Comfort a Dying Hedgehog

How To Comfort a Dying Hedgehog

To comfort your dying Hedgehog, make sure a dying Hedgehog has a quiet sleeping area that is warm enough. If he refuses to drink water, provide him with high-moisture food. Some dying hedgehogs want to be held by their owners, while others prefer to be left alone. If required, go to the vet.

In this article, I will help you learn signs that your Hedgehog is dying and how you can make the process comfortable. I will also answer frequently asked questions on the topic.

What Are the Signs of a Dying Hedgehog?

If you note any of the following signs, take care of your pet closely.

Sleeping at Night

Hedgehogs are only active at night. They are generally highly active at night after resting all day.

During the night, a healthy hedgehog runs many miles. So, if you can’t hear the spinning running wheel, something is amiss.

Keep in mind that it’s quite typical for a young hedgehog to need a few days to adjust to his new surroundings after you’ve taken him home. In addition, he found the process both exciting and exhausting.

Don’t be alarmed if he sleeps the first one or two nights.

Hedgehogs require a dark environment. Too much light at night is unpleasant for your Hedgehog and will make him sleep. Make certain that the cage is in the appropriate places.

It should be a peaceful space with the lights turned off at night. Your living room, with the television on late at night, might not be the best choice.

Lethargy and Weakness

Hedgehogs as pets are busy and curious creatures. They like trying out new things and exploring new places.

You should be concerned if nothing interests you anymore. However, there are situations when it is simply typical behavior. 

Every Hedgehog has a distinct personality. While some people are high-energy, others choose to rest more frequently.

Hedgehogs can be “lazy” by nature, making them appear sickly or sluggish when they simply want to relax. You shouldn’t be too concerned if this is the case.

However, if your Hedgehog suddenly becomes weak, it should not be overlooked. Hedgehogs’ weakness and sleepiness are frequently induced by old age or physical weariness following an activity.

Older hedgehogs tend to sleep more than those that are younger. They are tired at times, regardless of their age. Allow your pet to rest for a day and see if it becomes more active the next day.

Lack Of Appetite and Rapid Weight Loss

A sick hedgehog’s lack of appetite is a warning signal, particularly when it lasts for a long time and is linked to weight loss. 

If your Hedgehog is rapidly losing weight, it’s an indication that he’s on the verge of passing away. If your Hedgehog stops eating due to a lack of appetite, the same may be said.

Your Hedgehog should be eating and regularly drinking after sleeping all day. Something is amiss if your Hedgehog doesn’t approach her food and drink bowl when she wakes up.

For the next few days, keep a close eye on him. If you don’t have any other options, try to offer him his favorite snacks and syringe feed. It’s sometimes simply your hedgehogs’ way of attracting more attention. If nothing else works, go to the veterinarian.

You should be alarmed and act quickly if your Hedgehog refuses to drink. Small animals suffer from dehydration, and if the situation becomes too severe, they will stop drinking.

Unusual Urine or Feces

If hedgehogs aren’t litter trained, they defecate a lot and are all over the place. The majority of your pet’s excrement will be found around its wheel.

The color and structure of the stool, on the other hand, are strong indicators of the digestive system’s health.

The feces should be brown, solid, and in good condition. Green, tarry stool with mucus or black stools are not usual; however, they can happen if the diet changes.  

A diet change should always be done gradually, starting with a combination of old and new hedgehog food.

Blood in the stool or urine is always a cause for concern. It might be a sign of significant gastrointestinal irritation or malignant tumors. When you first see it, go to the vet.

Loss of Sense of Balance

If your Hedgehog is unable to move in a straight path or has a wobbly walking pattern, that is an indication of Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome is indicated.

Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS) is a neurological disorder that causes paralysis and finally death.

WHS affects around 10% of pet hedgehogs in the United States and North America.

Because of the disease’s impact on the brain, there is currently no treatment or cure for it. After the Hedgehog displays indications of the illness, it is anticipated to die within 18 to 24 months.

