3 Ways to Choose Toys for a Hamster – Hamsters are energetic and playful pets (especially at night), and they can easily become bored if they don’t have toys to play with. Since hamsters are rodents, it’s important for them to have toys that they can chew on to help keep their teeth worn down. Items like exercise balls and wheels are popular toy options that will allow the hamster to exercise, and wooden chew toys will allow them to keep their teeth in check.
A Providing Chew Toys
1Purchase multiple wooden chew toys. There are many varieties of wooden hamster toys—some will be shaped like tree branches, while others will be made into novelty shapes. Pick up at least three or four of these toys, as your hamster will chew through them relatively quickly. Visit your local pet store for a good selection.
- Your hamster must have access to chew toys constantly. Hamsters’ teeth grow continually, and the chew toys will help your hamster wear down its ever-growing teeth.
- Without access to the proper type of chew toys, hamsters can develop serious health problems.
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2Give your hamster dried, untreated fruit-tree branches
Fruit-tree branches will provide your hamster with a natural, non-synthetic wood to chew on. Hamsters especially enjoy chewing on pear and apple tree branches. Break the tree branches into segments about 4 inches (10 cm) long; don’t stick an entire branch in the hamster’s cage.
- Before giving your hamster branches that have come from outdoor fruit trees, make sure that the trees haven’t been sprayed with chemicals. Chemical sprays, including pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, could prove harmful and potentially fatal to hamsters.
- Boil any branches you get from outside before you give them to your hamster. Allow them to sit in the boiling water for at least 2 minutes, then let them cool and dry completely. This helps keep parasites and bacteria away from your hamster.
- If you live in a region in which fruit trees do not naturally grow, visit a local plant nursery. Nurseries are likely to sell fruit trees, and may be willing to break a dead branch or two off the tree’s trunk.
- If you’d like to give your hamster another type of wood, you’ll need to do a little research to make sure the wood won’t harm your pet. Research online or talk to the staff of a local pet store.
- Don’t pick up fruit trees’ sticks from the ground. These could carry bugs or parasites.
3 Give your hamster hard dog biscuits.
If you’re having trouble finding suitable chew toys for your hamster, you can give them hard dog biscuits to chew on. These are typically made from materials that are natural and safe for hamsters to eat. Break the dog biscuits into 2–3-inch (5–7.6-cm) chunks before giving them to your hamster.
- Before giving your hamster a dog treat, read the list of ingredients. If the biscuit contains garlic, it could harm the hamster. Only give hamsters garlic-free treats.
B Selecting Toys for Exercise.
1 Purchase a hamster wheel.
Hamster wheels provide an important source of exercise for your hamster. When purchasing a hamster wheel, make sure that it is large enough to accommodate your hamster. If your hamster runs with its back arched, this shows that its wheel is too small. Additionally, make sure to purchase a wheel that does not have metal rungs as its inner surface.
- Hamster’s small feet are likely to slip through these metal rungs. If this happens, their feet or legs can easily be broken.
2 Select a hamster exercise ball.
A transparent plastic exercise ball will allow your hamster to run freely outside of its cage. Select the largest hamster ball possible, so that your hamster will not be constrained or cramped when it’s running inside the exercise ball. Any pet store should sell these popular and common exercise balls.
- Always set your hamster in its exercise ball directly on the floor, and never on top of a table or desk. Also avoid placing the exercise ball near stairs, as the hamster could roll down them and injure itself. Block any stairs, drop-offs, or other hazards with something tall and sturdy.
- Make sure to always supervise your hamster when it’s in the exercise ball. Only put the hamster in the ball once per day, and avoid leaving it in for more than 20 minutes, as it will tire out quickly.
- If you have other pets such as dogs or cats, keep them in a separate room from your hamster while it is in the ball. Other pets may try to play with, antagonize, or eat your hamster. Even calm larger animals could cause your hamster significant stress.
3 Choose a hamster jungle gym.
If you have a large hamster cage, considering adding a so-called hamster jungle gym. These are typically wooden (or synthetic wood) structures which give hamsters obstacles to crawl over, climb on, and potentially chew on. These jungle gyms will come in a variety of sizes, and typically feature ladders for your hamster to climb on.
- The jungle gym should be set inside of your hamster’s cage, where the hamster will have constant access whenever it decides to play.
- Your local pet shop should have at least one or two models of hamster jungle gym for sale.
4 Play with your hamster out of its cage.
When you bring your hamster out of its cage, you can gently pet it, hold it, and give it access to the same chewable toys and branches that it has inside of its cage. You can also purchase small segments of plastic tunnel, which your hamster will enjoy running through on the floor.
- Make sure to shut the doors and windows to the room you’re in when you play with your hamster.
- If you’re concerned about your hamster running away while out of its cage, you can purchase a hamster playpen. The playpen will restrict your hamster to a small section of the floor, so it can’t escape.
C Choosing Cage Decorations.
1 Give your hamster edible chewable fixtures.
Many pet companies manufacture larger, hamster-friendly chew toys that can be placed on the floor of a hamster cage or suspended from the metal bars on the cage’s side. These toys can range from 6–10 inches (16–25 cm). Some are designed in the shape of a house or “hut” that your hamster can sleep inside of when it’s not using the item as a chew toy.
- In some cases, hanging edible chew toys can help prevent your hamster from gnawing on the metal bars which line its cage.
2 Purchase a small “hide house” for your hamster.
While this is not technically a toy, it’s still an important part of your hamster’s cage environment. Hamsters, like any other pet, need private space, and a small house can afford them this privacy. Place the house in the corner of the hamster cage, where the animal can access it easily.
- You may be able to purchase a hamster cage with a small “house” already installed. If not, your local pet shop should have a decent selection.
3 Set a couple of paper-towel tubes in the cage.
Your hamster will enjoy being able to run through the tunnel-like paper-towel tubes,. The tubes will also afford the hamster a place to hide when it doesn’t want to be seen or when it would like to sleep in an enclosed area. Your hamster will also like tearing them apart.
- If your hamster cage is too small for paper-towel tubes, you can substitute toilet-paper tubes.