If you’ve ever been a pet sitter for a Hedgehog, you already know these fuzzy little critters will eat a ton of food for their weight. They also look cute while doing it, too. Though they’re avid munchers, pet owners still (rightfully) worry about their Hedgehog’s weights.
Much like with any other pet, the risk of overfeeding is always going to be there with Hedgehogs. Overfeeding your Hedgehog may cause their taste in food to change, gearing their preferences towards extremely unhealthy foods.
Knowing how to help your Hedgehogs live as long as possible is a crucial part of being a good pet owner. At the center of knowing how to care for Hedgehogs is understanding their dietary needs. This guide will help you understand the nuances of Hedgehog diets.
Can I Overfeed My Hedgehog?
It would be best if you never overfed your Hedgehog. Overconsumption of food can lead to severe health complications in our little ones.
You might get tempted to serve your Hedgehog more food, but this will only harm them. You will notice that Hedgehogs eat all the food we provide them within no time. It is typical behavior in Hedgehogs. Therefore, it is essential to control the amount of food you feed your pet.
Also, take care of the amount of kibble you feed your Hedgehog. There are no pellets in the wild, and Hedgehogs do very well without them. You must serve your Hedgehog with the correct amount of kibble to get the maximum benefit out of it.
Overfeeding our Hedgehogs will make them obese. Overeating might also lead to other health problems such as digestive complications, heartaches, dental pain, etc. Therefore, never feed your Hedgehog more than the suggested quantity.
What Happens If You Overfeed A Hedgehog?
Overfeeding a Hedgehog can lead to many health problems, especially when you take their penchant for high-fat foods.
A Hedgehog that’s continually overfed runs the risk of:
- Obesity: Like humans, Hedgehogs can get a little chunky when they eat too much.
- Malnutrition: If they’re fed too many high-fat foods, Hedgehogs might start to avoid the nutritional pellets in favor of fatty foods. This can lead to your pets getting low on the vitamins and minerals they need.
- Immobility: Much like humans, Hedgehogs that get too heavy can risk having trouble walking. This is an extreme side effect but still has been documented.
- Early Death: Hedgehogs’ bodies will get overstressed from being too heavy in their frames. This can lead them to an early death.
How Often Should You Feed Your Hedgehog?
It is essential to feed our Hedgehogs appropriately. You must provide your Hedgehogs with two to three tablespoons of kibble every 24 hours.
I usually prefer to feed my Hedgehog one to two tablespoons of kibble every 12 hours. The truth is, servings of two small meals instead of one large meal makes a huge difference.
In the wild, Hedgehogs hoard their food. They have multiple meals in a day, ensuring that they at least eat some of their food. Serving your Hedgehogs two small meals in a day will mirror how they eat in the wild.
Also, it is crucial to remove all the uneaten food every 24-48 hours. It is vital to ensure that our Hedgehogs do not eat rotten food over fresh ones. Terrible food often leads to stress in our Hedgehogs.
How Can You Tell If Your Hedgehogs Are Overeating
It can be extremely tricky for a Hedgehog owner, but it’s still doable.
Hedgehogs that are overeating finish their food rapidly. A typical Hedgehog should nibble away at food throughout the day rather than continually eat at their bowl.
If you notice signs of weight gain, you also might have a Hedgehog that needs a diet.
Are Some Hedgehogs More Likely To Overeat Than Others?
Hedgehogs are just like people. They each have their personalities and preferences.
This means that some Hedgehogs are more likely to overeat than others.
In most cases, your Hedgehogs will be fine regulating their diets. When your little pet is eating unhealthily and trying to ask for more than you should get concerned about.
How To Prevent Hedgehogs From Overeating
If you have a Hedgehog that’s been eating just a little too much or seems to have a penchant for fatty foods, don’t worry.
There are some methods you can use to prevent them from eating even more:
- Separate Hedgehogs during mealtime. If you have housed more than one Hedgehog in a cage, you need to be careful. By restricting each Hedgehog to their own food, you can ensure that Hedgehogs aren’t eating other Hedgehogs’ meals.
- Reduce the use of treats. Treats, with most Hedgehogs, are fine additions to their diets. With some picky eaters, they end up spoiling their tastes and try to eat them exclusively.
- If your Hedgehog is refusing to eat certain foods in your mix, buy foods that don’t contain their “favorites.” This often happens with sunflower seeds or similar treats. If you notice Hedgehogs picking apart kibble or choosing specific items, go for foods that don’t involve their favorite portions as this picky behavior can spark bad eating habits.
- Don’t refill their bowl until most of the food is gone. Remember, once a day is the norm in most situations. Regularly refilling their bowl, especially when there’s plenty of food still there, sends the wrong message.
What Should You Do If You Overfed Your Hedgehog?
Even the most well-meaning pet owner can make the mistake of overfeeding their pets. It happens. The important thing is knowing what to do when you realize you’ve been overfeeding your pets.
If your overfeeding session was a one-off, just go back to your normal feeding routine, and nothing should happen. If you’ve been overfeeding your petite pets for a while, here’s what you need to do:
- Scale back the food, big time. Take a look at the amount of food that you’re feeding your Hedgehog. This alone should make a massive difference in your pets’ health.
- Consider parsing out the food in smaller quantities throughout the day. Sometimes, you might end up with a Hedgehog that will continually eat until there’s no food left. This fixes that problem quickly.
- End fatty treat usage. Your Hedgehogs might not like this, but this can help goad your Hedgehog into eating healthier foods. If your Hedgehog has already gotten to the point of gaining weight, treats should be the last thing on the menu.
- Consider switching seeds for a healthier type of snack. Seeds are a major culprit to obesity. If you notice your Hedegehogs gaining weight, switch those seeds out. They’ll love it!
When To Call A Vet
In general, an overfed Hedgehog is nothing to worry about.
However, if you notice that your Hedgehog is refusing to eat any food you put in front of him or has started to show serious signs of distress, a call to your preferred vet makes sense.
Don’t get us wrong; your Hedgehog won’t always be too thrilled to have their treats taken away from them.
It might take a week or two before they get used to a new diet, so give them time if they seem upset and cut down on their food intake. On the other hand, if they refuse to eat at all, a vet visit might be in order.
A Hedgehog can be overfed fairly easily if you don’t pay attention to what they’re doing or how much they’re eating.
If your Hedgehog eats more, they risk gaining weight and ignoring their own dietary needs.
Hedgehogs are prone to eating “junk food” or overeating and may need to be gently coached with better dietary attention and the removal of fatty foods from their feeding bowls.
For the most part, treating a Hedgehog that’s gained weight is simple. All you need to do is fix their diet, and they’ll shed the weight quickly enough. If you notice your pet in distress, call a vet.