How to ensure my hedgie lives long life? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question How to ensure my hedgie lives long life?

THIS IS NOT AN EMERGENCY, I AM NOT CONCERNED ABOUT MY HEDGEHOG'S IMMEDIATE HEALTH.

I know hedgehogs, on average, live 3-5 years. I'm curious about what factors could potentially prolong their life. Whether it be nutrition, housing, grooming, anything. I've had my hedgehog for about eight months and I love the little guy and I want to try make him live as long and as happy as possible.

Thank you for responding.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think the biggest thing you can do is get your hedgie from a reputable breeder who knows the pedigree of the parents back as many generations as they can--at least 5.

Then make sure their home and environment is as good as you can make it. Make sure their temperature is warm enough so that they THRIVE, not just tolerate it. If they need multiple CHE's or a space heater to make the temperature high enough then, that's what you do. (I see too many people trying to do the minimum).
Make sure they are on a light schedule. 12-14 hours of light during the day.
Make sure their cage is safe, big enough, away from other pets. Make sure they have a safe wheel--you can't go wrong with a Caroline Storm or bucket wheel.
Make sure they are on good bedding--fleece is best.
Make sure they have a quiet, cozy place to sleep--igloo with fleece blankies, sleep sack or whatever pleases them.
Make sure they are eating good food, a mix is best--to make sure all their nutritional needs are being met, something may be in one food and not another. Make sure the foods are within the guidelines for fat and protein. Supplement with other foods, crickets, worms and fruits and veggies if hedgie will eat it. (Some won't). I make hand rolled meatballs for my Nara and she gets 2 a day besides her kibble.
Bond with hedgie every day--if you don't have time, at least hold them long enough to check their feet, mouth and general condition.
Get regular vet checkups. Have a vet you can call in an emergency.
See the vet ASAP if there is anything going on that is unusual--bleeding, skin condition, lumps or bumps, foot problems. Things aren't going to get better, go before things get too bad to treat.
I personally believe they need their own room. You would just be disturbing them too much if they didn't have their own space. They would be too noisy when you are trying to sleep. Nara is in the warmest bedroom of our house. She also has her own bathtub.

If you can't afford all of this then WAIT until you can.

Read the free care book and all the stickies on this forum.

Good luck and remember that some things come up that we have no control over--mouth tumors and cancer are some of the things that are very fatal with our hedgies and have taken more than I can bear to think about.

ML
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I keep the temperature at 72, but I'll see to it I raise it or get a space heater for him.
I'm not quite sure what you mean by light schedule. How important is that.
He has a large pen in my room with the door shut so my other pets can't get in. He also has a Carolina Storm wheel.
We use aspen shavings for his bedding. I recently got a new brand of aspen that was a lot softer which he likes to burrow in. (Not sure if instinct, playing, etc.)
He has an igloo which he seems content with, although I might get him a sleep sac.
He's been fed Purina One Kitten Formula plus mealworms I give him for treats. (How many mealworms should they be given at once?)
I hold and play with him for around 30 mins to an hour each day, usually before I go to sleep since he's more active later in the day.
I'm going to the vet soon just as a precautionary checkup.
He looks healthy, although he is a little bald behind the ears. (I read that was normal, but I'd like to know from someone firsthand.)
His pen is in my room. I'm not in there most of the time during the day and he doesn't bother me too much at night.

Money is not a problem when it comes to my hedgie, as I will pay anything for him to be happy and healthy.

Thank you very much!
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A light schedule just means that your hedgehog gets 12 hours of light consistently everyday. If he is in a room that doesn't have a lot of of natural light, you can use artificial lighting. Hedgies can get depressed without light and can sometimes a hibernation attempt.
Be careful with the aspen shavings. It can make hedgies itchy and any wood shavings carry the risk of mites. As well, the dust can cause respiratory infections. People do use wood shavings- its not the worst thing in the world, but there are other options.
I give my hedgehog a couple mealworms at a time. They are high in fat so you just need to watch your hedgies weight. If he is really active then you shouldn't have to worry. You can also try giving him fresh fruits (as long as its not citrus) or veggies to eat (just make sure you cook anything hard like carrots) or baby food. Just be sure to try one new food at a time in case it causes an upset stomach.
And it's always good to get a yearly check-up.
Sounds like your hedgie is in good hands!
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Personally I'd find a new food. I'm not a fan at all of Purina One (or really, almost any of Purina's products), the ingredients aren't great. There's a lot of stickies in the Nutrition forum, they have a ton of information if you want to look through them.
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