Can Hedgehogs Eat Dog Food? [Good or Bad Idea]


Today, we’re diving into the fascinating world of hedgehogs and answering an often-asked question: can hedgehogs eat dog food? The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it might seem.

Feeding our spiky friends appropriately is crucial to their well-being, and knowing what’s on their menu is the first step.

We’re going to break it all down, from the nutritional needs of hedgehogs to the pros and cons of feeding them dog food, and even alternative foods to consider.

Quick Answer

Can hedgehogs eat dog food? Well, the quick answer is yes, but with a caveat. Dog food should not be the mainstay of a hedgehog’s diet, but rather a supplement.

Hedgehogs require a specific balance of protein, fats, and fiber that dog food alone can’t provide. So, while an occasional kibble might be okay, a hedgehog’s diet should be more diverse, featuring foods that mimic what they’d eat in the wild.

The Hedgehog’s Diet: What’s Normal?

A typical hedgehog’s diet in the wild consists primarily of insects. They’re insectivores, after all! These spiny creatures enjoy a good hunt, feasting on various bugs like beetles, worms, caterpillars, and slugs.

In addition to insects, hedgehogs also consume small amounts of fruits, vegetables, and other food sources, depending on what’s available.

This diet offers them a well-rounded nutritional balance. Domesticated hedgehogs should have a diet with high protein and low-fat content that reflects these natural eating habits.

Fun Fact: To give your pet hedgehog the best care possible, it's crucial to understand the type of diet they need. Find out whether hedgehogs can eat cat food.

Dog Food: The Nutritional Breakdown

Dog food, especially high-quality kibble, is designed to provide a complete and balanced diet for dogs, not hedgehogs.

Dogs are omnivores and their diet includes a range of foods, like meat, grains, and vegetables. But let’s dive deeper into what makes up typical dog food.

Firstly, protein: dog food usually contains a decent amount of protein, often derived from beef, chicken, or fish. Protein is important for hedgehogs too, but the type and amount may not align perfectly with a hedgehog’s needs.

Secondly, dog food often contains grains or other sources of carbohydrates. While these can be good for providing energy, hedgehogs, being insectivores, aren’t built to process a high-carb diet.

Lastly, dog food contains various vitamins and minerals to support a dog’s health. While some are universally beneficial, others may not be necessary or suitable for a hedgehog’s diet.

Can Hedgehogs Eat Dog Food: The Pros and Cons

So, we’ve established that hedgehogs can eat dog food, but should they? Here are some pros and cons to help you weigh this option:


  • Availability and Convenience: Dog food is easily accessible in most pet stores or supermarkets. It’s also convenient, especially when you run out of hedgehog food.
  • Temporary Substitute: In a pinch, dog food can temporarily substitute a more appropriate hedgehog diet.
  • Cost-effective: Dog food is often more budget-friendly than specialty hedgehog food.


  • Nutritional Mismatch: As we’ve covered, dog food’s nutritional profile isn’t a perfect match for a hedgehog’s dietary needs.
  • Health Risks: Over-reliance on dog food may lead to health problems like obesity and malnutrition.
  • Digestive Issues: Some ingredients in dog food might not be easily digestible for hedgehogs and may cause discomfort or other digestive issues.

Healthier Alternatives to Dog Food for Hedgehogs

Understanding the importance of a balanced diet for your hedgehog’s health, you might be wondering what healthier alternatives to dog food are. Here are a few options:

  • Insect-based Foods: Since hedgehogs are insectivores, consider food products that mimic their natural diet, such as insect-based kibbles or live insects like mealworms and crickets.
  • Hedgehog-specific Foods: Some pet food companies offer specially formulated food for hedgehogs, which aim to provide balanced nutrition tailored to their needs.
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: These can be given in small amounts as treats. Be careful with fruits as they can be high in sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hedgehogs and their diet.

Q1: Can baby hedgehogs eat dog food?

Baby hedgehogs, also known as hoglets, have specific dietary needs. While they can technically eat dog food, it’s best to stick with food specifically formulated for them or a diet approved by a vet to ensure they get the nutrients necessary for growth.

Q2: How much dog food can I give to my hedgehog?

If you supplement your hedgehog’s diet with dog food, ensure it makes up no more than 10% of their total diet. The majority of their food should still consist of insects or hedgehog-specific food.

Q3: Can hedgehogs eat wet dog food?

Wet dog food is generally safe for hedgehogs in small amounts. However, ensuring it doesn’t contain ingredients like onions, garlic, or heavy spices that could harm your hedgehog is essential.


To wrap things up, yes, hedgehogs can eat dog food, but it should not be the main component of their diet. Dog food might serve as a convenient and affordable option, but its nutritional profile doesn’t perfectly align with the needs of a hedgehog.

Always strive for a balanced diet that closely mimics a hedgehog’s natural intake – a mix of insects, some fruits, vegetables, and hedgehog-specific foods.

Ultimately, the goal is to keep your hedgehog healthy and happy. If you ever have doubts about your hedgehog’s dietary needs, consult with a professional.

After all, these adorable, prickly creatures depend on us for their care. Let’s give them the best we can offer!

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