It can be very worrying to walk up to your bearded dragon enclosure and find that your dragon appears bloated. If you are a new beardie owner, then you may be concerned to find a bloated dragon in the tank.
Continue reading to get some insight into what could be causing the bloating and whether you should be concerned or not.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Bloated?
Impaction is a very serious condition in bearded dragons and can result in death if not treated quickly and effectively. When your dragon has serious impaction, it won't move around as much, the back legs may even appear to be paralyzed.
It's not uncommon for the front legs to also be paralyzed when the impaction is occurring higher up in the digestive track. Impaction is when your dragon’s stomach is blocked, similar to constipation in humans, but more serious.
Egg binding is very common in bearded dragons and can happen to females, whether laying infertile or not.
Gravid females are easy to identify due to the increased size and appetite, their behavior also changes. It's not uncommon for females with eggs to try and escape the vivarium, wanting to get out more and more in order to find the best site for their eggs.
You may be able to feel the eggs in her abdomen if you feel gentle, though don't squeeze or apply too much pressure. Healthy gravid dragons will have a swollen abdomen, but if they become inactive, then they may be experiencing egg binding.
Bearded dragons enjoy bathing, which enables them to absorb water and hydrate while making it easier for them to shed. It's common for bearded dragons to bloat themselves in order to float, which occurs when the water is too deep for them
When making the bath, ensure the water just covers the front legs, below the belly to reduce bloating.
Boating can also be a natural defense reaction, often experienced when the bearded dragon is in a strange area that it doesn't know.
If your dragon spends most of its time indoors and you allow it in the yard, you may find it bloats itself as a protective mechanism, making the dragon look bigger than it is.
Bearded dragons rely on the sun’s UV rays to provide them with the minerals and vitamins they need to remain healthy.
It's often noticed that dragons will bloat their bellies in order to increase the surface area covered when basking, ensuring to soak up as much of the sun's rays as possible.
Have a big meal and without pooping
Bearded dragons are healthy eaters and looking at the amount they can eat in a day, it's no surprise that they may bloat from eating and not pooping.
Baby dragons should poop daily, this can be once to three times a day. Adults, on the other hand, can poop once to seven times per week.
How To Help A Bloated Bearded Dragon
If you are concerned about impaction in your dragon and want to ensure that it is comfortable and healthy, then look out for the following symptoms, which may be able to help you identify if your bearded dragon needs to get to the vet quickly. These symptoms include:
- Food regurgitation
- Appetite loss
- Not moving at all
- Not pooping for weeks
Egg binding is also serious in dragons. You can look for certain signs and symptoms to identify if you should take your dragon to the vet for an xray and treatment. Symptoms include:
- Female tries laying eggs over a number of attempts
- Swollen abdomen with breathing issues
- Lethargic, even unresponsive
- Digging a hole, backing up, and straining to lay eggs
There are so many reasons why your dragon may be bloating. Having some idea on what could be the cause can help you provide the best care for your reptilian pet, ensuring that they get the veterinary assistance they need as they need it.