Types of Fabric Bedding

Apr 24, 2014 by

ProFleece ProFleece is possibly the best fabric type bedding available for pets! It has been used by veterinarians for decades and is becoming very popular in the pet industry. It is made of 100% polyester which is: Non–irritating Non-allergic Does not support bacterial growth Stain resistant Dries fast after washing or accidents The pile aides heat retention while still allowing air to circulate. With proper washing/drying care this bedding can last years which helps to save both money and the environment. It can be easily cut to fit any space with no fraying or damage to the product. The extra strong backing is allows the hedgehog to dig into the pile without damaging the bedding. ProFleece Premium Vet Bedding 1200 grams density per meter squared 25 mm pile Non-slip backing allows for drainage when accidents occur Washable up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and tumble dry on cool/warm heat ProFleece Ultimate Vet Bedding The Ultimate series offers both the non-slip ribbed backing and the green back. The green back is knitted from a double strength chew resistant yarn. 1600 grams density per meter squared 31 mm pile Tumble Dry cool/warm heat Available in Non-slip backing washable up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit  Available in Green Back washable up to 194 degrees Fahrenheit    Vellux Some hedgehog hobbyists prefer to use Vellux blankets (found in the bedding section of Wal-Mart or similar store) in the bottom of hedgehog cages as an...

Cage Location

Aug 30, 2013 by

Noise Level Some hedgehog enthusiasts recommend keeping hedgehog cages in areas that are not high traffic areas, so as not to disturb the sleeping hedgehog. Others recommend that keeping the hedgehog in a busy area of the house allows the hedgehog to become accustomed to the family and increases likelihood of interaction with the family. One should be considerate of noise that may be perceptible to hedgehogs but not to humans.  For instance ultra sonic devices used to deter small rodents are extremely disturbing to a hedgehog’s sensitive ears. Computers and other electronic devices may also emit a noise that some hedgies may find disturbing. We find that playing music is helpful to our animals.  Regular noise throughout the day is muffled by the radio.  Again, be considerate of the hedgehog, in music selection and volume.  Light Level Hedgehogs need regular day and night cycles to keep their biological clocks in balance. Their natural habit has very little seasonal variation in the length of day and night. Hedgehogs kept in basements or windowless rooms should be provided ultra violet light that has a cycle maintained on a timer. The ultra violet night is necessary for vitamin D production and general well being. Hedgehogs should NOT be kept in closets or in the dark. Likewise they should not be kept in direct sunlight as this can be damaging to a hedgehog’s eyes over a period of...

Chlorhexidine Disinfecting Wipes

Jun 28, 2013 by

What You Will Need ½ Roll of Bounty Big, Jumbo or Other mid-size Bounty Roll Paper Towels 1 Container (we use Rubbermaid 3qt #6) or Dollar General’s Sun Oxygen Cleaner bucket or a large ice cream bucket 2 cups of disinfecting solution Procedure Cut a roll of Jumbo Roll Bounty in half with a straight edged knife or electric knife. Pull out center cardboard tube. It is important that you use the right size Bounty Towels. Other brands of paper towels just do not hold up with the moisture. The Basic does not soak up all the water and the Mega is too thick and needs additional water. Dilute Solution as directed on Bottle = 2 tablespoon (1 ounce) per gallon of water *We add 2 extra tablespoons of Chlorhexidine per gallon when making wipes *We recommend mixing one gallon at a time. Extra can be used for cleaning. Pour half your water mixture into your container, add towels, and then pour other half of mixture over top. Put the lid on the top and let it sit for at least 20 minutes for the water to absorb through the towels evenly. Chlorhexidine is Available at our shop! We use the wipes to clean up after all forms of body excretions as well as to clean the bathroom etc. We’ve never tested bacterial.efficacy but it has to be better than soap and water Basic...

“Cageless” Options Or Free Roaming...

