Just don’t forget the rubber ducky. Seriously.
For many hedgehogs, bath time can prove to be unenjoyable. They feel out in the open; hedgehogs are burrowing creatures and being in any open area can produce the need to hide.
It helps to have an object the hedgehog can push around and attempt to hide behind in the tub. Hence rubber ducky. Duckies can also provide a valuable distraction for your hedgie while getting washed.
It is necessary to fully bathe your hedgehog at least once a month. I have heard of some hedgehog owners who bathe their hedgehog weekly and some who bathe monthly.
Those who bathe monthly usually suggest doing so because hedgehogs can get dry skin and water can dry it out more. However, if your hedgehog is like most hedgehogs, it runs in the poop it leaves on its wheel. Sometimes it even apparently rolls around in the poop in its litter box and can get it in its quills. Leaving dried poop on your hedgehog for weeks is a bad idea.
I personally would recommend a bi-weekly bath with the right ingredients to keep your hedgehog’s skin supple.
For a full bath, you will need a toothbrush, all-natural soap and coconut oil, melted. Also, have a towel on hand just for your hedgie.
Here’s how you can bathe your hedgehog:
- Fill a sink about two inches with warm water. Your hedgehog will have a much more enjoyable bath if the water is warm, but not hot.
- Put a bar of soap or liquid soap in the water. I personally use an all-natural, organic oatmeal soap I bought at a natural foods store for $2. The brand is Sappo Hill Soapworks. Oatmeal apparently can help keep a hedgehog’s skin dry. Swish the toothbrush around in the soapy water and gently brush your hedgehog’s quills.
- I have found that oatmeal soap is not enough to keep my hedgehog’s skin from becoming dry, even if it is not bathed often. After washing, rinse your hedgehog off with a bit of warm water from the tap. Then refill the sink and add about a tablespoon of coconut oil to the bath. Swish the toothbrush around in the oily water and brush your hedgehog’s quills again. Another advantage to using coconut oil on a hedgehog’s skin is that it is antifungal and can be a natural prevention tool against ringworm.
- Rinse your hedgehog off with the toothbrush and warm water.
- Wrap your hedgie up in a towel and snuggle with it for at least an hour while it dries. Letting the oil soak into the hedgie’s skin while it rests in the towel will ensure its skin stays supple until it’s time for its next bath.
Intermittent “poopy boots” wading baths will also likely be needed before your hedgehog’s next full bath.
To clean just its feet, I usually put my hedgehog in about half an inch of water in the bathroom sink when it has collected quite a bit of poop on its feet. I let her run around in the water for a minute or two. Her scrambling and the water softens the poop and then I wipe each “poopy boot” with a paper towel.
There are many ways to bathe a hedgehog. This is what I have found works for mine. Comment below on how you bathe your hedgehog!
Sara Marie Moore is a journalist and happy hedgehog owner. She had her first hedgehog in fourth grade long before the current hedgehog craze.