Funnily enough, you can learn a lot about how your pet is doing by paying attention to their poop. Bearded dragon poop is one of the best ways to tell what is going on with your pet internally. Their health, digestion, and general wellness can be gauged all by what their defecate is, or isn’t like.
But does that mean you should be keeping a constant eye every time they poop? Not necessarily, but if your bearded dragon is showcasing some other behaviors that seem out of the ordinary you might want to start looking out for any changes in their bathroom habits. It may seem pretty gross, but your beardie’s health is important and if looking at their poop can help save you a trip to the vet, or lead you to a vet before something gets worse, then it’s worth it.
But what sort of things can you learn from bearded dragon poop in the first place? Let’s dive in.
Normal Bathroom Habits
Before you can figure out if something is off with your beardie’s poop, you need to know what it should be like when it’s normal. Something you should know outright is that bearded dragons do not need to pee very often. They will typically pee anywhere from once a week to four at most.
Their pee is not at all normal though. It won’t come out as a liquid the way it does for other creatures, so you shouldn’t be looking for any puddles or anything to see if they are hydrated enough. Their version of pee is something called urate, which is a powdery secretion that you might not recognize right away.
As for defecation, your bearded dragon should poop anywhere from once to seven times a week depending on what their diet consists of. If they eat a lot of calcium-rich foods, you may even find they are pooping daily or every other day. As long as they aren’t lethargic and are eating fine though, you shouldn’t worry if they are pooping daily or only once to a few times a week.
A normal bowel movement will typically look similar every time. It should be brown and soft but not watery and will have a white paste or powder in it that is essentially their pee or urate. This poop won’t look too different from poop you see from other creatures, and as long as it isn’t filled with a bunch of water, or too solid, then it is likely completely normal.
When the texture, color, and frequency begin to change, along with combined symptoms, that’s when you should start to get concerned.
Signs to Look Out For
As we’ve stated, bearded dragon poop can tell you a lot about their health. So there is a lot of important information that you can garner from the color, size, texture, and frequency of their defecation. Because their poop looks so normal to what you’d expect typically, you’ll be able to tell right away if something is off when you go to clean up their terrarium.
The normal color should be brown with some white, but if you’re noticing other colors in the poop itself or the urate, you might need to be concerned.
Yellow: Your beardie needs a lot of calcium in their diet but sometimes you can go a little too far. An over-abundance of calcium doesn’t hurt them too much, but it can cause their poop to go yellow. If you’re worried about yellow poop being mixed with other symptoms you might want to talk to your vet to see what could be going wrong.
Green: Beardies tend to eat a lot of dark greens as they are high in nutrient content as well as low in sugars and phosphorous. Their poop might tinge pretty green if they are getting a lot of those kinds of leafy vegetables in their diet, so it isn’t something you should be too concerned about. If the poop starts to become watery and has an incredibly foul scent, then you should call your vet.
Red: Red poop is never a good thing. This nearly always means there is blood in their fecal matter and is likely due to moderate to severe impaction, which is making it hard for them to pass their stool. Impaction is something that can be handled on your own, but if it becomes too severe you should take them in for an x-ray.
Black: Dark or black poop will usually be drier than their typical stool. This usually means they aren’t getting enough water. Monitor their water intake and their behavior but if the poop is dark with some red and is particularly dry, there may be chances of impaction.
White: White pasty stool is typically just an abundance of urate. This isn’t something to be concerned about unless it is incredibly dry or hard as well, which can mean there is some issue with dehydration.
Your beardie’s poop should remain soft but not runny. Much like with humans, if your beardie’s poop is hard and difficult to pass, or is loose and runny, then there is likely an issue.
Runny or Loose: If their poop is watery, that can be caused by anything ranging from over-hydration to poor dietary choices. Try to keep an eye on the amount of water you’re giving them both in their dish and in the fruits and vegetables you feed them. It can also mean there are other issues at hand as well so you should keep an eye on the other symptoms paired with it.
Hard or Dry: This is likely due to dehydration. You may have the heat up too high in their terrarium and it could be evaporating water out too quickly. They might not have enough water in their bowls or eating enough water-rich foods. This can also be due to impaction so if there is discoloration or they are struggling to pass their stool, they might be struggling.
How Often Does Your Bearded Dragon Poop
Adult bearded dragon should poop anywhere from one to seven times a week. Depending on their diet and the amount of water, vitamins, and minerals, they are receiving, the frequency can go up or down. You should also be aware of how often your beardie specifically defecates.
