Bathing: the pro’s and cons

Hedgehogs that live in captivity naturally occur mainly in dry habitats and do not come into contact easily with pools of water to wash themselves in. Rather, they use sand to abrade the skin. Their skin is therefore not made to get wet often and they are very sensitive to fungal infections on the skin. Bathing with water is therefore not very desirable, but sometimes there is really no other option.

Soaps and shampoos

A lot of soaps and shampoos that are made for rodents and other animals are too hard on the skin for hedgehogs. Perfume and alcohol can dry out the skin and can also trigger allergy symptoms. A good shampoo for hedgehogs preferable is free from alcohol, perfume and additions to enhance the color, taste or scent of a shampoo. A neutral babyshampoo would be the best, because the pH of a hedgehogs skin is very similar to human skin, as opposed to a lot of rodents, cats and dogs that have different pH levels.

Sand baths

A sand bath can make poop boots disappear if they are there at all, but it can prevent visible dirt! The sand from a sand bath abrades the skin and hedgehogs love to frolic in the sand and really clean their entire body in the process. The sand abrades dirt from the skin, but also dead skin flakes. So it really helps to keep the hedgehog clean and minimizes the need for water washing. Read more about making a sand bath here.