Anyway Are Vegetables The Most Important Part Of A Hedgehogs Diet
No, vegetables are nowhere near the most important part of hedgies food pyramid. Some scientists classify hedgehogs as insectivores, others deem them to be omnivores. But these creatures definitely arent vegetarians. Vegetables dont hold the greatest importance in their diets. Instead, the most important part of their meal plan is high-quality protein. This protein is essential for keeping them disease-free and happy. Not getting enough of protein and carbs raises the risk of health issues. Some of these issues could turn chronic.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Cat Food What You Need To Know
Hedgehogs are growing in popularity as pets in the United States and you recently brought home a cute and spiny hedgehog to join your pet family. You want to make sure that youre taking proper care of this new and exotic member of your menagerie so youre looking for the best food to feed your hedgehog. During your searches, youve discovered that many people recommend cat food? Huh?Cat food? Really? Can hedgehogs eat cat food? Were here to answer that question and to help you make youre feeding your hedgehog a diet to keep it healthy.
Comparison Between Dry Cat & Hedgehog Food
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So whats the verdict? In our opinion, both the dry cat food and hedgehog food are really good choices for a base food for your hedgie.
They both offer really healthy amounts of protein, fat and fibre that fall pretty much into the percentage guidelines we mentioned above.
You will have to add other forms of food to your hedgehogs diet such as small amounts of fruit and greens in order to fill in the gaps and increase their fibre and calcium intake.
Having said this both products do contain other nutrients such as omega 3 to help keep your hedgie healthy.
If you really want us to pick a winner, then we would have to pick the Vitasmart hedgehog food simply because it offers slightly more protein and fibre as well as containing less fat.
You can see the exact hedgehog food we recommend you feed your hedgie and the best place to purchase it from online in our easy to follow guide here
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What Pellets Should I Feed My Hedgehog
The first item for a healthy diet for your hedgehog is a pellet food formulated for hedgehogs. Exotic Nutrition Hedgehog Complete Hedgehog Food is a veterinarian-recommended pellet containing 35% crude protein that also contains dried mealworms to create a food that is vitamin-rich for your pet. If youre looking for a pellet that has slightly less protein and a higher fat content, Mazuri Hedgehog Diet offers a pellet that is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Hedgehogs that enjoy berries as part of a high-protein diet may enjoy Exotic Nutrition Berries & Bugs Sugar Glider & Hedgehog Food.
Life Stages And Aims When Feeding Hedgehogs
Like all mammals, hedgehogs go through predictable life stages and have different nutritional needs as they age.
- Young hedgehogs need more protein and calories for growth, while older hedgehogs need lower protein levels to protect their kidneys.
- Sick hedgehogs need protein and nutrient-dense foods to support their immune systems and help them heal.
- Hogs who are underweight need extra calories, while those who are obese need fewer.
So rather than feed one food for life, try to be sensitive to what your hedgehog needs.
In each section, the different foods will be ordered in terms of least calorific to most calorific, so that you can easily select feeds that are suitable for your individual hedgehogs needs.
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Is It Enough To Solely Serve Cat Food
No. As a rule of thumb, the relative amount of cat food should be 80 % of the whole diet. Even the best dry cat foods wonât contain enough fiber. But donât worry, you can easily fill the gap with treats like insects, fruits and vegetables. Giving insects will also mimic the foraging in the wild and is very good for variety and enrichment.
How Do I Protect My Hedgehog From Cat Food
Adding bricks or walls within the feeding station, as shown below, will make it harder for larger animals like cats to get to the food. Putting a dish of water at the entrance will deter cats as they dont like to get their paws wet! The video below shows a hedgehog navigating around the barriers to get to the food.
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Make A Hedgehog A Home
Leave areas of the garden wild, with piles of leaves, logs or compost. These are an attractive nest, as well as a home for the invertebrates that hedgehogs like to eat.
Making an artificial home can be as simple as placing a piece of board against a wall. Or you can buy a purpose-built hedgehog house, or even try to build your own!
Taste Of The Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Cat Food
Another good choice if your hedgehog is crazy about both marine and freshwater fish.
The pack consists of a unique mix of trout, ocean fish meal, sweet potato, potato protein, and potato.
Completely grain-free, it is particularly good for hedgehogs that are not avid runners. Grain tends to fill up hedgies while providing little nutrition.
