While flipping through hamster products and innovative accessories that are available online, you may have come across advertisements for super-cute hamster-sized harness and leash sets. Many owners immediately think that having their hamster on a leash would be a safe way to take the little animal outside to explore. Unfortunately, not all pet accessories on the market are safe or suitable for all types of pets.
A tight-fitting hamster leash may cause injuries or suffocation. If it is too loose, the hamster could escape. Hamsters are fragile and not suited to wearing constrictive body accessories. They are also nocturnal, prey animals, so the stress of being tugged about outside can be life-threatening.
You would never put a dog into a hamster running wheel, and you shouldn’t put your tiny, fragile pet hamster into a miniature harness with a leash. Let’s take a look at why hammies don’t do well on a leash and check out some safer ways to play with them that they will enjoy.
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Are Leashes Safe For Hamsters?
Hamster leashes are designed and marketed to be super cute. Most give the impression that the tiny rodents will be comfortable wearing it and will love going outside and walking on a leash like a dog. Some have little bow ties or frills to look extra appealing.
While we cannot deny that many hamster harness and leash designs are cute, they are neither necessary nor safe for hamsters. Let’s have a look at a list of the pros and cons of using a hamster leash:
|The hamster may look cute in the tiny harness.
|The hamster may get frightened and bite while you are trying to maneuver it into the harness.
|It needs to be quite tight to prevent the hamster from slipping out of the harness so it may cause suffocation.
|The hamster won’t feel safe or enjoy the experience.
|If the harness is not tight enough, the animal could escape and get lost.
|Hamsters are nocturnal, so they won’t enjoy daytime walks.
|Hamsters are prey animals, so they will be frightened outside in the open areas.
|Outside lawns may have been treated with pesticides.
|You could accidentally step on your hamster.
|It will cost you money, and it is not necessary.
As you can see, hamster leashes are not a safe accessory for your small pet. They are simply too small and fragile to attach to any type of leash.
Like any pets, hamsters will not enjoy having their body squeezed. Dwarf hamsters, in particular, are tiny, and their body shape tends to be quite round, making it difficult to squeeze them into a constrictive vest without needing to hold the little creature very tightly.
It is not necessary to take your hamster outdoors, and there are plenty of ways to play with it safely inside, where it will feel safe. Your hamster will enjoy a maze that you can build inexpensively and change regularly to keep it exciting.
When interacting with your hamster, you should never be in a standing position or controlling its movements with a leash. Always stay close to the ground when you play with your hamster. Find a safe, enclosed place (like the bathtub) where your hammie can enjoy running freely over your body without any stress about predators, noise, or accidentally getting squashed.
Can You Walk A Hamster On A Lead?
Hamsters cannot be walked on a lead like a dog. Dogs are predator animals, and hamsters are prey animals. So while a dog will walk confidently outdoors and be eager to move forward and sniff at everything, hamsters are more likely to try to find a place to hide.
Hamsters are not wired to walk confidently about in open settings in daylight – that is why you don’t see field mice or rats running about during the day. Taking your hamster outdoors on a leash will be incredibly stressful for the little pet, even if it appears to be running around actively.
Even if your hamster has a super relaxed personality and is comfortable walking in a harness, your speed of walking and the hammies are entirely different, and they tend to dart about randomly. There is, therefore, a chance that you will end up jerking the little creature, or you may even stand on it.
Are There Collars For Hamsters?
The only time your hamster should wear any type of collar is if your veterinarian recommends a special recovery collar after a procedure. This specific kind of collar prevents the animal from licking or scratching sores or wounds in order to facilitate recovery.
Recovery collars, like this one from Pet-Yale, can be helpful while treating skin infections. However, the hamster needs to be closely monitored for signs of stress which can be fatal. This type of collar must only be used if recommended by a veterinarian.
There is no other type of collar that should be used on a hamster. Although decorative collars and harness collars with leashes are available, they are dangerous. No matter how cute it looks, your hamster may get hooked on something or succumb to the stress of having a constrictive device around its body.
Do Hamsters Like To Go Outside?
Stress is the number one cause of hamster mortality, and it is not only caused by fear. Stress can result from incorrect temperatures or sudden changes in an environment. Although hamsters need to get plenty of stimulation and should regularly spend time out of their cages, there is no need to take them outdoors.
Hamsters are nocturnal animals, so taking them outside for ‘walks’ during the day would be frightening. In addition, if the grass or plants it is exposed to have been treated with pesticides, it could be toxic to your hamster.
Your tiny hamster friend does not have good eyesight, so it will not be able to enjoy the view of the outdoor landscape like you do. When placed in an unfamiliar setting, its focus will be to navigate its way to safety using its sense of smell and touching things with its whiskers.
A far better way to play with your hamster and let it have some out-of-the-cage activities is to play with it in a safe setting where it can’t escape. Also, provide some hamster-safe toys and tubes that it can explore and regularly swap them, so your hamster stays interested and entertained,
Should I Take My Hamster Outside In A Ball?
Hamster balls are enclosed spaces and quickly get hot in the sun if they are outside. There is plenty of debate about whether hamsters enjoy hamster balls or whether the animals run simply because they are desperately trying to escape from the unpleasant, uncomfortable environment.
Since hamsters can’t see very well, there is no benefit to putting it outside if it is inside a plastic hamster ball. Owners need to consider all the pros and cons of using a hamster ball as a form of exercise for their pet and, most importantly, ensure that they get the right size ball for their hamster.
Leash Or No Leash?
Hamster leashes are a marketing gimmick created to make money. The idea of being able to walk a tiny rodent like a dog is cute, but it is not a suitable or realistic accessory for a hamster. There is no need to spend money on an item that will stress out your hamster and may even be dangerous. Rather buy extra tubes, yummy treats, or a larger cage they can enjoy safely.