Bearded dragons can make great pets, but like any living creature, they are susceptible to illnesses and health problems. One of the hardest things for a pet owner to face is the possibility that their beloved bearded dragon may be dying.
However, knowing how to recognize the symptoms of a dying bearded dragon is important in order to provide appropriate care and potentially extend its life.
In this article, we’ll discuss several common signs and symptoms that indicate your bearded dragon may be nearing the end of its life.
Symptoms That Show That Your Bearded Dragon is Dying
It’s important for every pet owner to be aware of the symptoms that their bearded dragon could exhibit if they become ill or in danger. However, it’s vital to keep in mind that the severity and longevity of these signs can differ greatly.
While some indications might suggest that your beardie is dying, such as a refusal to eat, it’s essential to eliminate other possible reasons before drawing any conclusions. By being vigilant of these symptoms, you can ensure that your bearded dragon gets timely medical assistance and potentially recover from any illness.
1. Refusal to Eat
One of the biggest symptoms that indicate your bearded dragon is dying is when it refuses to eat. Most bearded dragons eat once or twice a day and sudden loss of appetite can be alarming. There are various reasons why they might stop eating, such as stress, shedding period, brumation period, or illnesses.
In case of stress, you should ensure appropriate environmental factors like temperature, humidity, and lightning to minimize the chances of getting stressed. You should also consider if any recent changes have occurred in their routine or surroundings that may cause stress.
Shedding periods can also alter their behavior and appetite but there’s no need to worry as this lasts for a limited time only. During the brumation period, they enter a phase of deep sleep in which they become less responsive to their surroundings and try to hide in dark places; this too affects their appetite.
Lastly, illnesses could lead to refusal to eat along with other symptoms like vomiting or irritable behavior. It’s important to identify why they have stopped eating and seek possible solutions but if the problem persists even after applying them all, it could mean danger for your beardie’s life.
2. Movement Issues
One of the potential indicators of an issue with a bearded dragon is challenges with mobility. In their enclosure, bearded dragons commonly employ all of their legs to move about whether by crawling or gliding. But if you observe that your pet is having difficulty moving, then it may indicate Metabolic Bone Disease or MBD.
Symptoms of MBD may include continuous twitching and tremors across the legs and fingers, moving around with only its front legs, hardness along the spine area, signs of weakness and fatigue, and swelling across the body, particularly in the face, mouth, or hind legs.
MBD, a common condition in bearded dragons, can be caused by nutritional deficiencies like calcium and D3. Additionally, excessive use of phosphates and inadequate lighting can also contribute to the development of MBD. Be aware that this is a serious condition amongst pet owners because not taking immediate action can lead to paralysis or even death for the bearded dragon.
3. Increased Lethargy
Increased lethargy is a sign that your bearded dragon might be dying. Although it is common for these animals to feel lazy for a day, prolonged periods of lethargy should raise concern. One possible cause of this symptom is poor lighting, as bearded dragons require UVB lighting for Vitamin D synthesis and calcium absorption.
Without sufficient exposure to UVB radiation, low calcium levels can lead to lethargy and severe health problems in them. However, note that lethargy may also indicate that your pet dragon would start shedding or brumating soon; hence, do not panic if you notice other signs of such activities in your pet lizard.
4. Stool-Related Issues
Stool-related issues can be a serious problem for adult bearded dragons. They may normally defecate once a day or once a week, but when they are sick or stressed, they may experience constipation, abnormal stools, or even diarrhea.
One common issue leading to stool-related problems is impaction caused by a blockage in the intestines. This can occur from consuming too much substrate, feeding on insects that are too large, or from improper environmental factors.
Signs of impaction can include sudden constipation, shaky legs, stiff gait, bulging belly, regurgitation, and extreme cases could lead to paralysis of the front legs. If you notice any of these signs in your bearded dragon, prompt veterinary attention is crucial.
Check the table for information about unusual stool colors and textures caused by other factors besides blockage.
|Black||Black poop might be due to constipation or impaction.|
|White||White stools indicate dehydration. So, you need to mist or bathe your beardie and provide them with hydrating food.|
|Red (or bloody)||Red stools can be due to feeding red-colored fruits and vegetables, like beet. However, bloody stools are mainly due to parasitic infections or internal bleeding.|
|Yellow||Increased calcium levels in the body. Treatment includes a reduction in calcium-rich foods and improving UV-B lighting.|
|Runny or Watery||It is mostly caused due to parasitic infection. If the stool also smells bad, take your beardie to a vet immediately.|
5. Abnormal or Wrinkly Skin
One common issue that bearded dragons face is skin problems, which can look abnormal depending on the type of problem. If left untreated, these issues can cause harm to your beardie, and even lead to death. One such issue is wrinkly skin, which mainly results from dehydration.
