Dehydration is serious, whether it's a human or your pet. The same applies to leopard geckos. Every animal needs water. Knowing what signs to look for and the causes can help you reduce the risk of your leopard gecko becoming dehydrated.
What is Leopard Gecko Dehydration?
Every reptile and amphibian will need water. Some will drink water from leaves and small pools of water, while others will get the liquids, they need from the foods that they eat. It's important to provide your pet with fresh water for bathing and drinking. Adult leopard geckos should have their enclosure misted once to twice per week.
Dehydration in leopard geckos is when your reptile isn't having access to the water it needs, either through drinking or bathing. Proper hydration is essential to your pet’s overall health.
Signs of Dehydration
It's not common to see your leopard gecko panting when they get hot or they become dehydrated, but there are a lot of other symptoms you can watch for, which can be an indication that there is a lack of water and your reptile is suffering from dehydration. These include:
- Skin becomes wrinkled, dry and has a puckered appearance
- Skin loses its elasticity
- Lethargy and weakness
- Trouble shedding
- Constipation or infrequent defecation
If you notice any of these signs, then you are going to want to act quickly to rehydrate your leopard gecko. You can easily reverse mild dehydration and you will see your pet improve quickly, but severe dehydration may require veterinary guidance and advice.
Cause of Dehydration in Leopard Geckos
There are three main causes that your leopard gecko may be dehydrated. These include:
- No supply of drinking water. Your gecko may drink happily from a bowl or it may require a water feature to encourage drinking. Research what your reptile prefers and try and mimic that in their captive environment.
- Temperature levels remain too high for extended periods
- Incorrect humidity levels. Substrates and cage materials can absorb moisture, reducing humidity levels, and causing dehydration in your reptilian pet.
How to Treat Dehydrated Leopard Gecko
You should work on treating your leopard gecko as soon as you think they may be dehydrated. Any signs of dehydration should be evaluated by the vet. It should not be left untreated, as this could result in a painful death.
If your leopard gecko is experiencing mild dehydration then you can soak them in lukewarm water to help retain some moisture and improve hydration levels. You will also want to do daily misting of the enclosure and ensure that your pet has constant access to drinking water.
For moderate dehydration, the vet may recommend long soaks or administering extra fluids orally.
Severe dehydration is exceptionally serious and will be treated by administering fluids using injection to help your pet get the fluids it needs quickly and effectively. You will be given instructions from your vet and you want to follow the instructions to the letter to ensure you don't administer too much fluid at any given time.
Dehydration in leopard geckos can be avoided if you take the right precautionary measures. The first is to avoid subjecting your pet to dehydration in the first place, by ensuring you keep them well hydrated. You can:
- Provide fresh water daily – wash water dishes to keep them clean to encourage drinking
- Provide wet foods to increase moisture, such as prey soaked in water.
- Adjust temperature and humidity levels accordingly to ensure adequate moisture.
- Mist adult leopard gecko enclosures once to twice per week
Identifying the signs of dehydration can help any leopard gecko pet owner act quickly to rehydrate their pet and improve their health with confidence.