How Do I Know if My Bearded Dragon is Sick? (16 Signs)

It’s pretty complicated to tell when your Bearded dragon feels sick, as they can’t tell that themselves. However, symptoms such as laziness, changed eating habits, and low physical activity signifies that your bearded dragon is not in its form.

Furthermore, as you monitor your bearded dragon every day, you might notice its activities such as roaming around, basking, and so on. If your bearded pet starts acting peculiar and does not bask in the sun, this a sign that something is bothering your pet.

Following is a list of symptoms that will help you find out that your bearded is sick. Furthermore, after you feel your bearded dragon is sick, make sure that you consult a professional. 

Signs of Sick Bearded Dragon

Here are some of the most usual signs that your bearded dragon might be unhealthy or ill. Nevertheless, some of these signs may not always mean that your pet is ill.

Please note that the information provided below is not intended to replace professional advice. So, if you suspect that your bearded dragon is sick, it’s crucial to seek the help of a veterinarian as soon as possible.

1. Loss of Appetite

If you find your bearded dragon disinterested in food items that you’re presenting in front of him, then this might be a sign of sickness in your bearded dragon.

When a bearded dragon loses its appetite, it could be due to a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for us to determine the exact cause of the problem.

There a number of reasons why bearded dragon stop eating. The three most common are listed below.

Reason for Loss of Appetite: Stress

Stress triggers many health and behavioral issues in your pet bearded dragon and may cause sickness, which eventually results in loss of appetite.

There are a number of factors that can cause stress in your bearded dragon.

Firstly, if you’ve recently adopted a new pet or relocated your pet to a new cage, they may be feeling stressed out due to the changes in their environment.

If your pet has not been in either of these situations, another reason for their stress could be the introduction of a new pet that they can see, whether it is another reptile, cat, or any other animal.

Make sure that there is nothing that may intimidate your pet, even something as seemingly harmless as feeders jumping around in their cage at night can contribute to their stress.

Therefore, it is vital to destress your bearded dragon to keep them healthy and happy.

The importance of managing stress levels in your beardie should never be overlooked, as it is a root cause of many sickness.

Reason for Loss of Appetite: Inadequate Tank Temperature

If your bearded dragon seems stressed, it might be due to the temperature in their tank. If the temperature isn’t hot enough or is too hot, your bearded dragon may lose their appetite.

Bearded dragons require warmth to ensure their metabolism is functioning properly. During the winter months, their metabolism slows down due to the colder temperatures and decrease in available food sources. As a result, bearded dragons go through a process called brumation to conserve energy.

Read More >> bearded dragon cage heating and temperature.

Reason for Loss of Appetite: Improper UVB light

Your bearded dragon may refuse to eat due to a lack of exposure to UVB light. If the UVB bulb you are using is too weak and not providing enough UVB rays, your pet may not feel like eating.

Unfortunately, not all UVB lamps for reptiles are created equal. Some are not as effective as others. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you’re using the RIGHT UVB bulb for your pet and not just any random one you found at the pet store.

If you’ve checked all the reasons mentioned above and your bearded dragon still isn’t eating, there could be other factors at play. Keep an eye out for any other signs of illness or discomfort.

Read More >> 17 Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Won’t Eat

2. Acting Lethargic

Bearded dragons are active animals that like to bask, explore, and interact with their environment. If your bearded dragon is not moving much or seems sluggish, it could be a sign of illness or injury.

Some possible causes of lethargy include low temperatures, dehydration, impaction (a blockage in the digestive tract), metabolic bone disease (a condition caused by calcium deficiency), respiratory infections, or kidney failure.

To help your bearded dragon regain its energy, make sure it has adequate heat and UVB lighting in its enclosure.

Provide fresh water and calcium supplements daily. Monitor its weight and appetite closely. If you notice any signs of pain, swelling, breathing difficulties, or abnormal droppings, take your bearded dragon to a vet immediately.

3. A Change in Bathroom Behavior

Did you know that examining your bearded dragon’s poop can tell you a lot about their health? It may sound strange, but knowing what to look for can give you valuable information about their well-being. By understanding what’s normal and what’s not, you can gain insight into their health.

If the bearded dragon is consuming food but isn’t excreting properly, this might be a sign of sickness.

Bearded dragons have different poop schedules depending on their age.

Baby bearded dragons, which are three months old or younger, tend to poop frequently – one to three times per day – since they consume protein-rich diets.

A young bearded dragon between four to eighteen months old typically defecates once a day or so.

Adult bearded dragons that are over eighteen months of age, you can expect them to poop less frequently, usually between 1 to 7 times per week.

A change in beardie’s bowel movement schedule is often a sign of sickness.

Following are few reasons which may affect the bathroom behavior of your bearded dragon.

Reason 1: Constipation or Impaction

You bearded dragon will have trouble pooping if it has impaction or constipation.