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But What About Wild Hedgehogs
You may be wondering whether wild hedgehogs eat vegetables. The short answer? Not that much! Hedgehogs earned the title of opportunistic eaters. This means that they are eating a wide variety of food sources in the wilderness. For example, they eat earthworms, slugs, snails, caterpillars, and baby mice. Sometimes, they encounter some wild fruits and vegetables that theyll happily eat. Still, as you can understand, their daily menu outside of captivity isnt full of vegetables. This is the main reason we recommend to use vegetables only for snacks and treats.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Cat Food
For many years there were no commercial food options for hedgehogs as they were not a popular pet. Many owners fed their hedgehogs cat food as an acceptable substitute because it contained sufficient protein for a hedgehogs diet and is small enough for them to chew. Due to their increased popularity as pets, however, there are now food pellets on the market that will better meet the specific dietary needs of hedgehogs. Many veterinarians recommend feeding your hog a pellet produced specifically for hedgehogs and supplementing it with a variety of insects. So, yes, hedgehogs can eat cat food, but the question becomes: should you feed your hog eat cat food when there are hedgehog foods now available on the market? It would be best to discuss the options for your hogs diet with your veterinarian, so you know youre feeding it the best diet for growth and health.
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What Should You Not Feed Hedgehogs
You should avoid offering your hedgehogs dairy products such as milk. Some fruits like grapes, raisins, citrus, avocado, and pineapple are also not good for hedgehogs. Onion, garlic, potato, tomato, nuts, seeds, chocolate, and mushrooms are also bad for them. Donât feed them processed, raw, seasoned, or fried meat.
Is There Any Hedgehog Food Available
Yes, theres a wide variety of hedgehog food brands on the market. But many hedgehog owners opt out. The reason behind that is simple. A lot of people find that these foods have not been planned to keep the hedgies best interests in mind. You see, the packaging says that its designed for optimal hedgehog health. In reality, this claim might be far from the truth. The food could easily lack essential nutrients. Also, the food mixes usually contain nuts and raisins that pose health hazards to hedgies.
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What Is The Cat Food Made Up Of The Ingredients Of Cat Food
Now that weve learned that hedgehogs will fondly eat cat food lets discuss if it can meet their nutritional requirements. And to do that, we need to break down cat food and see whats it made up of:
You can divide any regular cat food ingredients into two broad groups: carbs and meat products. Since meat products make up the majority of it, lets begin by talking about them:
Meat is the main source of protein, both in cats and in hedgehogs. There are various meat product combinations that different cat food brands use, and well quickly go through all of them.
The first and most common ingredient is chicken. If a cat food is of premium quality, it will contain a combination of chicken skin and flesh . However, most of the medium-quality cat foods contain the slaughtered poultrys remaining carcass, such as feet, neck, and intestines, cleaned and rendered.
These cat foods are also referred to as by-product meals and ideal for cats. Other animal meats added to the cat food are beef tallow , tissues of undecomposed fish, and dehydrated eggs.
While the protein from the meat products maintains the hairs, muscles, bones, and immune system of your cats, the carbs provide them with the energy they need and fibers that play a key role in maintaining their gut health. Wheat flour, corn gluten meal, and brewers rice are the three main ingredients added to cat food for carbs.
Can I Just Feed Dry Cat Food Or Are Other Foods Necessary
Dry cat food should make up about 80% of your hedgehogs diet, with the remainder being insects, fruit, roots, and vegetables. This should be the aim for all pet hedgehogs, but some of the fussiest may have other ideas!
Hedgehogs can manage without the fruit, roots, and vegetables, but they do need an insect element to their diet because the chitin of the exoskeleton is the fiber they are adapted to digest easily. Cat food generally provides much less fiber than hogs need .
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Certain Fruits And Vegetables
Including some safe to eat fruits and veggies is a great way to include different tastes and textures and some lower calorie nibbles for your hog.
There are plenty to choose from that a good for hedgehogs, these include:
- Apples eaten in moderation, apples are a deliciously crunchy treat for hedgehogs. They are high in natural sugars, so they should only be given as a treat now and again
- Leafy greens hedgehogs love veggies like broccoli, cucumber, lettuce and more. You might have to cook some of the tougher veggies to make them easier for hogs to eat. Just make sure you feed them bite-size pieces
- Berries organic blueberries and raspberries in particular are okay for hedgehogs to eat, opt for organic if you can because these will less likely have been sprayed with possibly harmful chemicals
- Strawberries a top choice for hogs, they are nice and sweet but dont contain as much sugar as other fruits. Just make sure you cut them up into bite-size pieces for your little prickly friend
Is Fish Bad For Hedgehogs
While Ive never witnessed a hedgehog consume a fish this question generally relates to fish-based cat food. Fish protein is beneficial and therefore within a balanced, cat or dog food is fine for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs have an excellent sense of smell and may be put off by strong odours and fish of course, have a strong odour. Consumption of a lot of fish protein will travel through a hedgehogs digestive tract very quickly resulting in fishy smelling hedgehog poo. This was once thought to be proof hedgehogs couldnt digest fish but this has long since been shown to be untrue.