Jun 27, 2013 by

Free roaming is used by some enthusiasts and is acceptable providing that you have ensured your hedgehogs safety in every aspect. For the best outcome for you and your hedgehog, it is best if free roaming is limited to one room in your home that you can devote to your hedgehog. Advantages of Free Roaming Free roaming provides highly ample space for your hedgehog to explore and exercise. This may be especially beneficial for larger hedgehogs prone to obesity. Cageless hedgehogs are likely to be more active than caged hedgehogs. Extra freedom may allow your hedgehog’s personality to be expressed. Dangers of Free Roaming Keep in mind that if your hedgehog is one of those that will not litter train, you will have urine and feces to clean off your floors on a daily basis. Be extremely careful with carpet cleaners as Lori Keller, experienced hedgehog rescuer, had a terrible experience with carpet cleaning products. You will need to consistently monitor the room for potential dangers. A free-roaming hedgehog is more prone to accidents than a hedgehog confined to the safety of its cage. “Hedgehog-Proofing” is a lot like “Child-Proofing” in which this is a job almost never done. You can hope to provide the most hedgehog resistant room, but your hedgehog will most likely find something that you have missed. You will need to watch your step and do the “shuffle” walk while...

Toys, Enrichment & Entertainment...

Jun 27, 2013 by

Environmental Enrichment Wild and free ranging animals have lots of natural exercise and stimulation. Numerous studies have shown that animals in zoos, animal parks, labs and private homes benefit from exercise and environmental enrichment. Thirty minutes outside of the cage each day is ideal for play time. Hedgehogs require physical and mental stimulation through toys and other objects in their enviroment. Activity that is essential to animal health and a happier life. Healthy, happy, active animals (and humans) tend to live longer and have more fulfilling lives. It is up to hedgehog caretakers to provide a variety of cage items to enrich the life of your pet by providing a variety of experiences, which prevent boredom and stimulate activity. In her book Pet African Hedgehogs Kimberly Goertzen states “While it’s extremely unlikely your hedgehog will fetch a ball or jump through hoops for you, they still interact with things. Some will play tug-of-war, some will chase things”. Like children, hedgehogs seem to prefer bright colors while some hedgehogs may have no color preference at all. Many hedgehogs like to push, pull, drag, and climb on a variety of different objects. Safety Precautions One must carefully inspect every cage addition (or play item) for small detachable parts that could become choking hazards. Look for sharp edges that could cut your hedgehog. Inspect toys the same way you would for a young child. Play Areas Enclosed...

Wood Products Bedding

Jun 7, 2013 by

The Pine Debate Popularity Pine shavings and related products are by far the most common bedding material used in the pet industry. Pine shavings are easily accessible, are processed and packaged by numerous pet supply companies, and are sold at almost every store that carries pet products. They are inexpensive to purchase compared to almost all other forms of bedding. Pine shavings do a relatively good job of absorbing urine. Most brands are comfortable for small and large animals alike. The comparative ease of use, safety, and cost factors make it the top choice for many animal breeders and owners alike. Toxicity Some veterinarian professionals and pet owners discourage the use pine shavings and their derivatives. In her article, “Wood Bedding and the Danger of Phenols,” Antigone Means states, “The problem [with pine and cedar] is a chemical called phenol that naturally occurs in these woods. It’s what makes them smell so nice and acts as an effective bug repellant, but is dangerous to small animals.” www.hedgehogvalley.com/phenols.html. Pine shavings do not contain the harmful plicatic acid (primary form of irritation in cedar) that cedar shavings have, but contain high levels of abietic acid, (an organic compound found in many trees) which when not heat cured; can cause similar problems after exposure. Necropsies on animals having respiratory distress from their bedding may also show liver distress and fluid in the lungs. Pathogens are generally not...

Wire Cages

Jun 7, 2013 by

Introduction Wire cages with a solid bottom and a deep pan are often used as hedgehog cages. They are well ventilated, easy, and safe to heat using a ceramic heat emitter. One advantage of wire cages is that they are specially designed for ground dwelling animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, and hedgehogs. Another advantage is that there is more floor space than in an aquarium, bird cage and some modified cages. Cages of this type are strong enough to adequately house hedgehogs and most are able to protect them from other pets and small children. There is, however a huge difference in the quality and some brands are easily damaged in daily maintenance. Pans Pans that are six inches deep or deeper are preferred to more shallow pans. Deep pans not only contain the bedding within the cage but also discourage the hedgehog from climbing. Plastic pans are generally preferred over metal pans. Both are lightweight but plastic does not rust and it will maintain its integrity over time. Metal that has begun to rust is harder to clean and disinfect than plastic. Metal will also conduct heat much differently, which may be a problem when trying to provide additional heat sources for your pet. Wire floors are not acceptable for hedgehogs. Their tiny feet can get caught in the wire and it is very difficult for the hedgehog to walk. Wire Sides...

