Seeing a hedgehog sneeze is a sight to behold indeed! There’s nothing cuter than watching a little hedgehog sniffling and sneezing with that sweet little button nose of theirs! It’s absolutely adorable.
But sometimes, repetitive sneezing can be somewhat of a cause for concern.
Whilst sneezing is typically nothing to worry about, and could just be an irritant inside the nose, when a hedgehog sneezes a lot, or sneezes in conjunction with coughing, it can be a sign that your hedgehog is unwell, or needs medical assistance.
This is why it is paramount that you can identify different types of sneezes, so you know when your hedgehog needs to be treated, and when you can just ignore those little sniffles. With this guide, we will explain why hedgehogs sneeze, and what to do if your hedgehog is sneezing often! So, why do hedgehogs sneeze?
Why does my hedgehog sneeze?
Most hedgehogs will sneeze from time to time, and if yours is sneezing occasionally, then it is nothing to worry about. For the most part, your pet hedgehog will probably be sneezing due to a light tickle on the nose, or an irritant inside the nose that is causing this reaction.
On the other hand, if you feel that your hedgehog’s sneezing is continuous, then it could be a sign that your hedgehog is becoming unwell.
Even moreso, if you notice that the sneezing is accompanied by other signs of illness such as coughing or wheezing, then it could be something far more serious, and your pet hedgehog will need to be taken to the veterinarian and treated.
What does it mean when a hedgehog sneezes?
When a hedgehog sneezes continuously, it could signify that there are respiratory problems with the hedgehog. Unfortunately, hedgehogs are prone to respiratory infections and can develop these very easily, especially when they are at a young age.
For instance, infections like pneumonia are very common for many hedgehogs.
Some signs that your hedgehog is suffering from a respiratory infection are sneezing, raspy or difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, runny or crusty nose and eyes, and loss of appetite.
In addition, you may notice that your hedgehog’s behavior has changed slightly, as they can become more lethargic than normal, and avoid mealtimes.
Whilst sneezing can usually be harmless, excessive sneezing and coughing can be symptoms of infections traveling to the hedgehog’s lungs, which is what causes pneumonia. Unfortunately, if not caught in time and treated, pneumonia can be fatal for hedgehogs.
The pneumonia can cause increased effort when breathing, making the simple task of breathing very difficult for them, whilst also causing lethargy, weakness and the inability to eat properly. This can lead to your hedgehog also becoming very underweight or anorexic, which is also detrimental to its health and wellbeing.
If you notice that your hedgehog is sneezing excessively and seems to be unwell, then it is best to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. There, they will most likely be treated with antibiotics and supportive care such as fluids and syringe feeding to nurse them back to health.
To prevent this from happening to your hedgehogs, make sure that you isolate new hedgehogs for 2 weeks, ensuring that they are fully healthy before mixing them with other hedgehogs already in your care.
In addition, keep the pet hedgehog’s cage clean, and without any drafts or cold temperatures that may increase the risk of developing coughs, sneezing or pneumonia symptoms.
Why does my hedgehog sneeze so much?
Sometimes, hedgehogs can sneeze often due to their environment. If they are new to the enclosure, and not used to their environment, you may notice that they will sneeze for a day or two until settled. This is because the change of environment takes some time for their bodies to adjust and get used to.
Certain beddings and enclosures can cause irritation and sneezing, which in effect works like an allergy.
This is why it is important to have fresh bedding, particularly for new hogs, as loose shavings such as shredded paper can be dusty and irritate the nose of the hedgehog, causing the sneezing.
What to do if hedgehog is sneezing
You will need to determine whether the sneezing is due to an allergy or an illness. To do this, put the hedgehog on cloth cage liners such as a clean pillowcase, or t-shirt.
Make sure that there are no loose threads that will get caught in the nails.
With the hedgehog removed from the environment, and placed on a different cage liner, you can see if the sneezing goes away after a few days. If it does, then they may be allergic to the bedding you are using. If the sneezing persists, then seek medical attention and take to the vet.