Bearded Dragon Hydration: What You Need to Know
By: Em Lock of Zen HabitatsBearded Dragons are one of the most popular exotic pets in 2022. In fact, Zen Habitats exists today because of one Bearded Dragon called, “Chi”.
Although there is a wealth of knowledge available on the internet on the care and husbandry of bearded dragons, one important topic is still under-explored: Bearded Dragon Hydration.
As a desert reptile from a hot and arid environment, it can be easy to overlook the hydration needs of a pet Bearded Dragon.
Here are some ways you can monitor your bearded dragon's hydration, encourage drinking, and help a bearded dragon that may be suffering from dehydration.
So, how can you tell if your Bearded Dragon is dehydrated?
There are a few signs that your bearded dragon may be suffering from dehydration:
- Loose, saggy, wrinkly skin
- Loss of skin elasticity (Skin does not return to place when gently pinched)
- Orange/yellow urate
- Loss of appetite and/or lack of stool
- Sunken eyes
- Dull/stressed coloration
How to pinch-test for dehydration:
Gently pinch the skin on the side of your bearded dragon’s body. If the skin settles back into place quickly, your dragon is hydrated. If it is sluggish in settling back into position, your dragon may be dehydrated.
Other signs of a dehydrated dragon include:
- Sunken eyes
- Stressed coloration
- Poor appetite
Note: The severity of these symptoms may vary from dragon to dragon. If you are concerned that your dragon may be severely dehydrated, contact an exotics veterinarian as soon as possible.
What are some natural ways to encourage a bearded dragon to drink and hydrate?
- Offer freshly washed vegetables that are still a little wet in your dragon’s food dish.
- Using a spray bottle on the stream setting, gently press the lever to release water. When the water is dripping from the bottle and mimicking the flow of rain, drop a few droplets on your bearded dragon’s nose. This can stimulate drinking behavior. You can also add Reptile Electrolytes into your spray bottle.
- Gut-load your feeder insects with nutritious food and water. Be sure to offer your bearded dragon well fed and hydrated feeders. Check out our Bearded Dragon Complete Food Guide for suggestions of nutritious and delicious food for your bearded dragon!
How can I rehydrate a dehydrated bearded dragon?
Mild symptoms: If your bearded dragon is only experiencing minor symptoms of dehydration, correcting your husbandry is often enough to remedy mild dehydration.
Moderate symptoms: For more moderate symptoms of dehydration, you may need to assist your dragon in rehydration by manually offering them water. Dripping a few drops on their nose from a spray bottle will often get a thirsty bearded dragon interested in licking up some water.
Severe symptoms: In some cases, such as rescue, illness, or recovering a bearded dragon which managed to escape, a bearded dragon may be severely dehydrated. In these cases, your dragon may not be able to rehydrate adequately through oral hydration. In critical cases, it is best to seek the aid of a veterinarian who treats exotic pets. The vet may be able to administer a hydration solution under your dragon’s skin for optimal fluid absorption. Ringer’s Solution/LRS is a fluid commonly used in fluid therapy to treat dehydration and is generally thought to be safe for most reptiles.
As with many reptile medical issues, prevention is the best form of defense against dehydration. Ensure that your dragon is staying hydrated through regular pinch tests, having water available in the enclosure at all times, offering produce with water droplets and hydrated feeder insects, and offering water droplets on their nose every few days to
About the Author: Em Lock
||Em is a Colorado-based Animal Educator, and former Zookeeper. Alongside her YouTube channel, 'Emzotic', Em works in our Partnerships department here at Zen Habitats. She keeps a variety of exotic pets at home, including Lizards, Snakes, and Ferrets.|