Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Reptiles?Faizan Khan
Reptiles are classified into four main groups: Testudines, which are turtles and tortoises; tuatara, Squamata consisting of snakes and lizards; and crocodilia, which are crocodiles and alligators.
You will find reptiles as small as 16 mm, and growing as large as 15 meters. Their activity levels vary according to the surrounding temperatures, with the most activity in warmer climates. Reptiles are ectothermic and need an external heat source to raise their body temperatures.
According to a study published in April 2022, more than one in every five reptile species is threatened with extinction. Nature experts and the conservation departments are working tirelessly to keep them around.
One way to ensure their safety is by providing a hygienic environment. This is where hydrogen peroxide comes into play. You can use the organic chemical for bathing them or disinfecting their wounds in case of injuries. If you suspect they have ingested something they shouldn’t have, you can use hydrogen peroxide as an active emetic to flush out their system.
In this article, you will learn how to use hydrogen peroxide to optimize your reptile’s care and ensure its longevity. So, let’s get into it!
Reptile Care 101 — Where Does Hydrogen Peroxide Come In?
Hydrogen peroxide is an organic chemical working brilliantly as an antiseptic, disinfectant, and cleaner for almost any surface. You can use it to clean and disinfect your reptile’s enclosure safely. Hydrogen peroxide triumphs over all other oxidizing bleaches due to its relative safety factor.
You can also dilute low strengths of hydrogen peroxide as oral care for your reptile, tend to their wounds, clean their tanks as an emetic, and even bathe them! However, note that if you do not use the correct dose, it may cause more harm than good.
Most reptiles can tolerate low doses well, but some particular species may not. Therefore, carrying out a small patch test is always advisable. When using it for wounds, steer clear of injuries caused by snake bites, as the hydrogen peroxide may worsen the tissue due to the acidic reaction.
For any wound, avoid using a bandage on your reptile even after treating it. This is because it can cause additional trauma. For any serious care or complications, it is always better to seek help from an expert or a veterinarian. This will ensure utmost care for your reptile and prevent the condition from worsening.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Reptiles?
Even the mildest medications designed for humans may harm your reptile, especially when used improperly. Reptiles have a body system very different from ours; hence, the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics also vary.
Hydrogen peroxide is safe for reptiles as long as it is used in an appropriate manner. The first and foremost important thing is always to use a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution. Do not let your reptile ingest or swallow the chemical, as it may cause severe bleeding or inflammation in parts of their gastrointestinal tract.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Snakes?
An extensive research study on snakes shows that they are extremely clean reptiles. To maintain your snake’s health care, you must ensure that its habitat is clean. Otherwise, it will be affected by health problems such as mouth rot, mite infestation, and respiratory diseases.
Hydrogen peroxide is a great agent to use to clean snakes and its cage. The chemical is lethal on hard to kill pathogens and does its job within hardly three minutes. Additionally, you can expose your reptile to sunlight every now and then for boosted immunity.
All you need to do is clean them with warm water and a bit of gentle soap. You can use diluted hydrogen peroxide as a final step to sanitize your reptile.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons are good eaters, unlike snakes. So naturally, they will be more likely to produce waste. They are one of the easiest pet lizards to handle and need regular care. They may encounter wounds every now and then during handling, bathing, or exercising.
You can easily treat wounds on bearded dragons using hydrogen peroxide as long as it is diluted and of low strength. However, do not use it for open wounds or bigger cuts. This may result in burning and irritation, contradictory to the initial purpose.
If the wounds are deep or closer to the eyes or mouth, it is better to consult a professional to perform the cleaning process.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Ball Pythons?
Amongst the most popular pet snakes, ball pythons definitely top the list. They are great for beginners as they are quite easy to care for. To ensure they are provided with a hygienic environment, their cage and decor props should be regularly cleaned and disinfected. This should be done at least once every month.
You can safely use a low-concentration diluted hydrogen peroxide solution or even simple vinegar. Just make sure that your reptile does not lick the solution, as it can burn its mouth and damage the delicate, healthy oral tissue.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Lizards?
The natural habitat of a lizard ranges widely. You will find them in tropical rainforests or heavy jungles and even droughted dry patches of the Sahara.
Therefore, depending on the lizard breed, they may need varying factors such as light, humidity, heat, hydration, and nutrition for optimal health.
One thing all lizards have in common is that they need a clean environment to thrive. You can make use of hydrogen peroxide to clean their enclosure to maintain hygiene. If your lizard gets injured or acquires a wound, you can apply diluted hydrogen peroxide for quick recovery.