Early signs of this disease include:

  • Falling over
  • Paralysis
  • Head tilt
  • Difficulty walking
  • Wobbling even when standing still
  • Urine retention
  • Sudden loss of weight
  • Self-mutilation

Respiratory Problems

The respiratory system of hedgehogs is extremely delicate. A variety of factors might trigger irritations that can escalate to significant issues.

The first step should be to inspect the bedding. Hedgehog bedding that is suitable for them is dust-free and free of chemicals such as perfumes and other additions.

Aside from that, healthy hedgehogs sniff constantly, regardless of where they are. If you can’t hear the cute sounds, you should be concerned.

If you’re certain that nothing in the environment is causing the issue, something is seriously wrong.


In older hedgehogs, like in other tiny animals, tumors are common. The chances of being cured are best if identified early.

However, be prepared for a long period of illness, which will almost certainly result in the death of your pet hedgehog.

Lumps are most likely a non-tumorous sign. These can be found all throughout your Hedgehog’s body. However, keep in mind that certain cancers will lurk inside the bodies of your young pets.

Even if the veterinarian is successful in removing the tumor, more ones are likely to emerge quickly. It’s also likely that your Hedgehog may never be the same following the procedure.

Nose And Eyes Discharge

As previously said, abnormal breathing is a cause for concern. A symptom that might accompany it is nose discharge.

Regardless of whether the discharge is from the nose or the eyes, you should see a veterinarian.

How Do You Make Your Dying Hedgehog Comfortable?

Hedgehogs are popular pets all around the world. They hold a unique place in the hearts of their owners since they provide you with love, companionship, and many happy memories.

The terrible part is that their lives come to an end like all other living things.

To keep your beloved Hedgehog comfortable in his final days, you must address the following six important issues:

  • Make sure they are hydrated
  • Keep them at an ideal temperature
  • Make them feel affectionate
  • Try to keep them stress-free
  • Manage their pain

Let’s dive deeper into each of the methods of comforting your dying Hedgehog.

Keep Them at an Ideal Temperature

Hedgehogs may have trouble regulating their body temperature as they age or become ill. They may go into hibernation if it becomes too chilly for them.

They, on the other hand, become overheated and may have heat stress or heat stroke.

Hedgehogs like temperatures of 70°F to 77°F (21°C to 25°C). Anything between 82.4°F (28°C) and 64.4°F (18°C) is potentially lethal and distressing.

So how can you keep them warm? It might be difficult to keep your Hedgehogs warm, especially if you live in a location where temperatures can drop below freezing.

You might want to think about adding a heating source to your house. It might be an electric heater, a wood burner, or something else. It can assist in keeping your Hedgehogs at a consistent temperature.

Hay and paper bedding are great at absorbing and preserving body heat, which is essential for keeping your Hedgehogs comfortable.

You could want to put some warm pads in the cage. Heating pads are commonly heated in a microwave before being placed in the cage.

Overnight, you can cover the front of your pet’s cage with an old blanket to keep the heat in and the cold air out.

To keep it cold, keep the water fresh or change it every few hours to encourage them to drink more, keeping them hydrated and cool.

Cucumber, zucchini, melons, and other watery vegetables are good sources of hydration and keep you cool. Portion management, on the other hand, is crucial.

Give your Hedgehog a moderate mist spray if they enjoy it. Misting cold water on them lowers their body temperature and is a wonderful technique to keep them cool.

Covering your Hedgehog’s cage with a cool, damp cloth will frequently assist in reducing excess heat.

It’s a luxury for your Hedgehogs to have a self-cooling carpet in their cage. If your Hedgehog’s temperature increases, you should try adding one to their habitat.

Keeping your Hedgehogs cool may be as simple as using a fan to produce a flow of air. Make sure the fan isn’t blowing directly on them, though.

Give Them a Comfortable Sleeping Spot

You’ll see a noticeable difference in their behavior as your beloved Hedgehog approaches his final days. They will be sluggish, sleep more than normal, and seek isolation at all costs.

