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Gardeners urged to leave bowl of dog food in garden this July and August


Gardeners are being urged to leave a bowl of dog food out in their gardens this summer for a very important reason.

Our gardens can be a haven for wildlife and the natural world but sometimes nature needs a little bit of a helping hand.

This summer, gardeners are being asked to leave a bowl of dog or cat food in their garden to help endangered hedgehogs survive the tough summer months and pack on some weight for winter.

Hedgehogs are a vital part of British wildlife but their numbers are also seriously under threat thanks to a mixture of habitat loss, climate change and the way gardens are now set up with fences and walls to reduce their ability to move around freely in search of food.

As well as drilling holes or gaps in fences for them to slip through, gardeners are being asked to leave food out for them this summer.

You can use cat or dog food but if your neighbourhood has a lot of roaming cats (as many do), it might be better to opt for dog food or you’ll just end up feeding the neighbour’s mog instead.

Gardeners are being asked to put the food in a shallow dish and pop it in a sheltered area of the garden at around sunset. 

You can also pop water bowls down too to maximise your help.

Hedgehog advice website St Tiggywinkles says: “To help hedgehogs build up their fat reserves in time for winter, please put out a shallow dish of water and some meaty flavoured tinned cat or dog food in the evenings.”

And Hedgehog Street adds: “Hedgehogs will relish any combination of meat-based wet dog or cat foods, or dry cat/kitten food. Just remember, they will be getting most of their food from insects and worms in the wild, and this food is only supplementary. Specially made hedgehog food is also widely available. Those resembling pet food with a high meat content are most suitable.

“Place in a shallow dish and put in a sheltered area of your garden, or a feeding station (see below), around sunset. Splitting food over several sites may reduce aggression at food bowls. Don’t forget to offer water bowls too!”

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