Using Hydrogen Peroxide for Reptiles
Many reptile owners keep hydrogen peroxide at hand. This is because it is a cost-effective multipurpose solution that is easily available at any pharmacy. You can use this to treat any injuries, overall health or cleanliness of the reptile, or to maintain the hygiene of their home environment.
#1 Using Hydrogen Peroxide to Disinfect Reptile Wounds
Reptile skin is very different from mammalian skin as they have a thicker dermis covered with scales and a whole other physiological system. Naturally, they will take much longer to heal. Some reptiles may even simply shed off their skin when wounded.
You can use hydrogen peroxide to care for your wounded reptile. Just like other injuries, you simply need to clean with the disinfectant solution and apply an antibiotic cream if required. Generally, you do not need to cover reptile wounds with a bandage as they are best maintained open in a clean environment.
What You Need
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
How to Use
Start off by putting on disposable gloves. Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water in a dark-colored dropper bottle. Wash the reptile wound with clean water. Apply the hydrogen peroxide solution generously. Rinse it off thoroughly after about 10 minutes.
If required, you can use a prescribed topical antibiotic as a final step for boosted healing. Leave it uncovered, as a bandage may further aggravate the skin problem. When using hydrogen peroxide for the first time, it is always recommended to perform a patch test for any allergies or adverse reactions which can harm your reptile.
Precautions to Consider
When handling wounded reptiles and hydrogen peroxide at the same time, there are a few safety measures you must take note of. Use an antibacterial soap and lukewarm water to wash your hands properly before and after the process.
In case of deeper injuries or wounds near its face and eyes, seek help from a professional or an expert. When your reptile is wounded, try to apply hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant as soon as possible. In case of delayed care, the wound may progress into complications or resistant pathogens.
#2 Using Hydrogen Peroxide to Bathe Reptiles
As a general rule of thumb, you should incorporate bath time into your reptile’s routine three times every week. Depending on the animal’s local temperature and overall hygiene pattern, this can be more or less.
You can use small quantities of diluted hydrogen peroxide for bathing your reptile. This will benefit by keeping it free from fungus, parasites, and bacteria.
Furthermore, it will keep the skin healthy and prevent drying out. It is also a fantastic way to bond with your pet and strengthen your relationship.
Your pet will also enjoy a nice warm bath after the unpleasant effects of skin shedding or constipation.
What You Need
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Soft brush
How to Use
Put on your disposable gloves. Add about a cup of hydrogen peroxide into a large bucket full of water. Now, different reptile species have different bathing styles. While some prefer to be completely submerged in water, others prefer only a few inches to cover their lower bodies.
According to your reptile’s bathing style preference, introduce it to water in that way. Use the soft brush to rub your reptile gently. If its shows resistance, you can simply pour water over it. After the process, use a soft towel to dry your reptile, as water can make it too cold.
Precautions to Consider
Avoid rubbing harshly or scrubbing your reptile. This may be painful for the animal, especially in the shedding process. Reptiles are cold-blooded animals which means they rely heavily on their external temperatures for survival.
Ensure to use lukewarm water and immediately bask them in light after their bath. This will help to regulate their body heat much faster. Do not leave your reptile unsupervised at any time during its bath.
For future baths, you need to rinse out the reptile’s tub or any bathing equipment with water and vinegar to clear out chemical residues. You can even rinse it out right before its bath for added safety.
#3 Using Hydrogen Peroxide as an Emetic
According to a study by the Journal of Veterinarian Emergency Critical Care published in March 2017, oral 3% hydrogen peroxide solution can be effectively used as an emetic with minimal histopathologic gastric lesions.
When hydrogen peroxide is used as an emetic, it is diluted and applied to the pharynx back. This stimulates the glossopharyngeal nerve to induce vomiting. It is non-toxic in small doses and low concentrations.
It is a great emetic agent to use as it is easily available in most households. Additionally, it is very economical and easy to administer.
What You Need
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
How to Use
You do not need to worry if your reptile has ingested something it should not have. You can simply use this multipurpose household solution to induce vomiting in your reptile.
Mix hydrogen peroxide and water in a 1:5 ratio. You can fill up a syringe or dropper with this solution. Administer about 5-10 ml of this solution gently into the buccal cavity of your reptile’s mouth.
You can repeat the process two or three times but ensure that you wait give about five minutes intervals between each dose. Your reptile will most likely throw up within 10 to 15 minutes.
