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Are Hedgehogs Dangerous to Dogs? (Deadly Or Harmless?)

If you’re wondering whether hedgehogs can be dangerous to dogs, the simple answer is: yes, they can be.

But let’s not get too worried just yet. The danger isn’t as dire as it might seem and with proper awareness, it can be easily managed.

Your canine buddy is naturally curious and might see a hedgehog as a fascinating creature to poke around and play with.

Although hedgehogs are generally not aggressive creatures, they do have a unique defense mechanism that can pose a threat to dogs – their spines, also known as quills.

Besides the physical danger, there are also some diseases that dogs can catch from hedgehogs. Let’s get into the details below!

are hedgehogs dangerous to dogs

In What Ways Can Hedgehogs Be Dangerous to Dogs?

The primary threat that hedgehogs pose to dogs is due to their prickly spines (quills).

When a dog gets too close or tries to play with a hedgehog, the hedgehog’s instinctive response is to roll into a ball, extending its spines outward.

These spines can cause injuries to your dog’s face, mouth, or paws.

Another concern is the potential diseases hedgehogs can carry.

While it’s not common, dogs can contract certain diseases from hedgehogs, especially if they come into contact with their feces. Here’s a list of some ways hedgehogs can be dangerous to dogs:

  • Physical injury from spines: Punctures and scratches from a hedgehog’s spines can cause discomfort, pain, and potentially lead to infections if not treated properly.
  • Disease transmission: Hedgehogs can be carriers of parasites, bacteria, or viruses that can make your dog sick.
  • Ingestion risk: If your dog tries to eat a hedgehog or its droppings, it can lead to serious health complications.

Danger Level

If I had to give an overall danger level out of 10, with 10 being extremely dangerous and 1 being not dangerous at all, I’d rate the danger of hedgehogs to dogs as a 3.

This is because while there are potential risks associated with dogs encountering hedgehogs, such as injuries from spines and disease transmission, these instances are relatively rare and usually not severe.

Hedgehog Spines & Danger to Dogs

As mentioned before, the main physical danger that hedgehogs pose to dogs is from their spines.

Hedgehogs are covered with thousands of spines, each about an inch long, which they use for protection.

When they feel threatened, they roll up into a ball, making it very hard for any predator to harm them without getting injured.

While a poke from a spine is not typically life-threatening to dogs, it can certainly be painful.

In some cases, a curious or overzealous dog could end up with spines lodged in their skin, mouth, or eyes, which can lead to injuries and infections if not removed promptly and properly.

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Hedgehog Diseases

Moving beyond the physical risks, hedgehogs can also carry diseases that are transmissible to dogs.

Although these instances are not extremely common, it’s still worth being aware of the risks.

One such risk is the transmission of parasites. Hedgehogs can host fleas, ticks, and mites which, if transferred to your dog, could cause health issues like Lyme disease or mange.

They can also carry certain types of bacteria and viruses which could potentially make your dog sick. Here’s a quick rundown of some potential diseases:

  • Fleas and ticks: These parasites can cause itching, discomfort, and potentially serious diseases like Lyme disease.
  • Salmonella: Hedgehogs are known carriers of this bacteria, which can cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs.
  • Foot and mouth disease: While rare, hedgehogs can carry this virus which is potentially harmful to dogs.

Is Hedgehog Poop Dangerous to Dogs?

Now, about hedgehog poop. Dogs, with their super sniffers, are often interested in scents we’d rather they avoid, including animal poop.

If your dog comes across hedgehog droppings and decides to sniff or eat it, there could be a risk.

Hedgehog feces can contain parasites or harmful bacteria that can make your dog sick.

Symptoms could range from mild (like a little upset tummy) to serious (like an infection requiring veterinary treatment), depending on what’s in the poop and how your dog’s body reacts to it.

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My Dog Ate Hedgehog Spines (what to do)

If your dog has eaten hedgehog spines, it’s important to contact your vet immediately.

While the spines may pass through your dog’s system without causing harm, there’s a risk they could cause internal injuries or blockages.

Your vet may want to do an examination or even an X-ray to see if the spines are causing any immediate danger. Don’t try to induce vomiting at home, as this could cause further damage.

Anything Else To Know

While it may seem like there are many risks associated with hedgehogs, remember that most dogs will never encounter a hedgehog in their lives.

If you live in an area where hedgehogs are common, simply be vigilant when your dog is outside, especially at night when hedgehogs are most active.

Supervision and awareness are key. If you notice any unusual behavior in your dog after an encounter with a hedgehog, it’s always best to contact your vet. Happy exploring to you and your furry friend!

Check Out The Full Danger List


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.