Pet hedgehogs are quiet and intriguing little animals, but they do have a lot of energy and take a lot of care.
As a reasonably recent introduction to the pet world, dedicated supplies are somewhat limited, and owners may have to make do with rabbit hutches and hamster bedding. Similarly, there isn’t a huge range of hedgehog food on the market, and because early examples of food used poor quality ingredients and did little to meet the nutritional requirements of your hedgehog, some owners are still reluctant to buy hedgehog food.
There has indeed been an increase in the range of pet foods specifically for hedgehogs, but the overall selection is still limited. Thankfully, there are plenty of cat foods and even some dog foods that are considered suitable for your hedgehog. Always avoid feeding fish-flavored foods, do not offer milk, and try to choose a food that is suitable for your hedgehog according to its stage and style of life.
Below are reviews of 10 of the best food and cat foods for hedgehogs, enabling you to sort through the options and find the one that is best for your hog.
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10 Best Food & Cat Food for Hedgehogs – Reviews 2021
1. Mazuri Hedgehog Food – Best Overall
Although hedgehogs do best with at least some insects in their diet, you will need a commercial food of some sort to help supplement the vitamins and minerals in their daily food intake. Mazuri Hedgehog Food contains protein, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids and is high in fiber, so it matches the nutritional makeup of your hedgehog’s insect diet. It can be used to supplement some or all of your hedgehog feeding.
Mazuri food has proven popular with hedgehogs and their owners. The kibble retains its shape well, which means that you aren’t met with a face full of dust when you open the bag. Its main ingredient is chicken meal, which is a concentrated form of chicken and considered a good protein source.
A total of 28% minimum protein does meet the recommended protein requirements, although it could also benefit from being a little higher. The fat content of 11% means that this food is better suited to adults. The fiber content of 11% will be high enough if you feed a combination diet and will be high enough even if you only feed this meal.
Mazuri has a good nutritional mix, but the bag is small which increases its cost over time. The protein level, although safe, could be a little higher, and it would be best to feed this food in combination with some insects.
2. Exotic Nutrition Complete Hedgehog Food – Best Value
Exotic Nutrition Hedgehog Complete Hedgehog Food is cheap. In fact, it’s about a quarter of the price, by weight, of the Mazuri Hedgehog Food, which makes it the best food & cat food for hedgehogs for the money. It also has a high protein level of 35% and it claims to be a complete food, which means that the manufacturer believes it is suitable to completely replace the hedgehog’s existing insectivore diet.
However, the food uses blood meal as its primary ingredient. Blood meal is a dried powder made from animal blood and usually collected from slaughterhouses. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with blood meal but it is not a high-quality protein source. Other ingredients include ground corn, so several ingredients look like they are cheap fillers and presumably used as a means to keep the cost of the food down.
Also, while the protein level is very good, the food only has 7% fat and 8% fiber, both of which need to be higher to serve as a complete hedgehog food. This can be acceptable if you continue to feed a daily source of live or dry insects for your hog but not as a solitary food source.
3. Blue Buffalo Weight Control Adult Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice
Blue Buffalo Weight Control Adult Dry Cat Food is a dry cat food but it has appropriate nutrient contents and ingredients to be fed to cats. With 30% protein levels and primary ingredients that include deboned chicken and chicken meal, it is one of the better cat foods for hedgehog consumption. It does contain menhaden fish meal, but in the quantity at which it is found, this fishy ingredient shouldn’t negatively impact your hog’s digestion and does add important omega-3 fatty acids to its diet.
A level of 30% protein is very healthy, but the 10% fat and 9% fiber could do with being a little higher and require that you feed this food as part of an insectivore mixed diet.
The food also contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, including chelated minerals. Chelated minerals have improved bioavailability, which means that your pet enjoys greater nutritional benefits from their consumption.
4. Fluker’s Gourmet-Style Mealworms
You have to be careful feeding mealworms to hedgehogs. Large quantities of dried mealworms can cause bone disease and other major problems, so dried worms should be avoided. Fluker’s Gourmet-Style Mealworms are live, moist worms, although it is likely that some will have died before you open the can.
Live mealworms have very good protein and amino acid levels, which are very healthy for pet hedgehogs. The concern arises from the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, which is considered poor.
Fluker’s Gourmet-Style Mealworms make a tasty treat as long as they are fed as part of a balanced and healthy diet. You should also ensure that your hog is not eating solely worms and ignoring the rest of the food as a result. They can become addicted to the tasty little morsels.
As an occasional treat, the Fluker’s jar is inexpensive and will last for months, while ensuring that the mealworms survive reasonably well. However, you should not consider these to be a daily food source and you must watch for signs that your hedgehog is becoming addicted.
5. I and Love and You Naked Essentials Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
One of the reasons that hedgehog owners have been drawn to dry cat food as a regular food source for their pets is because cats have a similarly high protein requirement to hedgehogs. This means that complete foods that are suitable for cats are nearly suitable for hedgehogs, although hedgehogs do have a higher fiber and fat requirement than most felines. Another reason is that both species should have a grain-free diet.
The I and Love and You Naked Essentials Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is a grain-free recipe. Its main ingredients are chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal, which are considered good protein sources. It has 34% protein and 14% fat, both of which are considered good for hedgehogs. The food is also well priced and comes in decent-sized bags that will last.
However, I and Love and You Naked Essentials Grain-Free Dry Cat Food does have a few problems. First, it only has 4% fiber which is a lot lower than alternative foods and is lower than ideal for a hedgehog. You can supplement this as long as you continue to feed live insects daily, however. The food also contains fish oil. Hedgehogs do not digest fish well and it can lead to an increased amount of fishy-smelling poo. A strong fish smell can also put hedgehogs off eating the food in the first place.
