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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am the typical newbie that would like to know how to get my litlle guy to love me. I have been reading LOTS of these topics to see what to do and am understanding that it does take time. Now I do realize and am completely fine with the fact that he may never become my little buddy and want to snuggle with me, like I said I am ok with that but I do want to make sure that I am not stressing him to much when I am trying to get him used to me. I have had Spike for 5 days now and I have taken him out to visit all but 1 day cause I was away. The fact that he stays rolled up and breaths very heavy at me doesn't bother me, what I am scared of is how fast his poor little heart races so I only keep him out for about 5min max cause I'm afraid of giving the critter a heart attack. Any advice and or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Also I know this is the behavoir section but it all kinda rolls in together, he has decided to do the annointing thing and now has yucky hedgie spit all over his back...I would like to give him a bath but am worried cause he won't unball for me so should I wait till he's comfortable or is there a trick to bathing??? His skin is also dry and I read about the flax oil and was wondering if it would be ok to put some on while he is balled??

Sorry for the long winded questions but like I said I want to make sure I am not over stressing him in any way.

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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Hey sounds like you are doing a good job so far. The less you worry about him being stressed the better it will be for both of you. I'm not saying to deliberately put him in stressful situations but during the course of a normal day (just holding while walking around or sitting ) isn't going to be a health risk. During those bonding sessions it's best that you are calm because animals are amazing at picking up stress, if you are calm and talk to him in a calm even voice (no clicking or kissing noises) he will calm down too. If he is just balled and huffing (that's the heavy breathing) then that is a good sign. It's when they are popping and jumping that they are really mad. If he is popping that is ok too he'll make progress with patience and persistance.

As for the bath. Yes it is ok to give him a bath while he is balled up. Hedgehog's naturally unball in the water. For a first bath I would put him down in a bath tub with luke warm water (baby temperature water) it should feel close to neutral (not warm or cold) on your wrist. The tub should only be filled so that the shallow end is just covered. Put your hedgehog down in the shallow end. He should open when he gets close to the water, if he doesn't you can try just touching him back end to the water and then lowering slowly. You can keep your hands or feet in the tub as he is walking around. If he won't walk around you can use meal worms (or other treats) to bribe him. Keep the bath short. To get the stuff off his quills you can use a wet tooth brush and gently scrub. If this freaks him out and he snorts water don't worry but stop scrubbing with the toothbrush (unless you can get a hand under him). There are lots of posts about the kind of soap to use but for the first time I wouldn't use soap. If you do you'll have to rinse and it will just be a more drawn out process.

For the flax seed. Yes you can put it on while he is balled up .It's actually better because then it has a better chance of getting between the quills and directly to the skin. Don't be surprised if he pops or hisses more when you drip him with the oil (some don't like it).
 

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Hedgielover above has given great advice, but i just wanted to add, a bath will definately help you bond. They do unroll in the water and like i've said in apost before he will be so determined to get out of the tub (i.e struggling at the sides and scrapping at the sides - which is very cute) he wont be paying attention to how much you're touching him or washing him, so this should help relax you both a little. he wont be stressed in the bath, even though he may seem like he is amist his struggling and escaping attempts so just enjoy it :)

And he will definately come round to enjoying your time together. My hedgie is only starting to come round to me enough to sleep on me now and i've had him 7 weeks nearly. it takes time so just be patient, but daily handling and cuddles will definately help in time :)
 

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I disagree with using a bath to help you bond. Most hedgehogs hate the bath and scrambling and frantically trying to get out is because they are scared. Their quills are down because because they are too busy trying to save themselves.
I've had hedgehogs including babies that were huffy and quilly with me for a few days after a bath almost like they were holding a grudge and I know of other people whose hedgehogs do the same. Yes there are some that don't mind or even enjoy a bath and will sit calmly in the sink or calmly wander around. For those that are scared, frantic and trying to get out, giving repeated baths is only going to interfere with the bonding process.
 

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For many hedgehogs the only reason a bath may mellow them out is because they are so scared and frantic to get out of the bath that they either wear themselves out or are temporary thankful to be away from the water. It doesn't help with bonding for these hedgehogs though. They begin to associate a negative experience with you instead of a positive one.

I have one currently that was not very social when he came to me. But because he is an extremely messy hedgehog, he does require an occasional bath. Each bath I give him I know we are taking many steps backwards in gaining his trust. He will be a fairly friendly hedgehog pre-bath, and will return to his old biting, defensive (read quill ball) self afterwards (and yes he acts happy to be out of the bath initially, but the biting behavior soon starts to come back).