Apart from this, there are other skin diseases such as tail rot, mouth rot, and yellow fungus disease that require immediate attention from a veterinarian. It’s important to look out for symptoms like brittle or dry tail/toes, darkening of the tail, or crusty yellow/brown legions on the body scale as they may indicate a serious health condition.
Additionally, if you notice sunken eyes, loose skin, a skinny tail, or sticky/thick saliva along with abnormal or wrinkly skin in your bearded dragon, it’s crucial to seek professional help immediately.
6. Weight loss
One of the common symptoms that suggest that a bearded dragon is dying is weight loss. If the lizard has been losing weight, it’s an indication that something might be wrong with them. This could be due to various health issues, such as parasites or digestive problems.
It’s important to take your pet to a veterinarian experienced in reptile care if you notice any signs of weight loss, so they can determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.
7. Breathing Difficulties
Breathing difficulties in bearded dragons may signal diverse health problems. These issues may affect their respiratory system, so it’s important to address them quickly to prevent their severity from increasing.
If your bearded dragon is breathing heavily, it could indicate stress caused by several factors like environmental or physiological changes. And if they’re breathing with their mouth open, it might mean that the temperature in their basking spot is too high, causing them to cool themselves down.
However, keep in mind that difficulty breathing might also be due to underlying respiratory infections. Look out for other symptoms such as coughing, mucus secretion around the nose and mouth area, gaping/choking, and loss of appetite to ensure proper treatment.
8. Sunken And Droopy Eyes
One of the main symptoms that show your bearded dragon might be ill is droopy and sunken eyes. Normally, these creatures have vivid, round, and sharp eyes. If you notice a change in their appearance, it’s important to look for the cause of their condition.
A common reason why beardies may develop sunken or droopy eyes is dehydration. Not providing your pet with enough drinking water or humidity can lead to this issue. However, if you have ensured that they have proper hydration and their eyes are still droopy, it’s essential to get them checked for external parasitic infections such as mite infestations.
Other physical illnesses like impaction or mouth rot could also cause sunken and droopy eyes in bearded dragons. Therefore, it’s crucial to take quick action by seeking veterinary care when you notice any unusual changes in your pet’s behavior or appearance.
9. No Basking
One of the key symptoms that your bearded dragon might be dying is if it stops going to its usual basking spot. Bearded dragons are known as reptiles that require external heat sources to regulate their internal body temperature due to having cold blood. If you notice that your beardie isn’t utilizing its basking area as much as it used to, then you may need to investigate further.
There could be various reasons behind this behavior; it could be a sign of an underlying physical ailment or poor setup of the heat source. It’s essential to determine the cause and take action accordingly since a failure to do so could have serious consequences for your pet’s health.
Causes Why Bearded Dragon is Dying
Bearded dragons can die due to various reasons, including infections, parasites, stress, organ failures, diseases, and other factors.
However, after a thorough analysis and research on the issue, I found out that incorrect care practices, illness, and old age are the three main culprits responsible for the death of these pets.
1. Improper Care
One of the main causes of a dying bearded dragon is improper care. It’s important to remember that once you take a beardie out of its natural environment and make them your pet, it becomes your responsibility to maintain its health. A lack of attention can lead to serious consequences for your pet.
To ensure the best possible outcome for your bearded dragon, you should prioritize factors such as the tank’s temperature, light, humidity, and size. They cannot survive in extremely hot or cold environments due to being cold-blooded animals.
However, many people also make the mistake of providing an inappropriate loose substrate that could cause impaction leading to a quick death. Feeding them a high amount of insects without adding more water and live plants into their meal could also become problematic.
One of the significant reasons that can explain why a bearded dragon is dying is sickness. These creatures can contract various diseases, such as metabolic bone disease, parasite infections, and dehydration. If your pet exhibits any symptoms of these illnesses, it’s crucial to seek appropriate treatment immediately from an experienced veterinarian.
Delaying treatment can decrease your pet’s chances of survival since the condition may worsen over time. It’s vital to keep an eye on your pet’s behavior and overall health to ensure they are healthy and happy.
3. Old Age
Bearded dragons have a limited lifespan, and no matter how well you take care of them, they will eventually reach old age. Bearded dragons have an average life span of 10 to 15 years when kept in captivity. When they reach the age of eight or nine years old, signs of aging will start to show.
As they age, individuals may experience a decrease in activity level, appetite, sleep duration, and curiosity. Moreover, symptoms of the aneurysm or organ failures might appear alike which can be hard to distinguish.
Accepting their lifecycle is the only choice as we cannot do anything about it. However, during their old age stage, they require extra attention and care from us. We must monitor them carefully for any sign that they need something before reaching the end of their life.
What to Do If Your Bearded Dragon is Dying
If you notice that your bearded dragon is showing signs of dying, there are a few steps you can follow to try and stop it. Here are some suggestions to consider:
1. Consult a Veterinarian
It’s important to seek professional help if you suspect that your bearded dragon is sick or dying. While you may have experience diagnosing your pet’s illnesses, it’s always best to consult with a licensed veterinarian.