6. Sunseed 40060 Vita Prima Hedgehog Food
Sunseed 40060 Vita Prima Hedgehog food is another food created specifically for feeding hedgehogs. Made from poultry, seafood, and mealworms, the food is a pellet that is supposed to retain its shape and offer uniform feeding to your hog.
The ingredients do not include any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and have been fortified with vitamins A, D, and E. It is a reasonably priced food and comes in a decent-sized bag. The protein level of 38% is considered very good for hedgehogs.
Looking at the primary ingredients of this food, the main ingredient in Sunseed Vita Prima Hedgehog Food is wheat bran. Hedgehogs are insectivores and would only eat a small amount of wheat as part of their natural diet, so it is a little worrying that this is the first ingredient.
The food also contains fish meal, tuna meal, and other seafood sources. The smell of seafood can and does put some hedgehogs off, and could be too rich for your hog’s stomach. Another undesirable ingredient is dried mealworm which can lead to impaction and cause serious illness. Finally, while the protein level is really good, the fat and fiber levels could do with being a little higher at 8% and 9%, respectively.
7. IAMS 10146516 Healthy Dry Cat Food
IAMS Healthy Dry Cat Food is one of the cheapest foods on this list. It is a chicken and salmon recipe dry food that comes in large resealable bags that are also convenient. A 32% protein content is a good level for hedgehogs, whether they are active or more sedentary.
Its primary ingredients are chicken and chicken by-product meal and the 15% fat level by analysis is also a beneficial level of your pet hedgehog.
However, the Healthy Dry Cat Food is a salmon-based food, which obviously contains a lot of fish and seafood. Even the chicken food contains some fish oil, although it is in a small enough amount that it should not cause illness in your hog. Also, the fish oil in the ingredients, along with chicken fat, helps provide additional omega-3 fatty acids which are important. The fiber ratio is low at 3%, so you will have to supplement this food with insects to ensure a balanced diet.
8. Pet-Pro Spike’s Delite Hedgehog Diet Food
Pet-Pro Spike’s Delite Hedgehog Diet Food is a dedicated hedgehog food and is targeted at hedgehogs that are overweight and need to lose some pounds. Fortified with added vitamins and minerals, the food is expensive for the relatively small 1.5-pound bag, which means that you will have to order regular packs. The food has a good 32% protein ratio.
The fat content is 12% which is a good level and may even be considered a little high for diet food. A level of 6% fiber means that you will have to feed an additional fiber source to your hog.
The primary ingredients in Pet-Pro Spike’s Delite Hedgehog Diet Food are chicken meal, which is a good meat-based protein source, but also yellow corn and soybean meal. These two latter ingredients are grains, and hedgehogs should ideally be fed a grain-free diet because they wouldn’t consume this type of ingredient in the wild. The ingredients also include fish meal and other seafood sources, which are considered bad for hedgehogs because they can affect digestion and the smell may put them off the food in the first place.
9. Ultra Select Hedgehog Diet Food
The 8-in-1 Ultra Select Hedgehog Diet Food is specially formulated for hedgehogs. It comes in quite small bags and works out an expensive food per pound.
The primary ingredients are poultry by-product meal. This is a non-descript ingredient and it would be better to see a named meat source. Chicken fat is high in the ingredients, and while this ingredient may not sound great, it is a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Corn is a grain, which is unrequired and undesired by hedgehogs and is found next in the ingredient list. The food has a 30% protein ratio, which is within the required levels. It also has 8% fat and 5% fiber, both of which need to be higher, so this food does require that you feed a combination of kibble and insects to achieve a balanced diet. This food is expensive and for the price, you would expect to see better quality as well as higher fat and fiber levels.
10. Pretty Pets Premium Hedgehog Food
Pretty Pets Premium Hedgehog Food is premium by name and price tag, costing more than most on this list. The manufacturer claims that it is better than feeding inconsistent insects because natural food can vary in protein level.
Pretty Pets does have a decent 32% protein, although this comes primarily from corn and hedgehogs struggle to properly digest grains so the actual amount of protein that your hedgehog gets will vary. The fat content of 5% and fiber content of 6% should both be higher, too, especially if you’re intending to feed this food as a replacement for live insects. It has been fortified with vitamins including vitamin A, D, and E.
Most hedgehog owners feed their hedgehogs on a diet of insects and dry cat kibble. Cat food has a high protein ratio that makes it ideal for hedgehog consumption. Many formulae are grain-free and that derive their protein from animal sources like chicken. Try to ensure that protein levels are at least 28% and ideally closer to 35% or even 40%. Because hedgehogs need more fat than cats, even the highest ratio in cat foods is likely to be on the low side for your hog.
Cat food is optimized for cats so you will have to do some of your own research and digging to ensure that you feed a healthy and nutritional diet for your little ones. Hopefully, our reviews have helped you find those foods that are suitably high in fat and fiber, and have a decent protein ratio as well.
Mazuri Hedgehog Food is one of the few reasonably quality foods that are specifically geared towards the hedgehog. Its 11% fiber could be higher and while 28% protein is high enough it is borderline. Otherwise, it is an appealing food that is well priced and appealing to hogs. Exotic Nutrition Complete Hedgehog Food is cheap and comes in a big bag to help keep costs down even further. Despite the low cost, this hedgehog food has a very good 35% protein ratio and is a nutritional option for your hog.
Featured Image Credit: pasSsy, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.