Owning a hedgehog is great fun but as you probably know it also comes with a lot of responsibilities, such as regularly changing their bedding.
This brings up common questions like…how often should I change my hedgehog’s bedding? And does the bedding always need to have a full change?
These are great questions and ones that we will dive in and answer in this post.
Before we take a deeper look, let’s begin by answering the original question in a short but informative way…
So how often should I change my hedgehog’s bedding? To ensure that your hedgehog’s bedding remains clean, fresh and hygienic, it’s important to follow a cleaning routine such as the one below…
- Spot check the bedding daily and remove any soiled bedding
- Fully replace all the bedding once per week
Read on to find out…
How Often to Change Hedgehog Bedding (More Info)
It’s a good idea to get into a regular routine when cleaning your hedgehog’s bedding.
Many vets and hedgehog care experts highly recommend that bedding should be spot-checked on a daily basis to ensure your hedgie has a hygienic and clean living environment.
One such expert is Veteriankey, who states that daily spot checks are necessary to avoid dermatitis and other problems related to urine and faecal matter.
We totally agree with this, as doing a simple spot check on a daily basis and taking away any soiled bedding is usually enough to keep the cage clean and your hedgehog in a hygienic cage until you perform your full weekly cage clean.
When you do your weekly cage clean it’s then time to do a full bedding change at the same time.
This is also recommended by vets such as Pet-MD who say that one weekly full bedding change is required.
We have recently posted a guide that shares exactly how often you should clean all aspects of your hedgehog’s cage including the cage itself, bedding, liners, exercise wheel and more!
How to Spot Check Hedgehog Bedding
Spot checking your hedgehog’s bedding is really simple but also equally as important.
It’s a good idea to spot check the bedding at the same time each day if possible. This way you are far less likely to forget if something comes up either in your work or home life and distracts you.
The easiest way to remove any poop in the cage is to use a dustpan. You will also need to remove the bedding sat around the soiled area.
It’s also important to check for other soiled areas of bedding and remove them with the dustpan if you notice any.
You can then add a little more fresh bedding if you need to. You will have to use your own judgement here, depending on how much bedding you have removed on that particular day.
Sticking to a simple and regular routine that works for you should be more than enough to keep your hedgies cage clean and smell free until it’s time to do a full weekly bedding change.
How to Do a Full Hedgehog Bedding Change
Changing your hedgehog’s full bedding is something we recommend you do once per week.
To save time, we recommend you change the bedding when you perform your weekly cage clean.
If you’re not sure about how often to clean your hedgehog’s cage or how to do it, then remember we a full guide on cage cleaning including bedding here.
To change the bedding fully you will need to take everything out of the cage including your hedgehog.
This is why cleaning the cage at the same time makes sense as you will already have everything out of the cage.
You will need to have some temporary housing for your hedgehog while you change the bedding.
Some owners put their hedgie in a snuggle blanket but if you find them active while you’re cleaning then this probably isn’t the best option as they can easily wander off.
Another option is to get yourself a playpen and put your hedgehog in there with some toys while you clean and change the bedding.
We have picked out some great playpens in this guide here that your hedgehog can safely play in.
Once everything is out of the cage and your hedgie is safe in their playpen then you can get on with changing the bedding.
This really is as simple as taking your dustpan, scooping up the old bedding and emptying it out into a bin or bin sack.
Once you have disinfected the bottom of the cage you then replace the old bedding with brand new and fresh bedding, and you’re done.
What Bedding Should I Use for My Hedgehog?
Many veterinary outlets highly recommend you use dust-free bedding. Source:
Bedding that creates a lot of dust can be harmful to your hedgehog and should be avoided at all costs.
Wood chippings are sometimes a popular choice by owners, however, we wouldn’t recommend using these due to the fact that hedgehogs love to burrow and they can cause problems such as cuts to the eye then burrowing.
Recycled paper pellets or shredded paper are also popular choices and can be used even though we believe there are better choices.
The bedding we recommend is Carefresh as it’s specially designed to be a bedding for small animals such as hedgehogs.
It’s designed to be low dust, highly absorbent and soft so it’s a really good choice for hedgehogs that love to burrow.
Check out our bedding guide, where we show you which Carefresh product is the best and where to get it from for the lowest cost…
Why It’s Important to Change Your Hedgehogs Bedding?
Changing your hedgehog’s bedding regularly and spot-checking it daily is important for a number of reasons.
Faecal matter and urine can cause lots of nasty infections and health problems such as dermatitis.
Your hedgehog can also walk through their own faecal matter which ends up all over their bedding and even in their food and water bowls.
Not having a regular spot-checking and full bedding change routine also causes the cage to smell and that’s obviously not something we want for both our hedgehog and our home.
We’ve found that getting into the habit of checking bedding and changing bedding at the same time and days helps tremendously to keep on top of things.
How to Keep My Hedgehogs Bedding Cleaner For Longer?
Even though your hedgehog’s bedding needs spot-checking daily and fully changing weekly, there’s a way you can keep it cleaner and smelling fresher for longer.
This will require you to litter box train your hedgehog. It’s perfectly normal for hedgehogs to be litter box trained and according to Vetmed.
Litter box training essentially keeps all poop in one spot and on a homemade litter tray to remove any faecal matter easily and without having to take out lots of bedding too.
Below is a step by step guide showing how to litter box train your hedgehog…
Step 1 – The first thing you need to do is to find out what area of the cage you hedgehog prefers to poop.
Hedgehogs usually choose one area of the cage to poop and stick to that area.
Step 2 – You will need an old shoebox, you will only need the bottom of the box so it acts like a tray.
Completely cut one of the smallest sides/walls out so your hedgehog can walk into the box/tray.
Step 3 – You will now need to purchase some ‘non-clumping’ litter and place a small amount in the tray.
You will also need to place some of your hedgehog’s recent poop in the tray too. This will help them to understand what the tray is for.
Step 4 – Now place the litter box tray in the place where you noticed your hedgehog regularly poops.
Your hedgehog should use this tray as they start to get used to the idea.
The main thing is not to get frustrated if they don’t use it straight away. Some hedgies take a few days up to a few weeks to become comfortable with using a litter box tray.
If your hedgehog really doesn’t like the concept of using the tray at all then you may have to take it out as it’s not worth stressing them out in the long run.