Treatment for Fleas on a Pet Hedgehog

Discovering a hedgehog with a flea problem is both unnerving and scary. A popular fear when it happens is Anemia, a very possible effect for such small creatures. Hedgehogs are so small, a ‘little’ flea infestation can turn serious if the animal develops anemia.

Since hedgehog fleas are generally rare in domestic hedgehogs in the US, it’s more important to cover the type they’re most likely to have, regular old cat and dog fleas. To determine if your hedgie has fleas, coax him or her onto her back and take a look at their belly where the soft fur is, this is where the will be most visible. Seeing even a few fleas needs to be taken care of quickly as they multiply with incredible speed.

First you should remove your hedgehog from their cage. If you can’t bathe them right at the moment, put them somewhere like a travel cage with only a towel or napkins so they’re out of the infested cage. Your hedgehog is likely to be itchy and irritated so try to be gentle and understanding.

While you can use certain bird and kitten flea treatments for hedgehogs, some don’t feel safe using such things on their hedgehogs. What has turned out to be a perfect substitute is Dawn dish soap. It’s really that simple. Take the animal and put them in the sink, put the stopper (Watch their feet don’t get caught in the drain!) and run a few inches of warm, never hot, water. Use your good sense on how much water to use, how big is your hedgehog?

After running the water put some of the dawn soap into the water and some onto the back quills. If they’re not too scared you can rub it in with your fingers. An easier (and probably less painful) way is to take a cup and pour some of the warm soapy water over his or her back. At first, it will seem ineffective but if you continue, the water will strip away the flea’s ability to walk on water and stick to your hedgehog, making them fall right off.

If your sink has a sprayer then use that to run warm water down the hedgehog’s back and face if needed. Do not use the soapy water on the face, it could get into their eyes and cause irritation. After putting them through this they’ll most likely be nervous and upset. Wrap them in a warm, dry towel and let them relax for a while. If you can, have someone hold them while you take care of the rest of the cleaning.

The rest is simply further treatment, but of your house. Determine the source of the fleas. If it’s a cat or dog and you leave them untreated, your hedgehog will probably be infested again in a few weeks. You need to completely replace all bedding in the cage and scrub all toys and dishes inside the cage. There will be flea eggs that will hatch if you don’t remove them.

There’s a small chance that maybe you missed a flea or two and they could start the cycle again, if so then you should catch it early this time and bathe them again. The problem rarely persists for more than two cleanings; the dawn soap is very effective. Be aware though, dawn could easily dry out their skin so use it infrequently, only when needed and not for regular bathing. As a guard against low iron levels or Anemia, we would give my hedgehog a small amount of unseasoned, cooked chicken breast a few times, to bring up her protein levels. I hope this article was helpful to some worried hedgehog owner out there. Good luck!