What Can Dogs Catch from Hedgehogs?

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Introduction

We're sure you've seen the online media-sensations of doggos with unlikely friendships - like bunnies, cats, birds, and even hedgehogs. If you're unaware of how absolutely adorable a pup-hedgehog friendship is, we suggest you do some googling so you can fully appreciate the "aww-factor" we're' talking about. 

But this begs the question, can dogs catch things from hedgehogs? Are there certain diseases, conditions, or sicknesses that your pup can get from being too close to your tiny, little hedgehog? 

Unfortunately, yes, your hedgehog can definitely spread things to your pup. Some of these ailments, conditions, and all-out-ewww things include fleas (hedgehogs are notorious for having fleas), mites (sarcoptic, demodective, psoroptes, and chorioptes), salmonella, and ringworm!

There are definite things you can do to help your two pets co-exist, and there are certain signs you should absolutely look out for with your dog to make sure he's not contracting any ailments from your hedgehog. 

It's important to remember that while a lot of pets can transfer illnesses, hedgehogs might not be the right choice for your household if you have an animal companion or a human family member whose immune system is compromised or weak. 

Signs Your Dog Has Caught Something From Your Hedgehog

As we said, there are a lot of different things your dog can catch from a hedgehog - whether it's a pet or in the wild. Having hedgehogs as pets is a new craze that's taken over, but they can affect your doggo's life. Make sure if you do purchase a hedgehog, you're keeping an eye out for the following symptoms and conditions. 

Your hedgehog can definitely transmit both fleas and mites to your pup, which can be both uncomfortable and unhealthy for your dog. If your pup has either of these things, check to see if he's inordinately itchy, has hair loss, has developed mange, loses his appetite, has a fever, or has scabs or sores on his skin. 

Your dog can also contract salmonella from your hedgehog, especially if your doggo has a weaker immune system. Some signs your dog may have contracted salmonella include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, dehydration, depression, and a lack of interest in activities. 

Your dog can also contract ringworm from hedgehogs. If you think your dog might have ringworm, look for signs like hair loss, broken hair and poor hair  coat, red skin, crusty skin, and lots of itchiness. 

Body Language

Your dog is likely trying to show you that he's not feeling up-to-par, you just need to know what to look for. If you think you might need to be concerned about your dog having caught something from a hedgehog, keep a look out for body cues like these:
  • Shaking
  • Cowering
  • Panting
  • Chewing
  • Scratching
  • Pacing
  • Weakness

Other Signs

Here are a few more of the varied signs you should consider when looking out for symptoms that your dog has caught something from a hedgehog:
  • Sores or Ulcers
  • Crusty Skin
  • Red skin
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy and Fatigue
  • Decreased Activity
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Itching and Scratching
  • Mange
  • Fever
  • Loss of hair

The History of Dogs and Hedgehogs

Like, we said, it's hard to be on the internet these days without seeing a pet hedgehog or two - Instagram has practically packed with pet hedgehog profiles. While they're pretty cute, the question has to be asked, "why are these pets such a fad nowadays, especially if they can adversely affect your dog?" 

People typically love to buy exotic pets, and because they're tiny, cuddly, and pretty cute, the hedgehog is a natural choice. They're curious, adorable, and pretty cheap to care for, making them relatively ideal for those who are looking to be a bit out there with their pet choice. 

But there are obviously things to consider as buying an exotic pet definitely has an impact on the wild hedgehog population, a fact many people don't consider when searching for the perfect hog. Additionally, the vast array of diseases and conditions they can carry and spread are often things people overlook when purchasing a pet hedgehog. 

The Science Behind Dogs and Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs aren't just dangerous to your animals. They can spread infections like salmonella, ringworm, mites, and fleas to your doggos and other pets, but the danger of conditions doesn't just stop at your pups. In fact, you can catch things from your hedgehog as well because hedgehogs can transfer zoonotic diseases. 
If you haven't heard the phrase zoonotic infection before, that's okay! It may sound complicated, but it simply means that a disease can be contracted or spread from animal to human. 

One of the biggest examples of this with hedgehogs is the spread of a disease called salmonella. You can catch this, but also, your dog can, too. If he does, you can expect severe dehydration, sepsis, lethargy, dehydration, and depression.

How to Train Your Dog and Hedgehog to Get Along (and Stay Healthy)

Much of the training that goes along with a healthy, happy, coexisting life for your hedgehog and dog will come down to you. All of the illness and condition prevention will be based on your actions. 

For example, handling your hedgehog and handling your dog should be done with caution - always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap after touching your hedgehog before you feed or pet your pup, and ensure that other guests do the same before they pet your pup.

It's important you clean up after your hedgehog, too. Don't take them into areas where food or drinks are prepared (out of the kitchen, always). Additionally, don't snuggle or kiss a hedgehog, and especially don't do that and touch your dog. Also, keep your dogs away from hedgehogs if they have any kind of immune deficiency or poor health condition. 

You'll want to train your dog to stay away from the hedgehog at your command. In this case, obedience commands like "no," "stay," and "leave it," are crucial when owning a hedgehog. 

How to React If Your Dog Has Caught Something from Your Hedgehog

  • Contact your vet immediately.
  • Create a better system for cleaning your hedgehog and his area.
  • Implement stronger rules about hedgehog and dog interactions.
  • Keep your hedgehog and dog separated.