How to Care for a Sick Bearded Dragon

The thing we fear most is when our beloved dragon gets sick, and sometimes we do not even know what to do to help them get better. Sometimes basic care can make a world of difference. This post will tell you everything you need to know to care for a sick dragon. Please note that this does not include the extras that come with diseases like MBD or RI. This post is for when you do not know what is wrong or until you can get your dragon to the vet. 

Sometimes our bearded dragons will have like one or two symptoms of being sick, nothing major or anything. This is what you can do to help him/her get better, but if things get worse consult a vet immediately!

When your dragons are sick, try to find the cause, is it something they ate, or is something wrong with the cage setup. Sometimes just fixing the cause will make the problem go away. If it is not stress or something simple you can try the following to help them.

Give them a warm bath to calm them down and to relax their muscles. Most of the time this will calm them and they will feel better immediately, plus it keeps them hydrated which is key in curing a sick dragon.

Sick bearded dragon

Raise the temperature of their basking area. (90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or 33 to 37 degrees Celsius). You might think it is too hot, but keeping them warm will help their immune system to fight their illness.

Make them comfy. A pillow under the light or a soft blanket can do wonders. Being uncomfortable when you are ill just makes you feel worse, same with them. Make sure it does not get too close to the heat source. You do not want to burn them.

Sick bearded dragon

Get medication from the vet. Most of the time your vet will be able to give you the right meds and confirm to you that it is nothing serious that can calm you down as well. If it is something serious your vet will tell you what to do, but you can still follow these steps to help them if the vet does not tell you otherwise.

Replace the white basking light with a red light. The red basking light really does wonders for a sick dragon, boosting their immune system and so forth. Plus they can sleep with it on during the night, ensuring your dragon keeps warm and sleeps peacefully. We all know rest is important in the healing process. The UV lights stay on their regular schedule; only the red light stays on through the night. If you do not have a red light, a heat admitter will work just as well. If you cannot get either, use a white light during the day and put them on a warm water bottle during the night so they can sleep and stay warm. Make sure it is not too hot so they do not burn. You should be able to put the bag against your face without burning.

Sick bearded dragon

If a lot of moisture is present in their mouth, but a vet has confirmed that it is not a Respiratory Infection, you can still follow the RI treatment steps to ensure they do not get one while their immune system is a bit down.

Drip a vitamin and probiotic mix on their neck, unless told otherwise by a vet. The mix should be one part vitamin powder, one part pro-biotic powder, and 10 parts water. In order words, half a teaspoon vitamin powder, half a teaspoon probiotic powder, and 20ml/cc water. Mix it well and drip on the dragon’s neck every now and then. DO NOT give orally, only on the neck.

Give attention. Nothing makes a bearded dragon feel better like the love and attention from his/her owner. Just knowing you're there will make a difference to them.

Almost everything mentioned above can be done no matter how serious the illness/disease is. It helps boost their immune system and helps them fight the disease.

Do not give supplements when they are on medication unless the vet told you to do otherwise. The reason for this being that bearded dragons can easily overdose or go into liver/kidney failure when too many things are given to them at once. That is why even the supplements cannot be mixed and have to be given on different days.

Do not force your dragon to eat or drink anything when they are not feeling well. If they refuse water, drip it on their neck and give regular baths to keep them hydrated.

PLEASE NOTE: This is only a guideline and a vet consultation is always the best thing when they are ill. Always keep a vet visit in the front of mind, because beardies can take a turn for the worst really fast, especially if they do not get the treatment that they need.

WARNING!!! A Skinny dragon is not always a sick dragon. Yes, these steps can be followed and will more than likely aid your dragon, but note not to feed skinny dragons big meals immediately! 

When an animal is severely malnourished, starting with large, rich meals, will send them into liver failure within days. Start off with soft foods, like critical care or baby food, several times a day for about a week, then slowly introduce meals, preferably non-fatty foods, such as crickets or dubias. A few a day, then gradually increase the amounts of insects, decreasing the amounts of soft food, until the dragon has completely switched to normal foods. Once fully transitioned, you can start following a normal meal plan, depending on the age and size of the dragon, and start introducing richer foods such as worms and so forth.

Please read the following article to care properly for your skinny or malnourished beardie. 

My Bearded Dragon is Too skinny, Dehydrated, and did not Eat Much Lately, What should I Do?

Have any questions? 

Please leave them in the comment section and we will do our best to answer ASAP.

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