Can Hedgehogs Eat Cat Food?
Getting your hedgehog’s diet right is essential to their health and well-being. However, is it safe and can hedgehogs eat cat food? Although, the simple answer is yes, they can’t eat any cat food.
It’s imperative you understand your hedgehog’s nutritional needs and create the best feeding routine for your spiky pet.
Before looking into what a pet hedgehog’s diet should look like, you need to have an understanding of what hedgehogs eat in their natural environment.
Hedgehog’s Diet In The Wild
In their natural environment, hedgehogs hunt for their food in the evening and sleep during the day. These nocturnal animals’ diet in the wild consists mainly of protein and the source of that protein comes mainly from insects and bugs.
Furthermore, the rest of the wild hedgehog diet consist of the following:
- Insects and bugs such as mealworms, earthworms and more
- Vegetables and fruits
- Snails and slugs
- Small animals such as snakes
If you want to learn more about what hedgehogs can and can’t eat click here African Pygmy Hedgehog Diet And Fruits Hedgehogs Can Eat
In comparison, hedgehogs in captivity can’t be fed insects and bugs on daily basis. The reason for that is, they don’t get the same amount of exercise as they would in the wild.
In addition to that, they don’t go through hibernation when kept as pets and this can result in your hedgie becoming overweight which is a serious health problem that can lead to more problems.
Your pet hedgehog’s diet should consist of the correct balance of nutrients to provide them with a happy and healthy life. Therefore, hedgehogs as pets can be fed the same diet as they would eat in the wild.
Keep reading to find out what are the nutrition that your hedgehog needs in order to thrive.
Hedgehogs are mixture of omnivores and insectivores. Therefore, their primary food sources are made up of:
- Insect and bugs protein that contains chitin, important ingredient to keep hedgehogs healthy
- Mixture of fruits and vegetables
- Cooked unseasoned meats
- Live insects (such as mealworms) and other
Pet hedgehogs require a mixture of:
- Small amount of fats and carbohydrates
- Water, and more
A well-balanced diet for your pet hedgehog must consist of the following:
- Fats should be up to maximum of 15%. If you feed your hedgehog foods with high fat content, you run the risk of your pet becoming obese which can result in more health problems
- Protein content should be between 30% and 35%. If you feed your hedgehog too much protein, it will overwhelm their organs, especially the kidneys and liver.
On the other hand, not enough protein, will result in protein deficiency
- In addition to that, you should feed your hedgehog hard food such as cat kibble food. in order to avoid them developing dental diseases
Furthermore, both wild and domesticated hedgehogs need hard foods in their diet. The reason for that is, they need to crunch on food to maintain their tiny teeth and avoid developing dental disease.
On one hand, wild hedgehog’s crunchy and hard food is made of insects and bugs. On the other hand, pet hedgehogs can’t be fed insects on daily basis, so what is the appropriate substitute?
And we come to the main question again. Can hedgehogs eat cat food? Is dry cat food a good substitute?
Is Cat Food Good For Hedgehogs
Can hedgehogs eat cat food? The answer to that is – yes. In addition to that, it’s also a good way of providing your hedgehog with the nutrition they need to stay healthy.
Although, you can add fresh vegetables and fruits to their diet, the main source for their diet should be high quality and a good source of protein and fibre. Fortunately, dry cat food can provide this for your hedgehog.
Cat food is made of small kibbles that are easy for hedgehogs to eat. The reason, cat food is recommended instead of dog food is because it’s the size of the kibbles is smaller and most hedgehogs won’t have a problem chewing it.
Fortunately, we live in times when cat food is widely available and there is variety of choices to pick from. Usually, cat food is rich with nutrients but you must be careful and always research the proportions of fat and protein as your hedgehog requires a specific diet, so they don’t become overweight.
For older hedgehogs is recommended to mix dry food with a bit of water to ease digestion. Furthermore, any discomfort hedgehog’s experience when eating can result in them losing interest in eating.
This can result in the hedgehog losing weight and struggling to put it back on. Therefore it’s imperative to make sure the food is ease to chew and swallow.
In addition, to dry cat food, you might wonder can hedgehogs eat wet cat food aswell?
Dry Cat Food vs Wet Cat Food
Dry cat food can be beneficial for hedgehog’s health but can it be said the same about wet cat food.
Although, hedgehogs can prefer the texture of wet cat food over dry cat food, if fed on daily basis, it can lead to your hedgehog becoming overweight. The reason for that is that some wet cat foods contain too much protein and fats.
