How to tell if a bearded dragon is dehydrated

How to tell if a bearded dragon is dehydrated

Every living thing needs water to survive. In fact, lack of water will kill most living things faster than lack of food. Bearded dragons are especially prone to dehydration because of their nature. The fact that they go into brumation can mean that they’re not awake often enough to drink or eat properly.

If you are worried that your bearded dragon might be dehydrated, you can perform the pinch test on them. The pinch test is simple. Just pinch the skin of your bearded dragon lightly. Then watch closely to take note of the time it takes for the skin to go back to normal. Your bearded dragon is most likely dehydrated if it takes too long. Be sure to check multiple parts of the body just to be sure. Other Symptoms of dehydration are sunken eyes, wrinkled skin, lack of appetite, and lethargy.

Now the question is what do you do when your dragon is dehydrated? Should you offer water? Food? Juice? Should you take him to the vet? What if he won’t wake up from brumation to drink? What are the other ways of helping your dragon become hydrated without forced administration?

All of these and more are the questions that will be answered below. Keep reading to find out everything about handling a bearded dragon dehydration episode.

Symptoms of dehydration

Dehydration at the initial stage will first manifest as a reluctance to eat or drink. Your bearded dragon might also be lethargic. You might mistake this for other things. You will notice the skin on its back wrinkling as this dehydration progresses. it probably isn’t dehydration If the skin of your bearded dragon is only wrinkled in some places. Dehydration usually causes a universal loss of elasticity in the skin. The dragon most likely isn’t pooping as often as it should. The skin may start to wrinkle and It may start to suffer from chronic constipation. He would probably slow down on shedding too.

As the level of dehydration continues to increase, your bearded dragon may develop sunken eyes, muscle weakness or even gout. He may seem to shrink and experience even less activity. The dehydration at this point is very serious and it is important to take him straight to the vet.

What to do when your bearded dragon is dehydrated

So you have tested this little partner of yours and he came back positive for dehydration. First thing you need to know is that there is no need for panic. The most important part is the detection and since it has been achieved, the bigger battle has been won.

The next thing to do is to launch into action in trying to get your dragon to be hydrated.

Drinking water is not the only way to stay hydrated. It is, however, a sure way to stay hydrated for bearded dragons. However, let’s discuss drinking first.

How to help your bearded dragon stay hydrated.

There are ways to put water into your dragons system without actually force-feeding them water. It is important to note that force-feeding dragons anything at all when they are dehydrated, can be dangerous. Avoid this and only use it as a last resort. Here are some methods of hydration you can try.


Misting your dragon’s enclosure daily will help prevent the dragon from drying out. It helps them absorb water through their skin. But apart from this, bearded dragons drink water the has gathered from their mist. This helps them to stay hydrated.

If you are misting the floor surface, it may encourage surfing in your dragon a surfing display by beardies can be funny and delightful to watch. It usually involves them flattening their bellies to the surface and sliding across it. They usually seem to be enjoying the experience. They may even lap up some of the water. This is method is best applied after newly washing the enclosure. This will prevent pathogen build-up that can affect your dragon.

Water Bowl

You can offer water in a bowl. It is important to put the water on the cool side of the enclosure so that it doesn’t warm up. Warm water has a tendency to become a breeding ground for pathogens, bacteria, and parasites. Some dragons walk through the water and it seems to help them. with bowel movement. Some dragons also drink directly from the bowls all on their own.


This method is especially useful when your bearded dragon is brumating.  You can take your dragon and place him a small water bowl. Place an object under his head and neck to prevent drowning. You’ll need to sit with them and supervise them when they are having these baths.

It is important to note that bathing on its own as a means of hydration is not going to be enough. Except of course if you will be bathing them very often which is often something they really don’t enjoy. The fact that they don’t like it would cause undue stress. Please reduce bathing to the bare minimum if your bearded dragon doesn’t like it.


Sometimes your bearded dragon may need the motivation to drink. Now, what motivation is better than food? When you offer food to your bearded dragon, you can keep some freshwater nearby so that they can go to it right after eating.

Using food to hydrate your bearded dragon is one of the easiest methods.  This is because food is vegetation. Vegetable leaves are made up of a lot of water. And if you can mist just before you offer it to them, that will be even better. Find vegetables with high water contents and feed them to your dragon. It helps them keep hydrated.

Should I put water in my dragons enclosure?

Captive animals cannot reach water if it is not provided. They are in captivity remember? They need to be provided with access to water. However, there are a few issues with putting water in a dragons enclosure permanently. Most bearded dragons do not know that they need to drink from a water bowl. Some would walk through it or maybe even sit on it for a while. But generally… water bowling its own is not a sure way to keep your dragon hydrated.


This process requires a lot of calm and patience. Steady hands too. You can use either an eyedropper or syringe without the needle. I recommend the syringe because it allows you to know just how many CC of water your dragon had unheard. Fill either one with water and use the dropper or syringe to push some water into their mouths. Don’t shove either down the throat of your dragon and be very careful not to injure them. Some dragons will come to like the eyedropper and actually bring their mouths close by are in luck If your dragon is like this because you wouldn’t have to force-feed him the water.

How to train a dragon to drink water from a bowl.

You will probably want to teach your dragon to drink water from the water bowl on its own without assistance. It is behavior that dragons can learn. You are very likely to be successful if you have patience and a willingness to continue to teach the dragon.

The truth is that moving waters attract bearded dragons. This is why they show much interest in misted water rolling on walls. It is therefore advisable to form water droplets on an accessory over top of a water bowl and see if that creates an interest in them towards the water. Another thing you can try is to use your hand to spray water. You must do it while they are watching so that they can see the water touch the water in their water bowl. This may not work immediately but it will work if you have withdrawn water and they are thirsty.

It is however very important to note that bowl water gets dirty. Especially if your dragon poops inside it. Please remember to wash it thoroughly as often as possible