Hamsters don’t really play with toys like cats and dogs, but they sure do love to exercise! Unfortunately, you can’t just clip on a leash and go for a walk with your pet. Instead, you should make sure that he has the perfect running wheel.
Here are a few types of running wheels for hamsters. Some are recommended by a professional vet, and some are not.
Metal and plastic wheels with bars
The cheapest and easiest to find wheels have slatted bars. Many of these wheels are made out of metal, but some are made out of plastic. Some cages even come with this kind of wheel.
Although your hamster can run on it, this type of wheel can be harmful to your pet. As your critter runs, his feet can easily end up getting caught in between the rungs. He could sprain his ankle or even break his little foot. For this reason, wheels with bars are not recommended by animal professionals.
Plastic wheels with a flat running surface
If you want to avoid an accident, you should choose a plastic wheel with a flat running surface. Some clip right onto the side of the cage, while others sit at the bottom of the cage. This type of wheel doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it is extremely effective.
If you want to try something a little different, purchase a running saucer. This type of wheel is tilted, but it has a flat surface so it’s completely safe for hamsters. Because it is flat, it doesn’t require your pet to bend unnaturally, like some wheels do. The only downside is that this wheel can take up a lot of room in the cage.
Hamsters love to run in their cage, but you should also make sure your pet gets to spend some time outside his cage as well. One great way to do this is with an exercise ball.
A plastic ball with very small ventilation holes is the best choice. Just make sure you block rooms and stairways to prevent injuries.
Need help deciding which kind of running wheel is right for your critter? Your local vet can provide you with a professional recommendation. You can also ask one of the associates at the pet store for help.