How to Tell if Your Bearded Dragon is Sick?

It’s pretty complicated to tell when your Bearded dragon feels sick, as they can’t tell that themselves. However, symptoms such as laziness, changed eating habits, and low physical activity signifies that your bearded dragon is not in its form.

Furthermore, as you monitor your bearded dragon every day, you might notice its activities such as roaming around, basking, and so on. If your bearded pet starts acting peculiar and does not bask in the sun, this a sign that something is bothering your pet.

Following is a list of symptoms that will help you find out that your bearded is sick. Furthermore, after you feel your bearded dragon is sick, make sure that you consult a professional. 

Signs that your bearded dragon is sick:

Below are the signs for a sick bearded dragon.

It isn’t eating:

If you find your bearded dragon disinterested in food items that you’re presenting in front of him, then this might be a sign of sickness in your bearded dragon. One of the reasons might be dehydration, so try providing him enough water to resolve the problem. Other reasons which may cause loss of appetite in your dragon are listed below.

1# Stress:

Stress triggers many health and behavioral issues in your pet bearded dragon and may cause sickness, which eventually results in loss of appetite. Several factors can cause stress in your bearded dragon. If you change their enclosure, they’ll feel stressed until they get comfortable with the new environment; a repercussion of this stress would be the disinterest of your beardie in food.

The importance of managing stress levels in your beardie should never be overlooked, as it is a root cause of sickness.

2# Inadequate Tank Temperature:

The loss of appetite might be a repercussion of irregular heating in the tank. The temperature regulation is paramount when you are talking about the bearded dragon, and varying temperatures such as too hot or too cold will raise the stress level in your bearded dragon. 

Heat is essential for properly working the digestive system of your beardie. This is also why the brumation of bearded dragons in winters, as the cooler temperature results in slow digestion. Similarly, if the bearded dragon is not getting the right temperature in the enclosure, it will lose its appetite.

Read our full post on bearded dragon cage heating and temperature.

3# Improper UVB light:

A weak UVB light might be one of the reasons why your beardie isn’t eating properly. The lack of UVB light or a bulb with less emission will have your pet lose appetite.

It barely moves:

The low movement of your bearded dragon could be due to several reasons. Furthermore, it’s hard to detect as the bearded dragons aren’t very athletic anyway. Anyhow, if you find your bearded dragon acting lazy or lethargic instead of doing its usual physical activities, then this might be a sign that your dragon is sick.

Seeing your bearded dragon lying in one nook of the terrarium with movement so minimal that you have to move it to find it’s alive might be a sign of dehydration in the beardie. Provide the bearded dragon with its dose of water to see if it works to bring the energy back. However, if you don’t see any change in the state, you must have your beardie checked by a vet.

A change in Bathroom behavior:

If the bearded dragon is consuming his food properly but isn’t excreting properly, this might be a sign of sickness as an adult bearded dragon passes somewhere between every 1-7 days. If you find a change in the schedule of the beardie’s bowel movements, you should consider it a sign of sickness.

Following are few reasons which may affect the bathroom behavior of your bearded dragon.

Constipation or Impaction:

Impaction in bearded dragons can be very dangerous, as it is the inability to pass what your beardie has eaten. It’s related directly to the digestive system of your bearded dragon. You can resolve this problem by bathing your bearded dragon with nice warm water and rub his stomach while doing so. 

Keeping a water dish is recommended to avoid this problem in your beardie, which they may find unintentionally, and enjoy a bath. However, if your beardie cannot pass even after taking a warm shower, you must have your pet checked by a vet.

Diarrhea:

There are several reasons which give way to diarrhea in your bearded dragon. It isn’t alarming until frequent suffering of your beardie from this state. However, Diarrhea indicates the existence of parasites in the bearded dragon. Most of the beardies have parasites in their bodies, but the bearded dragon suffers from diarrhea when the number of parasites increases excessively. 

If the Urates of your bearded dragon are orangish or red, then it’s a clear indication that your pet has an excessive amount of parasites in its body. Furthermore, Diarrhea is also a repercussion of dehydration in the beardie. You must have your bearded dragon checked by a vet if you see the signs of Diarrhea.

