Items you will need before you start bathing your hedgehog:
Tear-free baby wash or tear-free Small Animal Shampoo
Styptic Powder (in case you trim too short)
Coconut Oil (optional and used sparingly to remove ear wax only)
Tear-free baby wash or Small animal shampoo:
You will want to use a baby wash which is close to a neutral pH or a small animal shampoo which is formulated with an alkaline pH.Pictured is California Baby (available at Target) and Kaytee Squeaky Clean (available in our office or local pet stores). We highly recommend Kaytee squeaky clean.
The bath for Babies:
For babies, I like to just use very warm running water. Babies tend to be more reactive to their instincts than adults. If they are in a sink full of water and you pass a shadow over their head when reaching for the faucet or soap, your hedgie will often times attempt to roll up. In the process of rolling up they can get water into their sinuses. At this point, they have probably already pooped in the water. Poopy water into the sinuses is definitely not a good thing.
1. Run your baby under the running water. AVOID getting water into their ears.
2. Soap up your pokey little friend. If your baby's quills are up and tense, a SOFT toothbrush may help you lather up their back. Be very careful not to use the toothbrush on their skin under the quills or on their furry parts.
3. Rinse your hedgehog off. Again, be careful not to get water into their ears. If you need to rinse near their visor quills, gently cover their ears with your fingers. Do not apply much pressure to their sensitive little ear canals.
4. Dry off with a towel and snuggle.
The bath for Adults:
For adults, I like to fill the bathroom sink with about 2 inches of very warm water -enough water for your hedgehog to stand comfortably. The warm water will often relax their bowels and well... they usually poop in the water. Therefore I like using a small sink rather than the bathtub for an easy clean up.
1. Put you hedgie in the sink with about 2 inches of water. Use a small cup to gently pour water onto your hog's back. AVOID getting water into their ears.
2. Soap up your pokey little friend. If your hedgehog's quills are up and tense, a SOFT toothbrush may help you lather up their back. Be very careful not to use the toothbrush on their skin under the quills or on their furry parts.
3. Drain the sink. Rinse your hedgehog off. I like to use fresh, clean running water to rinse. Again, be careful not to get water into their ears. If you need to rinse near their visor quills, gently cover their ears with your fingers. Do not apply much pressure to their sensitive little ear canals.
4. Dry off with a towel and snuggle.
5. Sometimes, as hedgies get a little older ear wax will travel up the ear leather and accumulate on the edges. So 2-3 times a year I will use coconut oil to break down and clean the ear wax. Please use coconut oil sparingly as it can dry out your hedgehog's ear.
Any type of clippers will work to clip your hedgehog's nails! I prefer to use baby human nail clippers.
Please check your hedgehog's nails weekly. Some hedgehog nails grow faster than others so be sure to keep them from curling around into the foot.
Nail trimming methods
- If you have a very easy-going hedgehog you can just grab a foot and start trimming the nails. I like to let the hedgehog's leg fall through my fingers, pinch the leg with my middle and index finger, roll the hedgehog upwards against your body and trim. You can also have another person holding the hedgehog for you!
- Hedgehogs are less likely to ball up when they’re in the water, so for a lot of people nail trimming during bath time is the easiest way.
- You can have someone hold your hedgehog letting the legs fall through their fingers. Sit down on the floor and have your friend hold the hedgie over your head. Work on the nails like a mechanic would work on a car. Sometimes I will hold a pen light with my mouth for a better view of what I am doing.
- NEVER scruff your hedgehog! They have very shallow eye sockets and should never be grabbed by the scruff of their neck.
Before putting ANY oil on your hedgehog as a remedy for dry skin, there are a few things you should know about dry skin. Usually it is dust from the carefresh or dry saliva from anointing. If you have given your hedgehog a bath and still feel like it is dry skin, have a vet take a look. It could be a number of other things like fungus or mite poop. If it is indeed dry skin, your vet can prescribe an alkaline moisturizer for animals. Oils such as olive or coconut are acidic and will lower the pH of your hedgehog's alkaline skin. Lowering the pH of their skin will dry it out.
To prevent skin conditions on a hedgehog we periodically bathe our hedgehogs with a shampoo called MiconaHex +Triz by Dechra or Micoseb. These shampoos can be purchased from your vet or on Amazon.