Constipated Hedgehog – Causes And Treatment

Constipated Hedgehog

No poop in your hedgie’s enclosure usually means you have a constipated hedgehog. The most common cause for constipated hedgehog is their diet. This can be a serious health concern and if left untreated it can result in many complications and be fatal.

This guide will help you establish the cause for your hedgehog’s constipation and recommend the best treatment.

To do this we are looking at the following topics:

  • Have you checked for poop everywhere?
  • Constipated hedgehog – symptoms
  • Constipated hedgehog – causes
  • How to treat a constipated hedgehog?
  • Other causes for hedgehog not pooping

Have You Checked For Poop Everywhere?

The first thing that you need to do if you suspect that your hedgehog is constipated is properly check for poop in their cage. Make sure you check the whole enclosure including the wheel, all the hide spots and even the food and water bowls.

Another sign that there is no poop is unusually clean and smell-free cage.

Apart from checking for poop, you should also observe your hedgehog. This is because the reason for no poop might be that your hedgehog is eating their own poop.

If that’s the case and you’re worried, read the full guide here Is Your Hedgehog Eating Poop? When To Worry?

Constipated Hedgehog – Symptoms

constipated hedgehog

If you’re suspecting constipated hedgehog, keep an eye for the following symptoms:

  • Not eating or drinking. A constipated hedgehog won’t be eating as they are already full and can’t get a relief
  • No poop in the cage
  • Bloated. If your hedgehog’s belly appear bloated and round, it can be because of constipation
  • Your hedgehog straining and even crying when trying to poop
  • Lethargy. If your hedgehog appears lazier than usual, it can be because they can’t relive themselves

Constipated Hedgehog – Causes

The same as people, hedgehogs can become constipated. However, they can’t communicate the issue. Therefore, it’s your job as their owner to notice the symptoms.

Once you’re sure that your hedgehog is constipated, the next step is to identify what’s caused it. This is an important step because if you don’t remove what’s caused the constipation, the condition will only end up coming back.

Possible causes for constipated hedgehog include:

  • Stress
  • Adjusting to a new diet
  • Dehydration
  • Impaction by dry mealworm
  • Temperature is too cold
  • Intestinal blockage

Stress

Stress can cause serious health problems in people. Animals are no exception. Intense and long term stress can result in your hedgehog’s digestive system not working properly and subsequently you’ll end up with a constipated hedgehog on your hands.

Any of the following can cause stress to your hedgehog:

  • New home. If your hedgehog is getting used to a new environment, they will be stressed until they are fully adjusted. The best thing to do in this situation is to give them space
  • Too much noise. If your hedgehog’s cage is positioned near loud noises such as TVs, kids playing space, etc., it can result in your hedgehog being stressed
  • Incorrect set up. If your hedgehog’s cage set up is missing an essential item such as hide spots, it can result in your hedgehog being stressed
  • Incorrect diet can also result in stress and lack of nutrients

To help a stressed hedgehog, ensure their enclosure is positioned in a quiet place in the house. You can also place a blanket over their cage for 24hours as that would give them a sense of security.

Adjusting To A New Diet

Another cause for a constipated hedgehog are changes to their diet. Even the smallest change to your hedgehog’s diet can result in constipation. Some foods such as dairy, could have a bad affect on your hedgehog’s digestive system.

A good way to avoid this is by avoiding diary all together. Furthermore, it’s important to also educate yourself on what other foods to avoid feeding your hedgehog.

Dehydration

Similar to foods, liquids can also be a problem. Not drinking enough water can result in dehydration and subsequently in a constipated hedgehog. If your hedgehog is dehydrated, their digestive system won’t work properly and it won’t break down food as it should do.

It’s essential to observe your hedgehog’s eating and drinking habits. Always check if they eat their food and if they are drinking enough water.

If you suspect that your hedgehog is not drinking water, you can do the following:

  • Provide your hedgehog with fresh and clean water at all times. If the water is stale and dirty, your hedgehog won’t drink it or even worse they can get ill from drinking it
  • Is the drinking source accessible? If you’re using water bottles and your hedgehog can’t figure it out, it’s best to switch to a shallow water dish
  • Mix water in their food as last resort if your hedgehog is not drinking

Impaction By A Dry Mealworm

A common cause for constipated hedgehog is impaction by dried mealworm. Not all insects are good for your hedgehog and some can lead to intestinal blockages.

To avoid this issue, feed your hedgehog only live insects.