Precautions to Consider
The hydrogen peroxide solution should be administered with utmost caution by an expert. This is because aspiration foam may occur, which can lead to severe aspiration pneumonia.
Ensure not to use higher concentrations or increase the dose other than the recommended amount. The vomiting that results from this process may even last for up to 45 minutes and can make reptiles throw up half their stomach contents.
You need to continue to keep your reptile calm and provide gentle care. Furthermore, keep a close eye on any vomiting complications such as diarrhea, bloating, dehydration, or lethargy.
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide On Your Iguana
Do you own an iguana? You may wonder if hydrogen peroxide is safe to use on them, and the answer is yes! Every reptile has varying tolerance levels to hydrogen peroxide quantities, so it is always better to conduct a patch test with small amounts.
If your iguana gets into an injury during play or a fight with other animals, it may have some cuts or scrapes. You can use diluted hydrogen peroxide to clean and disinfect your iguana’s skin.
Moreover, you can even use it to clean their living space whenever it gets dirty. Untreated traumas and filthy living conditions can poorly affect your iguana’s health. Iguanas are a massive commitment with a high-maintenance care routine.
You can bathe your iguana by soaking it in a hydrogen peroxide solution. This is an excellent care method as it moistens their skin. It will benefit them by preventing any dermal cracks and keeping irritated, infected skin at bay.
Furthermore, your iguana will also inhale air with higher humidity during its bath, which is brilliant overall for its body.
Why Hydrogen Peroxide is the Best Option for Reptile Owners
Hydrogen peroxide is easily available in any of your nearest pharmacies or supermarket. This organic chemical is far better than any commercial disinfectant as it is a natural agent. Furthermore, it is available at a fraction of the price compared to fancy cleaners.
The oxidizing properties of hydrogen peroxide make it a safer option than bleach. Reptile owners can also enjoy the antimicrobial properties of this all-purpose household solution.
Easy to Get and Even Easier to Use
Hydrogen peroxide is easily available in almost every concentration at your nearest pharmacy. The versatile chemical is also a key ingredient in many cleaning products, thanks to its powerful oxidizing properties.
You do not need any fancy equipment to use hydrogen peroxide. Depending on the intended use, you only have to mix it in specific amounts of water to form a diluted solution. And then, voila, your homemade all-purpose solution is ready to use.
Incredible Disinfecting and Antimicrobial Properties
Hydrogen peroxide is very responsive to a wide range of pathogens. This group includes everything, such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and spores.
The Infection Control Guideline conducted an experiment showing 3% hydrogen peroxide to demonstrate bactericidal and virucidal activity in one minute. The research went on to continue that the chemical even showed mycobactericidal and fungicidal activities in five minutes.
Another study published in 1996 showed that hydrogen peroxide could inhibit the growth of certain bacterial species and kill other invading microorganisms by activating phagocytic cells.
Safer than Other Options Like Bleach
Hydrogen peroxide is a lot safer to use compared to bleach as it is a natural chemical. It is also more environment-friendly as it does not have any toxic by-products. It consists of completely biodegradable materials like water and oxygen.
This compound can easily decompose into beneficial elements when exposed to heat or sunlight. Bleach and its products are more commonly made of chlorine which is more harsh and damaging.
What is Hydrogen Peroxide Concentration Ideal for Reptiles?
Hydrogen peroxide is available on the market in different strengths. The ideal recommended concentration safe for your reptiles is 3% hydrogen peroxide. This is the most commonly used strength in nearly all household uses.
The other available concentrations are 6-10%, mainly used in cosmetic items such as hair dyes and teeth whitening products. You will also find 35% hydrogen peroxide in the market. It is called food-grade hydrogen peroxide. However, despite its name, it is not safe for consumption.
The highest concentration, 90% hydrogen peroxide, is primarily for industrial purposes. It is not commonly available as it is unsafe to use as a specific product.
Even with the lowest strength, you should always make diluted hydrogen peroxide when using it for your reptiles.
The Final Verdict
Reptiles are interesting creatures with very different bodily systems compared to humans or mammals. Some species are high maintenance, while others need hardly any. They all thrive best in a clean environment.
Now while these creatures may look tough and intimidating, keeping them clean is as crucial as anything. Even the slightest of wounds can cause disastrous infections and cause severe trouble.
For the best health of your reptile, you should always keep a watchful eye on their hygiene. In case of wounds or injuries, opt for hydrogen peroxide as a natural antiseptic. You can even use it for bathing your reptile and keeping all microorganisms at bay.
So, order your set today!