What You Should Know Before Buying a Pet Snake
Are you hoping to own a snake as a pet ? If so, then your veterinarian will inform you that taking care of a snake is quite different from having a cat or dog. Read on to learn some of the important things that you should know before taking a snake home as a pet.
What Snakes Eat
Potential snake owners need to be prepared to feed their pet snake its proper diet. Snakes are carnivores, but they won’t feed on dry kibble from a bag like your cat does. Instead, snakes need to be fed other animals, and most snake owners choose to feed mice to their pets. Some snakes are content with eating dead mice, while others prefer live prey. If you would like to feed your snake dead, frozen mice long-term, then experts recommend that you feed your pet this way from the start. It’s also important to know that you should never put a live mouse in your snake’s tank unless you’re sure that the reptile is hungry. Otherwise, the mouse may bite and injure your snake. Most snakes need to be fed every 5 to 14 days.
What Snakes Do
Snakes live on the ground and rely on vibrations to learn a great deal about the area around them. Also, snakes can hear although they have no external ears, and they have a very good sense of smell. Eyesight is not one of their stronger abilities, but snakes use their tongue to navigate. Also, snakes don’t like to be touched too much but should receive a few minutes of handling each day.
Where Snakes Live
Providing your snake with the correct environment for its species will be critical for its health. Before taking a snake home, it’s essential that you determine what type of snake you want and then learn about its habitat, physical needs, and temperature needs. As the average snake owner will tell you, these reptiles are low-maintenance. However, setting up your new pet’s tank in a way that replicates its natural environment will be important for its wellbeing.
How to Choose a Pet Snake
Have you decided that you want a pet snake? If so, then there are several factors to consider when selecting one of these animals to add to your family. If you’re wondering how to pick a pet snake, then use these tips to find the right pet for you:
Choose a snake from a breeder.
If you know where to find snakes in your area, then you may be thinking about capturing one to keep as a pet. While this is possible to do, it is not recommended and especially not for first-time snake owners. Wild-caught snakes are usually less easy to tame than those that come from a breeder, and they are also more prone to parasites and disease. Instead, conduct a bit of research to locate a reputable snake breeder in your area.
Choose a snake that’s healthy.
As with any animal, you want to choose a snake that is in good overall health, so it’s important to give the animal a cursory exam to check for signs of illness when picking out your new pet. To choose a snake that is healthy, do not take home one that has mucus or sores around the mouth, peeling skin, bubbles coming from the nose, or closed eyes.
Choose the right snake species.
Because the care requirements between snake species can vary greatly, certain types of snakes are commonly recommended for first-time snake owners. Corn snakes, ball pythons, king snakes, and milk snakes are all popular species for beginners because they are relatively easy to care for, tend to be docile, aren’t too big, and are easy to find. If these breeds do not appeal to you, it’s important to do your research before choosing a different type. Water snakes, green snakes, tree boas, Burmese pythons, and boa constrictors, for example, are not recommended for beginners. Finally, anacondas, reticulated pythons, and any venomous snakes are not recommended as pets, even for experienced snake owners.
Best Snake for Beginners
Snakes can make wonderful pets when they’re cared for properly. When you’re just starting out with snakes, you’ll do better with a species that is fairly docile and easy to take care of. Before you start setting up your terrarium, you should find a vet near you who has experience treating snakes. Then, watch this video for some tips on finding the right species for you.
This expert recommends king, corn, and milk snakes for beginners. These snakes are in the constrictor family. As long as you handle them calmly and gently, these snakes will stay calm and remain easy to handle. Compared to other species, they’re easy to care for, but all snakes have sensitive environment needs. Consult your vet about keeping the snake habitat at the right temperature range.
