Hedgehogs can become fat and overweight if they don’t get enough exercise and eat too many fatty foods and treats. Obesity in hedgehogs is a common and dangerous problem that can cause many complications.
It is possible to treat hedgehog obesity and prevent it from occurring again in the future. In today’s post, you’ll learn what causes hedgehog obesity and how to treat it.
What Causes Hedgehog Obesity?
The main cause of hedgehog obesity is too much food. Hedgehogs can overeat. Even if you aren’t feeding them fatty foods, your hedgehog might become obese if you are giving them too much food.
(Read: What Do Hedgehogs Eat?)
It isn’t a good idea to fill your hedgehog’s food bowl to the top. Hedgehogs only need 30-70 calories a day which is roughly 1-3 tablespoons of food.
Hedgehogs also can get fat by not exercising enough. Your hedgehog might be lazy, or maybe their cage is too small which limits their ability to run around.
Even if you have a wheel, your hedgehog still needs enough ground space in the cage to run around in.
Some hedgehogs are more prone to becoming overweight due to genetic reasons. Therefore, you might need to be more cautious about your hedgehog’s diet to maintain a normal and healthy weight.
Is Your Hedgehog Overweight?
Hedgehogs have no average weight since the standard weight for each hedgehog breed varies. Some healthy hedgehogs weigh 6-8 ounces and others may weigh two pounds.
You should rely on your hedgehog’s appearance to detect obesity, and not on how much they weigh.
Healthy hedgehogs are usually a little rounded and plump. They are teardrop shaped.
An obese hedgehog will have fat in their armpits and will find it difficult to roll into a ball. They may develop a double-chin and will have fat legs opposed to muscular ones. Obese hedgehogs are round shaped.
What Problems Can Obesity Cause?
Like humans, fat hedgehogs are more prone to health problems. Some of these problems are:
• Early death
• An increase in tumor development risk
• Fatty liver disease
• Heart attacks
• Shortness of breath
Your hedgehog’s health is your responsibility. You need to prevent obesity to avoid these complications.
How to Reduce Your Hedgehog’s Weight?
You can help your hedgehog lose weight by encouraging exercise and making a diet plan. However, if your hedgehog loses weight too quickly, it can develop fatty liver disease which leads to death.
To create a weight loss plan that suits your hedgehog, consult your veterinarian.
Generally, hedgehogs’ weight is decreased by adjusting the hedgehog’s diet.
Reducing or eliminating treats and fatty foods from your hedgehog’s diet would be the first step. Also, changing the hedgehog’s main food source to a lower-fat formula helps.
It is very important to encourage fat hedgehogs to exercise. You might cut fatty foods out of your hedgehog’s diet and not see any difference in its weight.
Hedgehogs usually exercise on their wheel, but fat or lazy hedgehogs may choose not to use it. Some hedgehogs might not use their wheel because it is too small. Buying a bigger wheel can solve this problem.
If your hedgehog isn’t using its wheel, try letting it roam out of its cage. You can also hide its food around the cage to make your hedgehog search and explore (and move more) to get its meal.
Your hedgehog can also swim to lose weight. Of course, you should be watching your hedgehog at all times when it is swimming. Obese hedgehogs tire quickly, so make sure the swim session isn’t too long.
Fat hedgehogs aren’t as much fun as healthy hedgehogs. Make sure your hedgehog is getting enough exercise and eating a balanced diet to ensure it lives a long happy life.
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