Make Petsmart develop humane, safe cages for small animals
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THE MAIN PROBLEM
Petsmart recently introduced their Tiny Tales line of cages and accessories. There are several problems with the cages in particular. Firstly, they are just too small. Hamster cages need to meet or exceed 450 square inches of unbroken floorspace. This means that the length and width of the base of the cage, when multiplied, need to meet or exceed 450. This is a minumum endorsed by both the California Hamster Association and the Ontario Hamster Club. This area is needed not only to provide space for the hamster to run and play, but also for all of their accessories.
The largest Tiny Tales cage measures in at 320 square inches at its largest points, but it is oddly shaped. The liveable area of the cage is much, much smaller. The other cages of the line range from about 150 square inches to 250 square inches of liveable area. Take a look at one of the cages set up with just the basics.
We then need to consider the fact that these cages do not allow space for necessary "extras," like a properly sized wheel, extra hides, or toys--all vital for both physical and cognitive health of the animal. Focusing strictly on wheels, the Tiny Tales cage provides a 6 inch wheel, despite the fact that the cage is marketed for hamsters of all species. This is incredibly dangerous. For larger hamsters, such as Syrians and most dwarves, a 6 inch wheel forces them to run with an arched back, if they are able to run at all. This leads to spinal damage over time. Take a look at the Tiny Tales wheel compared to a small Syrian hamster.
Unfortunately, it's also impossible to fit a properly sized wheel in the Tiny Tales cage. Remember, a Syrian hamster needs a 10 inch wheel or larger. Dwarves benefit from wheels 8 inches or larger as well! We tried to fit a mid sized wheel in the cage. See how that turned out below.
THE OTHER DANGERS
Petsmart still uses and sells mesh wheels. Mesh wheels are frequently used in store displays, serving to put the animals at risk of injury in addition to providing an awful example for prospective pet parents. Petsmart also sells these wheels, despite there being adequate research showing mesh wheels exacerbate conditions such as bumblefoot. These wheels also put animals at risk of toe and foot injury as tiny feet can easily be caught in the mesh while running. When multiple animals are in the cage, injury is even more likely, as seen in this video taken in a Petsmart store: CLICK ME..
Petsmart officially recommends only recommends providing 2 inches of bedding in their in-store hamster care guides. Hamsters are burrowing animals by nature, and they thrive on having extremely deep bedding. Indeed, they will form elaborate burrows if given the opportunity. Allowing them to engage in this natural behavior is imperative for their cognitive health. 2 inches of bedding simply is not enough. Even if the customer wanted to provide deeper bedding than recommended, the Tiny Tales basins do not allow for more than 3 inches, nor do any of the hamster cages sold in Petsmart stores.
Additionally, Petsmart still markets pine bedding as a safe option for small animals, and cedar beddings are sold in the same vicinity (although more clearly labeled as for larger animals). This is despite the fact that pine, kiln-dried pine, and cedar beddings are all known to be toxic to small animals.
Cotton or "fluff" beddings are also sold at Petsmart, despite the fact that these, time and time again, have been found to be incredibly dangerous. It's common for the fibers to twist themselves around limbs, causing injury. It's also common for hamsters to suffocate using these products.
Without diving into the specifics, it's important to note that the products listed here are not the only products of issue sold at Petsmart stores, but merely the most concerning. We would like to work with Petsmart to find alternatives to these as well!
ALL OF THIS IS IN DIRECT CONTRADICTION TO RESEARCH
Read more, including scientific research, on our website.
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