Rest and sleep will aid your pet in conserving what little energy they have left.

It is your responsibility to make them feel at ease as they sleep. Providing them with a serene environment is the greatest solution.

The ideal sleeping quarters are clean, dark, and noise-free.

Please do not store them in a place with a lot of foot traffic. Instead, relocate their enclosure to a less-trafficked area of your house.

Hedgehogs that are sick or dying need to be kept in a warmer environment than healthy hedgehogs. As a result, ensure sure the region is kept warm.

You could also want to use a heating pad or a heater. Please do not, however, go overboard.

Ensure it is Well Hydrated

One of the first symptoms that your Hedgehog is nearing the end of his life is a loss of appetite and thirst.

Hedgehogs do not require large amounts of food to thrive, but a shortage of water can cause health problems and painful death.

An adult Hedgehog should be able to drink 30-60 milliliters of water each day on average. As a result, if your pet is dehydrated, do not give them water straight away.

This will just dilute the already-depleted minerals, salts, and carbohydrates in your Hedgehog’s body, worsening the situation.

Make sure you don’t inject the full contents of the syringe into your Hedgehog’s mouth at once. Otherwise, you risk forcing fluid into his lungs, which will almost certainly be deadly.

Also, take your Hedgehog to your veterinarian right away if they get moderately to severely dehydrated. They might need to be admitted to the hospital and given intravenous (IV) fluids.

Try to Manage Their Pain

In those final days, it’s critical to manage our Hedgehogs’ discomfort. The issue is that hedgehogs never express their pain.

They may bury their pain until it becomes unbearable. If your Hedgehog is being nippy, hissing, curling up, or grumbling, h might be in pain.

As a result, unless a trained exotic vet has recommended it, do not give any medication to your Hedgehog. The veterinarian will ensure that your pet receives the proper medication to relieve their discomfort and make them feel at ease.

Euthanasia may be the most merciful decision if your Hedgehog has reached the point of no return. Again, consult your exotic veterinary specialist to ensure you’re making the best decision.

Provide Affection

Hedgehogs are solitary animals who prefer to be alone most of the time, but when they are weak, they may seek comfort and warmth from their human companions.

Some Hedgehogs, on the other hand, nevertheless prefer to be alone. Do not try to grab your Hedgehog firmly in your hands. There is a possibility that they will bite you. You must realize, though, that they wish to spend some time alone.

You must respect the wishes of your Hedgehog, whether they be for friendship or isolation. If your Hedgehog does not want to be stroked or petted, all you have to do is keep a tight eye on them and monitor their health.

What Leads to the death of a Hedgehog?

Hedgehogs die due to a variety of factors, including injuries, infections, old age and inflammations, cancer, tumors, and a lack of food and water.

Hedgehogs, unlike cats and dogs, are not officially classed as pets. Because certain species transmit extremely dangerous illnesses, like foot and mouth disease, owning a hedgehog is still prohibited in D.C., New York City, California, Washington, and other regions of North America.

As a result, no hedgehog health survey records the most prevalent causes of pet hedgehog mortality. Some disorders, however, are more common than others, such as:


Unfortunately, most malignancies, including oral tumors, have a poor prognosis. Hedgehog tumors are usually aggressive and can migrate to the bone before being detected.

Hedgehog tumors can occur in practically all bodily organs; however, they are most prevalent in the mouth and gastrointestinal system.

Neoplasia is particularly frequent in African pygmy hedgehogs, the most popular domestic hedgehog species. In fact, tumors can grow in up to 50% of middle-aged hedgehogs.

Unfortunately, the majority of these tumors are cancerous, reducing the Hedgehog’s lifespan greatly.

Reproductive Diseases

Hedgehogs’ reproductive illnesses, including uterine cancer and breast tumors, are particularly dangerous to females.

As a result, exotic veterinarians advise spaying female hedgehogs to avoid disease transmission. Male hedgehogs are the same way.