Even if you’re confident in your ability to diagnose and treat the issue, there is a risk of misidentifying symptoms and administering the wrong treatment plan. This could make matters worse for your beloved beardie.
To ensure the best possible outcome for your pet, reach out to a qualified vet as soon as you notice any abnormal signs or behavior. They will be able to provide expert guidance tailored specifically to your bearded dragon’s needs.
2. Provide Proper Tank Conditions
Providing the appropriate tank conditions for your bearded dragon is crucial, especially if it’s experiencing health issues. It’s important to ensure that the tank has two zones with suitable temperatures and humidity – a warm side and a cold side.
Proper lighting, particularly UV-B, is also essential for calcium synthesis in bearded dragons. By following these steps, you can help to create a healthy living environment for your pet and aid in its recovery process.
The table presents a brief summary of the recommended tank setups for bearded dragons.
|Temperature||Basking Area – 100°F to 107°F – Cool Area -71°F to 79°F|
|Humidity||Around 35% to 40%|
|Substrate||Arcadia Earthmix Arid, JurassicNatural Australian Desert Dragon Habitat|
|Lighting||Exo Terra Solar Glo, Zoo Med Powersun, Reptisun 10.0 + 100-150W heat bulb|
3. Adjust the Diet Accordingly
In case your bearded dragon is dying, it’s important to adjust its diet according to the veterinarian’s suggestions. For instance, if they are suffering from impaction, avoid feeding them live insects and instead give them soft foods such as pumpkin puree and apples.
On the other hand, if your beardie is deficient in calcium, you need to supplement their diet with oral medication and calcium-rich foods. The entire diet plan should be customized based on the illness that your bearded dragon is experiencing to ensure a speedy recovery.
Is Your Bearded Dragon Dying or Brumating?
Owners can distinguish between a brumating bearded dragon and a sick/dying one, which helps prevent confusion and concern.
|Category||Sick Bearded Dragon||Brumating Bearded Dragon|
|Time||It can happen at any time.||Most beardies brumate around October and November, or around June (in Australia)|
|Body Weight||Rapid or drastic weight loss||Little weight loss.|
|Movement||No proper response to touch.||They’ll give a proper response to touch.|
|Physical Symptoms||Physical symptoms like wrinkly/abnormal skin, dark-colored beard, and sunken eyes are present.||No physical symptoms as such. There are mostly behavioral changes only.|
Tips to Extend Your Bearded Dragon’s Life Expectancy
Keeping your bearded dragon healthy is important to ensure they live a long and fulfilling life. One way to extend their lifespan is by providing proper tank conditions and diet. Opt for substrates that allow them to show their natural digging behaviors, provide calcium supplements at least twice or thrice a week, and keep their enclosure clean to prevent parasitic infestation.
Providing access to clean water daily can prevent dehydration by serving both drinking and bathing needs. Additionally, follow the 80-20 rule when it comes to feeding your beardie – offer an 80% plant-based diet and a 20% insect-based diet, with crickets and dubia roaches being top choices for insects. Regular checkups with a vet can help detect any health issues early on.
It’s also important to keep your bearded dragon away from loud noises, pets, or kids as this can cause stress which can have negative effects on their well-being. Lastly, avoid cohabitation of two bearded dragons in the same tank as it could result in aggression or increased risk of disease transmission.
By following these tips, you can help extend your bearded dragon’s lifespan and ensure they live a happy and healthy life.
How Can You Tell When a Bearded Dragon is Dying or Hibernating?
There are a few signs that can indicate whether your bearded dragon is dying or hibernating. If your bearded dragon is showing a lack of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, and weakened limbs, these could be signs of illness leading to death.
On the other hand, if they have stopped eating and are sleeping more than usual while their body temperature drops, this could be an indication that they are preparing for hibernation. It’s essential to speak with a veterinarian as both situations require attention and care.
Can Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) Kill Bearded Dragons?
Yes, metabolic bone disease can be fatal to bearded dragons if left untreated. It can cause deformities, weakness, and fractures that can ultimately lead to death. It is important to provide a balanced diet with proper calcium and vitamin D supplementation, as well as adequate UVB lighting to prevent MBD in bearded dragons.
How to Dispose of Dead Bearded Dragons?
If your bearded dragon has passed away, the best way to dispose of its body is to bury it in your backyard or in a pet cemetery. You could also consider taking it to your local veterinarian’s office or animal shelter for cremation services. It’s important to handle the body with care and respect during this process.
In conclusion, recognizing the signs that your bearded dragon may be unwell or dying can help you take action and provide them with the necessary care they need. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all symptoms necessarily mean the worst.
If you’re ever unsure about your pet’s health, reach out to a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles for guidance and support. Remember, every moment spent with your beloved bearded dragon is precious, so cherish each one and do everything within your power to keep them happy and healthy.