As pet owners, one of the foremost questions we have to answer has to do with feeding our pets. There are a lot of things out there, some are edible and healthy, while some are the direct opposite. We have to be certain we’re giving the right food to our pets and in the right quantity.
Not every food, vegetable, or supplement should be given to our pets. As the human body is different from other mammals, so it is with animals. What pet A can eat without any effect, pet B may have adverse reactions to it. So, it is very important you know what works for your pet.
Can hedgehogs eat tomatoes?
No. Hedgehogs cannot eat tomatoes safely.
Tomatoes are very acidic in nature, their acidity ranges from 4.3-4.9 on a pH scale of 7. Your hedgehog will have trouble digesting tomatoes. Eating tomatoes may lead to severe diarrhea and an upset stomach for your pet.
What to do if my hedgehog accidentally eats tomatoes?
We cannot keep an eye on our pets all the time, neither can we always prevent them from consuming whatever they find. Consumption of tomatoes may lead to watery stool and loss of appetite.
If you suspect your pet has eaten tomatoes, do not panic, simply call your veterinarian and, follow his or her instructions. If your pet is showing signs of distress and pain, please take a trip to the vet’s office immediately.
What Can I Feed My Hedgehog?
We have established that feeding your hedgehog tomatoes is a no-no. Generally, hedgehogs can either be omnivores or insectivores. They are known to consume a large range of foods, varying from insects to fruits and vegetables. Always remember to cut food into tiny bits and pieces, to enable them to chew easily and to prevent choking.
It is advisable to cook hard fruits and vegetables to soften them and make them easier for your hedgehog to eat. Feeding your hedgehog should be done in moderation as overfeeding of even the ‘good’ kinds of food can cause constipation.
Below is a list of things you can feed your hedgehogs:
- Insects. Only some animals such as hedgehogs can consume insects. This is due to the fact that insects contain a chemical compound called chitin, which only a few organisms can digest. Hedgehogs can eat various insects such as crickets, mealworms, or wax worms. They can either eat them live or freeze-dried.
- Fruits. Including fruits in your hedgehog’s meals is a great way to supplement its diet. Fruits contain large numbers of vitamins such as vitamin C, which build up the immune system of your pet and help them fight off diseases and infections easier. It is best to feed your pet fresh fruits and not dried, as dried fruits are quite hard to chew and they contain concentrated amounts of nutrients compared to fresh fruits which have water to dilute the nutrients. The concentrated nutrients may be too much for your hedgehog to consume at one go. Fruits to feed your hedgehog include, bananas, berries, watermelon.
- Vegetables. These are also a great source of vitamins for your hedgehog. Some vegetables also provide fiber, which is great for aiding digestion. Vegetables should be chopped into little bits and pieces and cooked to soften them. Examples of vegetables that are safe to feed include spinach, cucumber, broccoli, zucchini, romaine lettuce, carrot, arugula, radish, turnip, collard greens, asparagus, and green pepper. Also, it is better to feed your hedgehog fresh vegetables than dried ones.
- Meat: Meats are a good source of proteins for your pet hedgehog. You can feed your pet canned dog food that contains meat, or you can simply cook little pieces of meat with a little seasoning and serve your pet. Avoid giving raw meat to your hedgehog, as it may be difficult to digest and can cause stomach upset. It is also possible for raw meat to carry germs and microorganisms, such as intestinal worms. These microorganisms may be harmful to your pet and, can be transferred when infected meat is consumed. Properly cooking the meat will kill off any germs or organisms that will hurt your pet.
Other Foods To Avoid Feeding Your Hedgehog
It is important to know what to feed your pet, but knowing what to avoid feeding them will go a long way in understanding how to care for and keep them healthy. The following foods listed below have been know to cause adverse effect in hedgehogs who have consumed them. Some of the effects include persistent diarrhea, kidney and liver damage, and some other severe reactions.
- Grapes. There are some kinds of food that when consumed in little quantities, will have no effect on your hedgehog. Grapes are NOT one of those foods. Eating even a small amount of grapes can cause the failure of internal organs such as the liver, or the renal organs (kidney). Grapes are known to be very toxic to hedgehogs and are best avoided at all costs.
- Cheese. Research has shown that hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. They cannot digest the sugar lactose in dairy products. Therefore, having cheese in their diet is not healthy. Other diary products such as milk should also be avoided. However, cottage cheese has been eaten by hedgehogs without any side effects. If you want to feed your hedgehog cottage cheese, it is best eaten in the smallest amount and not regularly. It is important to observe your hedgehog for signs of pain or discomfort after eating the cottage cheese.
- Citrus fruits. The acidity level of citrus fruits is known to be very high, especially for your hedgehog. Citrus can cause serious digestive problems and, in severe cases, internal organ damage to hedgehogs. Citrus fruits should be omitted from the diet of your hedgehogs totally. Such fruits include oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit.
- Raisins. These have been reported to cause the failure of internal organs such as the liver and kidneys in hedgehogs. They are also known to cause digestive problems and intestinal damage.
- Vegetables. There are some vegetables that are absolutely bad for your hedgehogs, as they can cause serious difficulties to your pet. Vegetables like avocado, celery, corn, onion, tomatoes, and garlic should be avoided as they are difficult to chew and even more difficult for hedgehogs to digest. Consumption of onions and garlic has been known to cause poisoning in hedgehogs. Due to the high level of starch in potatoes, they should be avoided in your hedgehog diet, as they will be difficult to digest.
- Pineapples. This fruit is known to have a high sugar content and is also very acidic. They are also known to increase the risk of obesity. They should not be given to your hedgehog for any reason.
- Nuts and seeds should be avoided as they can cause choking.