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Old 03-17-2015, 07:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Overweight hedgehog

I have a year old hedgehog and I don't know her exact weight but I am pretty sure she is over weight. What are some ways that I could do to help her get her weight back down.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm going to ask you a lot of questions first.

- What is her main food? (Specific brand & type)
- What treats & extras does she get?
- How much does she eat each night? Do you free feed her?
- Does she have a wheel? What brand? Does she run every night or not much?

It would be a really good idea to get a food scale that you can weigh her with. It's easier to keep track of health that way because you'll notice any long-term trends in her weight (such as consistently gaining or losing), and often weight changes can be an early sign of illness. It would also be a good idea to know what her weight is now, then keep track as you work to get her to lose weight so you know whether it's working and you can see what her healthy weight is.

Once you answer the questions about her diet & activity, I can give you some ways to help her lose weight.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Overweight hedgehog

I feed her blue buffalo indoor cat food for her main dish ( I am almost out of the food I have now so if I need to change it I can)

The treats I give her are meal worms (1 or 2 every other day) and sometimes veggies like bell peppers carrots.

I do not free feed because she would keep eating and she cannot control how much she eats so I feed her 1 tbs in the morning and 1 tbs at night

She has a Carolina storm bucket wheel. She runs on it but not much but when I bring her out and put her in the playpen I put the wheel in there and she barely runs on and just sleeps.
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I also feed her purina cat chow mixed with the blue buffalo cat food. And should I try free feeding again and just be carful with how much she eats? When I first tried free feeding her was when I first got her so should I try it again?
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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One thing that could be causing this inactivity is cold weather. What temperature are you keeping her at? You could try to bump it up and see if the activity increases. If she is overweight I would say do not free feed. I have a run around ball for my hedgie, who tends to be overweight, and that has helped her. I let her go to the bathroom first and then I put her in the ball for an hour every night. My vet said you can cut back on the calories by about 10% and see if they drop weight - then if that doesn't work try about 10% more, etc. In my opinion, 6 teaspoons is a lot of food. I feed 2-3 heaping teaspoons.

Another thought is that the indoor food may be very high in carbs...it is my opinion that just like humans, too much grain can cause fatness. I would not add back in the Purina, but look for a different high quality, grain free food. Another thing mine really like is Natures Variety raw duck bites. I give one of them instead of one teaspoon of dry food. You could try that too....

Good luck,
Susan H.

Last edited by shmurciakova; 03-20-2015 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry I didn't get back to you! If she eats a lot, it's likely because the Purina cat chow is very low in nutrition. So the animal needs to eat a lot more of it to get what they need, and they'll also poop a lot more.

I would get rid of the rest of the Purina and have her only on Blue Buffalo. Then I would find a second high quality food to mix in with the Blue Buffalo, another low fat food. There's a list of good brands in the Nutrition stickies if you need ideas!

Then (personally) I would try increasing the amount of food she gets until you have enough in her bowl that she has some left in the morning. See how much she would eat when she's not limited. Most hedgehogs will not overeat, but occasionally some will. Since she was getting such a low quality food with the Purina food, I'm more inclined to think her eating a lot was due to that, not just overeating. So it'd be worth seeing how much she wants to eat when she's on only high quality foods.

When you know how much she eats on her own, then start decreasing kibble again and instead give her more fresh food, mostly veggies. Make sure you're trying to vary the veggies each day, so you don't give her too much of anything. Since it can be hard to do that with fresh veggies, baby food might be a good option for that.

Since mealworms are high in fat, the amount you're giving is fine. But I would look into feeding her some low fat insects more often, such as crickets and dubia roaches. You can feed those daily and they may help fill her up without a lot of fat as well.

A lot of hedgehogs won't run on a wheel in front of people or with the lights on, etc. Try encouraging her to walk around by giving her interesting (& safe) things to smell, by hiding treats around, etc. If she's not terrified or very upset by water (which most hedgies are), you could try having her swim once or twice a week, very closely supervised. If you try that, make sure the water is warm enough, and make sure she has at least one "island" that she can get to and rest on. Never take your eyes off her while she's swimming. They can drown in seconds if they get too tired to keep moving. Start out very slowly, just a few seconds at a time, and work your way up.

The raw bites wouldn't hurt as an addition to her diet as well, and there's also a brand called The Honest Kitchen that more people are starting to try. The dog formulas are pretty low fat, and the foods have a lot of veggies in them. They also have some base mixes that are pretty much just veggies. While they're not appropriate as the only food (unless you're supplementing with insects, raw/cooked meat, etc.), you could get some samples of those & see if she likes them as an easy way to give her veggies each night as well. They sell samples on their website.

Hope all of that helps! Let us know what you try out and how she's doing.
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Old 03-20-2015, 07:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Her cage temp. is always 75 to 85 degrees so I don't think that is the problem with the weight problem. And when she started to get over weight is when I was feeding her the IAMS kitten food which the person that gave her to us told us to feed her that kind of cat food. And I decided to get the purina cat chow because it has 30.0% protein and only 9.5% of fat so I thought it would be good but I guess not. I am going to try the run around ball because I all ready have one, I will try feeding her crickets but I am not so sure about dubia roaches the roaches just kinda freak me out but I will for sure give her more fresh veggies and also let her roam around in a safe place and let her walk around and let her look around for treats and do things like that
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Old 03-20-2015, 11:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Overweight hedgehog

Today she was using the ball and had to find the meal worms and got distracted by a paper bag on the table and kept walking in and out for a while. And because I got something to weigh her with what should be my goal for a 1 year old hedgehog to get to?

( in the pictures she may not look overweight but I know she is because she cannot go in a full ball and her nails are long in 1 of the pictures but right after I took the pictures I clipped them)

ImageUploadedByPG Free1426909878.577071.jpgImageUploadedByPG Free1426909901.459242.jpg

Last edited by hedgehog22; 03-20-2015 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 03-21-2015, 03:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Definitely keep her nails clipped. They shouldn't be getting as long as they are in that picture. That could very well be why she's not running on her wheel much, because the nails can make it difficult & painful.

What is her weight now? Honestly, you have to go more by appearance than a number, especially since you don't know what her weight has been before now. Weighing your hedgehog regularly is mostly good as a guide, so you can take notice of any patterns (steadily gaining weight, steadily losing weight), and so once you do have her at the right size, you know what her "healthy weight" is. I would recommend starting to weigh her 1-2 times a week, at least, and make sure you do it at around the same time. Whether she's pooped or not, or eaten recently can have a surprisingly big impact on the number you see. Just keep an eye on her body shape and whether or not she's actually losing weight as you implement various changes to help her lose weight. You should be able to tell when she's at a healthy weight, or you could ask her vet. Personally I prefer hedgies to have a little bit of fat on them, mostly because they can lose weight so quickly once they're ill, so it's nice to have a buffer. But too much is definitely not healthy either.
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