10 best hedgehog food for a healthy diet (review & Guide)

For those of you, who are in a hurry: Here is my top pick, the Suncoast Hedgehog Premium Diet.

Hedgehogs are great pets, but finding the best food for hedgehogs can be hard because some stores don’t carry it. I’ve dedicated my time to seek out ways that will make you the best pet owner possible, and that’s why I decided to do the research for you and find some of the best products on the market. 

This includes the easiest alternatives to access. Here are our choices for the best hedgehog food options, as well as some additional information to help you decide between them.

In this article I am going to review the following 10 foods:

Top 10 Hedgehog Foods For Your Pet

Here are the best hedgehog food choices currently on the market.

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Cat Food

Pros:

  • Widely available in stores
  • More affordable than specialized pet food
  • Lots of fiber
  • Sold in several sizes
  • Lots of omega-3 fatty acids

Cons:

  • Not hedgehog-specific

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Some cat food is a surprisingly good choice for hedgehogs and a good alternative if you’re not able to get hedgehog-specific foods in your local stores. Nutro Wholesome’s blend is rich in both protein and fiber, which are fundamental parts of their diet, and it’s tasty enough that most hedgehogs enjoy eating it.

Cat food also tends to have higher-quality ingredients than some hedgehog food types, making it a fundamentally better product while maintaining the same nutritional value. The thing that stands out about the product is its inclusion of fiber for healthy digestion. Some cat foods don’t have anywhere near as much fiber, making them worse choices for hedgehogs.

While this pet food is at the top of our article, we can’t call it our top pick because it’s not technically hedgehog food, despite meeting nutritional expectations. Nevertheless, it’s still an excellent and accessible choice for most hedgehog owners, and we recommend considering it if your options are limited.

For more on why cat food makes sense for hedgehogs, see our explanation below.

Suncoast Sugar Gliders Spike’s Delite Hedgehog Premium Diet (Top Pick)

Pros:

  • Diverse sources of protein
  • Small bags help maintain freshness
  • Avoids filler ingredients
  • Easy to eat

Cons:

  • Includes corn and soy
  • Sometimes damaged in shipping

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Suncoast Sugar Gliders is an established company with an excellent reputation, and they produce some of the best hedgehog-specific food on the market. At 1.5 lbs, this bag isn’t hefty compared to any cat food bag you might pick up, but it will still last several months for most pets because hedgehogs don’t eat very much.

Suncoast Sugar Gliders’ hedgehog food includes chicken, soy, and fish protein sources to help meet dietary requirements, with the total crude protein providing at least 32% of its volume. The fiber is lower at about 6%, but giving regular treats can balance that out. It also includes a long list of added vitamins and minerals for overall health.

There’s a lot to love about this choice, especially if you want to transition away from cat food. That said, some shippers have poorer quality control and split open bags while sending them, which can be a hassle if you’re low on food and need to return things.

Hedgehog Complete Food for Pet Hedgehogs

Pros:

  • Available in several sizes
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Vet-approved
  • Suitable for European, Asian, and African hedgehogs
  • Has dried mealworms

Cons:

  • Requires refrigeration
  • Not a complete food

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Exotic Nutrition’s Hedgehog Complete is an outstanding choice for owners thanks to its vet-approved formula, despite the generic product name. It mixes protein sources with grains and dried mealworms for dietary variety, including meeting hedgehogs’ fiber needs.

Despite its name, the product is almost, but not quite, a complete food. Exotic Nutrition recommends supplementing it with live, canned, or dried insects, but you don’t need to provide any other vitamins if this food is at least 75% of your hedgehog’s diet. However, it does need to be refrigerated for optimal quality or frozen if storing for longer than six months.

Proper storage is vital for Hedgehog Complete, however. Exposure during shipping can make it mold, too, so it’s better to buy this in-person if possible. Storage is more complicated than with most of the other products on our list, so we recommend purchasing the smallest bags.

