Many potential bearded pet owners may wonder what to do if a bearded dragon gets sick. With dogs and cats, you know how to spot the signs such as lethargy and poor appetite. How do you even know if a beardie is sick? By nature they move slowly and are not as energetic as dogs.
There are several ways to know if your beardie is suffering from any health issues.
However, the first step that owner should bear in mind is to purchase a healthy beardie to begin with. This is half the battle won. If you purchase a sickly bearded dragon then there may be many potential health issues.
When choosing your bearded dragon, make sure it has no injuries. Normally, a healthy beardie will be alert with its head up and will take notice of you the moment you approach it. Check and see that the limbs, nails, tail and toes are all intact.
If all that is checked and you have picked one that you just can’t live without, the pointers below will help you with any potential health issues.
- The first point to note is that a bearded dragon goes through different cycles throughout the year and there may be times when you think the dragon is ill but it’s actually just fine.
- Bearded dragons go through brumation. This is a naturally occurring cycle and is similar to hibernation. During this period, the beardie will either sleep longer than usual or even sleep without waking for a long period of time. This cycle may last for a week or a few months depending on the beardie.
- The beardie is fine during the brumation cycle even if it is less active and eats less. Don’t panic and try to wake it or force feed it.
- Shedding is another natural occurrence and nothing to be alarmed about. An adult beardie may shed its skin once or twice a year while a baby dragon will shed more frequently since it’s still in the growing phase. Let them shed naturally. Do not assist to pull off the skin or you’ll cause damage to the scales.
- If a beardie has diarrhea, the causes could be bad food or stress. Avoid feeding them vegetables that have a high water content. You will also need to your beardie to the vet to check it for worms or parasites
- Impaction is another problem beardies may encounter. If your pet has not defecated for a few days but is still eating daily, there is a problem. This problem can be easily solved.
First, you will need to give your beardie a warm bath in water that is at a temperature of about 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While bathing the beardie, gently massage its belly while it is in the water. This should loosen up any impaction and it will defecate in a few hours. If the beardie is still constipated, you’ll need to bring it to the vet.
- Dehydration is another issue that may occur. Make sure it drinks enough water regularly. A beardie that is hydrated will have firm skin.
- The best way to check if a beardie is healthy will be to look at its eyes. If its eyes are puffy, swollen or droopy, it has health issues and should be brought to a vet as soon as possible.
Other than these common health issues, beardies may face paralysis, bone diseases, parasites, malnutrition, etc.
You should get a guide on bearded dragons and learn as much as you can about any possible health issues that may occur. You will be a responsible beardie owner who will know something is wrong with your beardie the moment it displays a few symptoms.
There are several excellent guides available online. They’ll make a great investment for both you and your pet.