How to Take Care of Your Pet Snake
Your New Pet
Snake care for novices starts with choosing a good beginner snake; specialists recommend king snakes, corn snakes, and ball pythons for potential new snake owners. There are a few risks you should be aware of before taking on snakes as pets: bites can happen on occasion and snakes are also carriers of salmonella, which can make a person very ill if they become infected. If you do choose to bring a snake into your home, ask everyone in your family to wash their hands after handling your new pet.
What Snakes Like
Unlike other common household animals, snakes are solitary animals that do not like loud noises or crowds, and they should have their own habitat that’s isolated from other snakes and pets. Plan to keep the handling of your new snake to a minimum, but do hold him for about five minutes per day so he can grow accustomed to human contact. Snakes enjoy a consistent lifestyle that’s free of change and surprises, so try to feed, water, and clean his tank on a regular schedule.
How Snakes Live
Young snakes can live in a 20-gallon tank when they’re small, but plan to upgrade the aquarium size if the snake species you select will continue growing. You will also need a screened, locking lid to cover the tank, and many snakes need a cool area in their environment and a heat source as well so they can regulate their body temperature. Moving into his new surroundings will be stressful for your snake, so watch for signs of illness such as runny droppings or weight loss, and bring him to a pet hospital a few days after purchase to ensure that he’s in good health.
How to Feed Your Pet Snake
Owning a pet snake requires learning how to care for your pet in a way that is safe for both you and your snake. Feeding pet snakes is usually one of the biggest learning curves that new owners experience. Your veterinarian can guide you in all aspects of learning to care for your snake, including how to feed it properly. There are a few different approaches to feeding a pet snake, and the right one for your pet depends on a number of different factors. Ask your veterinarian for advice and keep these tips in mind.
Time Your Feedings
Snakes don’t eat every day like other pets. How often your snake eats depends on the size of the snake and where it is in its breeding and shedding cycle. Smaller snakes eat more often, typically about twice per week. Larger snakes can eat once per week or in some cases, once every few weeks. Snakes who are shedding or in the midst of breeding season may refuse to eat. Your veterinarian can give you guidelines for how often to feed your snake, but your snake will show you how often it wants to eat by how it responds to the way you feed it.
Choose Live or Dead Prey
In the wild, snakes eat live animals, but in captivity, this is not always the case. Many pet snakes are willing to eat dead animals, such as dead mice. It is acceptable to feed your pet snake live prey, but you should never leave a live animal in the cage with your snake. Even a small mouse can injure or kill a snake, so make sure the prey is dead before leaving your snake unattended. Depending on the type of snake and your veterinarian’s recommendations, your snake may eat mice, insects, worms, frogs, and other reptiles.
Even if your snake is relatively accustomed to being handled, you should never try to feed your snake by hand or hold your snake while it is eating. Throw the prey into your snake’s home and quickly close the lid, or use tongs to give the food to your snake.
Common Diseases in Snakes
Keeping a reptile healthy is an ongoing job. Snakes have unique care needs and medical issues. If you’re a new snake owner, consider asking a veterinarian near Cupertino to direct you toward credible resources on snake health. Reading about the common diseases that can affect snakes can help you identify these problems quickly and get your snake to the veterinarian when needed.
Respiratory infections are a common problem for snakes . These infections are often caused by bacteria, but may also be caused by viruses, fungi, and parasites. A snake with a respiratory infection may breathe in an unusual manner, such as by wheezing, keeping the mouth open, and making gurgling noises. Sick snakes might also have excessive nasal discharge, excessive mucus in the oral cavity, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Respiratory infections can go along with infectious stomatitis, also called mouth rot.
Infectious stomatitis is a secondary disease that affects the teeth and gums. It can lead to the appearance of yellowish-grayish plaques in the oral soft tissues, loss of appetite, and excessive, ropey saliva. If left untreated, infectious stomatitis can become very severe, causing problems such as necrotic tissue and loose teeth.