Plastic Storage Containers

Jun 7, 2013 by

Using a plastic storage container as a cage is popular with many breeders. Advantages  Clear plastic tubs can be purchased relatively cheaply.  They are lightweight and easy to transport. Storage containers can be easily cleaned and disinfected. Necessary Modifications  Almost all bins need to have a modified lid in order to prevent escape. Hedgehogs can easily escape up and over bins using water bottles or accessories to give them a boost. Ideally, the top is modified to have a screen or grid, and the sides are drilled or cut to have most of the center removed.  The lid cannot be used unless it is modified. A lid with holes drilled into it may not provide adequate ventilation.  Time and care must taken to prevent respiratory infections. A drill may crack the fairly fragile plastic so be careful when drilling the side holes. Soldering irons melt the plastic but don’t look as neat and tidy. The plastic can be heated with a hair dryer and then cut with a utility knife. The bottle must be secure inside as  Disadvantages One problem with plastic tubs is finding one large enough and tall enough to accommodate the wheel and other accessories without customizing your cage. You can cut out a section of the lid to allow the wheel to move freely and then glue an appropriately sized smaller bin over the top to provide a “dome” over the...

Paper Product Bedding

Jun 7, 2013 by

Pelleted Newspaper Products  Pelleted newspaper products are generally made from recycled newspaper. Purina’s Yesterday’s News is a popular pelleted kitty or ferret litter.   Second Nature Dog Litter is similar to Yesterday’s News, except that it is cheaper. It is reported to work well at controlling smell but we do not have personal experience with this product. One must take care to ensure that the hedgehog does not ingest this product. It will expand and swell, and could seriously harm or kill your pet. Pros They have little odor and are generally the size and shape of rabbit pellets. Cons The dark gray color of this product may make the cage look dirty or disguise abnormal hedgehog feces. The gray can also “rub off” onto the hedgehog making them look very grungy. It is not too bad on a standard, but it is very noticeable on an albino. It can also make their white fur turn into a grayish color.  (Belval). Fluffy Paper Products Pros Some products like Care Fresh are made out of 100% wood pulp and are light and fluffy. It is very absorbent and doesn’t disintegrate when wet. We have had some reports that it is virtually dust free, as well as conflicting reports that it is very dusty. We have found it to be just slightly dusty and the amount of dust depends on handling and burrowing of the animal. Several colors and varieties are available. Many veterinarians...

Bedding & Litter Eating Or Ingestion...

Jun 7, 2013 by

Reasons for Eating Bedding Inquisitive – Hedgehogs are inquisitive by nature and often attempt to learn about their environment through their senses of taste and smell.  Baby or young hedgehogs are very prone to eating new brands or types of bedding. Self-Anoint and/or Camouflage – Many hedgehogs will ingest new bedding in order to create a forth to self anoint. Hunger – It is believed that hedgehogs that have had drastically reduced diets or an inadequate diet may eat bedding to attempt to satisfy hunger. Nutritional Deficiency – Some believe animals eat things in their environment to try to combat something they are lacking in their diet. What to Do The most important thing to do is to monitor how much bedding your hedgehog is eating and to try to discourage your hedgehog from eating more bedding. Hedgehogs that eat a single piece of new bedding and spit it out or self anoint with it are most likely eating it out of curiosity and will discontinue eating the bedding once they realize it isn’t food. Offer additional treats or additional staple diet to encourage the hedgehog to eat food rather than bedding. Immediately remove bedding if you notice your hedgehog eating multiple pieces of bedding. Dangers Ingested bedding can cause serious abdominal impactions that can lead to death. Always keep an eye on your hedgehog’s appetite and stool after your hedgehog eats bedding. Your hedgehog’s stool should...

