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Last updated: 21 Jul 2020

Best Food for Hedgehogs (Review) in 2020

Blue Buffalo Healthy Living Cat Food for Hedgehogs

Blue Buffalo Healthy Living Dry Cat Food

Key features

Small kibble food to suit hedgehogs

Great combination of vegetables

Poultry protein

No artificial ingredients

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Hedgehog Food

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Dry Cat Food

Key features

Natural dry food

Balanced nutrients

Contains blueberries and raspberries

No grains

Vitakraft VitaSmart Fortified Nutrition Hedgehog Food

Vitakraft VitaSmart Fortified Nutrition Hedgehog Food

Key features

Contains insect meal

Calcium and phosphorous for quill strength

Uniform pellets to prevent selective eating

Omega oils for immunity

Show contents
Destin Benoit
Published 16:23 pm

Choosing the best cat food for a cat is hard enough so it’s not surprising that choosing a cat food for a hedgehog is very tricky indeed! Despite their increasing popularity as exotic pets, hedgehog nutrition is still a highly debated topic with breeders and vets holding very different opinions on exactly what food you should give them to keep them healthy.

The best thing you can do as a hedgie owner is to research what these little spiky friends would eat in the wild. Any diet that replicates this as closely as possible is going to be the best choice. In this comprehensive guide, we give you the best choices of food to feed your hedgie. We also give you a crash course in hedgehog nutrition so that you can be confident that you are doing your best for your little pet.

The Best Food for Hedgehog:

1

The combination of meat and vegetables in this food recipe is similar to the wild hedgehog diet making this a great choice if you are wondering what to feed a hedgehog. Hedgehogs need a high protein diet and as this adult cat food contains an impressive 34% of that nutrient it is the ideal choice. What’s more, that protein content is provided primarily by chicken which is as close to the insect protein needed by a hedgehog that a cat food can get!

Vital antioxidants, vitamins and minerals will be delivered to your spiky little visitors by the wide range of fruit and vegetables such as cranberries, blueberries and sweet potatoes. The quality ingredients will easily meet the nutritional needs of hedgies. The absence of cheap fillers, meat by-product meals and artificial flavors also makes this a natural choice of dry cat food for a hedgehog. The kibble is just the right size for little mouths.

Calorie content: 3,846 Kcals/kg, 430 Kcals/cup

Crude protein: 34%

Crude fat: 18%

Crude fiber: 4.0%

Maximum moisture: 9%

With cranberries and blueberries

First three ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice

Specification:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 800175
  • Weight: 15 pounds

2

There’s plenty of calories in this specially designed hedgehog food so they can stock up on body fat before or after hibernation. Another plus is the high protein content and if you check out the protein sources you will see that much of it is provided by chicken by-product meal. Although this does not suit many cats. there is little evidence to suggest that it has a detrimental effect on hedgehogs.

The recipe of this food is well fortified with vitamins minerals and other micro-nutrients. It’s suitable for hedgehogs of all ages and comes in a small kibble form that they can easily get into their mouths.

Crude protein: 30%

Crude fat: 8%

Crude fiber: 5%

Maximum moisture: 10%

With calcium and vitamin D

First three ingredients: chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, corn

Specification:
  • Brand: Eight in One
  • Model: H457
  • Weight: 1.72 pounds

3

If you have decided that the best food for your hedgehogs is a wet cat food, this would be a great choice. The first ingredient is chicken which provides all the amino acids that a hedgehog needs to stay healthy throughout the year. Wet cat foods will have a lower overall protein content because of the moisture but there is still plenty of protein for a hedgehog’s needs.

There are also plenty of fruits and vegetables in this food which are a great natural source of micro-nutrients and match the natural diet of hedgehogs. The carbohydrate content is provided by brown rice.

Calorie content: 1347 kcal/kg, 210 kcal/can

Crude protein: 11%

Crude fat: 5.5%

Crude fiber: 1%

Maximum moisture: 78%

With carrots and apples

First three ingredients: chicken, chicken liver, salmon

Specification:
  • Brand: Chicken soup for the soul pet food
  • Model: 989
  • Weight: 8.25 pounds

4

Made right here in the US, this specially formulated food for hedgehogs is both high in protein and high in fiber so it matches the nutritional profile of the natural diet of the hedgehog. It has been fortified with vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids for overall health and to support their immune system. The blend of protein sources, which includes fish meal, provides the range of amino acids that your pet needs. It even contains insect meal to match the natural diet.