Parasitic infections are often difficult for snake owners to detect. This is another reason why it’s so important to bring pets to a veterinarian regularly for wellness exams. The veterinarian may need to conduct fecal testing to confirm the presence of parasites. When parasitic infections do cause noticeable symptoms, these may include weight loss, itching, skin irritation, diarrhea, regurgitation, and breathing problems. Additionally, skin mites can cause infectious stomatitis.
Inclusion Body Disease
Inclusion body disease is a viral infection that can affect boas and pythons. This is a very serious disease that requires prompt veterinary care. Some of the first signs to appear can include periodic regurgitation, head tremors, and abnormal shedding. Some snakes may develop pneumonia and weight loss. The characteristic sign of inclusion body disease is unusual body positioning. The snake may roll onto the back, which is known as stargazing, or move the head and neck in abnormal positions. Inclusion body disease is fatal, but life may be maintained through force-feedings.
Read our article on how to detect and treat mouth rot in reptiles to ensure your snake does not experience mouth rot.
Cats have different needs and health concerns at various stages of their lives. If you have a senior cat, consider speaking with a veterinarian in San Jose about his or her unique needs and how you can best meet them. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on your catâs nutritional needs, environmental accommodations, and any medical conditions that may apply. By working with your veterinarian , you can support your catâs quality of life throughout his or her life.
All pets should visit a vet regularly for wellness exams , but this is particularly important for senior cats. The veterinarian can examine your catâs oral health and body weight. He or she can check for conditions that often affect older cats, such as arthritis, periodontitis, and kidney, liver, thyroid, and heart diseases. Be sure to share any observances you may have made regarding changes to your catâs activity level, eating habits, grooming habits, and overall health.
Tooth loss is of particular concern for older cats. Some cats may tolerate having their teeth brushed at home. If yours wonât easily allow this, your veterinarian can perform a dental cleaning and you can offer special treats that scrub the teeth.
Talk to your veterinarian about your catâs changing nutritional needs. Your vet can recommend a type and amount of food that can either help your cat gain or lose weight, depending on his or her needs. If your cat has arthritis, he or she may benefit from supplementation with fatty acids like EPA and DHA. Some vets recommend a diet low in sodium for cats with heart disease.
Although your cat may become less active in older age, he or she will still enjoy playing and interacting with others. Look for interactive cat toys such as food puzzles that encourage your cat to gently work the muscles and joints.
You may notice that your older cat is hesitant to jump on furniture or climb the stairs. This is often due to arthritis. Adjust the living space as necessary to make the environment for comfortable for your senior cat. You may need to place the litter box on the first floor, for example, or place a warm, soft cat bed on the floor if your cat can no longer jump into your bed.
Each member of the veterinary team at De Anza Veterinary Clinic is devoted to promoting the health and welfare of pets. When you walk into our animal care clinic in San Jose, youâre likely to be met by the friendly face of Terri Berry, who joined our team in 2013. A native Texan, Terry graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in zoology. She serves as a receptionist and technician at our pet hospital, and she is currently taking continuing education courses with the goal of becoming a registered veterinary technician.
Well before Terry came to us from Texas, she had already set her sights on a career working with pets. While still in Texas, she began working as a kennel technician, and went on to volunteer at animal shelters and in an equine therapy program. In addition to providing compassionate care for the pets at our vet clinic, Terry has two rescue cats named MoMo and Mishka.
Housetraining your dog is essential task. To learn more about how to train a puppy near San Jose or Cupertino, speak to a veterinarian who can give specific advise about your particular breed of dog.
Puppy training requires both consistency and patience. First, remember to manage your expectations. All new dogs are naturally frisky and energetic, and they will have accidents. Next, set a feeding schedule. Try to feed your dog at the same time every day and take her out immediately after. It is also a good idea to take away the water dish about two hours before bedtime. Third, walk your puppy on a leash to the same spot outside. After she goes to the bathroom, immediately reward her with praise or a treat. Veterinarians refer to this technique as positive reinforcement. Soon, your puppy will walk to the same spot whenever she needs to use the bathroom and will go without prompting or waiting.
