Diet is one of the most important factors in helping your hedgehog to live a long and healthy life.
Hedgehog Diet Options
The general consensus amongst the hedgehog community is that feeding a commercial hedgehog diet from a pet store is not the most nutritious option for feeding your pet hedgehog. These diets are unfortunately not formulated to meet all of the needs of pet hedgehogs. Some of them are not even formulated for hedgehogs at all. They are formulated for other animals. There is still a lot to learn about hedgehog diet, but most breeders and experienced hedgehog owners agree that the best option at this time is to feed a mix of several different high-quality cat foods and some high-quality hedgehog food. In addition to a dry food, it is a good idea to occasionally offer some fruits, vegetables, insects, scrambled egg, unseasoned chicken, cottage cheese, and other treats for enrichment. There are other options, but below are a few diet options that we feel comfortable recommending.
Hedgehog Breeder Alliance Says...
The staple food should be supplemented with a variety of other
foods. Depending on your animal’s weight and the size of the insects,
you can feed: 1-4 freeze-dried or live mealworms OR 1-4 wax worms; 2-4
crickets; 1-3 silkworms; two half-teaspoon servings of protein sources
(lean cooked chicken, salmon, trout, turkey, tuna, boiled egg whites,
etc.); and fruit and vegetables such as rice cooked in broth, sweet
potatoes, watermelon, banana, kiwi, steamed broccoli, green beans,
carrots, corn, apple, apple sauce, etc. Make sure all food (except
insects) is cut into small pieces, and all seeds are removed.
Avoid treats or staple foods containing whole or large
pieces of nuts or dried fruits as they can cause dental problems or
choking, and NEVER feed Vitacraft brand hedgehog food.
Option 1 - Dorman Exotics Gourmet Hedgehog Diet Mix
At Dorman Exotics, we have developed a high-quality diet that works very well for our hedgehogs. We have tried other diet mixes from other breeders and were not completely satisfied with them. One worked well for keeping the poop firm, but upon further research, we realized that the ingredients were mostly byproducts and filler. Another diet we tried contained only grain-free foods which were high in protein and fat and very low in fiber. What we ended up with was a bunch of hedgehogs with diarrhea all over their wheels. We liked the concept of the grain-free foods, but not the high fat and protein content. We did our research and have come up with a diet consisting of high-quality cat foods (some of which are healthier grain-free foods that are not so high in protein or fat). We call this the Dorman Exotics Gourmet Hedgehog Diet Mix. It contains Authority Indoor Formula, Wellness Indoor Health, Halo Spot's Stew Sensitive Formula Turkey Recipe, Authority Sensitive Solutions Formula, Blue Buffalo Spa Select Weight Control Formula, and Natural Balance Green Pea & Duck. DE Gourmet Hedgehog Diet Mix contains approximately 31.7% protein, 13.7% fat, and 6.1% fiber. Our mix does not contain any one food with more than 15% fat content. Around 15% fiber in the diet is desirable, but this is impossible to obtain with any cat or hedgehog food, so this is obtained by feeding insects and/or other high-fiber foods as treats. We also have a Lite mix with less fat and a mix with higher protein & fat for more active hedgehogs, nursing moms, & young babies.
You can buy our DE Gourmet Hedgehog Diet Mix on our Products page.
Option 2 - Spike's Delite Hedgehog Food from Pet-Pro
Some breeders feed this to their hedgehog as the main diet source. We have heard from experienced owners that this is the best hedgehog food on the market, although many in the forums do say that a mix of foods, like Dorman Exotics Gourmet Hedgehog Diet Mix is a better option. Through our Sweet Sugar Gliders website, we do have access to obtain hedgehog food from Pet-Pro, to keep in our inventory. We are not yet doing that, but would like to know if you would be interested in ordering it directly from us. In the mean-time, you can get 10% off any order from Pet-Pro, by mentioning that Misty Dorman from Sweet Sugar Gliders sent you to them. You can contact Pet-Pro at 1-877-977-8310 or visit their website at www.pet-pro.com. We recommend Spike's Delite Pro because it has the best ingredients out of the different flavors that they offer. If your hedgehog is overweight, you could also try Spike's Delite Lite.
Option 3 - Make Your Own Hedgehog Food Mix
We have found some great hedgehog diet information in the forum at Hedgehog Central, which helped us to develop our DE Gourmet Hedgehog Diet Mix. If you are interested in doing some research and making your own diet mix, you should go for it. One word of caution would be not to make so much that you can not get through it before it expires. Hedgehogs do not eat a lot and if you only have one hedgie and are buying 5-15lb bags of food to mix together, you are going to have a LOT of food. Please be careful not to let it expire. Shelf-life can be extended by storing in the freezer, but that means you have to have room in your freezer to store it as well. Please do lots of research before creating your own diet and run it by other knowledgeable owners in the forums first.
Click on these links to learn more about how to care for a pet hedgehog.
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- New Owner Checklist - coming soon
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"...Hannah has the BEST temperament! My vet said she has never met a friendlier hedgehog!!!...Thank you for such a wonderful hedgehog!!"
- Becky, new hedgehog owner