There’s plenty of calcium and phosphorous in the food to keep their bones, quills and teeth in the best possible condition. The pellets are uniform to stop selective feeding which can lead to a nutritional imbalance.

Crude protein: 38%

Crude fat: 8%

Crude fiber: 9%

Maximum moisture: 14%

With calcium and phosphorus

First three ingredients: Wheat Bran, Poultry Meal, Soy Protein Concentrate,

Specification:
  • Brand: Vitakraft
  • Model: 34792
  • Weight: 1.45 pounds

5

A dry cat food that will suit hedgehogs and provide all the nutrition they need to keep them healthy. It’s a dry food that ticks all the boxes on a hedgehog food list. There’s a high quality source of protein (chicken, venison and fish) and a high fiber content provided by dried chicory root.

This premium cat food contains blueberries and raspberries which also match the natural diet of hedgehogs and a range of vitamins and minerals. The healthy fat content includes omega oils which help to boost the immune system. The recipe is also grain-free which is good news because hedgehogs do not need a lot of grain in their diet.

Calorie content: 3745 kcal/kg, 390 kcal/cup

Crude protein: 42%

Crude fat: 18%

Crude fiber: 3%

Maximum moisture: 12%

With omega fatty acids

First three ingredients: chicken meal, peas, sweet potato

Specification:
  • Brand: Taste of the Wild
  • Model: 74198609673
  • Weight: 15.2 pounds

6

This is a complete hedgehog food that is suitable for juvenile hedgehogs and adults. It is a high protein food but it also has plenty of fiber which is necessary to keep a hedgehog healthy. It also has a low fat content to prevent any problems with obesity.

The recipe of this food is enriched with mealworms to match the hedgehog’s natural diet and added minerals and vitamins. If you are wondering what to feed hedgehog pets, this would be a great choice. It contains yucca extract which helps to reduce the odor of hedgehog poop!

Crude protein: 35.01%

Crude fat: 7.07%

Crude fiber: 8%

Maximum moisture: 10%

With calcium and phosphorous

First three ingredients: Bloodmeal, soybean meal, ground corn

Specification:
  • Brand: Exotic Nutrition
  • Model: B01HOYD69Q
  • Weight: 2 pounds

7

There’s plenty of protein and fiber in this cat food for hedgehogs, this will suit a hedgehog’s metabolism and it is provided by turkey meal and chicken meal which are both nutritionally very rich.

There’s a healthy balance of fatty acids to support the immune system in this dry food and many elements that would be found in a wild hedgehog diet such as blueberries, carrots and spinach which are packed with natural antioxidants. The food recipe is free from grain and potatoes – neither of which are required in a hedgehog diet and do not offer any additional nutrition to them.

Calorie content: 3755 kcal/kg, 395 kcal/cup

Crude protein: 40%

Crude fat: 18%

Crude fiber: 3%

Maximum moisture: 10%

With calcium and phosphorous

First three ingredients: Turkey meal, chicken meal, peas

Specification:
  • Brand: Earthborn Holistic
  • Model: 71820
  • Weight: 5 pounds

8

Here we have a premium pet food that can be safely eaten by hedgehogs. The protein is provided by whole white fish that has been sustainably sourced. The selection of novel proteins is designed to suit cats that have a sensitive stomach but are also very suitably for hedgehogs. There are no grains or artificial ingredients.

All of the ingredients are highly digestible which will suit hedgehogs and there are added dried blueberries and dried cranberries which would make up part of their natural diet.  

Calorie content: 3,760kcal/kg, 414 kcal/cup

Crude protein: 32%

Crude fat: 16%

Crude fiber: 5%

Maximum moisture: 10%

With omega fatty acids

First three ingredients: White fish, salmon, dried egg product

Specification:
  • Brand: Halo Purely for Pets
  • Model: 35022
  • Weight: 6 pounds

9

This is a food supplement that hedgehog owners can use to support their pet’s growth. It delivers plenty of protein and fiber but also has quite a high carbohydrate content so it would not be suitable to feed your hedgehog on this alone.

