The pet-supply retailer PETCO will conduct its annual Hamster Ball Derby on Saturday, April 24 at 2pm, hosted by all the company’s more than 1,000 locations across the country. PETCO is offering these helpful training tips for a safe and fun race day.
• Run-about balls provide exercise for hamsters, and they are a great way for owners to interact and spend time with their pets. Owners should make sure they have the appropriate size ball for their hamsters.
• The Super Pet Hamtrac is a special racetrack for the run-about ball.
• Owners should be sure to transport hamsters using a safe, temporary habitat that can also be used between races.
• Owners should provide plenty of clean water and food for hamsters on race day.
• After returning home from the race, owners should leave their hamsters alone for the rest of the day, with plenty of clean food and water. After all the activity, the little pets have earned some quiet time alone.
• Owners should contact a veterinarian immediately if hamster appears unwell.
“The PETCO training schedule offers a step-by-step guide to make sure your hamster is healthy and ready for derby day,” said Elisabeth Charles, PETCO’s chief marketing officer. “Practicing responsible at-home care while prepping your pet is a surefire way to guarantee lots of fun and success on race day.”
In 2009 more than 10,000 hamsters participated in the race, drawing more than 30,000 spectators to stores nationwide. This year PETCO expects that up to 100 classroom pets will join the competition as part of an ongoing education partnership with Field Trip Factory. Together, PETCO and Field Trip Factory sponsor Fur, Feathers and Fins, which is an in-store learning experience offering kindergarten through eighth-grade students the chance to learn about basic animal care skills, animal habitat and characteristics, environmental issues, animal survival and respect for animals.
“Our partnership with PETCO has given over one million students a chance to learn how to choose and care for the right animal for them,” said Susan Singer, president and founder of Field Trip Factory. “Extending our partnership to support the Derby learning experience was a natural fit for us. The students in these classrooms are really excited about the competition and the chance to bond with their class pet as they prepare for the big race as a classroom.”
Registration for the race is free; sign-ups and practice sessions begin at 1:30pm on race day. Participants just need to bring a size-appropriate hamster ball and their pet. Spectators are encouraged to join in and cheer for their favorite little competitors.
Each race is kicked off with a brief education session from a PETCO Small-animal expert on how to keep hamsters or small animals healthy and happy. Topics include: feeding the right food in the optimum amounts; the necessity of fresh water; the importance of exercise and chew toys; and understanding a hamster’s nocturnal nature.
The three fastest hamsters at each store will win bragging rights and prizes including a Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Small Animal Starter Kit, Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Healthy Bits Treats, or a Super Pet Combo Chew.
Complete educational materials and care sheets, as well as an assortment of hamster balls and other small animal food and supplies can be found online at petco.com or at local PETCO stores.