Being a pet parent requires a lot of responsibility. Hedgehogs are small mammals that make adorable pets. There is a lot that goes into taking care of hedgehogs from their cage to their diet. Knowing what is good for your hedgehog is vital. So can hedgehogs drink milk?
No, hedgehogs cannot drink milk as they are lactose intolerant and are unable to digest it.
Newborn hedgehogs must drink milk as it is their only source of nutrition. Young hedgehogs should have milk as a part of their diet until six weeks of age.
After that, you should eliminate milk from their diet. Adult hedgehogs should not be given milk as they cannot digest it and can suffer from diarrhoea.
Can Baby Hedgehogs Drink Milk?
All mammals breastfeed, and that does not exclude hedgehogs. Mother hedgehogs feed milk to their hoglets. All hoglets drink milk, and it remains their only source of nourishment until they are three weeks of age.
After three weeks, baby hedgehogs can be introduced to other forms of food.
However, sometimes mother hedgehogs reject their babies. In this case, if you cannot find a foster mother for the hoglets, you will have to hand-feed them. To hand-feed hoglets, you will require a syringe. You can give the hoglets goat milk or sheep’s milk.
You can also give the hoglets formula milk, which includes good nutrients and minerals, to develop hedgehogs.
Can Adult Hedgehogs Drink Milk?
All hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and cannot digest milk. Therefore, if you give milk to your hedgehog even in a moderate amount, it can cause diarrhoea and, in some cases, death.
As aforementioned, hedgehogs can be given other foods besides milk when they are of three weeks.
Milk should remain a part of their diet until they reach six weeks. After six weeks of age, you should not be giving any milk to your hedgehog. Hedgehogs do not need to drink milk past six weeks of age.
Other foods, besides milk, contain better nutrition and minerals for your hedgehog. Giving your hedgehog milk will only leave less room for other foods. You should not give any milk to your hedgehog.
Can Hedgehogs Drink Cow’s Milk?
Usually, the most common type of milk lying around in our fridge is cow’s milk.
However, you should never give your hedgehog cow’s milk because it is rich in lactose, which hedgehogs cannot digest. Giving cow’s milk, even in moderate portions, can cause an upset stomach and diarrhoea in hedgehogs.
You should avoid cow’s milk completely.
Can Hedgehogs Drink Goat’s Milk?
As hoglets and young hedgehogs, milk is required for a complete, nutritious diet.
So while cow’s milk is bad for hedgehogs, you can give them goat’s milk. In addition, you can give goat’s milk to hoglets and young hedgehogs because it contains a low level of lactose. Therefore, goat’s milk is a safer option than cow’s milk.
Does Milk Kill Hedgehogs?
Milk contains lactose which is a form of sugar that hedgehogs cannot digest. While larger animals can still consume some milk, hedgehogs cannot do that because of their small size.
Therefore, milk, in any form and amount, is dangerous for hedgehogs.
While humans like giving their pets lots of food options to choose from, you should avoid milk. Milk is a dangerous choice for hedgehogs because it causes them to have diarrhoea. When hedgehogs get diarrhoea, they can get dehydrated easily.
A dehydrated hedgehog with an upset stomach may not eat much, become weak quickly and eventually fight for its life. Unfortunately, it is true that milk can kill hedgehogs.
Apart from milk, it is best not to give any dairy-based products to your hedgehogs, such as cheese and yoghurt. This is because dairy-based products also have lactose in them that can have adverse effects on your hedgehog’s health.
What Kind of Milk Can Hedgehogs Drink?
Although adult hedgehogs do not require milk, there are still some kinds of milk that you can give. Moreover, since hoglets and young hedgehogs need milk to gain essential nutrients, it is best to know what is safe for them if the situation ever arises.
One of the choices that people go to for orphaned hedgehogs is to give them cat milk. As cats themselves are lactose intolerant, cat milk is a safe choice because it does not have any lactose. Therefore, giving cat milk to baby hedgehogs will not cause any digestive issues.
Other kinds of milk containing lactose can lead to digestive problems and, worse, death for some hedgehogs.
What About Plant-Based Milk?
Many people are moving towards a healthy alternative for milk for themselves, and this includes oat milk. But is it safe for hedgehogs? Hedgehogs can be given small amounts of oat milk as an occasional treat.
However, oat milk needs to not contain any sugar or extra flavouring. Therefore, you should give your hedgehog oat milk as it is without adding any extra ingredients. Make sure you avoid sweetened or flavoured (vanilla for example) milk.
You can give goat’s milk to baby hedgehogs that their mother has abandoned as it has a low lactose content.
You can also give sheep’s milk to baby hedgehogs. Finally, if you do not want to choose any natural milk, you can feed baby hedgehogs with formula milk which contains the right nutrients and minerals for growing hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs cannot drink milk because they are lactose intolerant. Being lactose intolerant means that hedgehogs cannot digest milk which leads to digestive issues and diarrhoea. Baby hedgehogs drink milk as it is their only form of nourishment.
Adult hedgehogs do not need to drink milk. When hedgehogs turn three weeks old, you can introduce them to other foods besides milk. By six weeks of age, you should remove milk completely from your hedgehog’s diet.
If diarrhoea because of milk consumption gets bad, it can even kill a hedgehog. However, oat’s milk, goat’s milk, and sheep’s milk are safe for your hedgehog to consume.