Protein is provided by chicken meal and there are plant amino acids provided by soy bean meal. The recipe is supplemented by a range of vitamins and minerals to support a hedgehog’s overall health. The food is small in size so they find it easy to chew.

Crude protein: 32%

Crude fat: 12%

Crude fiber: 6%

Maximum moisture: 12%

With vitamins and minerals

First three ingredients: chicken meal, extruded corn, extruded brown rice

Specification:
  • Brand: SunCoast Sugar Gliders
  • Model: B01MSN0U4M
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds

10

This premium dried cat food delivers all the nutrition that a hedgehog could need. It has an excellent protein (33%) and fiber content (4%) and is packed with natural ingredients that a wild hedgehog would enjoy. The Purina Beyond recipe is based on a high quality source of meat, which is chicken, and to this are added fruits and vegetables.

This cat food has impressive supplementation in the form of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. There are no artificial ingredients or corn, wheat or soy which would not form part of a natural hedgehog’s diet.

Crude protein: 33%

Crude fat: 15%

Crude fiber: 4%

Maximum moisture: 12%

With

First three ingredients: chicken, chicken meal, whole barley

Specification:
  • Brand: Purina Beyond
  • Model: 17361
  • Weight: 6 pounds

Best Food for Hedgehog Buying Guide

What to Feed Hedgehogs - Diet Guide for Your Hedgie

Hedgehogs are not the most common pet so if you are lucky enough to have one living with you are probably wondering what do hedgehogs eat? There is some debate about the best hedgehog food but there is a broad consensus of opinion on the elements that their diet should contain. This is obtained by looking at what they would eat in the wild.

  • Copy what they eat in the wild

Hedgehogs are omnivores which means that they can extract nutrients from foods that contain both plants and meat (animals). They are also opportunistic feeders so they will pick up a bit of whatever they can find that they like the look of! As a result, their diet can be very mixed and hedgehog owners have to try to replicate that if they want keep a hedgehog in captivity.

Hedgehog owners should try to base their pet's diet on natural ingredients that are identical, or at least similar to, things that they would eat in the wild. A wild hedgehog would get most of their protein from insects but are also quite partial to snails and worms, small lizards, snakes, eggs, fish, mushrooms, berries and roots.

  • Basic hedgehog diet

You can feed a domesticated pet hedgehog on special hedgehog food pellets but always check out the analysis of nutrients and the ingredients list. But, can hedgehogs eat cat food instead of special hedgehog food? The answer is yes, they can. However, it must be done with care. Cat foods are, after all, designed for cats and not all cat foods are that great at providing cat nutrition let alone the correct nutrition for a hedgehog! Only cat foods that are high in protein, high in fiber and low in fat will suit a hedgehog and keep them healthy. Hedgehogs also need access to plenty of water.

  • Hedgehog treats

It is unlikely that the food in the basic diet will provide enough fiber or all of the nutrients that your hedgehog needs. Therefore, it needs to be supplemented with insects which provide chitin - an important source of fiber. Most owners choose mealworms, waxworms, earthworms or crickets for their little pet. You can also give them small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables so here's a list of some that they love. You should only give your little pet a tablespoon of these up to four times a week.

  • Meat: Chicken is the best option but turkey, lamb, liver and kidney are also great hedgehog foods
  • Fish: There is some debate about whether pet hedgehogs should eat fish. In the wild, this would not form part of their diet but some owners of pet hedgehogs argue that their hedgies love it!
  • Vegetables: They particularly enjoy Romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli, green pepper, pumpkin and carrot.
  • Fruits: Melons are the favorite! But they also love berries (cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries), apples, pears and many more.

cute hedgehog

What to Avoid Feeding Your Hedgehog

Keeping a hedgehog as a pet is a big responsibility. It would be worth talking to a vet or an exotic pet expert to find out exactly what you should do. Sadly, it is quite easy to get things wrong and make your little pet ill. Here are the main things that you should avoid feeding your hedgehog.

  • Too many live insects

Whilst a hedgehog will love live insects, you should not give them too many. They will always prefer them to other food and if they eat too many they will not get a balanced diet. Remember that in the wild, they would have to go to the effort to catch them and that would limit the number that they eat!

