How To Clean And Bathe a Hedgehog?
If you have a pet hedgehog, you might have probably noticed that they are very messy animals. They tend to run around all the time defecating all over the cage and eventually getting themselves all dirty and smelly.
Cleaning or bathing them safely and appropriately is one of the most important tasks for taking care of a hedgehog. But this requires an owner to be sensitive and attentive in order to help a hedgehog stay clean and healthy.
Firstly, before preparing a bath for a hedgehog, you’ll be needing a suitable container. A large plastic bucket is preferable, but if you have a large enough sink, it should be good to go.
Often a sink is the easiest thing to use but make sure you have the container completely cleaned and be sure you clean away any washing products before using it as a hedgehog bath.
The next thing you should do is grab a toothbrush, preferably old but it has to be soft bristled. This is to get away all the dirt that has been stuck on him by gently scrubbing off all the filth with the help of the brush.
For this, you will need a soft toothbrush exclusively for cleaning the animal. Ensure the brush is fresh, and only use it for cleaning your hedgehog. You can also keep a nail brush in hand which is optional.
Now, what you need to properly cleanse your hedgehog is liquid soap or preferably baby shampoo. Oatmeal Baby Shampoo is the most recommended product for bathing hedgehogs. But it is extremely important to make sure that you don’t use any products that might dry out or irritate their skin.
Hedgehogs are very temperature sensitive, so it is very important to have at least one or two towels ready around you. They’ll be needing those towels to dry off as soon as they are done bathing, but after that, they’ll also require a warm and absorbent snuggle sack ready for them to crawl into once they are dried.
It’s better to have more than one sack because if one of those sacks get wet, you’ll easily be able to move it to a fresh dry one.
Now as you are completely set to run the bath, fill up the sink or bucket with hot water but make sure that it’s not too hot. The water depth should not be too deep, keep it within a shallow depth of 2 to 4 inches.
This will help to cover up the legs and parts of a hedgehog’s body. Be careful so that the water does not go up to the hedgehog’s nose or mouth.
Gently place your hedgehog into the sink or plastic bucket. It is crucial to put a hedgehog back first not face first into a tub to avoid risks.
When you see your hedgehog cheerfully splashing in the bath, take just one spoon amount of shampoo on to the toothbrush and make proper utilization of it. Starting from legs to belly then all the way over to the quills, make sure everything is mildly scrubbed off. Carefully clean all the filth that hasn’t come out.
In between all the scrubbing you can use this opportunity to use the nail clippers. A hedgehog’s nails are quite similar to humans. The nails can be trimmed after a bath too, but it is wise to do it in the middle of the bath so that you can clean their nails while you bathe them.
Best time for Trimming & Measures
Since the hedgehogs will be completely relaxed underwater, it will be the best time to hold a paw and start trimming. But this has to be done with a lot of concentration and care; they have small paws, and there is a risk of making a cut by accident.
Make sure that you have styptic powder or any antiseptic to treat the cut.
Once you have applied the hedgehog with a mild scrub and trimmed down the nails, it’s time to wash off all the remaining soap. You can do this using a small teacup or by using your hands.
Times When You Need to Be Careful
Be extra careful while you are pouring down water over a hedgehog’s back. Keep pouring water over a hedgehog’s rear till all the shampoo has been rinsed away.
This step is optional, but if your hedgehog has dry skin, you can use olive or flax seed oil. But only make usage of it after all the shampoo has been soaked off. The oil will be absorbed by a hedgehog's skin, and there will be no need for rinsing.
After you are done with all the bathing, use the towels and softly take your hedgehog out of the sink and keep it warm. If you want, you can use some mealworms to distract a hedgehog from running around. While they are eating you can easily take this chance to properly wipe them off of the remaining water.
Make sure that you rub a hedgehog gently to dry it instead of scrubbing.
Do’s and Don’ts
Keep in mind that you never put a hedgehog back into the cage until they are completely dried off. If they are put in their pen drenched, it could prompt them to hibernate which could lead to severe sickness.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you cannot bath them very often. Hedgehogs tend to get themselves filthy all the time, but it is highly recommended for a hedgehog to bathe only once a month.
This may lead to drying out their skins but to solve this issue you can try out a foot bath often as they tend to get their feet very dirty. You can also try wiping off their dirt with a wet towel.
To do a wet towel cleanup, just fill up the sink with few inches of warm water, then you’ll place a towel over it and after that clean the dirt off their body. Like a regular bath, you should definitely be focused so that water doesn’t get to a hedgehog’s ears or eyes.
So, it can be concluded that hedgehogs are very high maintenance pets especially regarding the prospect of cleaning. There are specific instructions to safely carry out a bathing session of a hedgehog.
But by being observant and patient, the job can be easily done. Moreover, this hefty procedure takes place only once a month. So by keeping the necessary materials in hand and with practice, cleaning a hedgehog will become a simple task for its owner.