Impaction in bearded dragons can be very dangerous, as it is the inability to pass what your beardie has eaten. It’s related directly to the digestive system of your bearded dragon. You can resolve this problem by bathing your bearded dragon with nice warm water and rub his stomach while doing so. 

Keeping a water dish is recommended to avoid this problem in your beardie, which they may find unintentionally, and enjoy a bath. However, if your beardie cannot pass even after taking a warm shower, you must have your pet checked by a vet.

Reason 2: Diarrhea

Diarrhea is usually a sign of the presence of parasites in bearded dragon. 

There are several reasons which give way to diarrhea in your bearded dragon.

If the Urates of your bearded dragon are orangish or red, then it’s a clear indication that your pet has an excessive amount of parasites in its body. Furthermore, Diarrhea is also a repercussion of dehydration in the beardie. You must have your bearded dragon checked by a vet if you see the signs of Diarrhea.

4. Sunken Eyes

Sunken eyes are often a sign of dehydration in bearded dragons. Dehydration can occur due to diarrhea, low humidity, lack of water intake, or kidney problems.

Dehydration can lead to organ failure and death if left untreated, so it’s vital to rehydrate your bearded dragon as soon as possible.

To prevent dehydration, make sure your bearded dragon has access to clean water at all times. You can also mist its face with water daily or offer it juicy foods like cucumbers or melons occasionally. If your bearded dragon’s eyes are still sunken after these measures, take it to a vet for fluids and electrolytes.

5. Wrinkled Skin

Wrinkly skin is another sign of dehydration in bearded dragons. It can also indicate weight loss due to poor appetite, parasites, or disease.

It’s common for beardies to have wrinkly skin, which is not usually a cause for concern. Their skin cannot stretch well, which leads to the formation of wrinkles on their body. However, if your beardie has indented fat pads and a thin tail, it may be a sign of low weight, which can result in skin wrinkles.

To restore your bearded dragon’s skin elasticity, follow the same steps as for sunken eyes. Additionally, check your bearded dragon’s body condition score by feeling its spine, ribs, and tail base. If you feel any bones protruding, your bearded dragon is underweight and needs more food and veterinary care.

6. Jerky or Shaky Behavior

Another sign of a sick bearded dragon is jerky and shaky behavior. Shaking is a sign of distress in bearded dragons. It can indicate a serious condition called metabolic bone disease (MBD), which is caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D3 in their diet.

MBD can affect their bones, muscles, nerves, and organs, leading to deformities, pain, paralysis, and death.

If your bearded dragon is shaking, check its diet and supplements. Make sure it gets enough calcium and vitamin D3 from food or dusting powder.

Avoid overfeeding it with foods high in phosphorus or oxalates, such as spinach or kale, as they can interfere with calcium absorption.

You should also check its lighting and temperature. Bearded dragons need UVB light to produce vitamin D3 in their skin. Without it, they cannot use the calcium they eat. Make sure you have a good quality UVB bulb that covers at least half of their enclosure and replace it every 6 months.

The temperature of their basking spot should be around 95-105°F (35-40°C) for optimal digestion and metabolism. If it’s too cold or too hot, they may not be able to absorb nutrients properly.

If you suspect your bearded dragon has MBD, take it to a vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet may prescribe medication, injections, or surgery to help your bearded dragon recover.

7. Rotting or Discolored Skin

It is a very prominent sign which signifies multiple health issues in your bearded dragon.

Rotting or discolored skin is a sign of infection or injury in bearded dragons. It can be caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, or burns.

Some common infections that affect bearded dragons are mouth rot (a bacterial infection of the mouth), yellow fungus (a fungal infection of the skin), and scale rot (a bacterial infection of the scales).

Some common injuries that affect bearded dragons are thermal burns (from contact with hot surfaces), chemical burns (from exposure to toxic substances), or abrasions (from rubbing against rough objects).

If your bearded dragon has rotting or discolored skin, clean the affected area with a mild antiseptic solution and apply an antibiotic ointment or cream. Keep the enclosure clean and dry and avoid using substrates that can harbor bacteria or irritate the skin, such as sand or wood chips.

You should also take your bearded dragon to a vet for further evaluation and treatment. Your vet may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics or antifungals to fight off the infection. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove dead tissue or repair damaged skin.

8. Discolored Stomach

The discoloration of the stomach is also an indication of sickness in the pet bearded dragons. If the stomach of your bearded dragon turns black, it is a sign that your beardie is stressed out. Look out for the reasons that might be causing stress in the beardie; an explanation might be the change of enclosure or moving your beardie from one place to another.

9. Swollen Tail or Limbs

The reason behind swollen tail or limb can be an infection or broken bone inside the body of your beardie. If you see a sign of swollen tail or limb, you must immediately contact the vet and get your pet beardie scanned for the right reason. 

The bones breaking inside the body could result from Metabolic Bone Disease, which is formed because of the lack of nutrients inside the bearded dragon’s body.