Vitakraft VitaSmart Hedgehog Food

Pros:

  • Small size helps ensure freshness
  • Uses insects as a protein source
  • All-pellet formula
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Can turn into powder
  • Some hedgehogs particularly dislike VitaSmart food

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Vitakraft’s hedgehog food is something of a love-or-hate option among hedgehogs. Some love it, while others are far more likely to reject it entirely. Ingredient-wise, it’s a solid choice that has protein from poultry, seafood, and insects. That’s a nice, diverse blend, and the formula also includes added antioxidants and vitamins for general pet health.

Unlike some foods, Vitakraft’s mix uses an all-pellet formula. Pure pellets stop hedgehogs from choosing the tastiest pieces, which is ideal for ensuring they have a well-balanced diet. That said, it has some issues with turning to powder or caking. Try to keep it away from any sources of water.

Sunseed Vita Prima Hedgehog Food

Pros:

  • Diverse sources of protein
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Includes probiotics
  • Has fish oil
  • Uniform pellets

Cons:

  • Uses protein meal instead of regular protein
  • Expensive for its size

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Sunseed’s hedgehog nutrition formula comes in a mid-size resealable bag full of vitamin-fortified pellets. The pellets themselves are considerably smaller than cat food and feature flax seeds, mealworms, fish oil, poultry meal, and chitin powder as major ingredients.

The chitin powder is especially useful because it provides additional fiber. It’s not enough to make this a complete food, but it raises the crude fiber in the product to a maximum of 9%, which is significantly better than many of its competitors. That alone makes Sunseed Vita worth considering, though you’ll still need to supplement your hedgehog’s fiber intake somehow.

This is an excellent food overall, with uniform pellets and no artificial flavors or preservatives. At about one and a half pounds per bag, it’s also a nice size to maintain freshness as long as you keep it sealed. Bags might fail as you keep using them, though, so consider storing it in another container instead.

Pretty Pets Premium Hedgehog Food

Pros:

  • Very low in fat
  • It comes in a 3-lb bag
  • Plenty of vegetable-based nutrients
  • Heavily fortified with vitamins

Cons:

  • Significantly less protein than most other options
  • Lots of filler

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Pretty Pets’ hedgehog food is a vegetable-based option with corn as its first two ingredients, followed by poultry meal and then more vegetables. The formula helps drastically reduce the amount of fat in it, which is good for hedgehogs. However, it also has less protein than many competitors, so it requires supplements to balance it out.

Aside from that, Pretty Pets sells their food in a convenient three-pound bag, which is about the largest we like to see. It’s also comparatively affordable for dedicated hedgehog food, thanks in part to using inexpensive ingredients.

It isn’t our top choice, but it’s worth considering as part of a varied, balanced diet.

Blue Buffalo Healthy Living Dry Cat Food

Pros:

  • Easy to find
  • Extremely affordable
  • Features lots of real protein sources
  • Lots of nutrient supplements

Cons:

  • Somewhat fatty
  • Low in fiber

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Stepping away from hedgehog-specific foods again, Blue Buffalo’s Healthy Living mix is rich in high-quality protein. That’s the most important part of a hedgehog’s diet, so it’s an excellent place to start. It features brown rice for its body, which is better for hedgehogs than ingredients like corn.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind here. First, it has more fat and less fiber than hedgehogs need, which means you’ll need to provide them with plenty of fiber-rich insects and treats. You should also encourage your hedgehog to get exercise and help burn off the fat.

In other words, you should give less of Blue Buffalo’s mix for your hedgehog’s total diet than some other foods. Balancing diets can be tricky, so talk to your veterinarian if you want to get Blue Buffalo’s mix. Fortunately, it’s so affordable that you can put the savings from getting it to work on getting other supplements.

Hedgehog Treat Variety Pack (Treat)

Pros:

  • Excellent mix of treats
  • Includes some fruits and vegetables
  • Easy to put into toys
  • Large packages last a long time

Cons:

  • Samplers aren’t suitable as long-term treats
  • Widely varying protein levels

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Exotic Nutrition, the same manufacturers of the refrigerated hedgehog food above, offers a treat variety pack as a sampler for owners who want to find out which treats their hedgehog likes most. The pack includes dried mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, and crickets, as well as a mix of carrots and apples.