Have you tried just sitting with your hedgehog on your lap with a fleece blanket over him? The blanket provides a bit of security for them, and being on you helps them learn your scent, and that your movements are not going to harm him.

Also try to provide food that the hedgehog likes after a good experience. If your hedgehog loves mealworms, offer a mealworm while the hedgehog is on your lap. You want the to associate good things with positive experiences.
 

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Oops looks like I gave bad advice sorry, I was just going on my experience with turbo his 1st bath was definately a turning point with us and him, so I thought it might help others, I suppose it depends on the hedgie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK so from reading this I gather that I shouldn't try to bath him till we are getting along but the flax oil will be ok....I was holding him just now and managed to have him unball in the fleece pillowcase I was holing him in with continuous huffing and puffing, he also unballed on my bed and tried to bolt so I picked him back up. He looked at me a couple times with his red beady eyes (he's Albino) and then balled back up...it was sooo cute...But I did notice his one ear is overly tattered and don't look to cool so I will be trying to vasaline that as soon as I can. I think this relationship will eventually be fine since by what I have been reading the huffing and puffing at me is all good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
AARRRGGGHHHHHHH....so while socializing with Spike today I managed to get him to look at me alot more he seems to like the fleece pillowcase that I use to hold him and wrap him in. At one point right at the beginning it almost seemed like he was wimpering and it worried me that he was in pain so I got him onto his stomach so I wasn't putting any pressure on his quills and it stopped, but he didn't do it again when I had him on his back( I think it was a scare tactic :) ) but the reason for the AARRRGGGHHHHHHH is that I seen his front paws and got a semi good look at them and OMG they are a mess...his nails are long and dirty and one paw his nails are all crooked so tomorrow I am going to find the vet here that deals with hedgies and make an appt to have him sedated and get his nails cuts and cleaned up so that he doesn't get any fungus or cut himself......I hope it doesn't cost an arm "n" a leg to get it done but as a pet owner I know that sometimes there are costs and I'm good with that and used to it...I have a problem cat that has cost me $1000 in one trip cause he blocked up.....wish me luck tomorrow.
 

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Jaimie said:
... I am going to find the vet here that deals with hedgies and make an appt to have him sedated and get his nails cuts and cleaned up so that he doesn't get any fungus or cut himself......
I know you said the nail where bad, but I think you should use the sedation in last resort, anyway that's how my vet thinks. She doesn't like puting them under unesserely.
 

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When I took Quigley to my vet they used the sedation gas but didn't use enough to put him right out, just enough to make him sleepy and cooperative. The vet did a check up and clipped his nails. Quigley was his old self in a few minutes. It cost us $60. Next time I think I'm going to bring the vaseline for his ears and some tweezers to get the fuzzys out from between his quills (they won't come out with a bath). That way I can get all the hard stuff done while he's dopey. Not that I don't do the hard stuff all the time anyway it's just nice to have a break from fighting with him for a nail trim or putting vaseline on his ears.

That being said, I think you could do a foot bath and a nail trim without sedation. It's just a little tricky. If you're not ready to try the bath you could try wetting a towel or piece of fleece and letting him run around on it. That might loosen some of the dirt (if he'll run on it). The vet might be able to clip the nails without sedation if you can't or are not ready to try. If you do try a bath and a nail clip make sure you let your hedgie dry completely in a towel on your lap before putting him in his cage because otherwise he can catch a chill (even from just running on a wet towel he can catch a chill).

Basically I agree with FiaSpice that there are other options to try before sedation but if you don't feel comfortable it would be less stressful for you and hedgie to have a vet do it and if the vet wants to sedate then being sedated once or twice a year for a check up isn't going to hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't want to sedate him either but I really don't think she will be able to get him all cleaned up without it. He liks to ball and huff ALOT....I have made an appt for next wed as the exotic vet is only in on Wed afternoon. I am going to see if we can try without sedation but I booked as a precautionary....

I spoke to the vet and she will try without sedation first....This way as well since I am a new hedgie owner I can make sure it gets done properly and see so I am able to do it later. Also she is going to bath him if he's sedated and good idea about bringing the vasaline for his ears. I will also have a full checkup done since I am paying for the visit. I did just get him so to get a full bill of health is a good thing.

Thanks for all the advice guys, I will updated to let you all know how it goes...
 

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I think it would be less stressful for the hedgehog to be sedated if he is going to be really huffy and shy. It will be quicker too. Good luck with the vet.
 
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