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Why Many Owners Prefer Cat Food
There are mainly 2 reasons why most hedgehog owners prefer cat food over special food for their prickly friends:
- Often the quality is much better. First that sounds surprising, but when you dive into the topic it turns out that hedgehog food can contain ingredients, that are not good for your pet. Raisins are a typical example. Apart from that, the nutritional values from cat food are nearly perfect if you choose the right one.
- Another important factor is accessibility. You can buy cat food in every local pet shop. As opposed to this, the demand for hedgehog food is quite low and it just is not worth the effort to sell it for shop owners.
- Last but not least, many breeders use cat food to raise their baby hedgehogs. People who buy a new hedgie tend to stay at the food choice the breeder made. They can be sure that the pet likes it and breeders know very well what the pets need.
Should Hedgehogs Eat Cat Food
Hedgehogs do not need to eat cat food but can do so as a means of meeting their nutritional needs. It should, however, be fed alongside live insects, protein sources such as cooked chicken, vegetables, and fruits.
That would ensure a hedgehog meets their nutritional needs, and then some.
Now whether or not you would want to feed cat food altogether is another question.
It depends mostly on your personal circumstances.
What can you get access to? What products are available to you, and whats your budget?
In reality, cat food ticks a lot of boxes.
Its high-protein, small enough for hedgehogs to easily chew and eat, and its widely available.
Its also typically very well-formulated.
Nutritionally balanced and providing a range of vitamins and minerals that can prevent skeletal deformities, tooth decay, or spine and fur loss in hedgehogs.
All of which can arise from an insufficient diet.
These are just some of the reasons why cat food became so popular, to begin with.
That being said, there are certainly better cat food options than others.
Not all can, nor should be fed.
But more on that in the following section.
What you need to know is this:
Nowadays, specialist hedgehog food can be offered instead, assuming that it is a good reputable brand and product.
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What Should A Hedgehog Eat
There are many brands that make food exclusively for hedgehogs. This way, you dont have to worry about anything. You know that the food is made for your lovely pet from start to end.
Other than this, you can try various fruits that hedgehogs commonly like. This should be necessary to change the taste from regular food to some fresh fruits every now and then.
If you dont want to take any chances, then call the place where you got your pet from. They will tell you what your pet usually eats and what it is allergic to.
What Could I Feed My Hedgehog Besides Cat Food
Did you know that the perfect protein to fat ratio for hedgehogs is 34%:15%? These are oft-cited numbers. You can feed your hedgehog boiled eggs, lean poultry, some fruits and vegetables, and insects. But all of these foods come with notable exceptions. For example, you can give cucumber to your hedgehog, but onions, garlic, and potatoes are not allowed. Take a look at the next paragraphs to learn more about it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that whenever you give them vegetables, its better to properly prepare the veggies beforehand. Its a bit hard for hedgie to digest raw vegetables. Thats why you should cook veggies before handing them out as food. Also, since some vegetables tend to be quite large compared to hedgehogs diminutive size, dice the veggies to smaller pieces before or after cooking. In this way, your hedgie will have a much better time eating all that necessary plant fiber and vitamins.
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What Cat Food Do Hedgehogs Eat
High quality, poultry-based cat biscuits seem to be the number one choice among hedgehog owners. Poultry-based dry cat food high in protein and low in fat needs to make up the majority of a hogs diet. Moist cat food, insects, fruit & veg, boiled eggs and baby food are used to supplement a pet hedgehogs diet.
Purina Muse Charmed With Chicken
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Cassava Root Flour, Pea Starch, Natural Flavor
- Protein 32.0% min
- Fiber 3.0% max
- 422 Kcal/cup
It also contains eggs, pumpkin, and spinach, plus vitamins and minerals. The recipe uses beef fat but does state no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. Also grain-free and no corn, wheat, or soy.
No omega 3 .
The fiber content is low, which could be problematic for hedgehogs. Care would be needed to add more fiber to the diet in other ways.
The 422 Kcals per cup are partly from the higher fat content of this feed and this may make it a less healthy option that the Wellness formula above.
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What Do Wild Hedgehogs Eat
Hedgehogs living in the wild will feed on a range of things and tend to survive on a whatever they can get their claws on basis.
As a result, they are well adapted to experiencing lots of different textures, tastes and smells.
Lots of their diet consists of invertebrates such as slugs, caterpillars, worms, beetles and earwigs.
But, hedgehogs thrive on lots of protein, so some of their diet will come from vertebrates like baby rodents, frogs, and baby birds, if theyre able to catch them.
They have also been known to feed on fungi, vegetation, eggs and some fruit.
On top of their natural diet, hedgehogs also get some of their food from friendly humans that leave food out for them in their yard. They make use of this to fill up whenever they struggle to find enough of their own food in the wild. They dont tend to rely on humans for food, though, like lots of people tend to believe.
Like we said, some hedgehogs can travel as far as 12 miles in one night and are actually good runners, so they dont usually struggle to find food.