FAQ: Health of Bearded Dragons

What is the white stuff in my Bearded Dragons poop?
That is the urates (pee), just like a bird.

My Bearded Dragon has messy, smelly poop. Is that normal?
It can be, depending on diet. If you are concerned, get a fecal. (Take a fresh poop sample to the vet to check for parasites.)

My Bearded Dragon has not pooped in days. Should I be concerned?
What goes in one end needs to come out the other. As Bearded Dragons get older they don’t poop as often. Adults may only poop several times a week. You can give him a warm bath to help him go. It will relax him. If you see him straining or twitching his back legs or problems walking, he may be impacted. If a warm bath does not work, go to a vet fast as impaction can kill your Bearded Dragon in a short time.

I just got my Bearded Dragon and he is not eating very much. What could be wrong?
Many BDs take a while to get acclimated before they start eating well. Give it a few more days. Cage size and basking temps can also effect eating.

My Bearded Dragon is not eating very much and is not very active. What could be wrong?
He could be getting ready to brumate. Make sure your basking temperature is at 110-115F.

My Bearded Dragon sleeps all the time, is he sick?
Some Bearded Dragons "Brumate" sort of like hibernation, for up to months at a time.

Is it normal for my Bearded Dragon to keep his mouth open?
Gaping is a way that they cool off. If he does it all the time your temps may be to hot or it could be an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI). If he is gaping all the time, has a mucus around the mouth or nose or has difficulty breathing, get to a vet for a prescription of Baytril ASAP.

My Bearded Dragon sleeps standing up. Is this normal?
Just like children they will sleep in almost any position, don’t worry about it.

My Bearded Dragons tail came off, what do I do? Will it grow back?
It will not grow back. This is why you don’t pick your Bearded Dragon up by the tail. If your Bearded Dragon is with other Bearded Dragons, separate him. You can use an antibiotic cream to reduce chances of infection. If there is a lot of blood or persistent bleeding, get to a vet ASAP. If the break is close to the body go to a vet. If it does not star healing in a few days go to a vet.

Why is his beard black all the time? He seems agitated.
As long as he is still eating ok, it’s probably nothing to worry about. Sometimes they get excited at their reflection or if you have a dog or cat or other predator that scares them. Too much stress can cause loss of appetite as well as an increase in the level of internal parasites.

Do Bearded Dragons like water?
Most Bearded Dragons do like water and enjoy a misting or bath. I have found the best way to bathe them is to fill a "bath tub" for them. Give them a container on a slope. Put water in it so they have a deep end and a shallow end. That way they can submerge themselves as much as they like without the fear of drowning. You can even buy them a kiddy pool and put an island in it so they can swim around and then come out to bask. This is great with outdoor Bearded Dragons so they don’t overheat. Just make sure they still have a shady spot.

What could be causing my Bearded Dragon to throw up?
Bearded Dragons digest their food with the help of heat from a basking light. Poor digestion is normally associated with temperatures below 105-115F. It is also possible that the food items he is trying to eat are to large. Crickets should not be larger than the space between your Bearded Dragons eyes. To much food, especially meal worms and super worms can cause vomiting or worse. They can also cause impaction that leads to death. Anytime a Bearded Dragon throws up, it is a serious matter. They have bacteria in their stomach to help digest food. The loss of this "gut flora" makes it harder to digest food and so it needs to be replaced. A probiotic should always be given when a Bearded Dragon has digestive problems. Pedialyte is good to help rehydrate him and replace fluids.

How do I trim my Bearded Dragons nails?
They can be trimmed with a nail clipper (not scissors) just like people use. Have a blood clotting agent available in case you get a bleeder. Products like we use for razor cuts work for Bearded Dragons too and are available at most pet stores.

My Bearded Dragon is getting a faded look like a ghost. What’s wrong with him?
He is getting ready to shed. The moisture is building up under his top layer of old skin so it can peel off. Generally, Bearded Dragons don’t shed all at once however. Their skin may come of in patches. Soaking them in a warm bath can aid in this process by allowing additional moisture under the skin. Keep in mind however, you also need to make sure the cage is hot and dry enough to allow the skin to dry so it can flake and peel off. As it starts to dry, providing something for them to rub against is a help too.

Why did my Bearded Dragon Die?
Just as with people there are many possible causes. Your vet can do a necropsy (like an autopsy for people) to look for a cause but it is often inconclusive. It may sound harsh but you have to remember that the reason Bearded Dragons have so many babies is because many don’t make it in the wild. In captivity those numbers are better but there will always be those that will not make it. This is one reason why responsible breeders wait until babies are 6 weeks old and 6" long before selling them. It gives them the best chance of survival and weeds out most of the ones that are too weak.