Treats are vital supplements for hedgehogs, though they shouldn’t comprise more than 10% of your hedgehog’s total diet unless your veterinarian says otherwise. You can keep buying samplers if you appreciate the variety, but consider getting larger packs of specific treats once you know the right mix for your pet.

WORKPOINT Non-GMO Dried Mealworms (Treat)

Pros:

  • Excellent source of protein
  • Available in bags of many sizes
  • It lasts for about one year on the shelf

Cons:

  • No variety
  • More about protein than fiber

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Mealworms are a top treat choice for hedgehogs. They’re not the only treat you should give, but chances are you’ll end up feeding them more mealworms than anything else except their main food. The primary reason is that mealworms are extremely high in protein, though they’re also somewhat fatty. These dietary characteristics are another reason to look for a low-fat main food.

Workpoint’s bag focuses on large-sized mealworms, which are easier for hedgehogs to eat. You can expect even the smallest bag to last you a long time, though make sure to store the mealworms in a cool, dry place.

The one downside to this product is that it has no variety. Unlike sampler packs, this can’t be the only source of treats you buy, though it’s still a high-quality option overall.

Exotic Nutrition Hedgehog Treat Sampler (Treat)

Pros:

  • Outstanding variety
  • It lasts for a long time
  • Easy way to sample different treats
  • Includes some moist treats

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Requires planning

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Exotic Nutrition also offers this larger sampler pack alongside the single pack above. It includes everything in the previous product, and adds superworms, a veggie blend, dried wax worms, and moist silkworm pupae. The result is a dense collection of different treats, which means you can provide your hedgehog with plenty of variety in flavors and textures.

That alone makes Exotic Nutrition a top choice as a treat pack. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to buy a comprehensive sampler set. The primary thing to remember is that each of the options has different nutritional values, so you’ll need to balance them well.

This is especially relevant for the silkworm pupae. Unlike the other options, which last well on the shelf, the silkworm pupae are moist and canned. You may need to feed them in relatively quick succession rather than spreading them out over your entire use of the sampler set.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the sampler is moderately expensive. You get many treats inside it, so it’s a good value, but some owners may prefer smaller packs. If that’s the case for you, consider buying the components individually.

How To Choose The Best Hedgehog Food

The best hedgehog foods are those that meet their dietary preferences with as little filler as possible. Hedgehogs rarely eat more than a few ounces of food per day, so they can’t rely on volume to make up for deficiencies caused by filler ingredients.

Quality hedgehog foods are high in protein, low in fat, and have a minimum of 5% fiber. Most hedgehog foods are not complete foods, which means you’ll need to supplement them with other food sources.

Useful supplements can include moist cat food, fruits, vegetables, boiled eggs, insects, and even some types of baby food. Be sure to research specific options or talk to a qualified veterinarian before you feed them to your hedgehog.

Things That Differentiate Hedgehog Food

Several things set hedgehog foods apart from each other. Here are the most common factors.

Protein Sources

Protein is a key part of a hedgehog’s diet, and some sources are better than others. Most hedgehog foods use poultry, which tends to have high protein and low fats. The best sources are as pure as possible, rather than being poultry meals or by-products.

Bag Sizes

Hedgehogs don’t eat much, so you don’t need to buy a huge bag of food like you might for cats or dogs. In fact, bags that are 10 lbs or more are probably too heavy because there’s a much higher chance they’ll go bad before you can use them up. Smaller is often better unless you’re raising several hedgehogs together.

This is particularly true for foods that require extra care, such as the Hedgehog Complete mix above.

Cost

The best way to calculate the cost of hedgehog food is by the price per pound. Hedgehog food can come in bags of many different weights, so converting everything to a common cost makes it easier to judge their respective values.

