When it comes to enhancing your knowledge on bearded dragons, whether you are an experienced beardie owner or just getting started, it is important to understand their digestion and the different ailments that can befall them. Any animal vomiting, especially your beloved dragon, can be upsetting and terrifying.
Are they ill? Have you done something wrong? How can you help them?
Don’t worry yourself too much. We will be addressing a very common concern among owners of bearded dragons: can bearded dragons vomit?
The answer is yes, they can vomit, but this does not mean that it is in any way normal for your bearded dragon to be vomiting. In truth, there are several possibilities that could cause your bearded dragon to vomit, from something as simple as overfeeding to something as worrisome as a parasite infestation.
While we will be discussing these different causes and what can be done for each, it is important to note that this guide will not compare to getting your beardie to a licensed herp vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Also, if your bearded dragon has started vomiting it might also be a good idea to collect a sample to bring to the vet for any tests they may need to run.
Now, let’s get comfortable under our basking light and delve into the mysterious world that is the bearded dragon, and most importantly, what is causing your beardie to vomit.
Reason 1: Impaction:
Impaction is a secondary condition and is caused when your bearded dragon consumes anything they cannot properly digest. For example, rocks, sand, or substrate are common causes of impaction in bearded dragons.
Environmental stressors, improper handling, and inadequate cleaning practices can bring about impaction in your beardie. It is important to maintain proper temperature and humidity levels within their dwelling to help them keep low stress levels, along with a healthy diet and clean living space.
If you suspect your bearded dragon is experiencing impaction you can try checking the temperature and humidity levels, giving your beardie a warm bath and a gentle massage, provide him/her with fresh food, and contact your local herp vet.
Reason 2: Overfeeding:
Have you ever overindulged on your favorite snack or meal and experienced an upset stomach afterwards? The same thing can happen to your precious beardie.
It’s easy to want to spoil them with their favorite crickets or mealworms but too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing. If your bearded dragon has started vomiting after consuming a large meal then overfeeding could be culprit.
It is important to stay up to date on how much and what you should be feeding your bearded dragon based on their age. A properly balanced diet is pertinent to their health just like it is to ours.
If you suspect overfeeding to be the issue then try cutting back on how much and how often you are feeding your bearded dragon.
Reason 3: High Coccidia Or Other Parasites:
Coccidia are small parasites that reside within a bearded dragon’s intestinal tract and an overabundance of these parasites can cause your beardie to become ill. The existence of other parasites in your bearded dragon’s environment can cause the coccidia to flourish and spread beyond the control of your dragon’s immune system.
A parasite infestation is something that should be taken seriously and requires the professional help of a veterinarian. If your bearded dragon starts experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, lack of appetite, and/or irritability it is important to get them to your local herp vet and would be a good idea to collect a sample of fecal matter or vomit for the vet to test.
Reason 4: Dehydration:
As it is with humans, hydration plays an extremely important part in maintaining your bearded dragon’s health and dehydration can cause an upset stomach and vomiting. There are several ways to help your beardie stay hydrated including providing them with a water dish or soaking pool, giving them regular baths 2 to 3 times a week, misting their bodies and enclosure, or dripping water on their snout for them to lick off.
If you are unsure whether or not your bearded dragon is hydrated then you can try pinching their skin, if it bounces back then they are hydrated, if it stays loose for a moment then they could be experiencing some dehydration. If you suspect some dehydration, allow your dragon to soak in a warm bath for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a week.
If your bearded dragon is not fond of baths, mist their bodies and over their heads with warm water once a day. It is important to pay attention to your bearded dragon’s behavior and habitat to ensure they do not become dehydrated.
Reason 5: Salmonella:
Salmonellosis is a zoonotic gastrointestinal disease caused by salmonella bacteria. Salmonella can easily be spread between different species which is why it is extremely important to remember to wash your hands after handling your dragon.
It is not common for bearded dragons to become infected by salmonella but it should never be completely ruled out as a cause for your dragon not feeling well. Many bearded dragons carry these bacteria in their gut and it poses no great threat to their wellbeing, however, bearded dragons with a weakened immune system are more likely to contract salmonella.
Diarrhea, vomiting, and infections like septicemia are common symptoms of a salmonella infection and should be taken very seriously. If your bearded dragon is acting out of the ordinary and you are worried they may have contracted salmonella, you should get them to the vet for an examination.
It is also important to note once more that you should always thoroughly wash your hands after handling your bearded dragon.
Reason 6: Bad Food:
Mealworms with hard shells or toxic foods and plants can also cause vomiting in your bearded dragon. If you believe the cause of the vomiting to be some bad mealworms and you find the hard exoskeletons in their vomit, keep an eye on their behavior.
If your bearded dragon seems to be doing much better and their appetite has returned then it would be safe to assume there is no need for any further worrying. Of course, if your bearded dragon has not returned to their usual self and has a lack of appetite then it would be a good idea to contact your vet.
As far as toxic plants are concerned, if you believe your beardie has ingested something toxic to them then get them to the vet as soon as possible. Some toxic plants and foods to keep away from your bearded dragon are as follows: apple, avocado, azalea, cherry, boxwood, buttercup, daffodil, eggplant, holly, hyacinth, iris, juniper, lily of the valley, marijuana, milkweed, plum, poppy, sweet pea, tobacco, and wisteria.
Reason 7: Poor Digestion:
Heat is imperative to the proper digestion of your bearded dragon. If your bearded dragon’s habitat is lacking heat, food will sit inside their stomach and rot, in turn causing them to regurgitate.
Perfecting the temperature within your bearded dragon’s enclosure does not have to be a difficult task and once it is at the ideal setting, maintaining it should be simple. Daytime temperatures for your dragon should be between 78 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
Nighttime temperatures should be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A basking area should also be available to your dragon with a temperature ranging from 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bearded dragons are native to Australia and require an arid and semi-desert environment to properly thrive. You might notice your beardie spending the majority of their time basking on a rock or warm surface under their basking lamp, this is one of their favorite past times and is simple to provide and install.
A high quality 100-watt light bulb inside a heat lamp will do the trick just fine and is a quick and easy way to bring your bearded dragon some enjoyment and comfort.
If you do or plan to own a bearded dragon, it is extremely important to pay attention to their behavior. If your bearded dragon has started vomiting, you should be asking yourself a few questions.
What is normal behavior for your beardie? What is abnormal?
Could they have consumed something they shouldn’t have? Has it been a while since they received a bath or is their water dish dry?
Properly maintaining your bearded dragon’s enclosure and environment and staying up to date on your dragon knowledge are an important part of keeping bearded dragons. Bearded dragons are just like any other animal or pet, they require a healthy environment, balanced diet, proper hydration, and regular handling and love.
No matter the extent of your knowledge on bearded dragons, it should never replace seeking professional help in the event that your bearded dragon falls ill. Bearded dragons make amazing companions and are simple to care for.
Just remember to never underestimate the danger of your beloved bearded dragon regurgitating at any time and to always seek the proper medical attention from your local herp vet to keep them healthy.