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Old 11-19-2019, 12:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Overweight Hedgehog - how much to feed?

Hi all,
I took my 2 year-old boy to the vet a week ago, and found out that he's pretty overweight. He can still roll up, and still runs on his wheel every night, but he's at about 589 grams now, when he used to be at about 460.

He's an incredibly picky eater - won't touch mealworms, bugs, or most fruits and veggies. He's been eating Purina One cat food his whole life, and before I learned he was overweight, I was free feeding. I recently tried adding some Mazuri's hedgehog food to this at my vet's suggestion, but he just leaves it in the bowl.

I'm going to try switching in a different brand of food recommended on the sticky, but am also wondering if any of you do portion controlled feeding. If you do, how many grams do you give a night? Right now I'm trying 10 grams a night, and I bought an electric scale to monitor his weight. Does that sound about right?

Thanks for any help!
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Mazuri is trash, so I definitely wouldn't advise following your vets advice on diet. Choosing a brand from the recommended food lists is absolutely the way to go.

I too am not completely sold on the idea that "once they can ball up, theyre a healthy weight". I think once they cant fully ball, theyre obese - but I have personally seen chunky hedgehogs that could afford to lose more than just a few grams and they could still fully ball. 10g seems like a fine amount of food to feed; my own girl weighs anywhere between 360-380g (she varies +/-20g, all the time) and she gets 5-8g - but she rarely consumes all of it.

Just monitor his weight closely while hes on his new diet plan. Too much weight lost too quickly can be dangerous.
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Old 11-21-2019, 08:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don’t know about Purina One, but if it’s possible you could try to find a similar food that is less calorie dense so that he doesn’t go hungry, but doesn’t get quite as much energy density from eating and still gets his nutrient requirements met. Definitely with their tendency toward liver disease weight loss should be gradual and deliberate, so you wouldn’t want him to suddenly be running a large deficit. If that’s not a reasonable option, then this is what’s I would do:

Try to see if you can work out how many calories are in 10 grams of his current food, and try to cut that by say, 5% for now. Usually they are listed per cup on the bag so the conversions might be annoying but since you have a scale you can weigh out a cup of his food, divide 10/(1 cup in grams)x(calories per cup) and that’s his nightly offering in calories. Then (nightly offering)x0.95 is a “diet” for a couple weeks. Then that x0.95 is the next stage. It may take time to actually cut his caloric intake unless he eats all of his food every night but at least it won’t be too sudden. Most hedgehogs need about 60-70 kcal a night for maintenance.
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