Temperature Is Too Cold

Another common cause for constipated hedgehog is cold temperature. The moment  hedgehogs are born, the first thing they need is warmth. This is because warmth helps their digestive system to work properly. To learn what else baby hedgehogs need when they are born, read the guide here How To Look After A Baby Hedgehog – Step By Step Guide

If the temperature in your hedgehog’s enclosure is too cold, it can result in your hedgehog being unable to break down the food their eating and subsequently become constipated.

Important part of your hedgehog care is knowing what temperatures they need to be kept at. For your hedgehog to be healthy and avoid digestive problems, they should be kept between 74°F and 76°F.

Another risk of cold temperatures is your hedgehog going into hibernation which can be fatal for them.

Just remember – hedgehogs love to be warm! To increase the temperature in their cage you can place a heating pad on one side of the cage.

Overfeeding

As your hedgehogs stomach is very small and the digestive tract short, overfeeding them can result in constipation and blockages.

Another risk of overfeeding your hedgehog is obesity which is a common issue with hedgehogs.

Illness

If you’ve explored all the possible causes for constipated hedgehog and made the necessary changes but there is still no poop, it can be because of an illness.

Other symptoms that point to a sick hedgehog to look out for include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Weakness
  • Lack of appetite

Unfortunately, a common health problem amongst hedgehogs is cancer. If your hedgehog is not eating, not pooping and their belly is unusually round, it can be a tumour. However, don’t panic right away!

If none of the listed causes in this guide fit with your hedgehog’s situation, you should take them to the vet for further examination and treatment.

How To Treat Constipation?

constipated hedgehog

One of the most important things to know if you have a constipated hedgehog on your hands is how to relieve their symptoms quickly.

Apply all of the following methods to help your constipated hedgehog:

  • Warm bath can relax your hedgehog’s bowels and help with the digestion of any food that’s stuck
  • Massage will be especially helpful if your hedgehog has overeaten. A massage will help digest the food easier
  • Feed them pumpkin. If you have a constipated hedgehog, feeding them unseasoned, unsweetened, cooked pumpkin mixed with some water will help relieve the constipation. It’s recommended to feed a ½ a teaspoon for an adult and ¼ of a teaspoon for a baby. The pumpkin has a laxative effect. You can use a syringe to feed the pumpkin
  • Feed boiled unseasoned egg mixed with water

If these methods don’t produce any results after 24 to 48 hours, then its recommended to visit the vet. If there is a bowel impaction or obstruction that can’t pass, the hedgehog will need an enema.

Other Causes For Hedgehog Not Pooping?

Your hedgehog not pooping is not always down to constipation. Other causes for hedgehog not pooping to consider include:

  • Not eating enough food
  • Your hedgehog’s eating their own poop
  • Hibernation. If it’s too cold, the hedgehog might go into hibernation state. This should be avoided as it can be dangerous for your pet hedgehog especially with African Pygmy hedgehogs

Final Thoughts

Constipated hedgehog is a common issue that owners have to deal with. Your hedgehog not pooping can be very worrying. However, before jumping to conclusion that your hedgehog is constipated, it’s important to explore other possibilities such as:

  • Are they eating enough food?
  • Are they eating their own poop? That’s a common behavior with hedgehogs, especially when their diet isn’t right

If you’re certain that your hedgehog is constipated, it’s important to find what’s caused the problem and treat it.

Possible causes for constipated hedgehog include stress, adjusting to a new diet, dehydration, impaction by dry mealworm, temperature is too cold, intestinal blockages.

To help your constipated hedgehog poop you can give them a warm bath, give them a belly massage, feed them unseasoned, cooked pumpkin or boiled egg mixed with water

Related Topics Q&A

What Does Normal Hedgehog Poop Look Like?

Healthy hedgehog poop has a shape of a sausage such asa small carnivore. It should be shiny and squidgy and it can be tapered at one end.

The color of a healthy hedgehog poop should be black in colour. It’s also totally normal for their poop to sometimes contain berry pips or shiny fragments such as insect body parts.

What Are The Stress Symptoms In Hedgehog?

Stress symptoms to look out for in your hedgehog’s behavior include:

  • Lethargy or excessive sleeping during the evening (their normal time to sleep is during the day)
  • Unusual jumping, hissing or snorting
  • Twitching or shaking their head nervously
  • Spines and fur falling out

To learn more about stress in hedgehogs, read the full guide here Hedgehog Stress Symptoms – How To Prevent Hedgehog Stress


References

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/hedgehogs-problems

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