Dogs hate hedgehogs for a variety of reasons. Some dogs may fear them because of their quills, while others may simply not like how they look or smell. Hedgehogs can also be dangerous to dogs if they are not properly trained on how to interact with them.
In this blog post, I will discuss the various reasons dogs hate hedgehogs and how you can help them overcome their fear.
Why Does My Dog Hate Hedgehogs
Here are some of the reasons your dog may hate hedgehogs:
Hedgehogs have quills that can be sharp and pointy. Quills are the sharp, pointy needles that cover a hedgehog’s back and sides.
These quills can be very painful if they poke a dog and can also be difficult to remove once they become embedded in a dog’s skin.
If your dog has had a bad experience with a hedgehog in the past, the fear of quills is likely causing your dog to dislike them. You can help your dog overcome this fear by slowly introducing them to hedgehogs that have been de-quilled.
You can also try using positive reinforcement training to help your dog associate hedgehogs with something positive, like treats or toys.
Hedgehogs are not the best-looking animals. They are small, spiny creatures that many dogs find unattractive.
This may be why some dogs view them as potential prey, while others do not like how they look.
You can help your dog by desensitizing training. This training involves slowly exposing your dog to hedgehogs in a controlled setting.
Start by showing your dog pictures or videos of hedgehogs, then progress to letting them see a hedgehog up close.
You can then slowly introduce your dog to real hedgehogs, starting with ones that are docile and easy to approach. If your dog remains calm during these exposures, reward them with treats or praise.
Hedgehogs also have a distinct smell that many dogs do not like. Hedgehogs secrete a substance from their quills that gives them a musky odor.
This scent can be unpleasant for some dogs and may also signify danger to them.
If your dog is afraid of hedgehogs because of their smell, you can try using a positive reinforcement training technique called scent swapping. This involves giving your dog a treat whenever they encounter the scent of a hedgehog.
Over time, your dog will learn to associate the scent of a hedgehog with something positive, and they may be less likely to fear them.
Hedgehogs can also be dangerous to dogs if they are not properly trained on how to interact with them. They have a natural defense mechanism that causes their quills to stand up when they feel threatened.
If a dog tries to play with a hedgehog without knowing this, it could get poked by the quills and end up with a painful injury.
The remedy is simply to train your dog on how to interact with hedgehogs properly. This involves teaching them to be gentle and not play too roughly.
You can also teach your dog the “leave it” command, which will help them avoid getting too close to a hedgehog in the first place.
You should also ensure that your dog is always supervised when around hedgehogs and that they do not try to play with them without your permission.
With proper training, your dog can learn to coexist with hedgehogs without fear or aggression. If you think your dog may be afraid of hedgehogs, talk to your veterinarian or a certified trainer for more help.
How To Keep Your Hedgehog and Dog Safer in the Garden
Now that you know some of the reasons dogs may hate hedgehogs, here are a few tips on how to keep your hedgehog and dog safer in the garden:
Keep Your Dog on the Leash
You need to know your dog. Understand how they will react to a hedgehog before you let them off the leash.
If there is any chance that your dog will chase or hurt a hedgehog, it is best to keep them on a leash.
Do Not Feed Hedgehogs Dog Food
Hedgehogs are attracted to the smell of dog food, but it is not good for them. If you must feed hedgehogs in your garden, use cat food or specialist hedgehog food instead.
Get a Feeding Station for Your Hedgehog
If you have a hedgehog in your garden, get a feeding station for them. This will help to keep them away from areas where your dog plays or sleeps.
Keep Your Garden Tidy
Hedgehogs like to nest in long grass and piles of leaves. If you keep your garden tidy, it will be less attractive to hedgehogs and other animals that might bother your dog.
Do Not Use Pesticides
Pesticides can be harmful to hedgehogs and may also make your dog sick if they eat them. If you must use pesticides in your garden, choose ones that are safe for hedgehogs and keep them out of your dog’s reach.
Can a Dog Catch Diseases from a Hedgehog?
There is a risk that your dog could catch a disease from a hedgehog, but this is rare. The most common diseases dogs can catch from hedgehogs are mange and rabies.
Hedgehogs are famous for carrying ticks and fleas, and as a dog owner, you should be aware of the dangers these pose to your pet. However, it is important to note that dogs cannot catch fleas from a hedgehog because they are a different species. This applies to ticks too.
If you are worried that your dog has been in contact with a hedgehog and may have contracted a disease, the best thing to do is to take them to the vet for a check-up.
Hedgehog and Dog FAQs
Why does my dog keep attacking hedgehogs?
Dogs often detect hedgehogs as a threat to their territory and may attack them in an attempt to drive them away. This is more likely to happen if the dog is not used to hedgehogs being present in their environment.
Are hedgehogs afraid of dogs?
Hedgehogs are likely to fear dogs because they are predators. Hedgehogs are small animals and know they are not a match for a dog, so they will usually try to avoid them.
Can my dog get hurt by a hedgehog?
Hedgehogs can be dangerous to dogs if they are not properly trained on how to interact with them. The quills from a hedgehog can cause dog pain and even lead to infection if not treated properly.
Supervising your dog when they are around hedgehogs is important and ensure they do not try to play with them without your permission.
Hedgehogs can be unpleasant for some dogs and may also be a sign of danger to them. If your dog is afraid of hedgehogs, it is important to understand why and to take steps to keep them safe. With a little care, you can ensure that your dog and hedgehog can safely coexist in your garden.
I hope this article has helped you better understand the relationship between dogs and hedgehogs. Thanks for reading.