  • Meals that are too large

Hedgehogs don't tend to realize when they have had enough and will just carry on eating! This is a problem because obesity is a real issue for hedgehogs. They develop too much subcutaneous fat under the top of their body (the mantel that is covered in quills) and around their little legs. This stops them from being able to roll into a ball and they can also get brittle bones.

  • Meals that are not varied

In the wild, your little pet would choose the best food for themselves by traveling around the countryside and choosing what they wanted to eat. This means that the list of foods that they would eat in one day would be very varied. You need to replicate this by mixing hedgehog food or cat food with some fresh food treats.

  • Dairy products

Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and cannot break down milk proteins. If they drink milk they get diarrhea and can become very poorly. Some pet owners think that hedgehogs can tolerate yogurt but if you want to test this out you should start off by offering only a tiny amount.

  • Some types of meat

Your little pet should not be given processed or canned meat, raw meat or seasoned or fried meat. They cannot have human foods that contain these either.

  • Some fruits and vegetables

There is quite a long list of foods that can make hedgehogs ill. For a complete list you need to consult a vet or an exotic pet expert. Some items on that list are avocado, grapes, onion, tomato, mushrooms, nuts and chocolate.

Cat Food vs. Commercial Hedgehog Food

There is an on-going debate amongst hedgehog owners and breeders about the relative merits of cat foods compared to special hedgehog foods for our spiny friends. There is no sign that this debate is going to end any time soon so it is up to you to do your research and then use a certain amount of trial and error to find out what suits your pet. Don't forget that any changes in diet must be done gradually - over a period of weeks.

Until a few years ago, cat food was your only option and it still has a lot going for it. Dry food for cats is very convenient, it is widely available and most have a high protein content which suits hedgies. The kibble is small which suits little mouths and hedgies have no problem chewing it. Most premium cat foods have plenty of fiber - this is important to replace the chitin that a hedgehog in the wild would have received from munching on insects.

Nevertheless, many zoos and animal parks choose to feed their hedgehogs on a special commercial hedgehog food. Most have exactly the right combination of protein and fiber and some use bloodmeal which is a perfect source of protein for hedgies - you will not find this in cat food. Some even have ingredients to help your pet's poop smell a little more pleasant! However, choosing a commercial hedgehog food is not straightforward as some brands may simply repackage low quality cat food as a hedgehog food but charge more for it! It is also harder to source.

The bottom line is that a high quality commercial hedgehog food or a premium cat food will provide adequate nutrition for a hedgehog and you can top up their diet with insects and fruit and vegetables.

What to Look for in a Cat Food for Hedgehogs

In order to choose the best hedgehog foods or the best cat food for your pet, you will have to become familiar with the labels on animal foods. These give you the proportions of the major nutritional elements of the food.

Start by looking at the protein content of the food - it needs to be over 20%. The best foods will have a protein content of between 30% and 40% or even more. The fat content should not be higher than 15 % - the best foods have only around 5%. Fiber is very important, try to choose premium foods that have a fiber content of at least 5% but you will have to supplement this with additional fiber provided by insects. Moist cat food is especially low in fiber and will need a lot of supplementation.

The source of protein in the food is also important. Poultry (chicken and turkey) is generally considered as the easiest for hedgehogs to digest. L-carnitine is important for hedgehog heart health and they also need calcium and phosphorous from strong bones, teeth and quills.

hedgehog in grass

Our Top Pick

Our top pick of the best cat food for hedgehogs combines meat with vegetables, making it similar to the wild hedgehog diet. It is high in protein (34%) which is provided primarily by chicken.

Vital antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals are provided by the wide range of fruit and vegetable such as cranberries, blueberries and sweet potatoes. The absence of cheap fillers, meat by-product meals and artificial flavors also makes this a natural choice of dry cat food for a hedgehog. The kibble is just the right size for little mouths.

Destin Benoit
Destin Benoit
A former Special Forces Canine Handler, Destin Benoit has extensive knowledge and experience with military canine training. He has worked with multiple military dogs in the most stressful places and situations in the world. Currently, Destin is a SOC Canine Handler, aiding in the protection of the US diplomats abroad.
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