Because pets can't talk, every pet owner should strive to have their beloved animal companion examined at least once a year and for pets seven and older, twice a year. This important visit will include a full nose to tail physical exam, wellness testing and recommended vaccinations. Pets age seven times faster than humans so it is important that we see them often to pick up any illness or chronic conditions when they first start.


Birds, from the little cockatiel to the majestic macaw, can make lively and adventurous additions to your home. The many different species of birds can live anywhere from 20 to 100 years, so be sure to do your research and make sure you have the correct space, environment and time to devote to these intelligent animals before welcoming them into your family.

Feeding pet birds a good, balanced diet is the single most important thing you can do to make sure they stay healthy. An all-seed diet is not appropriate and can lead to severe nutritional deficiencies and metabolic illnesses. A pelleted diet from Harrison’s, Lafeaber or Zupreem should make up 90 percent of your bird’s diet, along with occasional treats of fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables. Fresh water should be offered at all times and it should be changed daily.

Bird behavior is astoundingly complex. Many birds develop behavioral disorders such as feather picking if they are not provided with enough entertainment. You should socialize with your bird daily and regularly rotate perches and toys. Misting birds, or giving them a large, heavy bowl to bathe in, should be done 4-5 times a week.

Reptiles, from aquatic turtles, iguanas, bearded dragons, snakes and beyond, come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be a great addition to your home.

Proper nutrition and housing is the most difficult part of keeping a reptile, as each species has very different nutritional needs. Many need pelleted, species-specific diets and mineral supplementation, and a light source with the correct spectrum of UVA and UVB. It is very important to consult with your veterinarian about the best way to care for your new pet, as many pet shops do not have access to the latest information available.

Providing fresh water at all times, to every reptile, is imperative. They do not synthesize enough water from their food to sustain them, even if they are traditionally “desert” species.

Calvert Veterinary Center recommends semi-annual physical exams with one of our doctors, and weekly exams done at home to check attitude, appetite, urination and stools. Reptiles often hide signs of illness until they are very sick, so it is important to pay attention to even minor changes. Call us at 410-360-7297 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.