Reptiles are found in 3.8 million households in the United States. The need to promote the welfare of these pets is great. Many are traded and sold by pet stores to individuals with limited knowledge of how to properly care for them. Often, the person selling the reptile also has limited knowledge as the establishment doesn’t have adequate time and understanding of what the reptile actually needs.
National Pet Awareness Day was created with the hope of educating the public about the needs of different reptiles, their requirements, and an overall appreciation of reptiles.
We don’t know how many reptiles die each year because of improper care and mismanagement. I have worked with reptiles as patients for over forty years. Over half of the reptiles seen each year are dying because of improper care and lack of owner knowledge. Often the only source of information has been a pet shop individual with limited information. Often owners try to solve serious issues with the pet shop or the internet. They only seek out a veterinarian when all else fails, which is usually too late. Reptiles, just like any other pet, need regular veterinarian examinations. Current recommendation for reptiles is they have a physical examination every six months with an internal parasite check. Thirty percent of the reptiles we check are infected with some type of parasite.