Hedgehogs get dirty like any other animal. As a pet owner, sooner or later you’ll have to take on the task of bathing a hedgehog. Otherwise, all the accumulating dirt and grime threaten your hedgie’s health. In this post, we’ll cover everything you want to know about bathing your hedgehog.
Put a non-slip bath mat in a sink or tub. Keep the level of the lukewarm water under 3 inches. Wash your hedgehog according to all the instructions and tips in the following sections of this post. And don’t forget to take every precaution to ensure a safe bathing experience for your hedgehog.
Table of Contents
What do you need for bathing a hedgehog?
Bathing a hedgehog means that you need to take the necessary steps for planning everything. You don’t want to suddenly discover that your hedgie is already in the sink, yet you miss an important bathing supply. Otherwise, owners do have different approaches for bathing hedgehogs. Here we’ll list the most common items used for getting hedgies nice and clean.
- Soft toothbrush
- Tear-free baby shampoo
- Olive oil
- Sink or tub
- Soft towel
- Trimmer for toenails
Of course, this particular list is for full baths only. Also, when you need to give a quick wash, you might not use all of the listed supplies. But note one thing: never use regular shampoo for bathing your hedgehog. The shampoo for everyday human use may contain irritants and even dangerous chemicals for hedgehogs. Stay cautious and use pure, all-natural baby shampoos.
Wait, it’s my first time bathing a pet hedgehog!
First time bathing calls for extra attention. You don’t want to rush things here. Before anything else, your hedgie needs to be okay with human contact. And this process does take some time. When you haven’t properly gotten your hedgie used to human touch, you might find the whole bathing mission close to impossible. That’s because your hedgehog will roll into a ball, effectively canceling the bathtime.
If you are a hedgehog owner just starting out, then give the whole bathing plan a bit more time. It might take around a month for your hedgie to get used to human contact. Everything gets much easier after that. Meanwhile, you should keep the cage as clean as possible. Nothing drastic will happen in the weeks between the move-in and the first bath. Also, once you know for sure that the hedgehog is ready, you can schedule the bathing day.
How do I bathe my hedgehog?
Let’s look at practical instructions on how to bathe your hedgie. Follow these closely. Stop bathing your hedgehog if you see that they are distressed. Still, follow the tips to dry them thoroughly before putting back in the cage.
1. Set everything up for bathtime. As your hedgehog can slip in the sink or tub, you should apply a non-slip bath mat for creating extra friction. Also, you could use a silicone baking mat. But this isn’t the best option as it can start harboring grime.
2. Put out all the needed supplies. When the actual bathtime starts, your hedgie could start wiggling around. You need all attention to keep everything safe, not setting up the bathing procedure.
3. Use a water temperature suitable for babies. Not too hot and not too cold.
4. Make sure that the water level isn’t more than three inches. Any other water level raises the risk of drowning.
5. When you checked the water level, it’s time to put your hedgie in the water. Lather some shampoo and apply it on your hedgie’s back, legs, and bottom side.
6. Without a doubt, take good care of not hurting yourself with the quills.
7. After your hedgehog is all foamed up, use an extra soft toothbrush for getting their quills and tiny feet clean.
8. Slow down your movements, there’s no hurry. When you do things too fast, you might startle your hedgie. In turn, they might switch to a defensive mode and curl up into a ball.
9. Definitely keep an eye where the lather goes. Keep the shampoo bubbles away from your hedgehog’s face.
10. Especially, keep in mind to brush in the growth direction of quills, not against it.
11. After you have gotten your hedgehog all lathered up, it’s time to use warm water for rinsing everything off. Use a cup because showerheads will provide pressure that’s too strong.
12. Ensure that none of the shampoo residues are left in the fur. Otherwise, this could cause serious irritation and skin trouble.
Drying and nails
13. Use a warm, soft towel to dry your prickly buddy. Make sure all the body, including quills, is thoroughly dried.
14. After drying your hedgie up, any fully complete bathtime includes cutting their toenails. Otherwise, when you don’t do proper manicure, the nails can get stuck in odd places.
15. Cut only the nail ends using small clippers. Tiny manicure scissors are good too. Just be very careful because it’s easy to injure your hedgie during this process.
16. When you are cutting, avoid the darker areas on the nails.
How often should you bathe a hedgehog?
That’s very hard to say. Some hedgehogs get quickly dirty. Others take more time. Try not to have the bathtime more frequently than once a month. The reason for this is simple. Hedgehogs can get dry skin from bathing too often. And not just regular dry skin. Think dry skin that would need a veterinary’s attention.
One of the ways to cut down on bathing is making sure the cage is clean. Hence, clear the cage of droppings on a daily basis. When your hedgie clearly spills something, take care and clean the mess. Although, as with many things in life, prevention is better than cure.
What else should you know about hedgehog bathing?
Bathing a hedgehog isn’t as straightforward as bathing your dog, for example. There are more tips that you could follow to make bathtime as smooth and safe as possible. Take a closer look at these suggestions below.
- Hairdryers are controversial. When used in the wrong way, hairdryers may be dangerous for your hedgehog. Use a hairdryer only from a distance and at a very mild temperature. Also, your hedgie has to get used to the hairdryer from an early age and in slow steps.
- Baby shampoo, yes. But also make sure that it’s pH neutral.
- Definitely, pay extra attention to your hedgie’s toes and legs. These are notorious for getting dirtier than other body parts.
- Never pour water over your hedgehog’s head.
- Try using oat powder. Many owners use this to make the skin soft and supple.
- You have to avoid putting a wet hedgehog back in the cage at all costs.
- Just trim the end of your hedgie’s nails. This guarantees that there won’t be any bleeding.
- Also, you don’t always need to do a full bath. Sometimes a foot bath does the trick. Put some washcloths on the bottom of a bathtub. Add half an inch of warm water. Let your hedgie run around on the warm, soaked washcloths for a few minutes. But not any longer because the water gets cold.
The bottom line: how do you bathe your hedgehog?
All pet hedgehogs need bathing sooner or later. But make sure you don’t give your hedgie a bath more than once a month. More frequent bathings lead to dry skin and serious irritation issues.
In some ways, washing hedgehogs is similar to bathing babies. You have to use very mild shampoo, slightly warm water, and take many safety precautions. Also, take care to completely dry your hedgie out after the bathtime.