Miscellaneous Bedding Options

Jun 6, 2013 by

 Corncob Bedding Corncob is relatively inexpensive, but care must be taken to keep the cage clean and dry. Corncob bedding has a tendency to retain liquids and it molds very quickly. Many molds are respiratory toxins. Frequent cleaning can decrease the potential of this problem. The corncob can stick onto the genitalia of male hedgehogs. It can get caught in the penile sheath and be dragged (drawn) up inside, and cause great irritation, raw sores, urinary tract infections, and an inability to urinate, which if not addressed promptly, can be fatal. Some believe that corncob bedding is not as comfortable for the hedgehogs as other bedding options. Pelleted Straw or Wheat Grasses Oxbow Hay’s Eco-Straw is made out of 100% wheat straw. Critter Country is made from Western Red Winter Wheat Grass and several other fibers. Critter Country is safe if ingested, as it contains no chemicals or additives that could be harmful. These products are highly absorbent, relatively dust free, and are heat treated to eliminate mites and other pests. Both are biodegradable and can be composted or flushed down the toilet. Veterinarians highly recommend these products over wood pellets based on the qualities mentioned above. Mountain Meadows Pet Products, Inc. http://www.mtnmeadowspet.com/ was gracious enough to allow us to try Critter Country. We were very happy with this product but cages did need to be cleaned more frequently than with pelleted pine. Since...

Fabric Cage Liner Bedding Options

Jun 6, 2013 by

 Advantages of Using Fabric Cage Liners Various types of fabric are good options for people with allergies or hedgehogs with bedding sensitivities. Many owners like the fact that fabric bedding is recyclable and stores easily. Fabric is less likely to harbor mites than other products. There are no wood splinters, dust, or small pieces to get on the floor. Light colored lines are great for monitoring hedgehog’s output as fecal matter is a window to your hedgehog’s internal health. A liner made of a combination of fleece and flannel, or other soft materials, can be very comfortable for your hedgehog. Disadvantages of Using Fabric Cage Liners Initial Start-up Cost Quality lines may be hand made or purchased from liner dealers and have a higher start-up cost than traditional bedding. The best liners have multiple layers, which further increases the start up cost. Loose Threads One must be diligent to watch for any loose threads that can wrap around toes or feet. Beth Ann Breitweiser, DVM, at All Wild Things Exotic Animal Hospital in Indianapolis, IN, spoke to us at length about the dangers of loose threads and small fibers from fabric. A small fiber or thread can cause permanent damage to a toe or foot in less than six hours. She has amputated many toes and feet at her practice due to this type of injury. Be careful with woven or knit materials. Toenails...

Nontraditional Cage Options

Jun 6, 2013 by

Glass Aquariums Large aquariums can be used to house hedgehogs.  Some hedgehog enthusiasts recommend, at minimum of, a 20-gallon-long size, but the larger sizes are much better. A 20-gallon aquarium will not accommodate an appropriate sized wheel.  The main drawback of using a glass aquarium is that most aquariums are narrow and tall in order to best display fish or reptiles. Hedgehogs need lots of floor space and in order to have that, you will need a large aquarium. The larger the aquarium, the more costly, heavier, cumbersome, and difficult to clean. For these reasons, they are not ideal unless you already have a large aquarium in your possession. It is important to use a screen or wire top and not the glass covering used for fish. This will allow better ventilation into the aquarium. Cages must be cleaned regularly so that the hedgehog can have fresh air and instead of soiled wood smells. A tight fitting lid is necessary on a cage that is less than 18” high or any cage that has a hanging water bottle. Hedgehogs can climb right up to the water bottle or use accessories to boost them up and over the top. Attaching or hanging a water bottle inside the cage may be very difficult. Even large aquariums may have ventilation problems if not cleaned frequently. Unless you already have an aquarium on hand, these can be quite...

