Kute Kwills is located in the UK, so most information here is based on UK guidelines , much will apply wherever you are, but different countries will deem different things as "acceptable"
Sometimes your pet may be dirty and need a bath. You will need towels, a toothbrush, and a sink or tub. Shampoo isn’t always necessary, but you can use a couple drops of Aveeno bath in the water if desired. It is important to remember hedgehogs are prone to very dry skin, so try not to bath your pet too often, no more than one bath per month to avoid drying out your hedgehog’s skin. Most hedgehogs will need a bath even less than once per month. and in the case of mucky feet, a shallow foot bath will do. Fill your sink or tub with warm water. Do not fill any deeper than chest level and make sure the water is not too hot.If your water is too deep you risk them inhaling it into their lungs, which could lead to illness. Place your pet in the sink or tub and wet his back with the warm water. Try to avoid getting his eyes, ears, and face wet. This is important to prevent water getting to the lungs an causing illness. Take the toothbrush and gently scrub his quills from front to back, as if you were petting them. NEVER rub against the quills in the wrong direction. Then reach under him with your hands and gently wash the fur on his belly, or if you have a grumpy hog use your toothbrush again. If you used some sort of baby shampoo, drain the sink or tub and refill it with clean water to rinse your pet. Be sure to remove him from the sink when refilling it.
Once the bath is complete remove your hedgehog and place him in a towel. Gently dry him and try to remove as much water as possible. A second towel may be necessary if the original towel becomes too damp. For about 30mins after his or her bath cuddle up in a snuggle sack or blanket to return proper body temp and assure your hog is dry. You want your pet to be
completely dry before returning him to his cage.
Things that you can do to help with the discomfort of quilling or Dry skin include bathing , as it is helpful in soothing the hedgehogs skin. A luke warm bath with an oatmeal shampoo such as the Aveeno baby shampoo, or actual oatmeal sachets soaked in the water. You can also add a tablespoon or so of vitamin E, flaxseed, olive oil, or other non-toxic oil to the rinse which can help soften the skin. This can make it easier for the new quills to poke through, which makes the hedgehog less uncomfortable and irritable. After a bath OR if you notice your pets skin is dry, you can also use Almond oil spray or some other skin soothing spray. Hedgehogs should never be bathed more than once in a months time, if they require feet cleaning or a wipe of muck, use a shallow footbath which doesnt reach the belly, or you can also use non scented baby wipes.
Some use baby nail clippers to trim hedgie nails.
After a bath is usually the easiest time to trim nails because the nails are softer and the hedgehog is more relaxed.
One method is to hold the hedgehog in your hands, grab a paw and let someone else trim the nail. This can be done in the water or while being held immediately after the bath.
Be careful not to twist the leg or over extend it. A firm grasp is good but pulling and tugging could be dangerous.
Another method is to put your hedgehog on a screen or aquarium lid. Hold the screen at an angle and the hedgehog will grip the screen to hang on. This will make it easier for you to pick-up a foot.
Cutting the Quick
Cutting the nail too far into the quick or nail bed it will cause it to bleed but it will not cause permanent damage.
You can use Styptic powder (this may burn), a blood-stop product such as Stop Quik, or finally cornstarch or flour to help stop the bleeding.
It is a good idea to have blood-stopping products available or on hand before you actually need them.
Observing Feet and Legs
While daily observations of your pet are important bath time may provide an occasion when you may have better lighting and a more cooperative pet.
It is important to carefully observe your hedgehog’s feet and legs. Loose threads from a variety of sources, human hair, and carpet fibers can all wrap around hedgie feet. The extent of the resulting damage can range from mild discomfort to loss of blood supply to the foot and subsequent need for amputation.
These are a fairly common problem and are not a sign of poor husbandry. A hedgehog can get mites lots of different ways, bedding and food are the usual culprits of infestation. Natural items like food and bedding often carry these small mites and survive the pet store until they are introduced to your hedgie's enclosure. Aside from treating the hedgehog for mites, you'll need to treat the environment as well. Clean and wash the entire cage, hide box, water bowl, any blankets or towels, toys, and the wheel in the cage with a mild non toxicdetergent and rinse well. Throw out any bedding that isn't washable along with all the kibble that is already in the cage. Freeze the remaining bedding and kibble that you have for 24 hours to kill any mites that may be in them. Signs of mites are, dry flaky skin, itchiness, excessive quill loss , bald spots. Xeno 50 mini is highly recommended for hedgehog parasite control. Use ONLY ONE DROP for your hedgehog. Some safe treatments for mites in African pygmy hedgehogs is selamectin spot-on. The brand name for this product in the states is Revolution, in the U.K it is called Stronghold and it is the 15 microgram pipette for puppies and kittens that should be used.
For hedgehogs under 400g the dosage is simply 1 drop from the pipette between the shoulder blades and for those over 400g place a second drop further down the spine near the rump. A single pipette should hold enough for several hedgehogs. Stronghold is completely safe and has been used on hedgehogs of all ages as well asnursing and pregnant hogs.
Word of caution products that contain invermectin which has been linked to some illness and a few DEATHS . If your vet wishes to use Ivermectin REQUEST the alternative if your concerned with how your hedgehog may react.