Though cats are domesticated pets, they still retain some of their natural, wild instincts for hunting and killing their food. This means that cats may get bored sitting inside all day, eating food prepared by their owner. To curb this boredom, ask a vet near you in Cupertino to recommend a puzzle toy that will stimulate your catâs natural instincts while feeding.
Watch this video for more tips on what and how to feed your cat to ensure his health and happiness. You should always consult with your veterinarian or veterinary technician before changing your catâs diet or eating habits.
Fleas can wreak havoc upon your home, causing pain and discomfort to your pets, as well as to any humans living there. Fleas feed on the blood of dogs and cats, and can transmit dangerous parasites, called tapeworms. Flea bites are painful, itchy, and can even cause dermatitis in pets with allergies. For these reasons, getting rid of fleas in your home is crucial, and efforts should begin at the first sign of a flea problem. Keep reading if you think your home has an infestation of cat or dog fleas near Cupertino .
Take Your Pet to a Veterinary Clinic
Take your dog or cat to a vet near you, and ask for a cat or dog flea treatment. Your veterinarian may recommend a combination of flea shampoo, a dip bath, a spray, and a powder to get rid of fleas. All household pets should be treated at the same time. Pets with allergies to fleas may also need allergy medication.
Kill Fleas in the Home and Yard
While your pet is being treated for fleas at your local animal clinic, you can take care of the fleas in your home and yard. Sweep all floors thoroughly, and vacuum all carpeting, rugs, and furniture. Spray carpeting, rugs, and upholstery with a flea killing spray. Use a spot and crevice spray to get into all of the dark places that fleas like to hide. For the most effective results, use a flea fogger, which will work for up to 7 months, ensuring that all life stages of the fleas have died. Then spray your yard with a flea killing yard spray.
Thoroughly Clean Your Bedding, Clothing, and Linens
After fogging and spraying, youâll need to clean your bedding, clothing, and linens. Any sheets, towels, bedding, linens, and clothing that may have been infested by fleas should be washed in hot water to kill fleas and their eggs. You should also wash your petâs bedding and toys in hot water. If an item canât be washed, throw it out.
Many pet owners believe that having their cat or dog spayed or neutered is only necessary for outdoor animals. In reality, there are a number of important medical reasons to have a pet spayed or neutered in San Jose , regardless of whether itâs an indoor or outdoor pet. Unspayed cats and dogs are at a greatly increased risk of developing uterine cancer, uterine infections, and cancers of the reproductive system.
Pets who are neutered have a much lower risk of developing testicular cancer and prostate cancer. Cats and dogs who arenât spayed or neutered often exhibit extreme behavioral problems, such as loud and excessive barking or meowing, spraying furniture and other household items with urine, and behaving aggressively. Theyâre also much more likely to try to escape the house, so that they can roam the neighborhood in search of a partner.
By having your pet spayed or neutered, you can decrease his risk of developing dangerous health conditions that require expensive veterinary care or emergency vet visits. Youâll also curb bad pet behavior, and do your part to reduce the stray and homeless animal population.
When you own a pet, youâre his first line of defense against injury, illness, and disease. Because your pet canât describe his pain or discomfort to you in words, you must be aware of the signs and symptoms of serious, life-threatening veterinary emergencies. If you notice any of the following signs of pet emergencies, you should take your pet to an animal hospital or emergency vet near San Jose as soon as possible.
Severe Gastrointestinal Distress
If your dog repeatedly attempts to vomit, but is unsuccessful, and exhibits restlessness, panting, and a distended or swollen abdomen, he may have a very serious condition called bloat. Bloat is life threatening, and your dog must see an emergency veterinarian immediately. Repeated and prolonged periods of vomiting and diarrhea are also very serious, as they can cause extreme dehydration, or may be symptoms of a more serious medical condition.
