This was one of the questions that really worried me early in my dragon owner journey so I wanted to make sure I prioritized writing this article for you guys. If you own a pet bearded dragon, there’s a good chance that you’ve gotten use to its routine and behavior by now. Seeing any changes in its daily activities can raise an eyebrow or two and make you wonder if your little guy is feeling okay.
The question is, how do you judge if there is something wrong with its health? Some common factors that indicate an illness include: abnormal bathroom, reduced eating, inactivity, swollen eyes, wrinkly skin, incapacity to move, shivering, skin rotting, excessive mucus, hanging open mouth, or mouth rot.
I’ve listed below more details that should give you some of the answers you’ve been looking for.
8 Signs & Symptoms That Your Bearded Dragon Might Be Sick
There are a lot of reasons that would indicate that your beardie is unhealthy or is suffering from an illness. However, not all of them 100% mean that your scaly friend is sick. It is best that you take on professional advice and take your your little guy to a vet. The information given below is just to help you understand some of the most popular reasons behind the change in its behavior.
1. Constipation and/or Impaction:
Popular causes for impaction:
- incorrect surface material
- Inadequate food
- Improper tank temperatures
If you notice your bearded lizard has been avoiding the men’s room for a long time, or you notice a change in the way they are acting, it could be a sign that it is unwell. It is best if you act quickly and take them to a vet right away.
2. Loss of appetite:
There can be numerous reasons why your little roomie won’t eat. This can make it annoyingly difficult to find and identify the exact reason behind it. You can read below about the most common reasons for lack of appetite.
There could be several reasons for being stressed. They don’t respond well to change. If you have recently adopted one or have moved them to a newer cage or any major switch of their environment, it can also cause them to stress out.
Seeing someone else that’s new and hanging around can also cause them to stress out. If there is another pet in the house, it may feel threatened of their position and over analyze the situation in an nonconstructive way.
Since they are extremely sensitive, it is important that you minimize the various things that could possible go against their comfort levels. A bearded dragon’s stress level can be one of the major reasons behind them losing their appetite and you need to make sure their happiness stays at a level where they can eat normally.
Make sure its kept in the perfect temperatures
Beardies are peculiar creatures and want everything to be in the specific way that they want it. It will start to avoid food if the temperature isn’t kept at a desired level.
Temperatures are very important for bearded lizards as their metabolism functioning is dependent on it. During the winter seasons, they often turn to brumation due to low metabolism levels, and avoid eating a lot.
If you are planning to buy a bearded dragon, make sure you have a good thermometer that will show accurate tank temperatures.
Since they are very particular about the amount of light they get, it is important to make sure that the bulbs set up in their tank provide enough lighting for them to be comfortable. If not, it would add to their stress level which would lead to your bearded lizard starving itself.
UVB bulbs are the best choice for any tank. You need to make sure your UVB bulb provides sufficient lighting, and is not a waste of money.
There are many more reasons that can lead to a reduction in their appetite. If you haven’t done anything to add to its stress levels, then you need to check if you are feeding them right. Read more about our uvb lighting guide here.
3. Using the loo too often?
Based on what they eat, it is very common for them to carry parasites in their stomach. The problem arrives when there are too many of them present inside their body. You need to keep an eye on your their stool. If you find the end piece to be white, or reddish orange in color, it is a sign that there are parasites present.
There isn’t much that you can do in this case. It is best to store the stool, and take your pet to the vet with the sample stool for the vet to figure out.
4. Reduced physical activity
There can be many reasons why you would find your beardie in the same place every time you check up on him/her.
As mentioned above, tank temperatures are very important because their metabolism is dependent on it. If they are kept in inadequate temperatures, it would affect their metabolism and make them lethargic.
If you are sure that you were successful in sustaining the tank temperature, there is a possibility that brumation is around the corner. If this is the case, there are a few things you can do to help it transition through this stage.
5. Swollen Eyes
Eyes have the capability of transmitting messages. Be it a human or an animal, there is a lot that you can learn when you look at their eyes. For example, their swollen eyes can tell you that they must be dehydrated.
You need to make sure it is well hydrated at all times. If you suspect them getting dehydrated, it is best if you provide them with excessive water by keeping its water bowl full or by feeding them water through a dropper.
You can also mix dehydration liquids with water and feed this to them.
If you can not judge this by looking at its eyes, you can also pinch their skin. If it does not settle back immediately, its an indicator that they are probably dehydrated.
6. Wrinkly Skin
Its skin often has more wrinkles because their skin does not stretch as much compared to other animals.
If it has a healthy tail, and you’re not be able to see a zigzag pattern on their fat pads, then there is nothing that you should worry about. If it is the other way around, it may mean that it needs to put on more weight. Carbs Carbs Carbs!! <– Joke :)
If its underweight, it is recommended that you increase the amount of protein in their diet. Protein will go a long way in getting your little guy healthy.
Have you noticed any shivering or a jerk in their movements? If yes, this may be due to a calcium deficiency which can also lead to a Metabolic Bone Disease. This disease can be quite serious.
Calcium deficiency can be caused by insufficient lighting or low calcium in diet. If you catch the symptoms early, you have the chance of stopping this calcium deficiency from turning into a serious disease.
8. Rotten or multicolored skin
This is easily visible and can be a root cause for multiple issues. If this occurs near the tail, there is a possibility that it may lose its tail or you may end up losing your pet altogether.
Yellow fungus is a highly spreading fungus that can affect its tissues. If you see inflamed or swollen wounds inside the rotting skin, there is a possibility that your beardie has caught yellow fungus and you need to take them to a vet right away!
Do not be alarmed if you don’t see its tail rotting or any signs of yellow fungus. It may just have a bruise or a rough shedding.
What you should do:
You can help during a rough shedding by applying betadine iodine, an antibacterial cream, or raw honey, using a cotton pad once a day. Its always best to ask the vet if you are unsure or if the wounds appear for more than 3 days.
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Is Bearded Dragon Dying?
Seeing your pet pass away is the worst nightmare for any pet owner. I’m a glass half empty type of person when it comes to these sort of things, so when I see my pet behaving different, I sometimes get worried of bad stuff like that.
Seeing any of these signs?
- A change of color to a pale complexion
- Cold when you touch it
- Reduced appetite
- Extremely fatigued
- Avoiding exposure to light
There isn’t much that you can do to help if its passing on due to natural reasons such as aging. The best thing to do is to try and make them feel as comfortable as possible. Its best if you take them to a vet and see if they suggest euphemism.
My Final Thoughts
I hope everything that you need to know is covered in the points above. There is a possibility that you may witness some symptoms that have not been covered or that the symptoms do not match the actual illness. It is best to consider a vet in those situations.
Its not always easy to figure out what’s wrong regardless of how many websites you visit. It is best to waste the least amount of time possible and consult a vet if you notice anything wrong.
It would be wise to keep a your good eye on all the symptoms and suggestions given above so that you don’t find yourself blank if you see there is something that might be wrong. Its better to be all the way sure. Let the professionals take care, and take your reptile buddy to a vet.