Occasionally we receive calls from dog owners to say that their dog has disturbed a sleeping hedgehog during the day or has attacked a hedgehog at night in the garden
We always stress the importance of keeping dogs away from hedgehogs to avoid either the hedgehog or the dog being hurt.
We recently received a call from Keith and Judi who live in Erdington. They were upset to find that their family pet Labrador had taken quite an interest in the hedgehogs nesting in their garden. Sadly one hedgehog had already died because the dog had picked it up and shaken it but there were two other hedgehogs that had been disturbed and Keith had kindly taken them to the Erdington Vet clinic for safety and then called us.
Keith and Judi were in a dilemma in that they didn’t want to get rid of their resident hedgehogs but they also didn’t want their dog to cause them more harm.
In general our policy is not to remove fit and well hedgehogs from gardens where they are thriving as this disturbs the natural ecology of the area and we could be removing the only male or female and therefore interfering with possible breeding. Clearly the garden was hedgehog heaven for several hogs and we had to put our heads together to see if we could come up with a plan to suit everyone.
We visited the garden and made a few suggestions that meant the hedgehogs could be returned to the garden and the dog could still roam freely but away from where the hedgehogs were nesting during the day.
If you have an inquisitive dog or know your dog is prone to attacking hedgehogs and you know there are nesting hedgehogs in your garden please follow these guidelines:
If you see a hedgehog out during the day it is likely to be unwell even if it looks fine and it could need medical attention so you need to call your local hedgehog rescue immediately for guidance. If you see a hedgehog out during the day between June and September if could be a mum taking a break from her nest of hoglets. In this case please check in your garden for a nest of hoglets before removing the hedgehog. If you take the mum away the babies will die. If you have a nest DO NOT DISTURB IT. Check after an hour or so to see that the hedgehog mum has returned to the nest and if she hasn’t then the hoglets will need specialist attention.
NEVER MOVE ANY HEDGEHOGS FROM YOUR GARDEN WITHOUT SEEKING SPECIALIST ADVICE FROM A LOCAL HEDGEHOG RESCUE
- Hedgehogs may be nesting in your garden during the day. If so try and find out where the nest is and fence of the nest area or create a barrier so that your dog cannot access the nest but the hedgehog can roam around the garden at night.
- If you are letting your dog out into the garden at night unsupervised try and warn the hedgehog when the dog is being let out by turning on an outside light a few minutes before you let the dog out. This gives the hedgehog an opportunity to find a place of safety
- Take the dog into the garden on a lead to prevent any attacks
- Hedgehogs are creatures of habit and establish a routine and often use the same route each night. This is why when new fences are erected it blocks off their established route and causes great problems. If you know the routine of the hedgehog visiting your garden then keep your dog in the house during those times.
You might also contact a local dog trainer to ask if they have any suggestions as to how you might train your dog to leave hedgehogs alone.
If you find a Hedgehog that has been attacked by a dog please act immediately as puncture wounds made by the dogs teeth can quickly become infected, see our emergency care section for more information.
Thanks to the efforts of Keith and Judi we will be returning the hedgehogs to their adapted garden so that their dog and resident hedgehogs can live together safely.