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Old 07-28-2011, 01:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dry Skin / Losing Quills

I had previously posted a thread regarding my new hedgies loss of quills. I wasn't sure if losing quills was a sign of stress, but other users suggested that he may be quilling. I'm still getting used to handling my first hedgehog but I have now realized his skin is in really poor condition. Its very dry and flakey looking. I'm not sure what the cause is, but I think it could have been the Science Diet and Purina foods he was eating. He is on a much better diet now (Innova and Wellness) but do you have any other suggestions on how to treat his skin? He's still getting comfortable with me so a non-invasive solution would be great if possible. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry Skin / Losing Quills

Flax Seed Oil they are found in capsule form in the vitamin section of major retails (Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens) break open one or two on their shoulders (be careful to avoid the ears/eyes) an Aveeno Oatmeal bath will heal irritation without excessive drying and will probably help you hedgehog as well this is available in the bath soap area of most retailers.

There is also Sunshine which is available for order via http://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/SU...tinfo/AVXSSF1/
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry Skin / Losing Quills

I'm also thinking his new diet will help tremendously. People don't realize it, but their pet's food is a huge factor on healthy skin and coat. Not all foods have omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, or flax seed already added into the ingredients. I will go get some flax seed capsules and put them on him. Do I need to just let it dry on its own? With any other type of animal I would know what to do, but I can't really get to his skin with all those pricklies! I don't know if the skin is irritated since I haven't seen him try to scratch or anything, but it's definitely flakey looking.

Do you know of any all natural soap free kitten shampoos? I wanted to use Tropiclean on him (an all natural soap free shampoo with oatmeal) but I don't know if a dog shampoo would be too strong, even though it's formulated with all natural ingredients and soap free (so it will moisturize rather than dry and irritate the skin).
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry Skin / Losing Quills

Just taking a guess but maybe not a good idea to use shampoo at all...what I picked up to use for our first bath was the Aveeno no frangrance creamy wash with oatmeal.

I would imagine shampoos in general would make dry skin worse??? I also put a small bit of flax seed oil on Hazel after rinsing the aveeno then rinsed her well. She was pretty shiney looking lol

You can use plain oatmeal in a wash cloth or the water too. I didn't try it cause it sounded messy
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry Skin / Losing Quills

I'm a new hedgie owner myself, but I put a few drops of olive oil in a sink of warm water when he swims. He swims about two to three times a week. He loves to swim. Just have to take extra time snuggling in a cloth diaper to make sure he's dry all over.
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry Skin / Losing Quills

As HFH said, the Aveeno oatmeal body wash is popular on here for bathing. The rare occasions when Lily gets a bath, I fill the sink and add some of the body wash, get her wet and scrub any dirty spots on her quills, then empty the sink and refill with clean water and rinse her, then pour a cup of water and flaxseed oil (already prepared before I get her in the sink, since I try to make the water torture as short as possible) over her and then out of the sink to dry off and calm down.

However, if he's an anti-water hedgie as most are, and you'd rather avoid the stress of a bath, you can drip some flaxseed oil on his back without any water. It won't get spread around as well, but it'll still help. Sometimes even with good foods that have flaxseed oil, etc. in them, you still need to add flaxseed oil on the food every few days to help keep their skin healthy.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry Skin / Losing Quills

Thanks for all your advice. I'm going to try the flaxseed oil first, and like I said his new diet should held tremendously since it has flaxseed already within the ingredients to help with healthy skin. If that doesn't work, I'll try the aveeno... Being a dog person, I don't like the sound of the aveeno (I just imagine bathing an animal in lotion) and there are such things as all natural soap free shampoos that would not dry out the skin like the types of shampoos you would normally think of.

I use all natural soap free shampoo for my cattle dog at least once a week and it moisturizes her skin and leaves her coat very healthy. I live in the woods and on a beach at the same time so she gets to roll in dead fish and dig holes under bushes. I don't like sleeping with a dirty dog, so that's why I bathe her so often. It would be impossible with any other type of shampoo, because most shampoos have soap and would most definitely dry out the skin and cause itching and irritation. I refuse to use any other type of shampoo on my pets. I'm hooked on all natural soap free! :)

The ingredients are literally: Water, Oatmeal, Organic Papaya, Aloe, Chamomile, Yucca, Kiwi, Mango, Mild Coconut Cleanser, Protein, and Vitamin E.

Oats benefit several body organs and systems, including: skin, nervous system, stomach, spleen, lungs, and the urinary and reproductive systems.

Papaya is rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies.

Yucca is an all-natural supplement that is given for a number of reasons, including for the joints, skin, and digestion.

I don't really think any of that would be harmful, but if they had a cat version I would consider it... I think their line of products is only for dogs. The only ingredient I would be concerned about would be the aloe. Although aloe extract is in many pet shampoos, and other products, the actual plant can be very poisonous if ingested.

But like I said, I will try the extra flaxseed oil on his skin, and if that doesn't help I will try the aveeno. Does anyone have a link of the exact product that you guys normally use so I have a visual next time I stop into the pharmacy? And does anyone know if the ingredients are all natural?

I hate to sound so difficult with all my research, but I'm very particular and want to learn as much as I can before I take any actions. Earlier I read something about tea tree oil being toxic to hedgehogs, even though many sites recommend using it for hedgehogs. I'm glad I learned that piece of information here so I can spread the word! I use tea tree oil often as it has many uses, but never would have thought it was toxic for hedgies!!!

I'll let you guys know how the flaxseed oil does. I'm sure it will be all he needs to help his skin :) I'm just weird about using all natural solutions for my pets as opposed to soaps and chemicals... I tell ya, they get better treatment than me!!!
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry Skin / Losing Quills

I find Aveeno to actually be too drying on my boys. I use Aquaphor by Eucrin or I just do a jojoba oil rinse on them, since they all do battle with dry skin for a good chunk of the year. I also take a baby syringe and squirt vitamin E oil on spots that are abnormally dry and that works like a charm. I highly recommend it. You can buy it for $5 at the local walgreens, rite aid, etc.

When bathing him you can also take a toothbrush and try to massage in between his quills to try and break away/brush off some of that dead dry skin for him.

One thing you do want to be sure of though is that your little one doesn't have any type of skin infection: mites, fungus, etc. I thought for a long time that Little Foot and Gizmo just had dry skin, but it ended up being ringworm. I'm not saying it is, but it is a good thing to get checked out if you think the dry skin is severe.

Best of luck!
Autumn and the boys
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