Bathing your pet hedgehog
Having a Hedgehog is amazing, they're really lovely creatures and with many personalities and characteristics unique of this exotic pet, but one thing is really important when we're talking about hedgehogs: "The bath time".
While most of the other pets require a weekly bath, hedgehogs require one bath every three or four months, this is because they are really clean pets, they tend to be just like the cats, cleaning themselves from time to time making this task easier, but sooner or later even these hedgehogs require a good bath.
What we need?
First of all, before bathing our hedgehog we need some things for him and to arrange some parameters in our place where we're going to bath our hedgehog. We're going to need:
- A Hedgehog.
- A toothbrush or a little brush.
- A medium size towel, a fluffy one is better.
- A container for the water.
- A neutral soap or baby shampoo.
After we get all those things, then we're ready for bathing our hedgehog but we need to fulfill some parameters if we don't want that our hedgehog with any sickness or dropping the temperature to much to the case of hypothermia. To avoid that we are going to do:
AVOID bathing our hedgehog in an open area. Choose a small room or bathroom to this.
If the ambient temperature is colder then you will need to put a heater inside the room to maintain the room around 77°F.
If the ambient temperature is warmer then you don't need the heater, just with a small room is enough.
The water in the container needs to be temperate, not too hot or to cold, this can produce a temperature shock in our hedgehog and this can be mortal.
If we have all these thing done, with the perfect room and water, and with the material we need for a good and relaxing bath, then we can continue with the "bath time ritual".
During the bath
We need to keep an eye in the water, keeping it warm. Also some hedgehogs are friendly with the water but others hate the water, in the case of my hedgehog, he's trying to escape the water falling from the water tap, but later with the temperate water he began to relax and with the toothbrush with a layer of neutral soap in it, you can also use a drop of baby shampoo if you have some, don't use many of this products because some hedgehogs with large quantities can react to them, drying the skin or losing spikes.
I start grooming my hedgehog in the directions of the the spikes, I brush onto the spikes and between the spikes to clean everything and remove any trash or insect that he can holding. I do it gently, this grooming will relax our hedgehog, but in the case of my hedgehog when I arrive to the head to start brushing there, he gets mad and starts snorting.
The stomach and the hair there is washed by the warm water you can grab your hedgehog and with your thumbs you can scratch his abdomen just to clean that area, some hedgehogs love this.
Later after the grooming I close the water and I pick him up and put him in a towel, later I just wrap him with the towel and wait about 30min with him hugged, giving a little heat. You can also use a hairdryer to make this faster, but I don't like using the hairdryer because if we aren't careful we can overheat our hedgehog burning him, but you can use it with caution and in a distance of 12in. just blowing a little of hot air.
After the bath
After the bath we can do several things, like trimming the nails of our hedgehog, cleaning the ears or increase the bond with your hedgehog with socialization process.
If you wish to trim the nails of a hedgehog after a bath is the perfect time because the nails are softer and easier to trim because our hedgehog is relaxed, we need to trim the nails of our hedgehog every 6 months preferably but you can trim the nails every year if you use another methods like putting porous bricks or rocks in the cage, with this the nails will be sanded just by walking over the rocks or bricks, this will not trim your hedgehog nails, but can give you a little more time, because trimming their nails can be an horribly task to do, because they don't like it. You can put a cloth in their eyes too to help you if they are anxious when you´re trimming their nails.
If you wish to clean the ears of our hedgehog just with a piece of paper in form of pyramid introduce it gently into the ears and just do circles with it, most of the hedgehog don't like this or feels tickles, this can be a hard work indeed but you only need to do it once a year.
If you want to start a socialization process or you don't have any idea what this is, it's about making a bond owner-hedgehog with greater results. Maybe you have seen that your hedgehog is always roll in with the spikes pointing out, and in the offensive/defensive against you, then you need a socialization urgently. It's easy, spend some time with it and losing the fear to the spikes and start patting your hedgehog and tickling him/her, in this process the hedgehog will get used to our smell and be more friendly you will meet him/her and our hedgehog will be more friendly with us.