Bearded Dragon: Dehydration And What You Should Really Do
I am sure you know this feeling: you feel a slight headache that gets worse and worse within one hour or so. Then you realise that you did not drink anything today. You were completely lost in working, gaming or (insert your hobby here) and you totally forgot to drink. Well, it happens to me all the time unfortunately and that headache can be really bad.
Of course that is not what you want for your bearded dragon. You want to have a happy, healthy bearded dragon and you do everything to achieve this goal. Unfortunately bearded dragons don´t talk and it can happen that your dragon suffers silently and you haven´t a clue what´s going on. In this article I am talking about dehydration. A dehydrated bearded dragon doesn´t immediately show a lot of symptoms. However did you know that dehydration does not have to be a bad thing for bearded dragons? No? Well, you are going to learn today.
In this article I show you what the symptoms of dehydration are, how you can help your bearded dragon when it is dehydrated and why dehydration is not as bad as you think.
The Reasons For Dehydration
The simple reason is obvious. You do not offer enough water to your dragon ... but is it always that easy? Nahh, of course not. It could even be that you offer too much water.
Greens And Too Much Water In General
Did you know this? I did not for a very long time! If you offer your bearded dragon too much water or too food that contains water your bearded dragon could get dehydrated due to diarrhea!
In the past I always thought that my bearded dragon could never it too much greens...well, apparently it can.
Bearded Dragons Only See Moving Water
Just offering water in a food bowl could be the reason for dehydration. Bearded dragons only drink moving water, like dew drops. If your bearded dragon drinks from your food bowl it just shows that beardies are pretty intelligent. Your dragon learned that it can get water from the food bowl, but it does not actually see the water.
If your beardie doesn´t drink from the food bowl, I got a couple of good solutions for that below.
A Dehydrated Bearded Dragon - The Symptoms
Most bearded dragons that are dehydrated got sunken eyes. Even though sunken eyes do not always show a dehydration. It could also be a sign for parasites or other diseases. Further their skin is very wrinkly. To test if your beardie might be dehydrated you can pull on your dragon´s skin and if it takes long for the skin to get back to normal, chances are your beardie needs some water.
Besides that you should watch out if your bearded dragon is very inactive and doesn´t want to eat anymore. A bearded dragon without appetite is a sick bearded dragon. Even impaction could be a sign for very bad dehydration.
What You Need To Do Now
First of all you have to make sure that your dragon doesn´t suffer from other diseases. Impaction doesn´t have to be a symptom of dehydration. It could also be that you got the wrong substrate, your bearded dragon ate a lot of it and got impacted.
If your bearded dragon doesn´t want to eat you should really take your pet to the vet before trying to heal it yourself. Here are a couple of reasons why your bearded dragon might not eat. You will see that most of those reasons are pretty bad.
Sunken eyes, a missing white part in your dragon´s feces and wrinkly skin are the number one symptoms when it comes to dehydration. If your bearded dragon is active and eats beside these symptoms, it most probably is a little bit hydrated.
Prepare A Bath!
Did you know that beardies are pretty good swimmers? Yepp, and they even seem to enjoy swimming in the water! So prepare a bath for your little dragon. While swimming the reptile will drink a lot of water. One bath is more than enough to get your bearded dragon well hydrated.
Help Your Dragon With A Pipette
Get yourself a pipette and help your bearded dragon with drinking. Just hold the pipette with the water close to your bearded dragon´s mouth. Your dragon will see the water drop and will drink it immediately if it is really thirsty.
Mist Your Tank!
To make sure that your bearded dragon drinks enough you should mist your tank from time to time. You do not have to mist it every day but you should definitely do this in general. Think about it, in the wild bearded dragons drink dew drops from plants, mostly in the morning.
You could simulate this by misting your terrarium in the morning. Of course you should have a couple of plants in your terrarium to make it easier for your bearded dragon to get some drops. Always keep an eye on your humidity! A higher humidity helps your bearded dragon with shedding but you should keep it between 30% and 40% during the day, during the night it should be around 55%.
Get A Dripper!
As you know now, bearded dragon normally only drink moving water. If you still want to use a food bowl but your bearded dragon just doen´s drink from it, you could use a dripper to solve this problem. Install the dripper above your food bowl and let it dripp inside the bowl at a very slow pace. This way your bearded dragon can see that there is water inside the bowl.
The Truth About Dehydration
Bearded dragons do not need a lot of water. Period. Beardies come from Australia and as you know, it doesn´t rain often where they live. If it rains bearded dragons instictively drink as much water as they can and this lasts for a very long time. They do need humidity for shedding and for egg deposition but they actually do not drink a lot.
Mostly they get their water from crickets, locusts, etc. but they don´t drink often in the wild and that is absolutely fine. Their bodies are used to dehydration. They don´t sweat, they don´t lose a lot of water through breathing or urinating.
So why are bearded dragons in captivation often times suffering from a really bad dehydration? I always told you the reason above - We simply offer too much water, which leads to diarrhea and diarrhea leads to dangerous dehydration. What you should do is, only offer one source of water.
Don´t offer vegetables and mist your tank on the same day or don´t offer vegetables and a food bowl with water on the same day. This way you make sure that your dragon doesn´t take in too much water.
I really hope that this article is helpful for you. If you have any questions, just leave me a comment in the comment section below and I will get back to you as soon as I can!
About the Author
Hey! I am Pierre. I own bearded dragons and many other reptiles for a very long time. I know from experience that it can be very hard to find the right information about a specific reptile, since there is so much misinformation out there.That´s why I created this website. To help other people to have the best time with their reptiles.