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How Do I Care for a Sick Bearded Dragon?

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  • Written By: Lakshmi Sandhana
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Images By: Lasse Kristensen, n/a, Levi Lenaerts
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2016
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Bearded dragons is the name given to a species of reptile that belong to the genus Pogona. They are very hardy lizards normally found in the dry regions in Australia and breed easily in captivity. Their gentle natures make them wonderful pets, and many families keep bearded dragons, or beardies, as pets. People who keep beardies need to be aware of their pet's habits and watch out for signs and symptoms that indicate an illness. Some of the things a pet owner can do to take care of a sick bearded dragon include taking the pet to a vet, including special worms in its diet, and letting it recover in a quiet room.

The first thing any beardie owner should be aware of is the pet's normal condition. Beardies may not display symptoms of an illness readily, and owners need to be alert to sudden changes in behavior, such as a lack of appetite, hiding more often than usual, and lethargy. Physical signs may include a discharge from the mouth or eyes, eyes having a sunken appearance, and changes in the appearance of its stool. A familiarity with the common illnesses that afflict beardies will help owners identify warning signs early on and catch any disease in its early stages.

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Pet owners are advised to take the pet to a veterinarian as soon as any symptoms show up. A fresh sample of the sick bearded dragon's stool should be taken to the vet for analysis. Providing the vet with a comprehensive history of its health, environment, and diet will go a long way toward helping the vet understand the problem. Some illnesses may have genetic causes, while others could be caused by dietary and environmental factors. Sometimes, even practices like overfeeding can result in bearded dragons, especially the young ones, falling ill.

Besides following the vet's recommendations, some of the things a pet owner can do to take care of a sick bearded dragon include placing the terrarium or cage in a quiet room where the the animal won't be disturbed. Aside from basics, such as cleaning the cage regularly and feeding it the right quantities of food at the right times, pet owners can disinfect the water bowl, cage, and food bowl regularly. Washing hands before touching the dragon is also advisable. Some beardie owners also prefer to supplement the diet, especially if they have lost weight, with superworms and mealworms, which are rich in calories.

If the beardie has no appetite, then feeding it liquid foods with a syringe may be necessary. Owners may also sprinkle multivitamin powders on the sick bearded dragon's food to help improve immune functions and reduce vitamin deficiencies. Keeping the sick bearded dragon well hydrated is important, and some owners use a warm water bath to do this. The beardie can be soaked in water that is shoulder deep, leaving its head well above the water line. A few people prefer to mist their dragons instead of bathing them in water dishes. Regular water baths can help improve the condition of dehydrated or constipated beardies.

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