10. Black Mouth

This is a very alarming sign and must be taken care of at the earliest. The change of color in the bearded dragon’s mouth could result from the mouth rotting or infection in its mouth. Get your bearded dragon checked by the vet when you see this sign in your beardie. 

Prevention could be cleaning the bearded dragon tank daily to avoid leaving food leftovers to rot in the cage.

11. Gaping Mouth

There are various reasons behind the gaping mouth of your bearded dragon. It could be anything from feeling frightened to regulating the body’s temperature, concluding that a gaping mouth is not a big deal. However, you must take this sign seriously to take a look at the parameters of the enclosure. If you kept avoiding this sign, the stress level in your beardie would escalate, causing health issues.

12. Discharge from Nose or Mouth

Leaking fluids at any time is not a good sign, and so your pet beardie shouldn’t be doing it too. However, if you witness your bearded dragon having a discharge from the nose or mouth, this is an indication of sickness. Get your bearded dragon checked by a vet when you see these signs.

13. Boney Appearance

If you can see the bones under the bearded dragon’s skin, this is a sign of weight loss in your beardie. You must increase the food supply to your bearded dragon to make him gain some weight.

This can also be an indication of starvation and dehydration; bath your beardie with warm water. However, if it doesn’t start eating even after a bath, you need to take the bearded dragon to the vet for consultation.

14. Obesity

As the bearded dragon is a very active individual, it needs a lot of space in captivity to roam around freely. However, if you fail to provide enough space, it will limit the activity of the bearded dragon, which, when coupled with bad food choices, will result in obesity.

A suggestion to avoid this could be by providing a balanced healthy diet to your bearded dragon and gut load the insects to meet the needs of nutrients in the body of a bearded dragon. Give space to your beardie by taking him out of the cage under your supervision, and let him roam around freely. 

15. Bloody and Damaged Snouts

It is formed because of the lack of space for your bearded dragon. As your bearded dragon roams around and searches its way out of the enclosure, it rubs the body against the enclosure, making its snout raw and bloody. This can be prevented by providing enough space for your beardie to roam around.

16. Puffy and Swollen Eyes

The puffy and swollen eyes are formed for different reasons, so you must keep an open eye to determine why your bearded dragon is showing these symptoms. One of the reasons could be an infection developing inside your pet’s body. In this case, you must visit a vet for the treatment of your pet. 

Secondly, swollen and puffy eyes are often formed due to skin shedding in your bearded dragon.

How Can I Tell If My Bearded Dragon is Dying? 

Each time your bearded starts acting abnormally will have you fret about the well-being and safe-keeping of your beardie. One of the fears commonly encountered by owners of bearded dragons is whether their bearded dragon is dying. 

To answer this, we have listed several symptoms associate with the death of a bearded dragon.

Signs of a Dying Bearded Dragon

  1. You find your bearded dragon cold or turning colder when you try to touch him.
  2. The bearded dragon turns pale.
  3. The bearded dragon declines all types of foods, including its most favorite treats.
  4. The energy level of your bearded dragon is beyond low.
  5. It doesn’t go out to bask in the light.

How to Prevent Diseases in Bearded Dragons

To prevent your bearded dragon from sickness and keep him healthy and happy, you must ensure the following parameters for the well-being of your beardie.

Ensure it has a healthy, balanced diet

To ensure the good health of your bearded dragon, you must keep a strict check on the food you’re presenting in front of him. Make sure to offer a healthy and balanced tray of food with fresh veggies and juicy insects gut loaded with nutrients. Read more on the bearded dragon diet.

Make sure it’s alert

The bearded dragons are very active and curious by nature, so you must provide them the opportunities to perform all the physical activities in the imitation of nature. This will keep your beardie alert and active.

Make sure it has the correct habitat

Wrong and less spacious habitat can increase the stress level of your bearded dragon. If you’re bringing a bearded dragon home, make sure to buy an enclosure large enough where it can perform its routine activities without any hurdle.

Furthermore, do not attempt to keep larger bearded dragons with smaller ones, as they will end up fighting with each other. Here is a post on recommended cages for bearded dragons.

Make sure the cage temperature is nice

Ensure the proper lighting and heating system for your bearded dragon to keep them healthy and fit. It is suggested to take a vivarium for your bearded dragon instead of a terrarium to keep it nice and warm for bearded dragon.


The article above covers all the points you can use to identify the sickness in your bearded dragon. The illness in the bearded dragon is mainly caused by dehydration, indigestion, infection, and poor diet. Your beardie will exhibit signs of sunken eyes, wrinkly skin, discoloration, jerky behavior out of dehydration. The digestion problems include diarrhea, impaction or constipation, discoloration in the stomach.

The infection could be caused because of parasites, an unclean environment, or dehydrated body tissues. You must get your pet checked by a vet to avoid any severe issue from rising in each case.

Filled under: Lizards

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