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This article is about basic grooming. For more information see Toenail Clipping and Bathing.



Hedgehogs do a fairly good job of grooming themselves but sometimes, there are things they need help with. If you wish, you can bath your hedgehog a couple times a year. Here is what you will need.

Assemble the following items at your bathroom sink:
  • cat shampoo
  • a cup (unless you have a sink with sprayer hose)
  • an old toothbrush
  • a towel at the sink or bathtub
Run an inch (no more!) of lukewarm water into the bathroom sink. Next, place a drop or two of the cat shampoo into the water. Now, place your hedgehog gently into the water and wet him thoroughly by scooping water from the sink with the cup onto his back. Using the toothbrush, gently and slowly scrub his spines from front to back and in small circles, making sure not to get any of the soapy water in his eyes. Once his back is clean, reach underneath and wash his tummy by gently running your fingers over the fur, but do not flip him over. After he has been thoroughly scrubbed, remove him from the sink, drain the dirty water and once again refill the sink with an inch of lukewarm water. Then, place him back in, thoroughly rinse him off, remove him from the sink and then gently towel him dry. If the room is cool, you can use a hairdryer to dry him off, but do not use it above its lowest setting.

Toenail Trimming

Check his toenails to see if they need trimming. If you are not familiar with how to trim toenails, I strongly recommend that you take your hedgehog to the vet to have him do this for you. Each toenail has a large blood vein running through it and, by cutting too much of the nail off, you can easily cause your pet to bleed. This bleeding can quickly be stopped by using a commercially available blood-stop powder or caustic stick (available from your vet) or by dipping the affected toenail in corn starch. If not treated, the bleeding will eventually stop, but not before the animal has lost a considerable amount of blood. To make matters worse, your hedgehog may protest against having his nails trimmed and will make the task difficult, if not impossible for you to perform on your own. Again, if you are unsure about doing this, have a professional do it for you!

For those already familiar with the task, a pair of ordinary fingernail clippers will do the job. If he protests, which he very well may, you will have to be very patient with him. First, try to firmly but gently grab hold of one foot and maintain that hold until he relaxes a bit. Then, quickly trim the toenails making sure to avoid cutting into the quick. After finishing, give him a bit of a break or a nice treat as a reward and proceed with the next foot. In most cases, you will be unable to do more than one or two of his feet at a setting before he says enough is enough, so it may take two or three days to do all four feet. The toenails need to be checked for over-growth every couple of months. There are some hedgehogs that never need them trimmed, however, so don't automatically assume that they need doing.


  1. Hedgehog Central - Bathing and Nail Trimming (external link)

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Created by: admin Last Modification: Wednesday 04 of March, 2009 09:27:12 EST by admin

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