The key to avoiding testicular cancer in male hedgehogs is neutering them.

Neurological Diseases

Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome is the most frequent neurological disorder that affects hedgehogs. It is said to affect one out of every ten hedgehogs, making it one of the most common causes of mortality in these quilled species.

Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome often called demyelinating paralysis, is a painful neurologic disorder that causes muscular atrophy due to brain and spinal cord injury.

African pygmy hedgehogs are the most affected, although European (Erinaceus europaeus) hedgehogs are also affected.

Hedgehog Death FAQs

Why Did My Hedgehog Die Suddenly?

Heart disease, which is especially frequent in aged and fat hedgehogs, is the leading cause of sudden death in hedgehogs.

Consumption of poisons or dangerous foods, such as grapes, garlic, potatoes, raisins, egg yolks, and the like, can also cause it.

Accidentally slowly suffocating himself or choking on kibble when you’re not present can also cause sudden death.

Necropsy is the only way to fully determine the reason for your Hedgehog’s unexpected death.

Do Hedgehogs Die Easily?

Hedgehogs are easy-to-care-for pets. They’ll be happy and healthy if they’re given the proper care and attention.

They are, however, not the most enduring of creatures.

Hedgehogs have a limited lifespan, even in captivity. The majority of them do not live past the age of ten.

Because let’s face it, hedgehogs are particularly susceptible to disease and malignant tumors. This is why physical and neurological disorders kill the majority of hedgehogs.

When a hedgehog reaches the age of three, the danger of illness mortality increases dramatically. The risk of cancer, tumors, and heart disease increases as the hedgehog ages.

Hedgehogs hide their suffering, so their human friends aren’t aware that they’re unwell or on the verge of death until it’s too late.

Obesity is another common cause of mortality in pet hedgehogs, so be sure to keep an eye on their food intake. Give them a limited number of insects or sweet snacks since they can quickly overfeed.

What Should I Do with a Dead Hedgehog?

You may be unsure what to do if your pet Hedgehog has died or if you have discovered a dead Hedgehog. Depending on your state’s laws, the best option is to bury or compost the animal.

Regrettably, not all states let you do so.

The second alternative is to contact animal control or a veterinarian in your area. You can also reach out to an animal welfare group.

They will assist you with the procedure based on your preferences. You will, however, be charged a disposal cost. As a result, you must be ready for the same.

Is My Hedgehog Hibernating or Dead?

Although I understand that some individuals are worried about equating death with hibernation, I believe that doing so would be an inexcusable error. Fortunately, this is quite uncommon to occur. 

Aside from that, hedgehogs kept as pets are not supposed to hibernate. If anything like this happens to you, you should be extremely worried about your care.

When hibernating hedgehogs are curled up into a ball, they are in no way similar to the position in which you would discover a dead hedgehog. Having said that, it can be difficult to detect a heartbeat in a hedgehog that is hibernating. 

Furthermore, its body temperature will decrease, and you will most likely not perceive any difference between it and a dead animal.

How Do I Help My Sick Hedgehog?

Depending on the state of your Hedgehog, you may be able to assist it. You won’t be able to do much without taking the Hedgehog to the vet if it has a bacterial infection or something similar.

Dealing with a major ailment at home is not recommended in most situations. You should go to a neighboring veterinarian right once and explain to him everything that has happened.

Some illnesses, however, can be diagnosed and treated at home before the Hedgehog visits the veterinarian.

Examining the Hedgehog’s pee and feces is the most usual method to figure out why they’re unwell. There should be a light-yellow tint in the urine, but there is an issue if it is dark or bright yellow. 

You can discover a temporary way to provide them instant relief by observing these and Hedgehog’s activities, but they must see a veterinarian for their problem.

Final Thoughts

The realization that your Hedgehog is dying is a gut-wrenching experience. Allow yourself to grieve, but don’t let the valuable time you have left with your Hedgehog pass you by without doing something.

I hope that the information in this article will teach you how to console a dying hedgehog so that he can enjoy her dying days.

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