You’ll likely have a general idea of the normal amount of stool your beardie produces on a daily or weekly basis, so if that begins to change you’ll be able to notice. If your bearded dragon is pooping incredibly frequently though, it can mean some very specific things are happening with their health and wellness.
Abnormal Bathroom Habits
Your beardie shouldn’t be defecating more than once daily, and even daily pooping is rather abnormal. Unless they are having high amounts of calcium every day, daily stools are not common. If they are defecating more frequently than normal, it could be due to a few different reasons.
Beardies are incredibly sensitive creatures. They don’t respond very well to unexpected stimuli in their environment. Anything from your other pets wandering into their space, to them seeing something out the window can cause them stress.
Stressors can cause upset with their digestion and that can lead to frequent and poor quality pooping. Any little thing can cause your bearded dragon to feel stressed out, so you must take note of what their normal environment is like. This way you’ll be able to identify any new causes of stress or anxiety that could be upsetting your buddy’s stomach.
Their bathroom habits should return to normal once the stressor has been identified and then removed. You may be able to more clearly identify their stool issues as stress by paying attention to other symptoms they may be exhibiting. If they are stressed out they might also start waving, glass surfing, hissing, or black-bearding. (To read more about these, Check out our behavior article)
If your beardie is a female and you’ve sexed them, frequent defecation can be a signal that congratulations, they’re pregnant. Bearded dragons prepare for childbearing similarly to how other creatures might. They’ll typically be eating more food and will become more gravid, so you’ll be able to tell if they’re preparing to lay their eggs. If your beardie is pregnant, have a look at my egg care article once you’re done with this article.
If they haven’t had sex with a male beardie and they’ve become pregnant, the eggs will not produce live children. Still, you should prepare their terrarium for their laying and make sure they are safe and comfortable at all times. The frequent pooping will be due to the fact that they are eating more, as well as having little room to store food once it is digested as they will be so full of their clutch.
This may sound a bit gross and scary, but it isn’t that uncommon for bearded dragons to have a few parasites already in their system. When it gets scary is when there are more than usual, then that’s when things can quickly get out of hand. The poop of a beardie with parasites will typically smell very foul and will be watery.
Parasites can cause a lot of intestinal distress which can make it hard for them to digest their food and properly keep things in their system. It is important to take a sample of the poop if you believe they may have parasites so you can present it to their vet for testing. If it gets out of hand it can cause permanent damage, so it is important to handle the issue as soon as possible.
Your vet should be able to manage the problem and get them back on their feet in no time.
As we’ve discussed earlier, if you see red in their poop at all it can be incredibly alarming. Only a little can mean they are a bit backed up, but any more than that can mean they are impacted severely. If they are impacted they won’t be able to digest what they need to keep themselves healthy and it can back them up even further.
They will have lumps on their belly if they are severely impacted and it means you need to act quickly. Their back legs can suffer from paralysis and they’ll become lethargic and sickly if it isn’t dealt with, which can lead ultimately to death if untreated. If they don’t show signs of improvement within 48 hours, they need to see their vet immediately.
In those 48 hours, you should try everything you can to get them to poop. Giving them more water to get things moving, a warm bath or a soak for some time, or even a laxative you can make from home will help to move things with their digestion. (Sometimes applying warm water is the simple solution. *See Video)
These laxatives can be a little bit of olive oil, apple sauce unsweetened, or pumpkin puree. It will move everything through their system better and hopefully rid of the impaction. They should start resuming their normal bathroom habits soon enough if these remedies work.
While it isn’t important to keep an eye on their poop every single moment, you should monitor it while you’re cleaning their terrarium. You’ll be able to get into a groove with your beardie where you’ll be able to tell how frequently they’ll be pooping and what the normal consistency and colors are for their diet. It will be easy for you to differentiate between the normal and abnormal poop of your bearded dragon.
As long as you are feeding them a varied diet with enough vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber, their stool should be normal and healthy. Fiber is incredibly important to your bearded dragon’s diet in the way that they should be getting enough, but not too much. Too much fiber can lead to issues with diarrhea and will make digestion a little more difficult for them.
They won’t be able to keep the nutrients from their food if it is constantly running out of them. Their diet, temperature, and the amount of light they’re getting will ensure their stool is healthy and won’t cause any issues for them internally. Just keep them happy and healthy and that’s all you can do. Read More @ Bearded Dragon Guidance
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