How to Care for a Sick Bearded Dragon

Updated November 21, 2016

The most important thing you can do in helping your bearded dragon recover from illness is to monitor the health of your pet closely. The signs of illness in reptiles may not be obvious, but if they are undetected, your pet may have a difficult time recovering. Pay attention to your bearded dragon's lifestyle, feeding habits and activity patterns. Changes may indicate that you need to bring your bearded dragon to a veterinarian and nurse it back to health.

Monitor your pet for signs of illness. These include refusal of food, significant time spent in hiding places, weight loss, difficulty breathing, lethargic behaviour, sunken eyes, discharge from the mouth, eyes or nose and changes in faeces such as a foul smell, abnormal runniness or the presence of blood.

Familiarise yourself with common illnesses that afflict bearded dragons. These include parasites on the skin or within organ systems, calcium deficiency that can lead to bone problems, diarrhoea that often results from a dietary imbalance, gut impactions that indicate a problem with the digestive system and respiratory problems.

Bring the bearded dragon to a veterinarian. Do this as soon as you notice abnormal symptoms since reptile illnesses are often easier to treat when detected early. While you can keep a sick bearded dragon at home if you cannot afford a vet, professional care will maximise your pet's chance of a full recovery.

Place a fresh, wet sample of the bearded dragon's faeces in a sealable plastic bag. Bring this to the veterinarian along with your pet. The veterinarian will use it to diagnose and treat your pet.

Provide the veterinarian with a complete history of the bearded dragon's health and care, including details regarding diet and environment. Be honest about mistakes you have made in caring for your bearded dragon as these might be relevant in diagnosing your pet and helping it recover.

Place the bearded dragon's terrarium in a quiet room where your pet can recover without distraction. Do this after bringing your animal back from the veterinarian or if you are attempting a cure at home.

Continue to offer your pet food and water daily, cleaning the terrarium as it becomes dirty. A clean living environment and access to nutrition will help your pet recover.

Sprinkle calcium and multivitamin powder on your bearded dragon's food daily. This can improve your pet's immune system and prevent vitamin deficiency. Continue to do this even after your pet has recovered.


If your bearded dragon does not respond to the care you give it at home or its condition worsens, take it to a veterinarian, as its health problems may be too serious to resolve themselves. The only thing you can do at home to help your pet recover is to provide it with excellent care. Sometimes this is not enough and professional treatment is required to save your bearded dragon's life. Up to 80 per cent of bearded dragon illnesses are caused by incorrect care and keeping, according to the Pet Bearded Dragon Care and Information organisation. The most important thing you can do to prevent your bearded dragon from becoming sick is to research and practice proper reptile care. Injuries are also possible for bearded dragons, which can result in infection and sickness. Prevent injury by ensuring that no sharp edges exist within your pets' cages and that they cannot come into direct contact with heating lamps, which can burn them.

Things You'll Need

  • Reptile calcium powder
  • Reptile multivitamin powder
  • Sealable plastic bag
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About the Author

Emma Rensch earned her B.A. in writing for contemporary media from Scripps College in 2011. Currently, she lives and writes in San Diego.