My goal is to keep my hedgehog healthy and happy by caring for it by meeting its needs. Therefore, hygiene is one of the requirements for a healthy hedgehog in captivity.
So, at what age can you bathe a hedgehog? You can bathe your hedgehog as early as 5 to 6 weeks as long as you see the need to do so. At this age, most hedgehogs are weaned, and bathing them will not be a bother. You should start with a footbath to familiarize your pet with water and do the full bath later.
While bathing my hedgehog, I always ensure that its face stays out of the water by keeping my finger under its chin. This is because water baths are new to hedgehogs, and they may dip their face in the water out of anxiety.
If you want to know at what age you can bathe a hedgehog, this is the guide for you. I will help you know whether you can bathe a baby hedgehog, how to bathe a baby hedgehog, and whether hedgehogs like dust baths. Read through the rest of the sections for all the important information.
Like other household pets, hedgehogs need grooming. You will know it is time to bathe your hedgehog if it appears dirty to you. A dirty hedgehog will have poop spots, anointing spots, and dry skin.
You can bathe your baby hedgehog, but some people prefer to wait until they are grown to start bathing them. Whether you choose to wait or bathe it while young, you should ensure its face stays out of the water.
Your hedgehog may at times ball up to prevent you from bathing it, but over time, it will get used to the bath and even love it. Therefore, if you prefer to bathe your baby hedgehog, start gradually with a low water level and add more water after a couple of baths.
While it is possible to bathe a baby hedgehog, it is advisable to wait until it finishes quilling. In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself and bond with your pet. Familiarization may last up to a month and requires a lot of patience. During this time, you can keep your pet clean through regular cleaning of its cage.
Quilling will occur between the eighth and twelfth week, during which your baby hedgehog will be withdrawn and reluctant to be picked. This behavior is attributed to the pain as the quills pass through their skin. During this period, you should look for signs of mite infestation characterized by small white balls. After quilling, you can be more comfortable bathing your pet.
How Do You Bathe a Baby Hedgehog?
In the wild, hedgehogs do not bathe. Therefore, bathing your baby hedgehog in captivity requires extra attention and gentleness as you gradually introduce this routine to your pet. Once your pet gets used to the routine, you can bathe it after two or three months, depending on how dirty they are.
To bathe your baby hedgehog, start by gathering all the essentials you will need during the bath. This includes a bowl, a soft toothbrush, baby shampoo, a washcloth, and a soft towel. Start by putting warm water in the bowl.
The water should be a few centimeters deep to prevent your pet from drowning. Gently rub your hedgehog with shampoo while paying close attention to its feet, which are the dirtiest parts of a hedgehog. You can then brush its quills using the toothbrush and rinse it afterward. During the rinse, avoid pouring water on its head as this may get into its nose.
Baby hedgehogs are more prone to pneumonia than older ones, so you should not allow water through their nose or ears. Using a clean, soft towel, dry your hedgehog. If you have a hairdryer, you can blow your pet from a distance and under mild temperature to remove any remaining moisture.
Using a hairdryer on your baby hedgehog from a tender age ensures it gets used to the noise without getting stressed. Alternatively, you can purchase a noise-free pet dryer to avoid stressing your pet.
If your pet has long nails, you should trim them using nail clippers. Cutting too much of the nails could cause bleeding. Nail grooming prevents your hedgehog from ripping its nails when playing on the wheel. Given that young hedgehogs play and poop a lot on the wheels, you should give them regular footbaths to keep them clean.
Footbaths require just enough lukewarm water to cover the feet. When giving footbaths, you do not need shampoo or soap. Instead, allow your hedgehog to walk on water while changing the water when it becomes dirty until you become comfortable with their feet’ cleanliness. Once the dirt is off their feet, you can dry them using a towel.
Messy and dirty hedgehogs
Like other pets, hedgehogs require special care and attention from their owners. Before purchasing a hedgehog, you should understand this pet’s housing, hygiene, and healthcare demands. Therefore, whether hedgehogs are dirty and messy, we understand it is a matter of concern that requires your attention.
Generally, hedgehogs can be messy, but dirt and messiness are dependent on the specific hedgehog. This is because hedgehogs can be litter trained, but this is not guaranteed to yield results. A hedgehog will poop or pee while running on its wheel; therefore, requiring constant cleaning to keep its feet and wheel clean.
If you use fleece for your pet’s bedding, you may need to change it often as these pets will poop and pee on them. They may also poop on you when you pick them up or take them out of the cage. Hedgehogs can be nasty when they anoint, depending on what they anoint themselves with. Thus, if you are unwilling to maintain cleanliness in your pet’s cage regularly, then a hedgehog is not the ideal pet for you.
Do Hedgehogs Like Dust Baths?
If you want to keep a hedgehog, but the thought of regular baths does not amuse you, you can explore dust baths as an option. Dust baths are effective but should be done under supervision to prevent damage to your pet’s lungs.
In the wild, hedgehogs bathe in the sand and will equally enjoy dust baths in captivity. This explains why most hedgehogs would prefer dust bathe in their litter pans rather than use them for the intended purpose. Dust baths are also good since they do not get rid of your pet’s natural oils.
To dust bath your hedgehog, place a sandbox with sand in its enclosure. Your pet will play with the sand, and, in doing so, rub off the dirt from its body. Chinchilla sand is recommended, but it may get into your pet’s organs and damage them due to its fine particles. You can use reptile or play sand as substitutes if available, given their bigger particles.
Like other pets, hedgehogs require cleaning when dirty. You can start cleaning them when they are still young but waiting for them to quill is advisable. When young, they will need more footbaths than full-body baths to remove poop from their feet.
During cleaning, ensure no water gets into their nose and ears by holding them below their chin. This is because younger hedgehogs have a higher risk of pneumonia than older ones. You should then dry your pet properly before placing it back into its cage.
While water baths are effective, hedgehogs do not do this in the wild. Therefore, you can provide sand for your pet to dust bath instead of water baths. This way, you will preserve their natural oils and hence skin. Whichever bath option you choose, you should ensure your pet’s safety through supervision.