General Bedding Information

Jun 6, 2013 by

Type Unfortunately, we have yet to find the perfect bedding to use with our hedgehogs. Almost every hedgehog owner and veterinarian has slightly different recommendations and opinions. Keep in mind no bedding manufacturer is going to label their product as inferior or dangerous to your pet. All bedding packages will say that particular bedding is healthy and safe. One needs to evaluate each type of the bedding’s benefits, as well as its risks and problems. Factors to take into consideration include accessibility, toxicity, appearance, frequency of cleaning, and costs.    The type of bedding you choose and use is one of the key factors in helping to determine the overall health and happiness of your pet. Most wood, paper, or other processed bedding can be dusty. Each brand will have different amounts of dust. Handling practices of the bags and use can affect the amount of dust in individual bags. Fluffy beddings tend to stick to your hedgehog and make quite a mess on the floor, and are hazardous to your vacuum! We suggest avoiding fragrant bedding or bedding that has added chemicals. A deep layer of bedding will provide room for you to scoop under your hedgehog and will also provide a burrowing opportunity for your pet. Health Considerations Keep in mind some hedgehogs (and humans) are allergic to different types of bedding. If you notice a rash or skin irritation and you have...

Cage Selection & Requirements

Jun 6, 2013 by

 Cage Selection Choosing a cage is one of the most important decisions you will have to make for your pet. Your hedgehog’s home and environment are one of the keys in determining the quality of life and longevity of your pet. You should discuss cage recommendations with your breeder prior to purchasing a new home for your pet. Plan on purchasing a cage from your breeder (who will appreciate your support) or have your hedgehog’s cage completely setup BEFORE bringing your hedgehog home. Your hedgehog’s cage MUST have a solid bottom. Hedgehogs’ feet are very different than other animals that can tolerate a wire bottom.  Some enclosures have an open top. An adventurous hedgehog may try to escape. We believe it is easier and safer to prevent an escape than to locate a missing hedgehog. Keep in mind that hedgehog’s have piled things against the side of a cage in order to escape! Cage Size Requirements Hedgehogs need plenty of room to move about and play. The minimum size recommended by most hedgehog enthusiasts is 24” x 24,” which equals 576 square inches, or four square feet. Some recommend a minimum of 24″ x 42′ which is 1,008 square inches. Many years ago some people recommended 10 gallon aquariums which does not provide nearly enough floor space. Your cage should have enough room for a wheel, litter box, and sleeping bag or nest box,...

Climbing Objects & Multi-Level Cages...

Jun 6, 2013 by

We feel that multi-level ferret or rabbit cages, climbing branches, ramps, and ladders may be a good idea, but only if you take several precautions.  We recommend avoiding the above situations because providing more floor space with accessories or toys is a much safer alternative. Hedgehogs are quite capable of climbing up, but they are not so graceful in the descent. Their toes are fairly short and are not made for grasping and hanging on. Their legs are relatively small in comparison to their body mass.  They simply do not have the strength to resist the pull of gravity.  Their eyesight is very poor and so they have very little depth perception. The most natural way for hedgehogs to get down from a high place is to curl themselves into a ball and free-fall. Many claim that hedgehogs have naturally built in “shock absorbers” and that their spines will protect them in a fall. However, a hedgehog may still bruise himself or break a bone from an ill-fated fall. It has also been reported that spines can actually puncture backward into the animal. In order to provide a safe climbing experience some hedgehog owners use multi-level ferret or rabbit cages and line the ramps with plastic mesh or cover with an all-purpose carpet.  This keeps little feet from being injured but might be quite messy if the hedgehog is not litter-trained. The bottom pan...

Heating Options

Jun 5, 2013 by

Words of Caution  Many heat sources are available through a variety of outlets. We are yet to find the perfect heat source that will work under all conditions. Anything that plugs in has potential to short out and cause a fire, overheat and cause burns, or fail to work. One must be cautious with overhead heating options so that they are not knocked over causing burns, injuries or fires. Also, hedgehogs can over-heat a small aquarium that is not well ventilated. Hedgehogs can get burnt both internally and externally by not being able to move away from the constant heat sources such as heating rocks and heating pads. The best heating options seem to be maintaining an appropriate ambient room temperature or heating only a portion of the cage so that the hedgehog can move away if it gets too hot. Infratherm Pet Heaters The following information is from the Sweeter Heater website: The SWEETER HEATER has no hot spots, it develops a uniform heat pattern, it uses less power to operate, it is unbreakable, it is sealed so it can be washed, and it has a three-year warranty. The SWEETER HEATER is a safe, non-breakable, energy efficient, long lasting (three year warranty) and reliable specific area heater. The SWEETER HEATER has been tested and proven by our customers since 1995. Veterinarians, aviaries, dog breeders, kennel owners and herpetologists have proven that the Sweeter...

