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We are all familiar with the idea of walking a dog on a leash, or even a cat, but what about a hamster? There are hamster leashes on the market, so should you be using one?
In short, hamsters will not like being tethered on a leash and will become very distressed. Even worse, these devices could be very dangerous to the hamster and may cause it harm.
It might look cute, your sweet little hamster walking around on a leash, but let’s face it, this is more for our benefit than the hamsters. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about hamster leashes.
Can I Walk My Hamster On A Leash?
Many pet owners will put their hamster on a leash as a way of being able to exercise them without the worry of the hamster getting lost.
After all, they are tiny animals, and when allowed to run around a room, they may instinctively hide out in a corner or, even worse, a hole in the wall.
Of course, you wouldn’t want this to happen but using a leash to walk your hamster is not very kind; in fact, a lot of pet parents would call this behavior cruel.
One of the main problems with this type of equipment is that it can cause great discomfort to the hamster at best; at worst, it could hurt the hamster and potentially squash them.
There are many videos on YouTube of hamsters being walked on a leash, and it is evident that many of these products are too tight, leaving the poor hamster extremely uncomfortable or in pain.
For this reason alone, you should avoid using them at all costs.
But it doesn’t stop there. Unlike larger animals like dogs, for example, hamsters do not need daily exercise outside of their cage.
Provided that you supply them with a large enough enclosure (at least 450 square inches of floorspace), this space will give them everything they need to stay active and healthy.
However, if you want to allow your pet a little more freedom outside of the cage, this should not be done with the aid of a leash.
If you watch footage of a hamster on a leash, one of the first things you will notice is that the hamster looks like it is trying to get away.
These animals are not used to being guided by a human, and while they are intelligent in their own way, they certainly do not have the capacity to understand why they are being dragged around on a leash.
The hamster is a very fragile animal, and they simply are not designed to be tugged in the way that they are when attached to a leash.
What’s more, there is no option to put a collar on them as you would with a dog, which can mean that the body leash is even more uncomfortable for them.
Doing this can cause a great deal of distress to the hamster, and stress is never a good thing.
One of the worst things that can happen to hamsters as a result of continued stress is death, but even if your pet isn’t unfortunate enough to be a fatality, there are several other physical health problems that can come from stress.
Primarily, there is sufficient evidence to tell us that heart disease can become worse, and some hamsters may have a heart attack as a result of stress.
What’s more, it is not unheard of for hamsters’ immune systems to weaken when they are repeatedly exposed to stress.
For these reasons, it is never a good idea to put your hamster on a leash, regardless of how cute they might look.
Is A Hamster Ball Safe?
When you learn that a hamster leash is not a viable option, your mind may naturally drift to the idea of using a hamster ball as a substitute, but once again, this might not be the best idea.
Hamsters need a lot of space to exercise, and at this point, we can look back to that large tank that they require, which is more than enough for them to be as active as they need.
Hamster balls are another way for owners to take their pet out of the enclosure without having to be on high alert.
But this enclosed space is not beneficial to the hammie and will likely do nothing more than stress him out.
What’s more, your hamster will probably run in the ball not because he is exercising but because he is trying to find a way out; naturally, he will continue to run until he does get out and if left for long periods of time, he could become exhausted.
According to the RSPCA, hamsters may get their tiny feet caught up in the air holes of the exercise ball, and this can cause injury.
How Can I Exercise My Hamster?
It would seem that without the aid of a leash or ball, the options for exercising your hamster are limited. But this is not the case.
There is the option of installing toys and climbing in her cage. Hamsters will get more than enough exercise this way, and this is one of the safest ways of keeping them active.
However, if you must exercise them out of the cage, then doing so in a purpose built enclosure such as a Playpen (Amazon, #CommissionsEarned) is the best way to give them some freedom without the risk of them running away or getting lost.
Many people make hamster agility courses, and this is a fun way to exercise your pet, but it is also great for training them.
There isn’t a lot of evidence to suggest that all hamsters can be trained, but using treats can help with this, and doing this together is a good way to bond with your pet.
Can I walk my hamster outdoors?
You should not put your hamster on a leash and walk them outdoors. Firstly, they will quickly become tired and will become stressed on the leash. In addition to this, there is a chance that you or someone else may step on the hamster, causing significant injury or even death. That being said, you can take your hamster outside in an enclosure for exercise, but be sure to keep an eye on them.
Where can I get a hamster playpen?
One of the best ways to exercise your hamster outside of the cage is in a hamster playpen. You can make one of these yourself or simply block off an area of the room. However, there are also hamster playpens available online that provide your pet with somewhere safe to get active.