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Old 05-09-2013, 02:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dry vs. Soft Food

Minnie is about ten months old and I've always given her Purina kitten food. Recently I started crushing it into smaller pieces because I feel like she's going to break a tooth when she's eating it normally sized. (She's not really, it just sounds terrible.) Her teeth and gums are healthy, but I wanted to prevent any kind of dental issue. What do you guys recommend for soft food? And how should I introduce it into her diet? Occasionally mix it with her dry food?
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry vs. Soft Food

From what I've heard, wet food can give hedgehogs the runs. I haven't seen anyone in this forum or in real life give their hedgehogs wet food because of that issue. As for the sound, there's really nothing to worry about in terms of dental damage.
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry vs. Soft Food

The only time I remember seeing anything about using wet food is if a hedgie no longer has teeth. It's a little more challenging because you can't let it sit out all day the way you can with hard kibble. That may be hard to start getting hedgie used to a feeding schedule.

I believe hard kibble is actually recommended to keep teeth/gums healthy the way it does for cats. I totally understand what you mean about it seeming difficult for them to crunch on but i believe it's actually best for them. Hopefully someone with more concrete knowledge will weigh in

Ps your signature picture of Minnie is absolutely adorable!!
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry vs. Soft Food

Oh good! I guess I should have done a little more research. I saw people did mixtures and I just assumed it was with softer food. Thank you both for the input! I'll try to stop worrying about it, haha.
And thank you! It's my favorite picture of her
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry vs. Soft Food

There's been a few people recently saying that they've heard wet food gives hedgehogs the runs...not sure why. As far as I know (and have experienced), it doesn't. People do give hedgehogs with missing teeth or older hedgehogs (with weaker jaws) a soft diet and have no problems with this. The main reason most people don't feed a wet diet all the time is what sklock said - you can't leave it out constantly, it needs to be changed more frequently. It can be done though, if necessary or desired. There's just that risk of having it go bad faster, especially under the temperatures in a hedgehog cage, with a heating system. A lot of people do supplement with wet food, baby food, fresh food, etc. though. I know a few people that cook fresh foods and mix them up or puree them to make their own "baby food" style mix, then offer that as a supplement. It's not required, but it can be fun and a nice way to offer more variety, if your hedgehog will eat them - plenty are too picky to try most things like this, but you can always try if you want. Sometimes it can take multiple introductions (or different forms) of a food before they'll try it.

I don't think it's a bad idea to crush up food - that's starting to become more common, as people worry about large pieces putting too much stress on small hedgie teeth and jaws. It won't hurt anything, and if she still likes her food that way, go right ahead! I would, however, suggest that you maybe think about changing what kind of kibble she's getting - Purina is not a great brand, and there's much better foods out there that have better ingredients and would be healthier for her. Some of the brands that are popular on the forum are Innova, Blue Buffalo, Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul, Natural Balance, and Solid Gold. There's lots of other good brands too though! Main things to look for are protein % somewhere between 28-35%, fat content around 15% or under (unless your girl is a runner, and that's why you've kept her on kitten food? She may need a higher fat food between 15-20% if so). For ingredients you don't want any corn, BHA, BHT, or Ethoxyquin, and you want a meat or meat meal as the first ingredient (or sometimes first two ingredients).
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry vs. Soft Food

When you mentioned keeping her on kitten food I realized that I haven't always given it to her..oops. I started out with regular Purina, but a couple months ago I decided to try the kind formulated for kittens in hopes that the kibble would be smaller. I try not to crush up Minnie's super fine, just enough that it won't make that terrible cracking sound whenever she eats. However, I was completely unaware that Purina's not the greatest brand! I think I read that it was recommended for hedgehogs on sites other than HC. I will definitely try one that you mentioned instead of the Purina the next time I go to the pet store. Thank you so much for all the information!
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dry vs. Soft Food

Lilysmommy put it well; pretty much what I would say.

Sophie gets 4 - 6 grams of baby food (chicken / turkey rotation) with bit of special kibble ground and mixed in. At one time, she was getting WAY more than that but never had any problems (the amount was cut down to treat level when no longer needed in larger amounts - issues with keeping weight on).

Her kibbles: I keep a box-cutter blade with her food gear and split one of her two kibbles in half. It is both a fair bit larger and harder than the other kibble. It only takes a few moments to halve the pieces, which seems adequate.

She gets the baby food mixture every day. I put it in the cage after late-afternoon 'together time'. When she wakes up at night, she eats it first and she eats it all, so no issue of its being out too long. Because I am feeding such small dollops, I toss the jar after six day's worth of servings. Small as the jars are, I am feeding very small amounts, and that's as long as I'm willing to use an open jar.
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