Bedding To AVOID

Jun 4, 2013 by

Cedar Shavings One doesn’t have to search very hard to find numerous warnings and studies showing the dangers of using cedar for animal, reptile or bird bedding.  NEVER use cedar shavings because they contain a toxin called Plicatic Acid and other aromatic (volatile) hydrocarbon or phenol compounds. These phenols are what give the shavings their scent and what repel fleas and moths but they are the same compounds that lead to numerous problems in small mammals. The use of cedar shavings can lead to respiratory illnesses, liver problems and some types of cancer. To our knowledge the only recommended use by veterinarians is for filler in dog beds. Hay A few owners have used hay as a nesting option for their hedgehogs. As long as the hay is from packaged from a pet store it should be fine.   Hay used for large livestock hasn’t been treated for anything that could make your hedgehog sick. As long as the igloo or sleeping area remains clean it is a comfortable, natural bedding.   Hay is generally NOT recommended as the main cage bedding. Others Sawdust Straw Garden soil and leaves Gravel All bedding should be properly cleaned and processed to remove the risk of mites and other...

Messy Wheels & Wheel Cleaning

May 28, 2013 by

Wheel Overview Our Hedgehog Wheel  Article describes the health and entertainment/enrichment benefits of providing your hedgehog with a wheel. As with most good things, there is a price and the price for providing your hedgehog a wheel is the risk of having to clean it. Wheels have a tendency to cause hedgehogs to forget all about using the litter pan. Some considerate hedgehogs will stop wheeling and hang their little tail end off the wheel to do their business – don’t expect this from your pet. Why Messy Wheels Happen This is the best explanation we’ve found. Taken from Hedgehog Central: http://wiki.hedgehogcentral.com/tiki-index.php?page=wheels#Pooping_on_the_Wheel When a hedgehog runs it releases its bowels and urinary tract. By running, the hedgehog is kick starting its metabolism and urgently needs to expel waste much like a human does after a warm cup of coffee. When a hedgehog is running, it believes it is leaving its waste behind it and unlike a dog will not search for a place to go to the washroom. Hedgehogs on a wheel will release their bowels much like they do in the wild; however, in this instance the hedgehog does not leave its feces behind, but continues to run through it. With a hedgehog, this is inevitable. It is likely you will have to clean the wheel daily and provide your hedgehog with weekly foot baths in a shallow sink or on a damp cloth...

Hideouts & Snuggle Shacks

May 28, 2013 by

Hide Outs Hedgehogs sleep in burrows or other dark places in the wild. Almost every small animal will find a warm, cozy place to sleep and hide in order to stay warm and avoid predators. Most breeders believe it is beneficial for the hedgehog’s well being to have a warm and comfortable place to sleep. When hedgehogs are warm and comfortable they tend to sleep better and are less nervous while they are sleeping or resting. Hideouts should have an entrance and an exit (tunnel) or it should be large enough for the hedgehog to turn around. Hedgehogs usually turn around rather than back out of a tight spot. Sleeping Bags Fleece sleeping bags are warm and snuggly and most hedgehogs enjoy them. Figure 1 – Fleece Sleeping bags Some sleeping bags have a stiffener in the top so the bag remains slightly open which allows the hedgehog easy access inside.   It is a good idea to have multiple bags because, more than likely, the hedgehog bag will get dirty and need to be washed.  Dirty bags may also become a breeding ground for bacteria. Remember to wash the bags in a mild detergent and not to use any fabric softeners. The fragrance can be overwhelming to a hedgehog snuggled in such a small place. Some hedgehogs might prefer to sleep under or on the sleeping bags instead of inside, but as long as...

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