People with limited living quarters may find that reptiles such as lizards or turtles fit perfectly into their lifestyles. Before deciding on a reptile, learn as much as possible about them and their needs. Poisonous snakes and certain reptiles should never be kept as pets. Ask your veterinarian about the suitability of a particular animal before you make your decision. There are many things to consider before committing to a reptile as a pet.
Finding out if a Pet is Legal Where You Live
Many areas have enacted laws pertaining to keeping reptiles. Some are general and some are quite specific; in many places any reptiles that are considered dangerous (venomous snakes, alligators, etc.) are illegal but some places are even more restrictive (for example, in some states all consticting snakes including ball pythons are illegal).
Salmonella Risks and Prevention
All reptile owners need to be informed about Salmonella infections. While the risks shouldn't keep most people from keeping reptiles since with the proper management the risks are minimal. Still, owners should be aware of the risks, and the US Centers for Disease Control recommends that certain risk groups should be careful about contact with reptiles and amphibians.
The Importance of Light and Heat
Many problems with keeping reptiles can be traced back to not providing the proper environmental conditions, particularly heat. Proper lighting is also important for many reptiles. The equipment to provide the proper heat and light to captive reptiles is often quite expensive, but is absolutely essential to keeping pet reptiles healthy. It is important to find out exactly what conditions your reptile needs and never cut corners when it comes to meeting those conditions!
Why Choose Captive Bred Reptiles
There are numerous reasons why you should pick a captive bred reptile if at all possible, as explained here.
How to Pick a Healthy Reptile
It is important to keep in mind that depending on where you get a reptile, it may be very stressed, dehydrated, and prone to illness. Here are some items to look for when buying your reptile to increase the chances of picking out a healthy pet reptile.
While there are many types of reptiles that could be good pets, here we cover a few you could consider.
Travel by Airplane
Air travel is of most concern to pet owners. You can minimize the chances of an unpleasant experience by following a few guidelines. Federal regulations require that pets be at least 8 weeks old and weaned at least 5 days before flying. Generally, a health certificate (which is not more than 10 daysRead more
Travel by Car
Pets should not be allowed to ride with their heads outside car windows. Particles of dirt can enter the eyes, ears, and nose, causing injury or infection. If your pet is not accustomed to car travel, take it for a few short rides before your trip. Cats should be confined to a cage or crate to allowRead more
Never leave dangerous objects like pins, needles, or fish hooks within reach. Keep poisonous products and materials far from your pet's reach as you would with a child. Of course, before an emergency ever arises, it's a good idea to learn all you can about first aid techniques and pet health care. NeverRead more
Cats Cats do a good job of grooming themselves, but regular brushing to prevent matting of hair is important. Cats rarely need a bath, but one can be given if necessary. Cats object to bathing in slippery tubs, so give your kitten something to cling to, such as a wood platform or a wire screen. UseRead more
Exams and Vaccinations
Experts agree that widespread use of vaccines within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Pets, like people, can be protected from some diseases by vaccination. Although this resource provides basic information about vaccinations for your dog or cat, your veterinarianRead more
Obedience and Training
Obedience training helps prevent negative encounters between family members and the dog. It reinforces the bond between the handler(s) and pet. Obedience Training A MUST for every good family dog, regardless of size or breed! Puppies may start classes when they are as young as 8 weeks old. ObedienceRead more
Travel by Bus or Train
Most states prohibit animals from riding on buses and similar regulations restrict travel on trains. Exceptions are made for guide and service dogs accompanying blind and disabled persons. Consult your local carriers in advance for information.Read more
Vertigo or Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome
Vertigo is a syndrome in the elderly dog, which can be very frightening to the owners. The dog is suddenly afflicted with a balance problem, usually staggering, but occasionally unable to stand, and more rarely actually rolling over and over. There is a tilting of the head to one side and nystagmus,Read more
Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause disease in humans, dogs, cats, and other animals. It can cause a variety of symptoms, commonly vomiting and/or diarrhea, but also severe infections and septicemia. It can also cause abscesses, meningitis, bone infections, and abortion. Salmonella is found worldwideRead more
There are many types of roundworms, but some of the most common are intestinal parasites of dogs, cats, and raccoons. Puppies are frequently born with roundworms, and kittens can be infected via the mother's milk or feces. Adult roundworms are ivory colored, four to six inches long, and round (not flatRead more
Rabies is a fatal viral infection that is transmitted primarily through bite wounds. Skunks, bats, raccoons, and foxes are the primary carriers. Rabies is also fatal to humans, there has been only one case of a person surviving rabies when treatment was started after clinical signs were present. PuppiesRead more
There are many types of parasites that are found in the GI tract of cats and dogs. Worms such as roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms are very common in almost all parts of the world. These parasites shed their infective eggs in the pet's stool and contaminate the environment; some eggs can live on yardsRead more
Hookworms are small, thread-like parasites of the small intestine where they attach and suck large amounts of blood. These parasites are found in almost all parts of the world, being common in dogs, and occasionally seen in cats. Symptoms are usually diarrhea and weight loss. The parasites can actuallyRead more
Excess weight is a serious health problem for dogs and cats and is common in many countries. The two main causes of obesity are too much food and too little exercise. Other contributing factors can be due to hormonal influences, certain genetic factors, and other disease processes. If you pet is carryingRead more
There are many types of mites that infect dogs, cats, and other animals. Mites are microscopic arthropod parasites that, for the most part, infect the skin or mucous membranes. Mites can even be present on birds and reptiles. The most common mites that infect dogs and cats are ear mites, Demodex, scabies,Read more
Hip dysplasia is a congenital disease that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It can be found in many animals and, rarely, humans, but is common in many dog breeds, particularlyRead more