of these, the primary concern is obesity then heart concerns and joint problems.

Hedgehog in the garden

To prevent these problems, you need to choose a dog food that provides nutritional value to hedgehogs and maintains their health as well. Some dog food contains fillers like grains, which aren’t right for hedgehogs.

Some additives in dog food may create a problem in hedgehog’s stomach system. Over time, nutrient deficient diet can lead to health issues this is why always choose dog foods with essential nutritional value. A diet that leads to their long-term well-being.

Alternatives to Dog Food

What else can you give a hedgehog instead of a dog, let’s see some alternatives:

  • Commercial Food Options: Some pet stores offer commercial hedgehog foods designed to fulfil their nutritional needs. These foods are made to provide the right balance of protein, fat, and other essential nutrients. These options are convenient and often very important in a hedgehog’s diet.
  • Homemade Recipes: Making your hedgehog food allows you to control the ingredients and ensure a well-balanced diet. You can include proteins like Insects, lean meats, Fats like Animal fats in moderation, Carbs like limited, vegetables and fruits, and Varieties. You can rotate ingredients to provide various nutrients.
  • Insects and Other Treats: In the wild, hedgehogs eat insects, so adding insects into their diet is useful, like mealworms, crickets, and fruits (occasionally). These are high in protein and they provide good balance. Regularly monitor their diet, weight, and behaviour after eating.
Hedgehog eating from the plate

Introducing New Foods to Hedgehogs

Let’s see how can we introduce new foods into the hedgehog’s diet. They can have vulnerable stomach systems, and sudden changes in diet may lead to problems.

Introduce new foods by adding them slowly to their current food. Gradually increase the ratio of the new food over several days. Watch for any signs of digestive upset, like changes in stool or lethargy. Watch out for your hedgehog’s behaviour when trying new foods.

Are they curious and willing to try the new food? If they refuse, it might show a preference or an issue. Look for your hedgehog’s weight to ensure a healthy balance. A healthy diet reflects in their coat, shiny and free from dryness.

If you notice any issue or if your hedgehog is hesitant to eat new foods, consult a vet. They can offer some advice on the nutritional needs of hedgehogs and suggest the right adjustments to their diet.

In case of any health concerns, a vet can check to figure out any underlying issues. Lastly, be patient and careful while introducing new foods to the hedgehog’s diet.

FAQs

What are the alternatives to dog food for hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are omnivorous and need a varied diet that includes live insects, other protein sources (such as cooked chicken), vegetables, and a small amount of soft fruit. Live insects, such as crickets, mealworms, waxworms, caterpillars, and snails, provide chitin, protein, and mental stimulation for hedgehogs. Other protein sources, such as cooked chicken, provide lean meat and amino acids for hedgehogs.

Can Hedgehogs Eat Dog Food?

Hedgehogs will relish any combination of meat-based wet dog or cat foods, or dry cat/kitten food. Just remember, they will be getting most of their food from insects and worms in the wild, and this food is only supplementary. Specially made hedgehog food is also widely available.

What food is safe for hedgehogs?

A pet hedgehog’s diet should mainly consist of high-quality hedgehog food mixed with high-quality, low-fat cat food. The following supplemental foods can be offered in small amounts two to three times a week: Gut-loaded insects, such as mealworms and crickets.

What are the drawbacks of dog food for hedgehogs?

Dog food is not a complete diet for hedgehogs, and it can cause health problems if fed too much or too often. Dog food can be too high in fat, carbohydrates, and fillers, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and liver disease in hedgehogs. Dog food can also lack some essential nutrients for hedgehogs, such as chitin, fibre, and calcium.

Can hedgehogs drink water?

A feeding station will ensure the food isn’t pinched by pets. In terms of water, hedgehogs ingest water from their prey and natural sources like dew and puddles. Ponds also provide a water source so it’s important to ensure garden ponds have sloping sides or an exit ramp so ‘hogs don’t fall in and get stuck.

Conclusion

In conclusion “Can hedgehogs eat dog food?” Hedgehogs are insectivores, they can have dog food if that dog food meets hedgehog’s nutritional needs.

They need high-protein, low-fat, meat-based foods as the main part of their diet. Lack of these important nutrients and minerals can lead to health issues in hedgehogs.

The right nutrients support their growth and development. Hence, make sure what you are providing them and look after their well-being and health.

Photo of author
About
Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

Leave a Comment