Expensive foods tend to have higher-quality ingredients, but some manufacturers raise prices while lowering ingredient qualities. This is why you should check the ingredients first and only move on to comparing prices after eliminating products you don’t like.

How To Feed A Hedgehog

Most hedgehogs do just fine eating out of a small dish in their habitat. Make sure to keep their dish clean and away from common contaminants. Most do well eating about 1-2 tablespoons of dry food per day, although this may vary somewhat by brand.

Do not leave dry food in their dish for more than 24 hours; just replace it if they don’t finish it, and reduce things a little if they’re not finishing all of their food. Hedgehogs can get obese if you feed them too much, so try to avoid over-feeding them.

As with all pets, ensure they have access to fresh water at all times. Most hedgehogs prefer sipper bottles over water bowls, so attach a bottle to their habitat. Be sure you replace the water daily and clean the bottle thoroughly before replacing it.

For more on caring for and feeding hedgehogs, check out this video.

Foods To Avoid

Here are the most important foods and ingredients to avoid feeding your hedgehog.

  • Dairy Products: Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, although they may like having a little cottage cheese or yogurt once per week.
  • Fatty Meats: Hedgehogs do eat meat, but they don’t do well with fat. Red meats tend to have more fat in them, so avoid those.
  • Bait Shop Insects: Hedgehogs eat a lot of insects, but bait shops often use insecticides to kill their insects, and that can poison hedgehogs.
  • Nuts: Hedgehogs have a hard time digesting most nuts, as well as difficulty chewing them.
  • Grapes: Grapes in all forms, including raisins, are harmful to hedgehogs.
  • People Food: In general, avoid giving human food to your hedgehog unless you clear it through a qualified veterinarian first.

Foods To Give

Here are some of the easiest fruits and vegetables you can feed your hedgehog.

  • Apples: Hedgehogs often love eating apples, so they’re a good, fruity treat. However, try to avoid feeding apples more than four times a week. Apples are high in sugar, so feeding these too often can go over your hedgehog’s recommended sugar intake.
  • Bananas: Hedgehogs also like bananas. These are particularly nice because they’re very soft and easy to eat, which means they won’t be a struggle.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli is relatively easy to chew and rich in fiber, making them a top contender.
  • Carrots: Carrots are an easy treat to give. They’re much lower in sugar than apples, and they’re easy to dry out and store for long periods. Some companies sell dried carrot pieces for pets, so they’re easy to get.
  • Strawberries: For hedgehogs, strawberries are similar to apples and come with the same guidelines. A few times a week is fine, but try to limit the sugar.

Among safe ingredients, dark-colored vegetables tend to have more fiber. Darker veggies are better choices for hedgehogs who may otherwise struggle to get enough fiber in their diet.

What’s All This About Cat Food For Hedgehogs?

Does cat food make sense for hedgehogs? It depends on the formula, but in most cases, cat food works extremely well for hedgehogs because they have similar dietary needs. Cat foods that work well for hedgehogs usually have these qualities:

  • 30-35% crude protein
  • 10% fat
  • 5% fiber (higher is better)

Most cat foods don’t offer quite enough fiber on their own, but you can reach 15% of their diet being fiber (the optimal amount) by giving them insects as treats. Insect exoskeletons have a lot of fiber, and most hedgehogs love them. Some vegetables and fruits can also work.

For more on this topic, see our in-depth guide.

Final Thoughts

Suncoast Sugar Gliders’ Spike’s Delite Hedgehog Premium Diet is one of the best hedgehog food options thanks to its balance of quality ingredients, affordability, and availability. The manufacturer has a great reputation and is a bigger producer than many of its competitors, which means you can rely on them.

With that said, the Nutro Wholesome Essentials cat food is an excellent alternative if you want something easier to find than hedgehog-specific food. It’s more affordable than most specialty foods while still meeting most dietary needs, so we consider it a strong contender for all hedgehog owners. Of course, changing things up is not only fun for your pet hedgehog, it’s also healthy, so keep that in mind when shopping for their dietary needs.

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