The Problems with Exercise Balls
Author: Christine, of Crittery Exotics
Although once popular, exercise balls are not recommended for pets as they can cause distress from the enclosed space and the petmay end up running in its own mess. It is much better to free-roam your pet in a safe enclosed space.
- Poor ventilation This can lead to your pet overheating and becoming stressed.
- Sensory deprivation Rodents generally have poor eyesight and rely on their senses of touch, smell and hearing to navigate their surroundings. This means that being trapped in the exercise ball limits their use of these senses, causing high levels of stress.
- Dangerous air holes It is easy for a small rodent to get their toes, paws or tails caught on the slits, risking serious injuries.
- Causes stress The pet is trapped within the ball and cannot access its resources such as food, water or nest. It cannot leave the situation if it wants to and may feel extremely exposed.
- Risk of injury The exercise ball can easily collide with other furniture, be accidently kicked, bounce down the stairs, or be chased by a larger pet, causing injury or death.
- Arching of back Most rodent owners purchase hamster balls that are too small for their pet and pet shops often give poor advice on sizings. A Syrian hamster needs a 30cm (in diameter) ball, while a dwarf hamster needs a 21cm (in diameter) ball. However, even if the hamster ball is of the recommended size, please consider whether this experience has any positives for your pet at all.