FAQ - Basic Needs - Part 3

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Always into something...
Jan 28, 2009
Bowling Green, KY
Written by jandshyne:

A Trusted, Responsible Pet Sitter: If you go on vacation you must make sure your Hedgehog has its food, water, free time, and treats, since you won’t be there to do so you will need a trusted pet sitter. It’s never ok to leave your Hedgehog home and unattended for more than about 24 hours. If a water bottle was to leak, your furnace was to stop working, your air conditioner should stop working, their food supply became contaminated, your Hedgehog should take ill, or wildlife happened to wander in to your Hedgehog’s habitat the consequences could be disastrous so you must always be prepared. It’s a great idea to have a credit card number on file with your vet in case of emergencies. You can authorize the use of it when you are going to be out of town should your pet sitter come across an emergency or even work something out ahead of time with your vet so they know you will be gone and they can treat your Hedgehog in your absence. It is very important to be prepared for every eventuality, when you aren’t home. A sticker for your window or door alerting emergency personnel you have Hedgehogs inside is a must, you can get them from most emergency agencies, ASPCA Offices, Shelters, Humane Societies, and even in some pet stores. It’s also a good idea to make certain a nearby neighbor knows you will be out of town and can keep an eye out for anything odd or emergent going on at your house. Finally it never hurts to make a phone call to your local rescue agencies informing them of the kind of pets living in your home should an emergency arise. If you don't do this you could come home to a very unhappy (or dead) Hedgehog and they can be quite ornery when they are mad!!

Time: Hedgehogs need play time and companionship every day if you want them to be friendly and to trust you. I recommend no less than 30 minutes of SUPERVISED free roam time in a "Hedgehog Proof" room or in an enclosure like a child’s wading pool per night. The more time you spend with your hedgehog the better the bond and the better the chance your hedgehog will be friendly and not huffy. I also suggest holding your hedgehog on your lap while watching TV, chatting online, answering e-mails, reading a book, etc… You really can’t spend too much time with your hedgehog!!

Vet Care: This is of the utmost importance. You must be able to find a vet that is skilled in Hedgehog care or willing to learn what is necessary to care for them. Hedgehogs can injure themselves by cutting themselves on toys or their cage, breaking their legs, getting a cold, watery eyes, etc... Even the cleanest of Hedgehog rooms does not assure you won’t end up with a health problem in your Hedgehog so you must always be prepared. Aside from that hedgehogs are prone to a number of tumors, dental problems, colds, upper respiratory infections, food allergies, etc… Murphy’s Law assures you will need vet care on an emergency basis at least once in your hedgehog’s lifetime, you need to be sure you have a vet who’s available on an emergency basis or who has an emergency clinic to back them up. It’s also a good idea to have your vet’s home number or the number of a hedgehog knowledgeable colleague should your vet be unavailable in an emergency, especially if the emergency clinic isn’t hedgehog savvy. As a minimum I recommend at least one FULL check up per year to ensure your Hedgehog stays as healthy as possible. Some things we have checked, fecals (to check for blood in the stool, parasites, etc…), skin scraping (to check for Mites), dental workup, blood work (to check for elevated blood cell counts signaling infection), a full physical including firm palpation of your entire hedgehog to check for lumps. Often this examination will be performed while your hedgehog is sedated allowing a full work up without danger of a bite or quill poking, and to keep your hedgehog still during the exams.
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