Hamsters have exercise balls that are made of a plastic and translucent material. They are used for the animal’s exercise needs as hamsters are naturally very active.
Hamsters require daily exercise to remain active and healthy. While using the balls, a lid is opened and the animals are placed inside carefully.
The lid should be fixed back tightly to keep your pet in and prevent them from flying out and getting hurt if it accidentally opened. Exercise balls are ventilated to enable air circulation.
The small animals will run inside the ball as it rolls forward across a surface. It usually makes a sound while rolling so it’s not easy to get lost and not be seen.
Although hamsters will enjoy running in them, moderation should be observed and that’s what we will be discussing here. Keep reading.
How long can you keep a hamster in a ball?
A hamster should be kept in a ball for a maximum of 30 minutes after which they should be taken out for a break. The ball can be used inside the cage or outside. They are fun for exercising but you should take your pet out after the maximum time is reached. This is to avoid suffocation, exhaustion, heatstroke, dehydration, and even contraction of infections.
When should you put a hamster in a ball?
A hamster should be placed in a ball only if they are old enough starting at 4 months. Young hamsters should never be put in a ball.
They can easily get their small paws stuck in the ventilation slits causing injuries or fractures. Always make sure that your pet is older before exercising them in a ball.
New hamsters should also be kept away from the ball for a while. They should first be left to get used to their new environment.
Putting a new pet in a ball can stress them sick because they are still afraid of you, their environment, and the ball will only make matters worse. Give them time to get comfortable so that they will be relaxed as you pick them up to place them in the ball.
What type of ball should you get?
Some exercise balls are unsafe while others are safe to be used. While picking a ball, go for one that suits your pet’s size.
Hamsters are of different sizes depending on their breed. Larger breeds like the Syrians need a larger ball compared to smaller dwarf breeds.
Ensure that the lid can close well and that the toy is well ventilated to prevent the suffocation of your pet.
Where should hamsters use an exercise ball?
An exercise ball can be used inside the cage if it has a stand. If not, it can be used out of the cage.
Every time your pet is in the ball they should be supervised to avoid injuries. Even safe exercise balls can become unsafe and we’ll look at the risks they bring and measures you can take to avoid them.
Risks of using hamster balls
Hamster balls do carry certain risks with them like:
- Suffocation – not enough air may get in the ball as it rolls.
- Exhaustion – your pet can get very tired while running in the ball.
- Heatstroke – the ball can become too hot leading to heatstroke in hamsters.
- Dehydration – while in the ball, the pet is not eating or drinking water. This may lead to dehydration.
- Spine injury – your pet may bend too much while running in their ball. This may bring about back pain and problems with their spine.
- Infections – your pet spending time in the ball may have to urinate or poop in there. This waste can make them sick if they spend more time in it.
Cautionary measures to take while using an exercise ball
Due to the risks associated with a ball, there are safety measures you can take to keep your pet safe while using it. They include:
Your pet should never be left unsupervised while in their ball. Always keep a keen eye on them whenever you place them inside.
They could have accidents like getting their paw stuck somewhere or hitting furniture and somersaulting. Being around will make you help them out fast in case something happens.
Close lid tightly
The ball will be in constant motion. You should make sure that the lid is tightly fixed to prevent your pet from being flung out just like one would be in a moving car.
Don’t leave them in for long
Hamsters should never be left in the ball for long. They are not able to control the speed of the ball and sometimes it can move too fast for them.
This speed and spending more time in the ball will lead to exhaustion. Not being able to eat or drink water is another problem that will be avoided by taking them out after a while.
Half an hour is enough after which you should take them out and hydrate them with water first.
Avoid raised surfaces
Raised surfaces like tabletops or stairs that the ball could roll over should be avoided as they could bring about serious injuries.
Always create obstacles near stairs to prevent this and place the ball on a low flat surface.
Never put in more than one hamster
More hamsters will topple over and step on each other and this could make them hurt each other.
Clean after use
The ball should be cleaned thoroughly after every use. This is to get rid of all waste and avoid the buildup of bacteria that can bring about infections if used again with the same waste.
Keep other pets and kids away
Other pets can run after the ball and scare your hamster or even try to bite the ball. Kids could also handle it excitedly turning and overturning it with your pet inside.
This can bring about fear and injury to your pet. So keep all pets and little children away from the ball.
Hamsters should be kept in a ball for a maximum of 30 minutes to prevent exhaustion, suffocation, dehydration, heatstroke, and infections.
Always keep an eye on your pet as they are using the ball to prevent injuries. Ball alternatives can be exercise wheels and tunnels.
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