If your dog or cat exhibits respiratory distress, such as choking and difficulty breathing, he should receive emergency care from a veterinarian right away. If your dog wheezes or coughs occasionally, heâs probably fine. But if you notice prolonged wheezing, combined with other alarming respiratory noises, and a puffing of the lips, take him to a vet near you immediately.
Seizures in pets are always serious, and should be investigated by your veterinarian. Seizures can be a symptom of cancer, brain trauma, severe pet allergies, and exposure to a toxic substance. If your dog exhibits any other symptoms of neurological impairment, such as an inability to walk a straight line, muscle weakness, loss of consciousness, or frequent collapses, take him to an animal hospital as soon as possible.
Severe Trauma or Injury
If your dog or cat is bleeding profusely, itâs probably obvious to you that he needs emergency vet services. However, trauma and injury can cause internal bleeding, organ damage, broken bones, and other life threatening conditions not visible to the naked eye. If your pet suffers from a severe trauma or injury, take him to an animal hospital.
If you have just added a furry companion to the family, you may have a few questions about veterinarians in San Jose. You may have heard of friends taking their pets to a pet hospital, having them spayed and neutered, and treating for conditions like dog fleas. Whenever any sort of issue comes up with your pet, your vet will be the first person you should call. Read on for an overview of what every pet owner should know about veterinarians.
What a Veterinarian Does
While you and your family make regular visits to the doctor to checkup on your health, pets make regular visits to the veterinarian. These professionals are highly trained in caring for pets. They are capable of identifying problems, recommending treatment plans, and handling emergencies. Many pet owners choose to have their pets spayed and neutered, especially if they spend time around other animals or roaming around outdoors. This helps to keep these pets from reproducing and can also alter their behavior. Your veterinarian can spay or neuter your pet as well as provide the necessary immunizations and boosters it will need in order to remain in optimal health. Veterinarians are animal lovers who are qualified to treat your pets .
Becoming a Veterinarian
The journey towards becoming a veterinarian starts early on in life with the love of animals. After graduating from high school, an aspiring vet will typically complete an undergraduate degree program in a relevant subject such as one of the physical sciences. Some individuals choose to apply for veterinary schools before they finish their undergraduate degree in order to meet the necessary deadlines. It is important to keep your GPA high and receive impressive letters of recommendation in order to make it into todayâs competitive veterinary schools.
How to Find a Vet
Finding a local vet is a relatively simple process. Many pet owners choose to search the Internet for veterinarians in their areas and visit their websites to learn about their services. You can also talk to any local friends, family members, and coworkers who have pets and find out if they are happy with their service.
Whether your puppy needs his first shots or you need a reliable emergency veterinarian in San Jose, picking the right vet for your beloved pet is essential. Many pet owners form lifelong relationships with their veterinarians to make sure their dog, cat, lizard, or rabbit always gets the best treatment from a provider who is familiar with their specific health needs. Here is how to select the perfect veterinarian for your pet:
When you walk into your veterinarianâs office, both you and your pet should feel immediately comfortable. Animal care clinics should be staffed with energetic and compassionate staff, from the receptionist to the veterinarian. Taking your puppy to the vet can be stressful for you both, but a good veterinarian and her staff soothe and pet your dog until her tail is wagging!
A good veterinarian should always take her time to address any pet ownerâs concerns. Whether you have questions about potty training or need to know the best way to get rid of fleas, the staff at your veterinary office should be well-informed about any potential issues or health threats your pet may face.
Your pet is a member of your family, but a quick trip to the vet for vaccines or a check-up should never leave you with sticker shock . Pick a vet with affordable, up-front pricing, and always ask her to fully explain any built-in costs before agreeing to any procedure.
Most pet owners prefer to take their pets to clinics that also have animal hospitals equipped to deal with any emergency. Dog and cat owners alike know firsthand that pets can get sick at any time night or day, and itâs comforting to know that someone is always on staff to answer any questions you have. In an emergency situation, a late-night procedure can even save your petâs life.
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