What Are The Nutritional Requirements Of Hedgehogs?
Before you begin to think of the best food to give your Hedgehog, it is important to understand its digestive system and nutritional requirements. Such information will allow you to not only understand the needs of your pet but also enable you to know how best to meet those needs. This article will be providing you with the basics of what you need to know about your hedgehog diet.
Hedgehogs are primarily omnivorous or insectivorous, and that means that they prefer insect protein, known as chitin, fruits, vegetables, and cooked meats. They enjoy live insects like mealworms.
With such varieties of food Hedgehogs can consume means they are not picky eaters and that definitely is to the relief of pet owners.
Studies have shown that Hedgehogs require, in their diet, a mixture of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber and water. But to be more specific, in preparing the food for your Hedgehog, ensure that protein in the feed is over 20 percent, fat is between 5 and 15 percent and it should contain a good amount of fiber.
Hedgehogs have 44 tiny teeth; let them put those teeth to good use by giving them hard food. Worthy to note, however, is that protein is most essential, but insect and poultry are the easiest for Hedgehogs to digest.
Important to note is that hedgehogs do not need more than 4 teaspoons of food per day. Anything over that can result in your pet getting obese.
What Exactly Should You Feed Your Hedgehog?
Having known the nutritional requirements of Hedgehogs, knowing what exactly to feed them is next. High-quality Hedgehog food with fiber content and at least 20 percent protein is the ideal food you should feed your Hedgehog as earlier said. For heart health, you can also ensure that the food has L-carnitine listed as an ingredient.
Supplementary Food Options
Aside from the above-mentioned food, you can also feed your Hedgehog live insects, cooked chicken, fruits and vegetables. Serve your pet those only in small quantity (like 3-4 times per week). However, don’t give it seeds, raisins, dried vegetables and fruits as those get stuck in its mouth.
• Fruits and Vegetables: Hedgehogs enjoy fruits as treats once in a while. Vegetables and fruits are essentials you can give your pets. You have to be careful though, as some fruits like grapes and raisins are harmful to hedgehogs. You should also avoid giving them the fruits in a large amount as they contain a large amount of sugar.
• Meats: hedgehogs can eat almost all types of meat although there are things you must watch out for. You don’t want to feed your hedgehog raw meat, and also ensure to cook the meat without seasoning. Whatever method you used in processing the meat is fine aside frying and also put away canned meat. It’s bad for your pet’s health.
• Insects: insects are another food your hedgehog will love as a treat! However, you want to be careful of which insect you feed your pet. Insects from your garden or bait shop aren’t ideal. Get insects from pet stores. Insects from the open field might contain poisonous chemicals and insecticides, hence why you should avoid such. For your hedgehog, get insects like mealworms, crickets or silkworms from pet stores around you.
• Water: Water is essential for all living things, and your hedgehog isn’t an exception. Ensure your pet has a source of clean fresh water readily available.
Hedgehog Diet Restrictions
Despite the fact that hedgehogs are not picky eaters, they have sensitive digestive systems hence you should be vigilant or careful of what goes into your pet’s pan.
Avoid most dairy products. While you can give yogurt to your hedgehog, ensure it doesn’t exceed once per week. That is because hedgehogs are intolerant to lactose. Hedgehogs also require low-fat diet, hence avoid the excess amount of red meats and fatty meats.
Do not feed hedgehogs nuts! Not only are nuts difficult for them to chew, but they are also not digested well by hedgehogs. Avoid giving your hedgehogs salty foods. Foods like bacon and corned beef are harmful to your hedgehog’s health.
Should I Give My Hedgehog Cat Food?
The debate since hedgehogs became popular as pets have been about what food they should feed on. To be more specific, many have asked, is cat food fine for my hedgehog? This piece will not only answer that question, but it will also look into why cat food took the front seat.
When people started keeping hedgehogs are pets, no one was sure what food was perfect for them. But the information that they require high protein in their diet led to the conclusion of feeding them readily and suitable food – cat food. Cat food is high in protein, much to the delight of hedgehog owners.
Nowadays, it seems necessary ingredients are now included in hedgehog food. Although because it is still scarce, many hedgehog owners still prefer cat food without minding the source of the protein.
While cat food is high in protein, needed in hedgehog’s diet, it does not contain chitin. So, while you can offer cat food to your hedgehog, remember it isn’t the ideal food.
Recommended Cat Food for Your Hedgehog
Cat food, generally accepted to be a great choice for hedgehog because of the protein to fat ratio. When getting your hedgehog cat food, keep the following in mind:
• Buy adult cat food. Kitten food is high in fat, and as you know, that is bad for your hedgehog.
• Ensure to go through the nutritional information and confirm that the food contains a minimum of 30% protein and not more than 15% fat.
• Age is important before you decide what to feed your pet. Let the shopkeeper know the age of your hedgehog before you decide on what to buy. Either your hedgehog is below six months or above, you must ensure you get the proper food.
Why People Avoid Purchasing Commercial Hedgehog Food
Studies have shown that people tend to shy away from buying hedgehog food and the reason isn’t far-fetched. There is quite a number of different hedgehog food brands out there – many that can leave one clueless.
There is an assumption you shouldn’t make, however. Never assume that any hedgehog food is perfect for your hedgehog. Quite a good number of hedgehog foods doesn’t fit into the nutritional needs of a hedgehog, hence you have to be careful. You don’t want to get carried away with mere design, so ensure you read the nutritional information on the label of the food.
Another reason why people avoid buying commercial hedgehog food is that it is expensive. Due to the cost, many prefer to go for the less expensive cat food.
People also don’t want to get hedgehog food because keeping hedgehog is still illegal in some states. So, if you live in such a state, your decision is understandable.
What you feed your pet will reflect in its weight, reaction, and activity or inactivity. Hence, it is needless to mention how important feeding is. Be careful to give the right proportion or mix to your little pet.
When you notice that your pet is getting obese, it’s time to reduce the rate at which you feed it. If you notice it doesn’t seem to leave a corner, don’t hesitate to get help.