If you are reading this article, then either you are a proud owner of a bearded dragon or you are doing it for a loved one who owns one of these unique creatures!!
Unlike dogs, cats, or other common pets, these are unusual in every way. However, once you have a bearded dragon as a pet, then you have to do everything that you would do for any other pet.
Do you also worry every time your Bearded Dragon looks a bit off-color? Do you run to the vet for every small thing? If you answer yes, then it just shows that you care deeply about your pet. Another reason could be a lack of awareness. Would you like some tips to read the signs correctly?
One day your pet is chilling in its tank and the next day… looks unwell!! Before you start to panic, remember that unlike children, pets, rarely, fake sickness!! That is an excellent point to start!! So, if you are ready here, we go ….read on and find out how you can tell if your bearded dragon is sick and needs care and attention. Take notes and be the best pet parent that you can be!!
1. Cloudy eyes
If your bearded dragon has cloudy or dull eyes once in a while, it could be a lack of sunlight and drowsiness. The eyes should be clear and bright with alertness. Sometimes it is the shedding issue that can cause dull eyes. You can try soaking it in warm water for some time and washing it. If you see any discharge coming from the eyes, then it could be a sign of an infection. Wipe it safely and then monitor before heading to the vet.
Being lazy or lethargic is not an exclusively human trait!! Your bearded dragon may just want to take a chill pill and have a relaxing day…!! On a serious note though, if your pet looks and acts lethargic, it could be due to insufficient food, internal parasites, or even the tank or house not being correct in size or temperature. Your pet needs the right temperature for basking and for cooling. A change in season can also bring lethargy because, in winter, they may hibernate. Change the temperature and voila…..your ‘baby’ is fine!! Even after this, if it is lethargic, then you need some professional advice.
3. Loss of Appetite
I remember saying no to food for reasons as varied as not liking the food to not wanting to put on weight!! …. However, in your pet, a loss of appetite is a problem because it cannot tell you what the problem is! One reason could be stress due to new surroundings or the addition of another creature in the tank. Temperature is of prime importance with bearded dragons. Monitor for a day or two and then take your pet to the vet. You can try to change the food or add some variety.
4. Diarrhea or constipation
Any stomach problems could be due to some internal parasites which can come through insects raised in unsanitary conditions. Diarrhea could be a result of adding more greens like lettuce. Keep the tank clean and hygienic so that bacteria cannot develop. Hot water baths are good for relieving constipation. Dehydration may cause stomach problems. If it gets severe, then your vet will ask for stool samples and prescribe antibiotics to your pet.
5. Inside of Mouth Discolored
The mouths and gums of bearded dragons can look discolored if there is any bacterial infection. Mouth Rot is usually a result of unsanitary conditions and low temperatures. You must take your pet to the vet when you see a dark color or foul smell is coming from its mouth. Take care to keep the tank or surroundings clean. Clean it every few days, and don’t let bacteria develop. Offer a good quality diet and ensure that you feed on time. Instead of crickets, you can offer soft worms when there is a mouth problem.
6. Swollen or disfigured limbs and tail
Just like humans, any swelling or disfigurement can be a sign of some injury. It can be a result of a fall or a fight with the other inmates. Swelling can be because of broken bones. If the swelling is restricting the movements, then you have to visit the vet. Weak bones can be a result of low calcium levels. This could require longer treatment. Tail rot can also set in and is a bacterial infection. It turns the tail black, and it may eventually fall off. This is a serious condition and may lead to lead to death if it is not treated timely.
7. Thin or malnourished appearance
Only models look good when they are skinny!! …If your bearded dragon is looking thin, bony, or malnourished, then there is an underlying problem. It is a clear sign that your pet is not eating correctly. The reasons could be many…. stress, too cold or too hot, or even some other medical condition. Vary the diet to stimulate feeding and add supplements to the diet. Feed good quality food to it to ensure good health.
Our pets, like our babies, depend on us to look after them. Perhaps reptiles like bearded dragon more so. These are fascinating creatures and have become very popular as pets. They are very friendly and easy to keep as a pet. However, before you get a reptile as a pet, you must understand their needs fully. They require the correct tank or housing, the right temperature, proper light, and, right diet to thrive. Ask for a vet to do a full check-up before you welcome the bearded dragon into your home. If the pet looks healthy, then you can take it for bi-annual or annual check-ups. If you look after them properly and give them a good environment and diet, bearded dragons will thrive and give you endless joy!!