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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

My name is Connor and this is my first post on this site. I have a 9 month old hedgie named Leo and I just have a couple questions I would love to be answered. Thanks!

1. He has pretty dry/raggedy ears and I am almost positive he doesn't have
any mites or parasites. I assume it is a dehydration thing and he drinks
water every night after/during his late night runs on his wheel (he's very
active). Should I just try supplementing his dry cat food with flax seed oil or
vegetable oil and see if they get smoother or is there anything else that you
recommend like a humidifier?

2. Is it bad that I only feed my hedgie dry cat food? I know there are tons of
other snacks and treats he can eat but I am afraid that they will upset his
stomach and give him loose poops and stuff because he's only used to eating
his cat food. I have freeze dried fluker's brand combo treats that have
mealworms, crickets, and grasshoppers that I give him pretty often and he
seems to enjoy them and I never give more than about three treats in a
single day. I did quite a bit of research and I am confident in the dry cat
food i give him. If you could please assure me that I'm giving him good food
that would be great also. I feed him Goodlife Indoor Recipe cat food with
31% protein, 12.5% fat, 6% fiber, and 12% moisture. Chicken is the number
1 ingredient, with no corn, soy, or wheat products and it is an antioxidant
blend. Also, any thoughts on supplementing his food with "Exotic Nutrition
Hedgehog Booster"?

3. My hedgie is very active and I seem to have learned that his personality is
labeled as an "explorer." He is always on the move exploring and wandering
around wherever I put him down and when he is in my hands he's always
trying to get out of them. It seems as though he doesn't even know who I
am because he never takes the time to just chill out with me. Is there
anything I can do to increase our relationship or something to be able to
bond with him instead of him just wanting to explore all the time?

4. Instead of just letting him free roam, I thought about buying him a generic,
old-school plastic kiddy pool and filling it with bedding of some sort or maybe
fleece and putting in some toys, tubes for him to mess around with. Any
thoughts or suggestions for toys, or bedding or the idea in general?

I know I just spit a lot of info at you guys but I wanted to say thanks for all your help everyone!
 

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Welcome! :)

Tattered ears is usually just build up gunk (dead skin cells). You can easily clean it off with some water or Vaseline. Be careful so you don't get any water inside of his ears.

I personally don't like diets that consist of dry catfood and nothing else, although it doesn't seem to be "bad" for them - hedgehogs are omnivorous by nature with insects being their main diet, so I like to feed them as many things as possible (although some hedgehog are just really picky). I have never had any problems with upset stomachs. Just try only one new treat at a time in small amounts so you can see if it affects him. I feed mine (besides the dry kibble) wet cat food, raw meat, eggs, pinkies and mice (dead), different kinds of live insects and various fruits and veggies.
Live insects are always better than freeze dried or canned.

Do you have a fleece bonding/sleeping bag for him? He might want to sleep on your lap inside a bag. Lots of hedgehogs don't like sleeping out in the open so when you have them on your lap they're only going to run away in search of a place to hide and sleep. And some of them just don't like cuddling.
If he likes to explore he would probably enjoy to play with things, a dig box (filled with river pebbles) is a big hit here. Hide some meal worms in it and they have to dig for their treats. Some hedgies like small cat toys/balls as well.
 

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Welcome to the forum! :)

Draenog already covered most of the thing points, I just wanted to comment on the food. Goodlife isn't a terrible food, but there's still a couple iffy ingredients - brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, powdered cellulose, and animal fat. It's not as bad as other foods, but there's still foods out there that are better, IMO. If you're curious about why those ingredients are bad, I can explain further, and if you want to look into other options, there's some stickies in the nutrition forum that might be useful to you. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone!

Shaddybear, I saw your thread after I posted mine and saw that you used aquaphor and it worked wonders. My guy is always running around so it was quite difficult to apply it to his ears haha.

Lilysmommy, what food do you recommend? I thought some of the ingredients were questionable too, like dried tomatoes but most of it looked pretty good to me, and the percentages were correct. I would love for you to explain why those ingredients are bad and any suggestions you have for new food choices. Thanks!
 

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Hi! Just my two cents... In terms of foods and treats, I know you said you were worried about loose poops... Heads up about treats. My girl is an explorer too, and when I first for her, it seemed like the only time she would stay near me was if I had a treat in my hand....needless to say I went through way too many treats (wet cat food, baby purée, mealworms, etc) and she ended up with the nasties case of diarrhea I could have ever imagined. Now I limit what she gets and how much, so be careful, because those hedgies know how to show you love when they want another treat! But definitely start giving some alternatives to the dry cat food... Your hedgehog will thank you for it!
 

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I don't think the dried fruits & veggies would pose much of a problem, there's not usually much of them included in the foods & tomatoes likely wouldn't pose a major issue to hedgies anyway, as far as I know. For the ingredients I listed -

brewers rice - not really that nutritious, it's mostly fragments from milled rice that's cheaper to buy than whole grain rice

chicken by-product meal - also not that nutritious, though it's at least nice that's specifically named. But it's still stuff like chicken feet, undeveloped eggs, intestines, etc. While animals do sometimes eat intestines in the wild, it's not usually a first choice, more something that they eat occasionally, likely for some vitamin that they need to supplement here & there. Companies would like you to believe that it means the organs, such as heart, liver, etc. but it rarely is unless directly specified (I know one food that does list specifically pig liver, heart, etc. when it lists byproducts in the ingredients).

powdered cellulose - This is literally just dried wood in most cases, meant to help hold the food together & such. There's really not any other reason to include it. It's not a good source of fiber or roughage for animals like dogs, cats, or hedgehogs, etc. It'd be perfectly appropriate if fed to a deer though. :lol:

animal fat - while fat's usually listed somewhere, it's best to look for a named one, such as chicken fat, etc. (same rule with meats & meat meals). If a fat, meat, or meat meal isn't specifically named, it doesn't have to come from animals specifically slaughtered for animal food. It can come from animals that were dead, dying, diseased, or disabled before slaughtered or being used in the food - which can include very questionable sources.

This is the site I use for information on ingredients, etc. http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=badingredients I know their information on how to read labels and such checks out, as it's the same info I was taught in training as a cashier at a pet store. I think at one point, I searched for AAFCO definitions to double-check & found the same things they listed.

As far as what I'd recommend instead, there's information on choosing foods here - http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/foru...3034-beginner-s-guide-hedgehog-nutrition.html and some recommended brands here - http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/12-diet-nutrition/23042-recommended-foods-list.html Chicken Soup, the best one is probably Adult, but it's high in fat. The indoor & weight/mature care ones both have powdered cellulose as well. And Blue Buffalo is currently dealing with some major publicity issues & questions about their ingredients being different (and worse) than what they list on their labels, so you may want to avoid that for now. Without all of the possible issues, it's been a popular one on the forum, but some people are switching their hedgies off & everyone's kind of watching to see what's going to happen with that! Personally I like Natural Balance and Solid Gold, though NB doesn't seem to be popular with all hedgies. Lily liked it okay, but it just depends!
 
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