Sometimes your bearded dragon may get diarrhea and you may be concerned about it. If you’re worried that you bearded dragon has diarrhea you should be able to find out whether it’s something to be worried about in this article.
Bearded Dragon Diarrhea – Common Causes
Bearded Dragon Diarrhea Due To Incorrect Diet
Bearded dragon’s tummies can get upset just like humans – though the most common cause in humans is due to a virus or bacterial infection that’s relatively unlikely with a bearded dragon. In the case of a bearded dragon, the most common cause of diet driven diarrhea is down to Iceberg Lettuce. Iceberg lettuce isn’t a good food to give to bearded dragons as it contains almost no nutritional value and can give them diarrhea. If they have some Iceberg lettuce mixed in with their normal vegetables by mistake it’s not going to poison them, but it’s not recommended because of the diarrhea.
Too much fruit, or too much acidic vegetables such as tomatoes can also cause diarrhea in bearded dragons as it upsets the gut microbes which help to digest food properly.
For a good comprehensive list of vegetables, flowers and fruits to feed your bearded dragon you can read our other article here. It goes over which vegetables and fruits to avoid too. More information about fruits for bearded dragons is given here.
Generally a diet related episode of diarrhea will self resolve after one or two poops and you don’t need to worry unduly about it unless it goes on for three or four days. If it does not self resolve after a couple of days then something else may be at play (unless you’re still feeding them the dodgy lettuce / fruits)!
Bearded Dragon Diarrhea Because Of Stress
Bearded dragons, like almost all animals, can develop diarrhea if they become stressed. If you’ve recently changed their habitat they can become stressed and this can cause diarrhea.
The introduction of another reptile that your bearded dragon can see can be a potential source of stress also. Indeed, the introduction of any pet into the household can potentially cause your bearded dragon stress.
Bear in mind that a glass tank can create reflection that your bearded dragon can see. This might confuse them into thinking that a new reptile has been entering their territory and can cause them stress too.
Shortly we’ll be writing an article about stress in bearded dragons and how to avoid it or deal with it when it occurs. Watch this space!
If you’re thinking that stress is the cause of your bearded dragon’s diarrhea then the best thing to do is try to remove the stressor and see if the diarrhea stops by itself. If it does, you’re sorted. If it doesn’t though and the diarrhea goes on for more than a few days then an appointment with the bearded dragon vet is recommended.
Bearded Dragon Diarrhea Due To Parasites
If you’re certain you haven’t fed any of the vegetables that are best avoided and you’ve removed any potential stressors then another common cause of diarrhea in bearded dragons can be parasites. Bearded dragons can be infected with various different parasites, from bacteria and amoeba through to worms.
Most bearded dragons carry a small level of parasites throughout their lives. When they’re kept in check this isn’t a problem at all as the bearded dragon’s immune system and overall body systems cope well with them. But if they get out of control for various reasons then things can go wrong.
If your bearded dragon dragon has diarrhea for more than a couple of days then it could be down to parasites and a bearded dragon vet appointment is probably wise. Taking a fecal sample with you if possible is often a good idea, but you can be guided by your vet on this one.
Your vet can test for parasites and treatments are available to reduce the amount present in your bearded dragon and help them recover.
Diarrhea Due to Overhydration
Can a bearded dragon become over-hydrated? Yes, in fact, they can. Although it’s not a particularly big problem it may lead to watery poops.
What Can Cause Overhydration?
- Too many hornworms. Hornworms are a very watery treat for a bearded dragon and most love them. But too many at once can cause overhydration.
- Too many baths where your bearded dragon drinks from the bath. (Note, baths in and of themselves can not cause over-hydration unless your bearded dragon drinks the bath water. Bearded dragons do not absorb water through their skin or vent).
- Too many vegetables with high water content such as cucumber. It’s better to use these kinds of vegetables to gut-load your bearded dragon’s insects and then feed the insects to your dragon.
Is Overhydration Dangerous?
In the short term, no. It’ll just end up with your bearded dragon having watery poops for a day or two. If the bearded dragon doesn’t need the excess water it has consumed it’ll just travel straight through the intestines and out with the poop.
In the long term it’s not necessarily a good idea. Apart from being messy, fluid overload can cause heart problems in humans, as well as electrolyte imbalances. Whilst we’ve seen no evidence to support over-hydration being an issue in bearded dragons, their bodies are designed to operate under a lack of water availability. There’s no evidence we can find purely because we don’t believe there’s any studies been done at this point. A balanced diet and balanced hydration makes logical sense to be the best thing for your bearded dragon, so our view is that short term overhydration on occasion isn’t likely to be an issue, try to avoid it happening too often or for prolonged periods.
How Do I Prevent Overhydration?
Let’s be clear, overhydration is relatively unlikely unless you’ve done one of the things in the list above. If you haven’t, then the cause of your bearded dragons diarrhea is likely to be something else, so look there instead.
But if you have done one of the things listed above, then the way to prevent over-hydration is to simply cut down, or stop, the things you’ve done. Then your bearded dragon shouldn’t become overhydrated.
As with all the cases of diarrhea in bearded dragons that we’ve discussed above, if the diarrhea goes on for more than a couple of days then a visit to the bearded dragon is definitely recommended.
Red Flags If Your Bearded Dragon Has Diarrhea
Red flags are issues that require urgent bearded dragon veterinarian assessment and possibly treatment.
The first red flag if your bearded dragon has diarrhea is literally red.
Blood In Bearded Dragon’s Poop
If there’s any blood in your bearded dragon’s diarrhea then you should consider this a medical emergency and should contact your bearded dragon veterinarian as soon as possible. Like, now. Follow their advice, which will quite possibly include a visit to them. There is no advice we can offer except get to a vet if there is blood in your bearded dragon’s diarrhea.
Blood in your bearded dragon’s poop indicates your bearded dragon is bleeding internally somewhere. This can be caused by an impaction, or a trauma to the digestive tract through ingestion of something sharp. It could also indicate some sort of abnormality such as a tumour. All of these possibilities require urgent veterinarian diagnoses and treatment.
If your bearded dragon has diarrhea for more than a couple of days (4 at most) then you should consider this a red flag as well. Most of the reason’s for bearded dragon diarrhea listed above will self resolve within 2 – 3 days, so if they don’t then it could mean something else is wrong.
Ongoing diarrhea is going to need a consultation with the bearded dragon vet. It’s not quite as urgent as the blood situation but it’s better to get on top of it sooner rather than later. Ongoing diarrhea can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances and will potentially require supportive care which your vet can advise on.
Conclusion To Bearded Dragon Has Diarrhea
Many of the reasons for your when your bearded dragon has diarrhea are transient and nothing to worry about. It happens occasionally – everyone and everything gets an upset stomach. Sometimes it will just happen and there’ll be no obvious cause that you need to do anything about.
The only times it’s a problem for a bearded dragon to have diarrhea are when there’s blood in it, or it doesn’t self resolve after a few days. The rest of the time you can use the advice given above to reduce the risk of your bearded dragon getting diarrhea or treating it when it happens.
We hope this article helps you – please do feel free to leave a comment below if you’d like to give us any feedback or ask any further questions. Thanks for reading! Do check out some of our other articles while you’re here!