Hedgehogs & Other Pets

May 21, 2013 by

 According to Lianne McLeod, DVM, former About.com Guide, “African pygmy hedgehogs are pretty well-equipped to defend themselves from other pets and seem to tolerate other pets quite well.”

A huffing and puffing ball of prickles may intimidate some cats and dogs, which could be just enough to keep them at a safe distance. The compatibility between pets will depend on each pet’s personality. Many hedgehog owners and enthusiasts have had positive experiences introducing hedgehogs to other pets. Some hedgehogs may develop bonds with other pets, and even sleep and play together.

Protect Your Hedgehog

  • It is important for your hedgehog’s cage to be safe and secure from other pets until you know how they will interact.
  • All pet interactions should be closely monitored until you are sure your pets are safe in each other’s presence.
  • Even though hedgehogs have a great built in defense system, their spiny coat of armor is not 100% protection from enemies or tormentors.
  • Some pets may simply be annoying to hedgehogs rather than dangerous, but one should protect their pet hedgehog from a miserable life.
  • Remember: accidents are called “accidents” because we don’t anticipate the danger or harm.
  • All pet interactions should be carefully monitored from being injured or torment.
  • Torment can included excessive barking at your hedgehog or attempting to roll your hedgehog like a ball.
  • Another word of caution:  bacteria can be transmitted between pets.
  • What is normal bacterial flora for one pet may cause problems with other pets.
  • We have noticed a trend in families who own birds and/or reptiles and hedgehogs. 
  • These families seem to have an increase in bacterial infections including Giardia, Coccidia, and Clostridium in their hedgehogs.
  • No studies (to our knowledge) have been done on this topic but since this is a trend we have noticed, we think it warrants our expressed concern.
  • Please consult your veterinarian about these risks.

Dogs and Cats

  • Dogs that are “hunters” or very playful may not do well with your hedgehog.  This type of dog may become so enthralled with your hedgehog that it doesn’t notice the hedgehog’s prickliness.
  • Your hedgehog should not be a toy for your other pets.  Sometimes, overly curious pets can intimidate or scare your hedgehog.  You don’t want the hedgehog to be afraid or nervous, so you need to carefully supervise all pet interaction.
  • The average dog and cat will quickly gain respect for your little ball of prickles, especially when its curious nose gets poked!
  • This is a great article for those considering introducing their dogs to their hedgehog. Can Hedgehogs & Terriers Get Along? Socialization is an Issue!  http://terrierlover.com/2008/03/can-hedgehogs-terriers-get-along-socialization-is-an-issue/
  • One simple way to make an introduction is to cuddle the hedgehog in your arms and then allow curiosity of your cat or dog to take over.
  • Many times, your cat or dog will receive a poke in the nose and gain a strong respect for your new pet.
  • One concern is that your hedgehog may be fearless and attempt to chase or torment your dog or cat.  This might be funny but it is important to protect your other pets from undue stress.

Other Pets

  • Ferrets are miniature hunters who may be more dangerous to your hedgehog than the average dog or cat.
  • Rats and ferrets are known to bite, causing severe puncture wounds to hedgehogs.
  • We have seen some nasty pet rat bites and quill chewing on a hedgehog that played “well” with the rat. Since hedgehogs do little other than huff, they can still receive a nasty bite. Rabbits and hedgehogs have been known to do okay with each other but others have attested that problems have occurred.
  • Nervous pets are not recommended to be in contact with hedgehogs as the hedgehog may make them more nervous.
  • Mice, gerbils, and hamsters may be in danger when around hedgehogs.  Hedgehogs naturally eat small animals they can catch in the wild, so it is best to not test their instinct.

Primary Author: Gail Dick, Millermeade Farms

References
http://exoticpets.about.com  Do Hedgehogs Get Along with Other Pets?
From Lianne McLeod, DVM, former About.com Guide

Related Posts

Share This