Hedgehogs are very cute and getting more popular as pets. As they are clean critters who groom themselves thoroughly, you’ll need to make sure they have a clean environment. Here’s what you have to do and why.
Why a hedgehog cage needs to be cleaned regularly
Do you like a nice and tidy place? It’s the same for your prickly pal. But besides the feeling of a cozy and clean place, there are more reasons why your hedgehog needs a clean habitat.
Hedgehogs have a very sensitive respiratory system. Urine and feces in the bedding can lead to ammonia build-up, which can cause serious respiratory issues. Apart from that bacteria in the bedding can cause skin inflammations and footsore. As hedgehogs are prone to a lot of diseases, regular cleaning is just important to keep your friend healthy.
Additionally, mold builds up when old food isn’t taken away or the bedding gets too old and wet.
All the mentioned things are bad for the health of your little hedgie, but they will also make your room smell.
How often do you need to clean a hedgehog cage?
There is no fixed rule on how often you should clean a hedgehog cage. Several things should be considered when determining the cleaning schedule.
Is your hedgehog litter trained? Most hedgehogs tend to do their business just everywhere. But if you put some effort in, you can make them use a special area in their cage or a litter box. As litter you can use the Catfidence Organic Bamboo Litter it is free from dust and suits hedgehogs very well.
If you can’t potty train your hedgie, this trick will reduce your work by a significant amount: Put a tray under the exercise wheel. Most hedgehogs will make most of their messes while running in their wheel at night.
Other things that have an influence on your cage cleaning schedule are the amount of bedding and your daily spot cleaning habits.
Daily spot cleaning
Some things you should do every day! Spot cleaning is definitely one of them. But don’t worry, it should be done in just a few minutes. These tasks are included:
- Change wet bedding and remove feces
- Remove old food and add fresh
- Make sure there is enough water in the bottle
- Change the litter if your hedgie is potty trained
- Weekly bedding change
If you should change the bedding weekly depends on how much bedding you use in the cage and how accurately you do the daily spot cleaning. So for some, it would be ok to change after about 10 days, while others have to do it after 7 days.
For the change itself, it is important that you remove all the old bedding. Clean the bottom surface and add new bedding after everything is completely dry.
Extra tip: Have a look at the running wheel and clean it as well when needed. Most hedgehogs tend to urinate and poop a lot in their wheels.
Monthly deep cleaning
The monthly deep cleaning is by far the most work-intensive. You need to clean the whole cage with everything in it once in a while and now is the right time.
As you will clean every single bar, surface and part of the cage, choosing the right hedgehog cage, in the beginning, can have quite a big impact on how much time you’ll spend. A removable bottom tray and wide doors for example make it a lot easier.
You’ll spend less time when you prepare everything in advance and then clean everything in the right order.
- Prepare the things you need: washcloth, hot water, antibacterial soap or vinegar, fresh bedding.
- Take the hedgehog out of the cage and place him in a bin, playpen or a secondary cage.
- Take everything out of the cage, use a waste bag for the bedding to lock away all the smells.
- Disassemble the cage and wipe all surfaces and wires with hot water and soap. Do the same with hideaways, the running wheel, food bowls and toys.
- Rinse everything thoroughly, make sure there are no soap or vinegar residuals left.
- Dry the parts in the sun or use a towel. Everything must be completely dry, before you assemble the cage and add the bedding again.