Wet cat food can be part of your hedgehog’s diet but needs to be given as an occasional treat and not be a primary source for their diet.
Overall, before adding wet cat food to your hedgehog’s treat list, you must ensure it’s within the recommended guidelines.
The Pros and Cons Of Dry Cat Food
Some hedgehog owners have had bad experience feeding their hedgie cat food. That is why it’s important to do the necessary research before making dry cat food the primary nutrtion source for your hedgie’s diet.
Read below to explore the pros and cons of dry cat food diet for your hedgehog.
- Many cat foods contain fibre which is essential for your hedgehog’s diet and well-being. In addition, fibre is a good substitute of chitin which hedgehogs usually get from insects and bugs in the wild
- Hedgehogs can get the protein they need from dry cat food
- Dry cat food is widely available in comparison to specialised hedgehog food
- Cat kibble food is affordable and even cheap considering the small amounts hedgehogs need of it on daily basis
- There is a variety of dry cat foods available on the market. As hedgehogs get bored easily, you can always switch it up and feed them a different brand of cat food
- If you don’t research the nutrition information of the cat food, you run the risk of your hedgehog becoming overweight because of too much protein or fat
- The kibbles being too hard for your hedgehog to chew and digest which can result in the hedgie getting bored and not eating
- Some cat foods can contain by-products such as necks and intestines which as re not a good source of protein for your hedgehog
- Cat foods can also contain fillers such as wheat which doesn’t add a nutritional value to your hedgehog’s diet
What Is The Best Cat Food For Your Hedgehog
After answering the question can hedgehogs eat cat food, the next question is what is the best cat food for your hedgehog?
The best cat food to feed your hedgehog, should consist of the following:
- 30% -35% protein
- Maximum of 15% fats
- Double digit fibre content
- You should ensure the cat food consists of L-carnitine as this will improve your hedgehog’s heart health
Overall, you should look to get a high-protein, low fat dry cat food.
Benefits Of High Protein, Low Fat Dry Cat Food
Although, cat food is a great choice for your hedgehogs’ primary food source, it’s important to look for the correct protein to fat ratio.
When choosing the cat food, you should look for the following:
- You should pick adult cat food. Although, the kibbles are larger in size compared to kitten food, baby cat food has high fat content and can result in your hedgehog becoming obese
Other than what’s mentioned above, giving your hedgehog the correct diet can have many benefits to their health.
Some of those additional benefits are the following:
- Reduces gastrointestinal issues
- Provides more energy
- Lowers the chance of developing diabetes and reduced blood sugar levels
- Reduces the risk of inflammatory bowel disease
- Prolongs life span
It’s recommended to mix different cat foods in order to ensure that your hedgehog receives a well-balanced diet. Therefore, let’s take a look at some brands that are healthy and can benefit your hedgehog’s health.
Blue Buffalo Blue Freedom Indoor
Blue Buffalo Weight Control Formula
Blue Buffalo is a great cat food option for your hedgehog. It consists of a good balanced ratio of protein, grains and vitamin.
Blue Buffalo consist of:
- Natural, deboned chicken
- No by-products
- No artificial preservatives that can irritate your hedgehog’s stomach
- Whole grains
- Vegetables and fruit
- Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
- Balanced blend of calories to maintain a healthy weight
Purina One Beyond Natural Cat Food, White Meat Chicken & Whole Oat Meal
This cat food can be very beneficial for your hedgehog’s health. Purina One contains the following positive ingredients:
- Doesn’t contain any wheat, corn, or soy products, which some hedgehogs have a hard time digesting.
- Contains white chicken meat, pea protein, and whole oats
- The protein to fat ratio in this cat food meets the dietary requirements for your hedgehog
- Contains minerals and vitamins to maintain your hedgehog’s health
Purina One cat food can be served mixed with vegetables in order to enrich the hedgehog’s meal and add more flavour.
Can hedgehogs eat cat food? Although, the answer is yes and cat food can be the primary source of a hedgehog’s diet, it’s imperative to know the correct ratio of protein to fats that the cat food must contain.
Furthermore, too much protein and fats can result in your hedgehog becoming overweight and other health problems.
You should try and feed your hedgie some of the recommended cat foods in this article and see which one is your hedgehog’s favourite.
In addition, hedgehogs are very picky and can get bored easily, so you need to make sure they don’t lose interest in eating.
Finally, the higher the quality of cat food you feed your hedgehog, the healthier and longer your hedgehog will live.