Are Hedgehogs Lactose Intolerant?

When you decide on getting a hedgehog, it is important to know what is good for them and what is not. Many foods may seem like a good idea but do more harm than good for your hedgehog.

One important factor to consider when getting a hedgehog is finding out these foods to plan your diet accordingly. Many pet parents wonder if their hedgehog is lactose intolerant.

Yes, all hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. This means that hedgehogs cannot digest milk or other dairy products that contain lactose. 

Animals such as cats are lactose intolerant, and you can add hedgehogs to that list. Being lactose intolerant, your hedgehog should be nowhere near any dairy products. Even a small amount of dairy can be dangerous for hedgehogs and cause diarrhoea no matter in which form.

Are All Hedgehogs Lactose Intolerant?

Being lactose intolerant is not limited to any age or species of hedgehogs. All hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, and you should not give them any dairy products.

If you have a mature hedgehog, you should not be giving it any yoghurt or milk. If you take care of a baby hedgehog, you should not give it cow’s milk. The closest thing to a hedgehog’s milk is sheep milk.

You can also choose to feed the baby hedgehog with formula milk. Formula milk has all the necessary minerals and nutrients for your baby hedgehog to grow and develop.

Is Milk Dangerous for Hedgehogs?

We humans like to put out food for animals and give a variety to the pets we have. However, it is important to know which foods are good and which are bad. Otherwise, there is no point in putting out food if it will harm the animals.

Milk may be a healthy choice for humans, but it is dangerous for hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs are one of those animals that are lactose intolerant, like cats. Giving hedgehogs milk or any dairy product for that matter can upset their stomach and cause diarrhoea. If hedgehogs get diarrhoea, their health will deteriorate.

A hedgehog with an upset stomach and diarrhoea can easily become dehydrated and can even die.

Therefore, milk is a dangerous choice for hedgehogs that you should avoid at all costs. You should also avoid giving other dairy-based products such as yoghurt and cheese to your hedgehog.

Is Milk Healthy for Hedgehogs?

Many people have questions regarding which kind of milk is good for hedgehogs and which is not. If you have a mother hedgehog who is not feeding her babies, your last resort may be to hand-feed the hoglets.

Milk is essential for their growth and development.

You can give the hoglets sheep milk or formula milk. Goat’s milk and cat milk can be an option for young hedgehogs but should not be given to adult hedgehogs. Cow milk is not healthy at all and should be completely avoided.

Adult hedgehogs should not be given milk because it does not have sufficient nutrients for their well-being.

Solid foods contain more nutrients and minerals that are important for adult hedgehogs. In addition, giving milk to hedgehogs leaves little space for actual food and leads to an upset stomach.

Do Hedgehogs Feed Their Babies Milk?

Like a lot of animals, hedgehogs feed their babies milk. When hedgehogs are born, they are small and frail and should not be disturbed for at least two weeks. These baby hedgehogs cling to their mother for milk.

As the mother hedgehog feeds her babies milk, it is important to take care of her health. You should feed the mother hedgehog well so she can produce milk to feed her babies.

It would be best to feed the mother hedgehog with good-quality food that provides ample nourishment that she can pass to her babies.

A mother hedgehog may not be able to feed all her babies. For example, a hoglet being the runt of the litter may not get to suckle on the mother. If the hoglet does not suckle, it can die of malnutrition.

While mother hedgehogs feed their babies, some do not. Many pet parents and breeders have reported that some mothers reject their babies. Mothers can reject some of their babies or all of them.

If you come across this situation, you can find a foster mother for the rejected babies. However, if you cannot find a foster mother, you will have to feed the hoglets yourself.

What Can I Give My Hedgehog Instead of Milk?

Milk seems like an important part of anyone’s diet, but for hedgehogs, it is not. Since hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, they cannot digest milk and should be given other meals instead.

Newborn hedgehogs have no choice but to have milk because it is their sole source of nutrients.

At the age of three weeks, hedgehogs can be given solid foods. You can feed these young hedgehogs cat kibble or boiled chicken. Moreover, you can give fruits and vegetables as treats on occasions.

You still have to give the hedgehogs milk until they are six weeks old, along with their diet. After six weeks, give your hedgehog water along with their regular meals.

Summary

One common fact about hedgehogs that most people do not know is that hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. This means that hedgehogs cannot digest milk and dairy products. All hedgehogs are lactose intolerant regardless of their age and breed.

Milk can be dangerous for hedgehogs as it causes an upset stomach and leads to diarrhoea. Diarrhoea can cause dehydration in hedgehogs and ultimately death.

A mother hedgehog feeds milk to her babies.

However, sometimes, the runt of the litter may not get an opportunity to suckle, which can cause malnutrition. The mother hedgehog also sometimes rejects all her babies or some of them.

When a mother hedgehog rejects her babies, finding a foster mother or hand-feed the hoglets with sheep’s milk or formula milk is best. Young hedgehogs should be given milk with their diet until six weeks and then should be given water with food.

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Hey, I'm Brian and I love hedgehogs. They're curious little animals that fascinate me. Over the years, I've become extremely knowledgeable about hedgehogs so have decided to share that knowledge here

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