Keeping Your Bearded Dragon Happy and Healthy

 In Exotic Pet, Pet Care

Did you know that bearded dragons can be leash-trained? These laid-back lizards make lovely companions and can stick by your side for many years when they receive the care they need to stay healthy. In addition to scheduling your first wellness visit at Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital, below are a few essential things you can do to keep your prickly pal healthy.

Young bearded dragons need calcium to grow up strong

Children are often told to drink milk to grow up healthy and strong. Here’s why: of all the electrolytes in the human body, calcium is the most abundant and plays many roles in your body. It helps your heart and muscles work correctly, aids wound healing, and supports bone health. Though bearded dragons don’t (and should not) drink milk, they must get enough calcium in their diet to grow into healthy adults. Unfortunately, low calcium is a leading cause of health problems in bearded dragons.

Young bearded dragons with prolonged low-calcium (hypocalcemia) may develop:

  • Soft, fragile bones that crack easily
  • Muscle weakness or spasms
  • Jaw or limb swelling
  • Fatigue

Bearded dragons can’t have milk, but there are many ways to increase calcium in your friend’s diet!

Did you know that vitamin and mineral supplements are available for reptiles? Powder supplements can be added to your bearded dragon’s food to enrich meals with extra calcium. Leafy greens are also a great source of calcium. Our staff is highly experienced in reptile care and can help you plan a balanced diet for your bearded dragon.

Give your bearded dragon a comfortable place to call home

Bearded dragons are sensitive to temperature changes. You may exclaim that you are “freezing to death” when you walk into a highly air-conditioned room after being outside on a balmy summer day, but it’s just an exaggeration. For small reptiles, however, such subtle changes in temperature can genuinely mean life or death! It is incredibly important to choose the right heat sources to help your bearded buddy stay comfortable and healthy.

Here are a few quick tips for setting up your bearded dragon’s tank

  • Reptiles are well-suited for basking in the sun, which provides them with warmth and UV light.
  • Make sure that your bearded dragon’s home has a heat bulb that gets warmer than 95 degrees Fahrenheit (and a nearby rock to lounge on).
  • A heat bulb will keep your bearded dragon warm, but it won’t supply much-needed UV light. A UV bulb (that produces both UVA and UVB light) can ensure that your bearded dragon gets the health benefits of a sunny day.
  • Like you, your bearded dragon needs darkness to get a good night’s sleep. If your household temperature dips below 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit, then your companion will need a separate nighttime heat source (one that doesn’t have a bright light).
  • Your bearded dragon also needs shady (but still warm) spots to relax away from the heat bulb and cool off.

In addition to our knowledgeable and experienced staff, Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital is well-equipped to provide the best veterinary care for your pet; learn more about our exotic animal services here and here.

We hope these tips are helpful! However, the most important tip we can provide is to get a veterinarian with exotic animal experience on your side. Contact us to schedule a wellness appointment for your bearded dragon today!