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Grooming a Hedgehog


Hedgehog, sugar glider, sto, short-tailed opossum, duprasi, squirrel, mouse, mice, rats, rabbit, bunny, chinchilla, hamster, gerbil, rat, birds, guinea pig, degu, jird, dormouse, lemming, jerboa, prairie dog, chipmunk, ferret, skunk, agouti, belgian hare, english lop


                    "Meet Bubbles" he sure is cute!


Bathe your hedgehog every 7-14 days or as needed, if it gets dirty. Most animal bedding is somewhat dusty. They are formulated to neutralize odor and to absorb moisture from your pets’ environment. Although the bedding is actually doing what it is meant to do, it will also be absorbing moisture from your pet’s skin. Over time, if left unwashed, a fine layer of dust and dirt particles builds up, not allowing the animal’s skin to ‘breathe’ properly. If left untreated you may start to notice dry flaky skin or other more serious health problems.

Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner

Whenever possible, use a natural vegetable based, chemical/alcohol/fragrance free shampoo and conditioner that does not contain tea tree oil. (TEA TREE OIL may be fatal to hedgehogs!). Many of these natural and premium shampoos can be purchased at you local pet store, pharmacy or health food stores.

How to Bathe Your Pet Hedgehog

  1. Fill a small sink or your pet’s bathtub with an inch or two of slightly warmed water. The water should not feel hot or cold when you touch it with the back of your hand.
  2. Remove any pieces of bedding or particles of food from your pet.
  3. Gently place your pet in the bath and gently apply water over his entire body.
  4. Apply a small (dime size) amount of shampoo to the palm of your hands and lather the shampoo in your hands. When used properly a small nailbrush is perfect to gently remove quill stains.
  5. Gently apply the shampoo to the hedgehog. Be sure to massage and rub the shampoo all over the hedgehog including the quills, feet and underside but avoiding the mouth and eyes.
  6. Rinse your hedgehog with fresh warm water.
  7. Repeat steps #3, through #5 only this time apply a small amount of conditioner.
  8. Dry your hedgehog with a soft towel.
  • Do not allow your pet to become chilled!
  • Do not leave your pet unattended while in the bath!
  • Wait until your pet is thoroughly dry before placing him or her back into their cage.
  • Don’t be surprised if your pet hedgehog panics a bit when you first introduce him or her to a bath.

Many hedgehogs are capable of swimming for short distances but if given the option, most prefer to stay away from deep water. Never leave any animal unattended in or near open water.





"Meet Bubbles" he sure is cute!


On some hedgehogs their toenails grow very quickly and need to be trimmed every 10 to 14 days. Most of their toenails are opaque which makes it fairly easy to recognize where the quick stops; therefore easier to avoid cutting too much off at one time. The hard part is getting your hedgehog to remain still long enough to let you get the job done quickly and safely. It is likely, that when you attempt to trim your hedgehog’s nails for the first few times that he or she will attempt to roll in a ball. Sometimes, when they become accustomed to having their nails trimmed they start to relax, which makes the chore a little less challenging.

Things you'll need

  • Antibacterial or Alcohol wipes… To clean the feet and help control harmful bacteria. These can be purchased from Pharmacies and are inexpensive.
  • Toenail trimmers … There are several pet nail trimmers on the market but we have found that most of them are a little large and bulky to use on such small feet. We use human fingernail trimmers, which seem more precise and easier to maneuver.
  • A friend… Two people will make the chore much easier.
  • Nick stop or antiseptic powder is something you should always keep available. It can be very handy to stop small bleeds and can be used if you accidentally trim too close and make a small knick to the quick causing it to bleed. You can purchase several brand names from your local pet store. For serious cuts you should seek the advice of your veterinarian.

 Option # 1

  1. Person #1…Hold the hedgehog gently but firmly, allowing one leg to drop over the edge of your hand.
  2. Person #2 …Hold your hedgehogs’ leg firmly with one hand while wiping the foot with an alcohol or antibacterial wipe with the other hand.
  3. Person #2 …While continuing to hold the leg with one hand, trim the toenails with the other hand.
  4. Repeat with each foot until every nail that needs to be trimmed has been completed.

Option #2 (This is how we do it!)

  1. Place the hedgehog on the top of an inverted cage-top. Being that cages-tops are made of wire they will be awkward for your pet to balance on. The hedgehog, trying to keep steady will likely drop one of its’ legs through the wire which you can then grab and hold gently enough so that the hedgehog can not roll into a ball and tuck its’ leg in.
  2. Gently hold your hedgehogs’ leg firmly with one hand while wiping the foot with an alcohol or antibacterial wipe with the other hand.
  3. While continuing to hold the leg with one hand, trim the toenails with the other hand.
  4. Repeat with each foot until every nail that needs to be trimmed has been completed. Whenever possible get a friend to help.

No matter which method you choose, when clipping the nails on any pet, always be very careful not to trim too closely. Cutting the nail too short may result in cutting into the quick. The quick is the soft, blood-filled tissue that is inside the claw. If you have ever cut the quick of your own fingernail you have a pretty good idea of what cutting your pets’ quick will feel like to your pet. OUCH!

On occasion, accidents do happen. When you cut to close, the quick will likely bleed. To stop the bleeding apply antiseptic powder directly to the toenail. Press it firmly on the wound and hold it there until you are certain that the bleeding has stopped. If the bleeding does not stop contact your veterinarian. If the bleeding stops fairly easily be sure to keep an eye on the nail for several days to make sure that there is no infection. Keep the wound clean by using Antibacterial or Alcohol wipes several times a day. If you notice any signs of infection contact your veterinarian immediately.


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