Hamsters are animals that love to move and explore their surroundings. This makes it obvious to take the hamster for a walk on a leash.
After all, the small rodents already cover several kilometers per night while foraging for food.
But is a leash walk a good way to exercise your hamster and fulfill his need for activity?
Find out here!
In this article you will learn whether you can walk your hamster on a leash and which activities are suitable for the little animals. Of course, we will also tell you about suitable alternatives.
Can hamsters walk on a leash?
The short answer is no, walking on a leash is not species appropriate for a hamster.
For sure you are wondering about this. After all, these little rodents are nimble, like to be active and have a great need for exercise.
Even physical activity and exercise are crucial for their physical and mental health.
But there are plenty of good reasons why you shouldn’t use a leash.
Why you should not take hamsters for a walk!
Hamsters absolutely need exercise in sufficient amounts.
However, there are several problems with a leash walk.
- the safety
Ferrets, rabbits, cats, Chihuahuas – small harnesses and matching leashes can certainly be found in stores.
However, even these are too big for a hamster.
Moreover, hamsters are extremely agile, nimble and agile.
Therefore, when wearing a harness and being restrained by a leash, they themselves can sustain significant injuries.
Broken bones are possible as well as cutting off circulation.
Hamsters can also wriggle out of supposedly tight and secure harnesses very easily and escape in the process.
You should not underestimate these risks.
- the escape behavior
Hamsters are small animals that have numerous predators.
Among them for example:
Birds of prey
Of course, not all of these potential enemies can be found on a walk.
However, protecting themselves from other and especially larger animals is in the hamsters’ genetic makeup.
The small rodents therefore fall into a rigidity, flee or go over to the attack.
In addition to movements, smells, noises and rapid movements are already sufficient for this.
In populated areas, such stimuli are everywhere.
A walk on a leash without a safe place to retreat is pure stress for your hamster.
Instead of providing the desired exercise, you are overloading your pet.
- the influences and dangers
In addition to the smells and sounds, your hamster is exposed to other stressors and dangers during a walk.
Road salt residue
Fertilizers, exhaust fumes and pesticides pose a risk, as does potentially toxic food. This can also be ingested by your hamster while out for a walk.
In addition, there is animal feces, which can contain residues of medications that are dangerous for the hamster or worms or worm eggs.
To ingest these, the hamster only has to sniff or walk through them and then clean itself.
Fur remains, animal carcasses but also running through grass can lead to your hamster having fleas, mites or ticks afterwards.
Even if you are very careful, your pet could step in broken pieces and cut itself, prick itself or injure itself in some other way.
So, for all these reasons, it is better to give your hamster enough exercise in other ways.
7 Alternatives to leash walking
Since walking on a leash is not an option, you should offer your hamster other ways to move around and explore the environment.
We will show you how this is possible.
Option 1: Hamster home
When choosing, the bigger the better. If the hamster can already move around a lot in its cage, hamster home or terrarium, this is the best basis.
Vary the furnishings a little every now and then so that your hamster has the opportunity to find his way around and discover something new.
Design the hamster home as close to nature as possible. There must be opportunities for climbing, digging and foraging.
Possibility 2: Running wheel
For physical exercise, a running wheel in the hamster home is ideal. Make sure it is safe and as large as possible.
Through the running wheel your hamster can already cover longer distances without free running.
He can pause again and again, check the environment, take breaks to look for food or drink something.
Possibility 3: Free run
Even if the hamster home is large and well equipped, your hamster can only cover longer distances in a running wheel.
For more exploration and even more variety and exercise, your hamster should have daily free run.
However, this does not mean simply putting him on the living room carpet.
Instead, create a hamster-proof area in which you offer variety again and again.
This is possible, for example, through tube passages, which are regularly rearranged.
Branches and obstacles for climbing, hiding places and toys are ideal for this.
Option 4: Foraging
In nature, hamsters have to search for their food for a long time and do not find it in the same place every day.
Particularly animal protein, such as mealworms and insects, must sometimes be hunted or dug up.
You can recreate this by hiding the food in different places over and over again in the free run.
It is also ideal if you offer fresh food in the free run, where your hamster eats it immediately and does not bring it into the sleeping house as a reserve.
In general, make sure that your hamster has to work for his food.
Stretching, climbing and digging should be part of this.
Possibility 5: Teach tricks
Another way to keep your hamster mentally occupied and more accustomed to you is to teach him tricks.
This can start with him listening to his name and coming to you. Always connect this with something pleasant.
This can be a small piece of fruit, vegetable or egg. A mealworm is also possible.
This way your pet will learn that it is worth coming to you.
After that, you can make the hamster run over obstacles, teach it to do manikins or even call it from the free run.
Option 6: Toys
For hamsters, you can find numerous toys and activity ideas that you can offer or implement in rotation.
This makes the hamster home and free run always new and exciting.
In addition, they offer more security and a much more relaxed form of employment than a dangerous walk on the leash.
Option 7: Green plants
Green plants are a good addition to a hamster’s diet. Therefore, offer your pet fresh herbs, grasses and flowers.
If you grow them yourself, there is no risk of contamination or exposure to pesticides.
You can also get creative.
Create a small hamster meadow in a shallow planter. Hang small flower pots so that your hamster has to stretch and can only bite off the tips of the shoots.
Likewise, you can set up a green corner where your hamster even has the opportunity to climb.
Suitable are, among others:
- Crested wheatgrass
- Cabbage thistle
The comprehensive design of the hamster home and free run will bring as much joy to your pet as it will to you.
You can always introduce new elements and watch how your hamster explores them.
This will allow you to keep the animal busy in a way that is appropriate for its species, and you will see much more natural behavior than on a walk.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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