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SMALL ANIMAL HARNESSES - don't use them!

Discussion in 'Rodents' started by RowdyRabbit, Dec 8, 2014.


  1. RowdyRabbit

    RowdyRabbit Pet keeper, pet fanatic & all round pet lover

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    This is a very important post/announcement. Now, many owners already know this but there is still an increasing number who don't: Harnesses for any small rodent (rabbits not included) are extremely dangerous and should be banned. However, they are not and many pet shops (in America more than here) still sell them, even though it is rather obvious that a tight material around a small animal's delicate ribs and vital organs is almost certainly going to end in disaster.

    Please, be aware of them. Don't be tempted to buying one by the packaging or reviews... use your common sense and what has been told in this article. It may sound fun: "Taking you hamster for a walk!", but believe me, one slight tug on the lead and that's the end of your pet. The harness can also restrict breathing, stressing out your pet and starving it of oxygen - let alone the panic caused by putting the damn thing on!

    I beg of you, for your pet's sake, DO NOT USE SMALL ANIMAL HARNESSES! Please share this post to spread awareness of the dangers caused by harnesses. Thank you. :)
     

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    #1 RowdyRabbit, Dec 8, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  2. MirandaG

    MirandaG PetForums Newbie

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    I know this is an old post, but hopefully someone can still answer. Are the full harnesses okay? As in the ones with fabric instead of straps? If not, is there any way for me to take my rats for a walk? I'd feel awful if they can never go outside with fresh air and sunlight. As it's winter and they're not yet fully tame, I'm not attempting an outside walk anytime soon, but was hoping they could explore in our garden come summer. And then if they liked that, maybe take them to a park or somewhere else that was new to them?
     
  3. Tiggers

    Tiggers PetForums Senior

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    No small animal harness is safe! Small animals have a delicate muscular skeletal arrangement and harnesses are capable of inflicting terrible internal injuries, not to mention broken ribs and muscle damage. Please please do not use them.
     
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  4. MirandaG

    MirandaG PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks. I would never jeopardize an animal's safety for my pleasure. I'll just have to figure something else out, like building a portable playpen or something to take to a park. At least that way I'll be less worried about passing dogs eating them...
     
  5. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    They would be incredibly vulnerable to passing dogs !
    I had 2 guineapigs as a child, both killed by visiting dogs in their garden pens.
     
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  6. MirandaG

    MirandaG PetForums Newbie

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    In their pens? What kind of pens were they? Most of the dogs here are super well behaved because all the shops and restaurants allow them in and their walks are through fields of sheep and cowd. I would never let a stranger's dog near my rats though and would put them in my pockets of I saw one approaching. There is a field I have in mind though where very few walk their dogs. Anyway, what happened so I know what to look out for? And thanks for the heads up! I would be gutted if they died.
     
  7. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    My guinea pigs were in open top pens in the garden, we had 2 dogs of our own who were not interested in them.
    The first guinea pig, a heavily pregnant female,was in her pen when a dog who was visiting us for stud purposes just reached over the pen, picked up poor little Silky and with one shake broke her neck and killed her. It happened in a second.
    A year later our bosses dog did exactly the same to Curly, the male. There was no time to prevent it. As you can imagine I was distraught , that was the end of my guinea-pig keeping .
    I really think that taking them to any public area where there coud be dogs is a risk not worth taking.
    You could get a really strong outdoor pen with a lid and fix the bottom of it underground so the rats couldn't dig themselves out or predators dig their way in, nothing less would offer enough protection.
    Even in the garden you need to be aware of cats, owls, hawks and foxes.
    My auntie had a 'free-range' guinea pig in her garden , one of Silky's offspring, she disappeared one night and we suspected an owl had got her.
    There may be memberswho have successfully allowed their rodent pets outside access, hopefully someone wil be along to advise on this.
    Tagging @simplysardonic who may be able to help.
    But that's my story.
     
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  8. Tiggers

    Tiggers PetForums Senior

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    No small pet regardless of species should be allowed to roam outside unsupervised. I've seen a couple of posts condoning this, and am deeply concerned. Apart from the dangers Susie has mentioned in her post, there is also disease, poisoning and injury to consider. Small animals should not be taken to parks, fields, or indeed, any other areas where they are at incredible risk.
     
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  9. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Being prey animals exposure to public spaces and all the noises, dogs, cats, people, cats etc. would be very stressful imo

    Not something I would ever contemplate.
     
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  10. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    If you have a garden then that would be a safe place to build a ‘rat gym’.
    I think, left to their own devices and in their own time, rats will explore a new area; would it be not be a bit stressful for them to just suddenly find themselves in one?
     
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  11. MirandaG

    MirandaG PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks everyone for all the replies! It's my first time with rats and I just assumed they'd like to explore new places as they always seem to be investigating the edge of their inclosures. It's also probablyprob traveler in me as I can't imagine being cooped up my whole life in only one place. That and dogs love parks and I guess I'm seeing my boys as little dogs and thought it would be nice to walk them?

    Anyway, I was planning on letting them out in our garden first. Originally was thinking on a lead, but now I'm NOT doing that and going with a pen as suggested. So I guess no walks in parks/fields in their futures either and I'll just keep moving their outside pen around. Our garden isn't massive, but probably big enough for a rat to not feel too cooped up while also exploring.

    And yes, I would never leave them unsupervised outside or in a room full of dangers. I have a study they free roam in though, but they haven't started chewing (and honestly that's making me a bit worried. Aren't they supposed to really like to chew on things? I mean they've nibbled a bit on some apple wood and the things I hide treats in, but nothing else) and there's nothing dangerous for them to eat there. Just wood and books. I've removed every electrical wire.

    Anyways, thanks again everyone!
     
  12. MirandaG

    MirandaG PetForums Newbie

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    Aw, that's awful! I'm so sorry that happened. Someone joked their cat would come over and eat my rats a couple days ago and so I joked I would eat their cat. I think they found that as funny as I did their original joke, but I'm Asian so maybe they thought I was serious.
     
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  13. simplysardonic

    simplysardonic Moderator
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    Absolutely agree with what you've said.

    Glad you've decided against allowing your rats outside, it really isn't a vaery safe space for them to be.

    I'll sometimes carry them around in my garden to enjoy some outdoors, but would never trust a pen or harness to contain them.
     
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  14. Tiggers

    Tiggers PetForums Senior

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    I cannot stress more stringently NEVER use any form of harness or restraint on any small animal.
     
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