Risks And Cures For A Dehydrated Bearded Dragon

Being dehydrated is no fun for anyone, especially your bearded dragon. Just like all other plants, animals, and humans, your bearded dragon needs water.

You may not see them drink water, however, there are other ways to know if your dragon is staying hydrated.

How Bearded Dragons Hydrate

Bearded dragons require less water than most other pets and unlike cats and dogs, they won’t normally drink water straight from a bowl of standing water.

Instead, bearded dragons stay hydrated through the food that it eats.

Beardies have also adapted to dry environments and their bodies have therefore evolved to deal with this, some of these processes will be explained throughout this guide.

Signs of a Dehydrated Bearded Dragon

Because bearded dragons require so little water to survive, it may be difficult to know when they are suffering from dehydration.

Being dehydrated is no good for anyone and it can lead to a number of health issues for bearded dragons.

As temperatures rise and summer rolls around, there are signs to help you determine when your dragon is dehydrated.

1. Sunken Eyes

There can be a couple of reasons for sunken eyes on your bearded dragon, however, the most common reason is going to be that they are dehydrated.

If your dragon’s eating and drinking habits are fine but your beardie has sunken eyes, then you may want to ensure there are no other health issues.

If you have any doubts about the health and condition of your dragon, you should immediately contact your local reptile veterinarian.

2. Loss of Appetite

If you notice that your bearded dragon is not eating a lot, it may become dehydrated over time.

Because dragons get most of their water from food and drink very little, it’s important to monitor their food intake. If your dragon is experiencing a loss of appetite, that can lead to other health issues.

Without the proper amounts of food, your dragon may grow lethargic and weak. In severe cases, it can lead to shock and even death.

It can be an indicator of dehydration if you find your dragon perking up after eating.

3. The Pinch Test

Another way that you can tell if your bearded dragon is dehydrated is by performing the pinch test on your dragon.

The pinch test is a harmless test that will visually show you if your dragon needs more hydration.

To perform the pinch skin test simply pinch the side rib skin of your dragon gently with your fingers.

The skin should immediately bounce back into place on well-hydrated dragons. When skin does not bounce back it indicates the dragon is dehydrated.

4. Sticky Saliva

If when your beardie opens its mouth, you can see several strands of sticky saliva, this is often a clear indication that your bearded dragon is dehydrated.

5. Other Symptoms of A Dehydrated Bearded Dragon

Some other signs of a dehydrated bearded dragon are when it is having trouble shedding or it is not defecating. When a dragon is having trouble shedding, it’s a sign of dehydration and dry skin.

If your beardie is having trouble shedding check out this guide on the top 10 tips for bearded dragon shedding.

A more serious sign of dehydration is a lack of defecation by your dragon.

If your dragon does not have enough moisture in its body to help expel waste, that’s a serious problem.

You may want to contact your local vet if this is the case. The last thing you want is for your dragon to become ill, or even worse, die.

If you are unsure what normal bearded dragon poop looks like then you should have a look at this ultimate guide on bearded dragon poop.

How to Prevent Dehydration

There a number of methods available to ensure that your beloved dragon doesn’t get dehydrated.

1. Provide Regular Baths

Bathing or playing with your bearded dragon in water is a great way to help keep them from getting dehydrated. Bathing is another way that bearded dragons are able to absorb moisture.

In the wild, bearded dragons will dig to find wet earth to rub their bodies against in order to absorb the water. Bearded dragons may also stand in water when available to absorb moisture and stay hydrated.

Besides helping to keep your dragon hydrated, it’s also good pet care and hygiene and this works to lower risks of infection . You can find some tips on how to bath a bearded dragon here.

2. Ensure Your Beardie Has a Proper Diet

Since bearded dragons get most of their water from their food, the number one way to keep your bearded dragon hydrated is to provide a healthy diet.

The following are a bearded dragon’s main diet:

  • Collard Greens
  • Dubia Roaches
  • Butternut Squash
  • Dandelion Greens

It can be difficult to determine just how much water your dragon is getting when eating insects.

Fruits and vegetables are wonderful sources of water for bearded dragons.

By monitoring and maintaining a proper diet of greens and proteins, you can help to ensure that your bearded dragon doesn’t get dehydrated.

3. Don’t Feed Too Many Greens

It is actually possible to feed your beardie too many greens. In doing this your beardie will take on too much water and will then have diarrhea.

This is an example of going from one extreme to the next. It is not natural to think that a beardie can ever consume too many greens, but unfortunately, it is!

4. Provide a Water Dish

Originating from the Australian desert, beardies are not accustomed to vast amounts of still water. They typically will source drinking water from the pearls of dew dripping from plants in the morning.

That being said, it is possible for your beardie to learn to drink from a bowl.

Once they learn that the dish contains water, placing a shallow dish of water in your dragon’s cage and keeping it fresh daily is an easy way to help keep your dragon from getting dehydrated.

Bearded Dragon Tank Decor Zoomed Feeding Dish

Note: A water dish can affect the humidity of the tank, only leave the dish in the tank for a couple of hours at a time.

You can find out what the optimum bearded dragon tank humidity is here. 

5. Using a Syringe

As mentioned above, beardies are accustomed to drinking moving water as it falls from foliage in its natural habitat.

Using a syringe or pipette to form a small droplet of water can replicate this and entice your beardie to drink from it.

bearded dragon syringe


Keeping your bearded dragon from getting dehydrated isn’t as hard as it may seem. By leaving access to drinking water, routine bathing, and having a proper diet, you can help your dragon stay properly hydrated.

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dehydrated bearded dragon

  • About Matthew Cantell

    I was just 15 years of age when I first met a bearded dragon. It was at my friend's house and I instantly grew an immediate attraction to, what has now become, my favourite animal on the planet! Making fantastic pets for both children and adults alike, they each have their own personality and are certainly full of character. There are, though, some important things that we should all know when it comes to caring for these amazing animals!
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