How to Know if Your Bearded Dragon is Sick
It can be a little tricky to establish when your pet is sick. Afterall, they can't exactly speak up and tell you what's bothering them. As a general rule of thumb, when your pet is lethargic, and not acting like it's usual self then that is a good indicator that something isn't quite right.
Signs That Your Bearded Dragon is Sick
It Isn’t Eating
Your bearded dragon is behaving like a stroppy teenager that won’t eat its greens. You fill its cage with a handful of nice, juicy worms and crickets but it turns away in disinterest. Chances are, your dragon isn’t going through puberty and hasn’t developed an attitude overnight. It could well be that your dragon is just dehydrated and you aren't giving him or her enough water, so try giving it a little water first.
It Barely Moves
This can be a tricky one to check up on since bearded dragons aren’t exactly the most athletic creatures anyway. However if you notice that it is seemingly lazing around in one part of the tank more often than usual, or it is so still you have to prod it to see if it’s still alive, that could be a sign that it's feeling poorly and that is why it is acting lethargic. If your dragon isn't moving because it seems tired or lethargic then it could be dehydrated, provide it with some water and see if it perks up.
Alternatively if you suspect that your bearded dragon is very still because it genuinely can't physically move then that is cause for alarm and you should contact your vet immediately.
If Your Bearded Dragon Cannot Physically Move
If your bearded dragon can't physically move and seems to be paralyzed then you need to contact the vet immediately. It is likely that they have eaten something that is too big for their body to digest. As a rule of thumb, dragons should never consume something that is bigger than the space between their eyes or their bodies will have difficulty digesting.
A Change in Bathroom Behaviour
Like humans, bearded dragons tend to have a regular schedule for don't by their business. If beardie is still eating the same as usual but he's stop going to the bathroom then that is cause for alarm.
There is a chance that beardie could simply be constipated. You can try giving it a bath in warm water for around 15 minutes. While doing so, gently rub it's stomach. If after another day your bearded dragon still hasn't managed to use the bathroom then it's time to visit the vet.
Diarrhea in bearded dragons can have a number of causes. Typically this isn't reason for alarm unless your bearded dragon starts suffering from diarrhea frequently or for extended periods of time. If the symptoms clear up after a day or so, it's likely that poor beardie was just stressed or ate something bad. If its ongoing, you should take your bearded dragon to the vet.
It's Eyes are Puffy and Swollen
If you notice that your bearded dragon's eyes look a little puffy, sore and swollen then keep an eye on it and see how it develops. It's possible that this could simply be a side effect or shedding (a natural process for lizards like Beardie) but it could also be a sign of infection.
How to Care For a Bearded Dragon
Ideally you want your bearded dragon to be happy, healthy and free from harm. There are a few ways that you can do that to ensure that your dragon lives it's best life in your care.
● Ensure it has a healthy, balanced diet- A bearded dragon’s diet needs to be healthy and consist of juicy insects and fresh veggies. Ensure that you feed them good quality products regularly.
● Make sure it is alert - Beardies are inquisitive little beings by nature. When you approach your pets tank, it should waddle up to you with fascination and interest.
● Make sure it has the correct habitat- Maybe you love bearded dragons so much that you want to take a heap of Beardies home with you. Larger dragons can be aggressive towards their smaller, younger counterparts and males can be dominant and territorial. In order to stop any fighting or stressed dragons, try to bear this in mind and act accordingly.
● Make sure the cage temperature is nice- Opt for a vivarium rather than a terrarium as they will be more sufficiently toasty for beardie. Make sure that you have a bearded dragon basking light in the cage. This is required to keep beardie healthy and provide him/her with sufficient vitamins.
● Make sure the cage is big enough - Bearded dragons can actually grow pretty big - to 2m or so in length. As such, you need to ensure that you provide them with a tank that is big enough to accommodate this growth and doesn't leave them feeling cramped and uncomfortable.