Syringe Feeding Hedgehogs

Need to force feed a hedgehog with a syringe? Below you will find a few suggestions on what to try to feed your little one, these suggestions were given to me while I was force feeding a very ill hedgehog. Please keep in mind I'm not a vet and the information provided here is to give you ideas to ask your vet about.

First off I will suggest if you are syringe feeding to get a syringe with a very tiny tip, and preferably one that is flexible. This will be more gentle on the hedgehog's mouth should it decide to resist. Below you will see the syringe I have used in the past.

I have heard people recommend monoject curved end syringe, oral irrigation syringes used by dentists, and cannulas.

The Food

There are lots of different mixtures you can try with syringe feeding. Some hedgehogs are more willing to eat one mixture whereas another may be a favorite of another hedgehog. I have used and have been recommended mixing any of the following. Rice baby cereal, Vanilla flavored Ensure (Ensure is very helpful for giving the hedgehog an added boost along with vitamins), baby food chicken or other types for a variety, crushed Select Diet hedgehog food, thinned Hills a/d (obtained from your vet). Avoid foods with corn or soy, they are irritants and corn is said to cause loose stools. Rice and bananas are suppose to be binders. When I was syringe feeding I was mixing the rice baby cereal, crushed Select Diet with ensure and syringe feeding about 5-10 CC's of food 3 times a day.

The Technique

First practice drawing the liquid up into the syringe then squirting it back out into a bowl. This will help you judge how much you need to squeeze the syringe to get a small amount of food out. It will also help ensure that the plunger on the syringe is working properly and is not getting stuck. There is nothing worse than having a hedgehog who is fighting with you, then finding out your syringe isn't working properly.

Next, place the syringe in the corner of your hedgehogs mouth, do not place it head on. Gently squeeze the plunger until a small amount comes out into the hedgehogs mouth. Go slow, so that the hedgehog will have time to swallow the food in its mouth or to spit it out, plus it may take your hedgehog a little time to get use to eating this way.

If you get food all over your hedgehog, don't worry syringe feeding a wiggling hedgehog does take practice. I always keep a warm, wet wash cloth next to me for clean up.