As a beardie owner myself, I wanted to share some information to answer the common question, “How can I tell if my bearded dragon is dehydrated?” There are a number of signs of dehydration that bearded dragon owners should look for to avoid any health issues from arising. At the first sign of dehydration, you should start trying to hydrate them. But what are the signs? How can you tell if you have a dehydrated lizard on your hands?
Are They Actually Dehydrated?
First off, they may show symptoms of dehydration but may not actually be dehydrated. Kind of like when we are feeling sick, and we look at Dr. Google for answers, we immediately get freaked out! We may have symptoms of something that may not actually be the issue. Same with them! The best way to tell if they are dehydrated and rule out another health issue is by performing the skin test, which we will discuss below.
How Can I Tell If My Bearded Dragon is Dehydrated
If you’re asking yourself, “How can I tell if my bearded dragon is dehydrated?”, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some ways you can tell that your dragon may be dehydrated:
Lethargy or loss of appetite
If they are sluggish or not wanting to eat much, these can be signs of dehydration.
Wrinkly, dry-looking skin or loose skin
The best way to tell if your beardie is actually dehydrated is by doing a loose skin pinch test. A loose skin test is performed while your beardie is laying flat; make sure they aren’t curled up for the test. The normal process to test your bearded dragon’s skin is by gently pinching its skin and seeing how and if it bounces back. If their skin goes back into place after an extended period of time and not right away, they are more than likely dehydrated.
If you start to notice their eyes are sitting differently, that may mean they are dehydrated
Unable to have a bowel movement is also something to look for.
Retained shed – If Your Beardie is Shedding
One of the causes of dehydration is retained shedding. If your bearded dragon is going through the shedding process and it is taking longer than normal, it may be dehydrated. Remember, this is not a very comfortable process for them but don’t pull off their skin.
There could be a few reasons why they are showing signs of stress. Maybe they are new, and their tank doesn’t yet feel like their natural habitat, or maybe there was a change in their environment. Often, young bearded dragons may be stressed and think your hand is a predator, so they go into that fight or flight mode. The fastest way to help this is to try to gently stroke them to make them feel comfortable and keep offering food sources and water.
Black coloring around their beard
If you notice that their beard is turning black, keep an eye on how much water they are drinking. They may be suffering from mild dehydration and may not be getting enough water. Check their water sources and make sure they are actually drinking. Or, make sure that they aren’t getting too much water which can cause diarrhea.
Problems that Can Arise From Dehydration
You want to make sure that if your beardie becomes dehydrated, you address it as soon as possible. Some possible issues that can occur if your bearded dragon remains dehydrated for too long are-
- Kidney failure
- Trouble with digestion
- Low energy
- Muscle weakness
What Causes Dehydration?
The most common reason for dehydration is that there are too many foods that have a high water content offered to them. Another reason your beardie may be dehydrated is simply because they aren’t getting water intake. You may be giving them water, but are they drinking it? They may not like the type of water you are giving them. It is trial and error with your beardie! A simple change of water can make a big difference.
What To Do If My Beardie is Dehydrated?
- Give them water droplets directly from a syringe
- Offer high water content foods, but not too many
- In extreme cases, or just for peace of mind, call your vet.
- In a shallow water dish, drop an insect. They will naturally drink water while eating.
- Spray small amounts of water in the tank, on the walls. They may go lick the walls which will give them some amount of fluid.
How to Avoid Dehydration in My Bearded Dragon?
Believe it or not, you shouldn’t give your beardie a bowl of water. We actually use a spray bottle to mist salads instead. Learn why and what the best way to give your bearded dragon water is here.
You can also help hydrate your dragon by bathing them regularly. You may find that while taking a bath, your bearded dragon may actually drink water.
Taking Care of a Dehydrated Bearded Dragon
If you notice any sudden changes in your beardie, make sure that you take appropriate action as soon as possible to avoid any serious health problems. The last thing you want is an unhealthy bearded dragon!
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