Your bearded dragon’s eyes are sunken:

Sunken eyes in your bearded dragon are a result of dehydration or infection. You can tell about the well-being of your beardie just by looking at their eyes. Dehydration is one of the root causes of many illnesses in the beardie. So if you find out that your beardie is dehydrated, bath it with nice and warm water.

Allow your bearded dragon to lap up in the dechlorinated water presented in a dish. Change the water in the dish with new dechlorinated water every day, regardless of the fact whether your beardie uses it or not. Monitor the bearded dragon while it’s enjoying himself in the bath, and make sure the dish is shallow enough to prevent drowning.

Your bearded dragon’s skin is wrinkly:

Wrinkly skin usually is nothing to worry about, as due to their inability to stretch the skin, the beardie’s have wrinkles on their body. However, if the fat pads of your beardie are indented and the tail is scrawny, then your beardie has wrinkles on its skin, which might be a consequence of low weight. 

A suggestion to avoid this situation is fatting up the beardie by providing them treats and increasing the frequency of food presentation for your beardie. 

Another reason for wrinkly skin is dehydration; if the beardie is dehydrated, it will have marks of wrinkly skin on its body. So, in this case, try to give a nice and warm bath to your beardie. Mist the enclosure two to three times to meet the water deficiency.

Jerky or Shaky behavior:

The reason behind jerky or dangerous behavior that your bearded dragon is exhibiting is Vitamin D3 and Calcium deficiency. These two are essential nutrients for the healthy growth of the bearded dragon. Your beardie needs calcium for strong bones and Vitamin D3 to absorb the calcium inside its body.

If not catered to on time, these deficiencies can lead to a severe affliction, i.e., Metabolic Bone Disease. So set up a highly efficient UVB light in your dragon’s terrarium to avoid this situation—dust essential nutrients on the food of your beardie for enough intake of nutrients.

Your bearded dragon has rotting or discolored skin:

It is a very prominent sign which signifies multiple health issues in your bearded dragon. If the bearded dragon’s skin is rotting on the tail area of the beardie, then it is a sign that your pet is going through tail rot, and it can result in loss of tail if not addressed on time. 

The second situation has rotting skin with swollen and inflamed wounds; it is a declaration of Yellow fungus on the body of your bearded dragon, which can be very aggressive for superficial and deep tissues of your beardie’s body. In this case, get your beardie checked by a vet as soon as possible.

Finally, the discolored skin could also be a consequence of a rough shed, which can be healed by hydrating your Bearded dragon perfectly. 

Discolored Stomach:

The discoloration of the stomach is also an indication of sickness in the pet bearded dragon. If the stomach of your bearded dragon turns black, it is a sign that your beardie is stressed out. Look out for the reasons that might be causing stress in the beardie; an explanation might be the change of enclosure or moving your beardie from one place to another.

Swollen tail or Limbs:

The reason behind swollen tail or limb can be an infection or broken bone inside the body of your beardie. If you see a sign of swollen tail or limb, you must immediately contact the vet and get your pet beardie scanned for the right reason. 

The bones breaking inside the body could result from Metabolic Bone Disease, which is formed because of the lack of nutrients inside the bearded dragon’s body.

Black mouth:

This is a very alarming sign and must be taken care of at the earliest. The change of color in the bearded dragon’s mouth could result from the mouth rotting or infection in its mouth. Get your bearded dragon checked by the vet when you see this sign in your beardie. 

Prevention could be cleaning the bearded dragon tank daily to avoid leaving food leftovers to rot in the cage.

Gaping Mouth:

There are various reasons behind the gaping mouth of your bearded dragon. It could be anything from feeling frightened to regulating the body’s temperature, concluding that a gaping mouth is not a big deal. However, you must take this sign seriously to take a look at the parameters of the enclosure. If you kept avoiding this sign, the stress level in your beardie would escalate, causing health issues.

Discharge from nose or mouth:

Leaking fluids at any time is not a good sign, and so your pet beardie shouldn’t be doing it too. However, if you witness your bearded dragon having a discharge from the nose or mouth, this is an indication of sickness. Get your bearded dragon checked by a vet when you see these signs.

