Unfortunately, dogs are not that far removed from wolves. This becomes apparent every so often when our lovely, friendly pets mercilessly hunt down a small animal. When this happens on walks, you can often calm your dogs down or keep them on a leash. However, what do you do when it occurs in your own garden?
Hedgehogs are lovely little animals that most people love to have in their gardens. They don't have many predators, as cats and similarly sized animals are generally put off by the spikes. However, dogs are tenacious and big enough to harm the spiny creatures, and will do if you are not careful.
So how do you stop this from happening? If you keep your dogs outside then it is quite difficult to control them, so they can easily attack anything that gets into your garden. You will need to take steps to prevent this.
If you bring your dogs in for the night, it might be a good idea to start taking them inside a bit earlier than usual. Hedgehogs are usually active at night, so getting your dogs inside before sunset will usually keep the two animals separate and prevent an incident.
However, you may still need to take your dog out to go to the toilet. If you do, a good option is to warn any hedgehogs first by turning on an outside light or going into the garden on your own for a minute or so before letting the dog out. This should give any hedgehogs plenty of time to get away.
Hedgehogs also tend to have quite strict routines. If you keep an eye out, you should be able to work out what time they come through your garden. Perhaps you could feed your dogs at this time. Make sure you use premium dog food so they will be more interested in the contents of their bowl than the garden!
If you can manage all this, you should be able to have a garden that is safe for hedgehogs. Most people would agree that this is a great thing to have - you could even make a hedgehog box or something similar to attract them if you are sure they are going to be safe.
Written by: Hannah Dyball