Reptile Health and Water Contamination
Many pet owners mistakenly think they can leave the water sit for days and days without repercussions to pet health.
This is most prevalent in cages where water changes are a real pain. Changing the water is very important for pet health in more ways than just one:
- Pets regulate their temperature with water.
- Pets drink the water
- Skin health is regulated by water softening and moisturizing
- Pets use the water to defecate
- Pets may swim and stay in the water for long periods.
Temperature regulation is top on the list when it comes to a reptile. Because they are cold blooded, they do not have an internal mechanism to regulate their body temperature. So they step out of the sun light and hide under a rock, or if they need to cool down quicker they will jump into a pool. Some even use the pool as a temperature regulation device. Keeping the water heated to the proper temperature has a deep impact on the immune system in reptiles.
Reptiles, like most animals need to drink water to keep their metabolic systems operating properly. But just as much as they drink, they also urinate and defecate. The problem can be where they defecate and that more often than not, cannot be regulated or controlled. They typically end up using their water source as their preferred spot to defecate.
The skin health for a reptile is maintained by water soaking. To keep the skin from getting too dried out they submerse themselves. That along with a good diet helps maintain skin health. All animals are different so make sure you know what they eat and what kind of water they should be exposed too.
Clean Water is Key
The key element here is that the water be clean and free of High Bacteria count. For example a turtle shell can literally rot off the turtle or become de-laminated and pose a serious danger to the turtles overall well being. Giant flakes of shell can come off due to the bacterial or even fungi type infections that result from bad water conditions.
It is not just turtles but other pets that must have clean water; otherwise they can inject bacterium or even parasites such as worms that will get into their digestive tracts causing eating and weight problems.
Clean water is the key. To clean the water it is best to remove the water, and clean the container thoroughly with a light solution of bleach. Every week is recommended, but every other day for larger animals is a must.
Cleaning The Water
The cleaning of the water can be accomplished by using aerators and filtration systems, but care must again be taken to not think that the water doesn't need to be changed. The sides of the container can get build up which the filtration system does not address; so, filtered water systems must be changed at least monthly if not sooner. Be sure to check with your local pet store or your veterinarian.
To aid in changing water various systems have been devised. However, the easiest and low cost system is the removable dish, or removable pool. Even with these, however, especially with larger tanks, it might be advisable to use a siphon pump to get the tanks down in the water level. Try hefting a full 3 gallon pool sometime and you will get the point. Empty the pool partially first then remove it entirely. Invest in a low cost siphon pump, it will save you mega spillage.
To recap, water changes are very necessary for your pet's health. And secondly, it need not be a trying experience to remove the water from your pets water area; use a removable pool and if needed a simple water siphon to get the water out. Then cleaning your pool is snap, because it can be removed and cleaned in the laundry tub in the basement.
And that brings one final note...don't clean your pets stuff in the kitchen sink. The bacteria they carry will be all over your kitchen sink guaranteed...and you don't want worms, or salmonella poisoning...