Caring for your Bearded Dragon reptile

At Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital one of the most common reptiles we see are Bearded Dragons. They are very special and have very different needs than cats or dogs. They especially have special requirements for caring and housing, and in Alberta, it’s very hard to keep temperature and humidity accurate in cold winters. Here are some tips for housing and feeding your Bearded Dragon to help keep them warm and happy!

Bearded Dragon Tips:

  • Bearded dragons like it hot. A basking site of about 100 degrees Fahrenheit works well for them. The basking site can be provided by a spotlight (such as a mercury vapour bulb) positioned over a rock, branch, etc. at one end of the enclosure. Keeping the spotlight at one end of the cage will allow your dragon to thermoregulate. The cooler end of the enclosure can be kept at about 80 degrees.
  • Sand is commonly used with bearded dragons, though there is a concern, especially when keeping young lizards, that intestinal impaction could result if they accidentally eat some. It is not recommended that you keep young bearded dragons on sand or any kind of loose substrate. Newspaper, paper towelling would be better choices.
  • If you keep your bearded dragon on sand, reduce the risk of impaction by offering food on a shallow dish rather than placing it directly on the substrate
  • Also offer bearded dragons finely chopped veggies (such as romaine lettuce, zucchini, carrots, etc.), greens (collard, mustard, dandelion, etc.) and fruit (kiwi, banana, mango, etc.). Use healthy, vitamin-rich items; sprinkle the appropriate amount of powdered supplements on these foods, too. Avoid iceberg lettuce because it is not nutritious. Bearded dragons will also eat pinky mice, and a wide variety of nutritionally balanced manufactured diets are available at pet stores, too.
  • Mist bearded dragons using a water spray bottle; they’ll lick water droplets off cage walls, rocks, etc., as well as themselves. Don’t overdo it; you don’t want their enclosure to get too wet and become humid. You can also offer water in a shallow dish (such as a jar lid); be sure to keep this dish and the water in it clean

If you are thinking of adopting a reptile, it is a good idea to call Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital, and one of our team members would gladly assist you. Reptiles are unique creatures and they deserve the best love and care as any other family pet would.

Written by Taylor, RVT