Boney Appearance:

If you can see the bones under the bearded dragon’s skin, this is a sign of weight loss in your beardie. You must increase the frequency of presenting food to your bearded dragon to make him gain some weight.

This can also be an indication of starvation and dehydration; bath your beardie with warm water. However, if it doesn’t start eating even after a bath, you need to take the bearded dragon to the vet for consultation.

Obesity:

As the bearded dragon is a very active individual, it needs a lot of space in captivity to roam around freely. However, if you fail to provide enough space, it will limit the activity of the bearded dragon, which, when coupled with bad food choices, will result in obesity.

A suggestion to avoid this could be by providing a balanced healthy diet to your bearded dragon and gut load the insects to meet the needs of nutrients in the body of a bearded dragon. Give space to your beardie by taking him out of the cage under your supervision, and let him roam around freely. 

Bloody and Damaged Snouts:

It is formed because of the lack of space for your bearded dragon. As your bearded dragon roams around and searches its way out of the enclosure, it rubs the body against the enclosure, making its snout raw and bloody. This can be prevented by providing enough space for your beardie to roam around.

Puffy and Swollen Eyes:

The puffy and swollen eyes are formed for different reasons, so you must keep an open eye to determine why your bearded dragon is showing these symptoms. One of the reasons could be an infection developing inside your pet’s body. In this case, you must visit a vet for the treatment of your pet. 

Secondly, swollen and puffy eyes are often formed due to skin shedding in your bearded dragon. 

How to tell that my bearded dragon is dying?

Each time your bearded starts acting abnormally will have you fret about the well-being and safe-keeping of your beardie. One of the fears commonly encountered by owners of bearded dragons is whether their bearded dragon is dying. 

To answer this, we have listed several symptoms associate with the death of a bearded dragon.

Bearded Dragon Dying signs:

  1. You find your bearded dragon cold or turning colder when you try to touch him.
  2. The bearded dragon turns pale.
  3. The bearded dragon declines all types of foods, including its most favorite treats.
  4. The energy level of your bearded dragon is beyond low.
  5. It doesn’t go out to bask in the light.

How to Prevent Diseases in Bearded Dragons

To prevent your bearded dragon from sickness and keep him healthy and happy, you must ensure the following parameters for the well-being of your beardie.

Ensure it has a healthy, balanced diet: 

To ensure the good health of your bearded dragon, you must keep a strict check on the food you’re presenting in front of him. Make sure to offer a healthy and balanced tray of food with fresh veggies and juicy insects gut loaded with nutrients. Read more on the bearded dragon diet.

Make sure it’s alert:

The bearded dragons are very active and curious by nature, so you must provide them the opportunities to perform all the physical activities in the imitation of nature. This will keep your beardie alert and active.

Make sure it has the correct habitat:

Wrong and less spacious habitat can increase the stress level of your bearded dragon. If you’re bringing a bearded dragon home, make sure to buy an enclosure large enough where it can perform its routine activities without any hurdle.

Furthermore, do not attempt to keep larger bearded dragons with smaller ones, as they will end up fighting with each other. Here is a post on recommended cages for bearded dragons.

Make sure the cage temperature is nice:

Ensure the proper lighting and heating system for your bearded dragon to keep them healthy and fit. It is suggested to take a vivarium for your bearded dragon instead of a terrarium to keep it nice and warm for bearded dragon.

Conclusion:

The article above covers all the points you can use to identify the sickness in your bearded dragon. The illness in the bearded dragon is mainly caused by dehydration, indigestion, infection, and poor diet. Your beardie will exhibit signs of sunken eyes, wrinkly skin, discoloration, jerky behavior out of dehydration. The digestion problems include diarrhea, impaction or constipation, discoloration in the stomach.

The infection could be caused because of parasites, an unclean environment, or dehydrated body tissues. You must get your pet checked by a vet to avoid any severe issue from rising in each case.

About Tariq Aziz

I am working as Chief editor at MY BEARDIES. I have been working in the publishing business for over a decade now. I love reptiles and I love talking about them. I have years of experience in herpetoculture. I have cared for many reptiles including bearded dragons, geckos, and skinks since childhood.

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