Bearded Dragon Diarrhea. Does Your Beardie Have It? What Do You Do?
Diarrhea is a common condition for bearded dragons. After reading this you will learn
- How to tell the difference between regular poop and diarrhea.
- The different causes for diarrhea.
- What should you do.
Healthy Poop Versus Bearded Dragon Diarrhea
Like human feces, bearded dragon feces comes in all shapes and sizes. So how do you tell the difference between normal poop and bearded dragon diarrhea?
Feces that is normal is usually made up of 2 parts. The first part is fairly solid and is either brown or black. This is what poop part.
Next is the part that is white and paste-like or chalk-like. This is what the urate. Unlike us bearded dragons don’t have urine, they have urate instead. Similar to the bird poop you see on your car, this is what bearded dragons have in place of pee.
Sometimes there can be clear liquid with the poop. This is normal. This means that your bearded dragon was extra hydrated.
Bearded dragon Diarrhea is mushy or runny. The poop is not well-formed and looks more like a pile than a log shape.
Causes For Diarrhea
There are many causes of diarrhea. We will discuss the most common.
First is stress. Stress causes many negative effects for bearded dragons and diarrhea is one of them. Here are some of the reasons that cause stress.
Your other pets can stress out your dragon. It is common for dogs and cats to be fascinated with bearded dragons. Some owners have said that their furry four-legged friends can sit in front of the bearded dragon tank for hours. This actually can stress out your dragon. If you think this might be the reason. Try to keep your pet away from the tank or putting the tank in a room where your other pets don’t go often.
Changes in Tank
Bearded dragons struggle with change. Were they any changes you made to the tank recently? Did you move the tank? Have you added or removed anything from the tank? Did you transfer them into a new larger tank? Any of these things can be a cause of stress. It should take a few days or weeks for your bearded dragon to get adjusted to the change.
Presence of Another Dragon
Bearded dragons are solitary animals. You should never have 2 bearded dragons in the same tank unless you are trying to breed them. Having another bearded dragon in the tank will be a source of stress. All bearded dragons should have their own tank.
Even when they are in their own tank make sure that they can’t see each other. The sight of another bearded dragon can cause stress. Consider stacking your tanks on top of each other or putting them in different rooms.
When your bearded dragon sees their reflection they think it is another bearded dragon. As mentioned above this can cause stress. Put a background that covers 3 sides of your tank to remove the reflection. Also, check for mirrors in the room to make sure that your bearded dragon can’t see their reflection.
Tank Near Window
Having your tank near a window provides a view to your beardie. But what they see can be stressful. Loud sounds, birds and other people can cause stress. If you think this is the reason for stress consider relocating the tank.
Next is having the proper environment for your bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons are very temperature sensitive. You have to make sure they have the proper temperature all the time, year-round. Always check to make sure their tank temperatures are in the correct ranges. We recommend getting digital thermometers. Put them in the tank because they are more accurate. The temperature in your house has a big effect on the temperature in the tank so always make sure to monitor this. For the correct temperatures check out our comprehensive bearded dragon guide.
Lighting is another thing that you must check. When was the last time you replaced your UV bulb? Replace UV bulbs every 6 months. Check your lighting to make sure everything is set up right.
Dirty Water Bowls
Something as simple as a dirty water bowl can be the cause of diarrhea. Make sure you clean the bowl every time you replace the water.
What goes in must come out. What you are feeding your bearded dragon can be the reason for diarrhea.
Water from the tap contains many minerals that can harm your bearded dragon. Use bottled or distilled water for your bearded dragon. If you can’t do that we recommend you use a water conditioner that will make the tap water safe.
Food With High Water Content
If you have been feeding food that has high water content this could be a reason for diarrhea. Foods with high water content include iceberg lettuce, cucumber and hornworms. Try switching out the food with something else or cutting back on these foods.
Too Much Fruit
Fruits are great to feed your bearded dragon. Like everything else, it should be done so with moderation. Fruits have high water content. This can cause diarrhea. Cut back on the fruits and try to give more leafy greens like collard greens, mustard greens and endive.
Food Poisoning / Spoiled Food
Spoiled food or food that has gone bad is a source of diarrhea. Always use fresh greens and vegetables. To save money, you can also freeze the food you don’t plan on feeding right away. Never feed your bearded dragon wild insects. Always buy them from a pet shop or online.
Parasites are the cause people worry most when they see diarrhea. The most common parasites are
Pinworms are small parasites that live in the digestive tract of bearded dragons. You can detect them by doing a feces exam. Pinworms are also contagious to humans so be very careful.
Coccidia is a single-celled parasite. Bearded dragons will stop eating and will be lethargic. Other signs are depression and sudden death.
Giardia is a parasite that is a protozoan. It is also a single-celled parasite. If left untreated it can result in dehydration and even death. Dogs and cats can even get giardia.
What to do?
Because of the many causes of diarrhea what do you do? The first thing is to look through the list and see if any of the other things besides parasites might be the issue. If they are then fix the issue and wait for 1 to 2 days to see if their poop goes back to normal. If after 1 or 2 days your bearded dragon diarrhea continues it could be a parasite.
Collect a feces sample and put it into a small plastic bag and take it to the vet to have it check out.
One Last Important Note
If at any time you see blood in your bearded dragon’s poop regardless if they have diarrhea or not take them to the vet right away. This could be a sign of internal bleeding and must be treated right away.
Diarrhea can be a simple reason that you can solve. It can also be a very serious problem that involves a trip to the vet. Hopefully, we helped you figure out the difference. Check our other popular articles below.