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Staying hydrated is important for your Beardie. He/she can get all of the water they need by being misted with a spray bottle twice a day and given a weekly supervised bath in the sink or tub.  
 
Bearded Dragons get water from the foods they eat aswell - greens especially. Insects, such as Silkworms, are full of moisture and some experts believe that the moisture from Silkworms is all a Dragon needs, and there is no need for baths or mists. However, I would recommend giving baths to keep the Dragon clean and to offer exercise.   
 
Dragons have no sense of "clean" and "dirty". They will gladly walk all over their own feces without a care. No creature lives a healthy life if it's full of poop! They can become very ill from this. This is another reason why baths are important. A clean Dragon is a happy dragon :)  
 
Bearded Dragons shed easier when the skin is moistened, giving baths and mists provides the moisture to help.      
 
 
 
 Bathing:

Babies:  

Baby Dragons can easily drown in water, so when bathing them you must supervise and make sure the water level is ONLY up their shoulders. Make sure the water is shallow enough that they can stand. The water temperature should be the same temperature that you would bathe a human baby in (90 - 95 degrees).

    

Adults:  

Adult Bearded Dragons are adept swimmers and actually really enjoy it. Once they are 6 months old and up, you can add more water for more depth - again, make sure they can stand. Adult Dragons have less of a chance of drowning, so don't worry too much. They still must be supervised, however.  

Most dragons LOVE to swim, and they will dive under water and splash themselves and have a great time. You MUST provide a means of escape at all times while they are bathing. Things like rocks and bricks work great. Dragons need to have a ledge of sorts to climb up onto to get away from the water. It is best to allow the Dragon to fully get out of the tub/sink and be able to sit on a towel, once the Dragon wants to swim again he/she will jump right back in. My Dragons swim more when they can get totaly out of the water.
 
10-15 minute baths are perfect for Babies and Adults and are a great way to get your Dragon hydrated, while providing a lot of fun. Two baths a week is plenty, there is no need for more.
 
If your Dragon is thirsty they will dip their nose into the water and drink a bit. Make sure your Beardie is dry before putting him/her back in the tank!
 
 
 

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Misting:
 
When misting your Dragon, make sure the water is room temperature or a bit warmer - do not use cold water!
 
Take the Dragon OUT of the cage, set him/her down and - with a gentle mist - mist away! Make sure to get the tail and feet.
 
Once you are done misting, dry the Dragon off before you put him/her back to bask. Do NOT mist the dragon inside of their tank and do NOT put your Dragon back in the tank while they are still wet. Both of these cause moisture in the air of the tank - ambient moisture is not good for Beardies and they will become ill.
 
If your Dragon is thirsty they will lap up the water as it hits them. You can spray all over your Dragon’s body, they usually enjoy it. Drip water on your Dragon’s head as long as they lap it up.
 
 
 
Water Dishes:
 
The majority of Bearded Dragon books, websites, petstores and vets WILL tell you that a waterdish is good, only because all of them have NOT done enough research. I have seen dragons DIE from waterdishes. Vets who tell you to use a waterdish are only hoping to have you come back so you can spend more money. Pet stores that tell you to use a waterdish use it on their dragons who have MBD (metabolic bone disease) from lack of UVB, d3, and Calcium, and have dragons with severe respiratory infections... from lack of removing ambient moisture. Pet Stores do not know how to take care of animals. Period.
 
Water dishes are bad for MANY reasons, here they are:
  • Baby Dragons very easily drown in water dishes.
  • Waterdishes DO and WILL create Ambient moisture in the air. This moisture causes Respiratory Infections. Any form of water evaporates into the air creating moisture, that is the science of water. No matter where it is. But it does this especially in a heated environment like a Bearded Dragon's tank.
  • Bacteria grows with moisture.
  • Mold grows with moisture.
  • Dragon's defecate, bathe, and drink the same water. They have no sense of dirty or clean. Thus leading to serious illnesses.
  • Beardies are not neat and tidy creatures, they will get water out of the dish and onto their substrate.. if that sits on the substrate... it will create bacteria and mold.
  • A Dragon's natural habitat is nowhere NEAR water. They do not live near water in the wild. They swim once in a while, lick drops off of leaves once in a while, but thats it. No Bearded Dragon on the face of the planet thrives near ponds or lakes. They live deep in dry areas.
  • The greens you feed your Beardie, plus if you feed them insects high in moisture (such as silkies) is where they get all of the water they need.
  • Bearded Dragons take in moisture from their skin aswell as their mouths. They get moisture from their greens and insects through their mouths, and from baths and daily mists through their skin. A waterdish is a waste, and a hazard.
  • Thermometers that measure moisture/humidity levels in DRY AIR specific reptile habitats would not exist unless high humidity was problem for a Dragon's health. Healthy humidity levels are between 35-43%.

Herp specialists recommend putting a waterdish in a Chameleon's tank to raise the humidity... these chameleons need humidity that is up to 70%. ONE, SHALLOW, waterdish can achieve this. Imagine what it puts a Bearded Dragon, whom only needs 35-43% and has a higher temperature, through.

You are the one that is in charge of your Beardie, and their life is in your hands and your hands only. However, I would not make something like this up. I wouldn't preach this to everyone I know, and even those I don't, If there were not truth to it. I would hate to see anybody else lose their dragon because of such a minor detail and something that can be avoided SO easily. I would never give anyone BAD information (unlike money grabbing vets and ignorant petstores) 

Beardies are desert dwelling creatures. DRY deserts. In their natural habitat they live on packed sand (not loose, like most people think) and nowhere near water.

Living with a water dish is fatal. Living without it is not. Why take the risk? Why force this upon such an innocent creature? It is not necessary.

Please think twice before you put that dish of water in with your Dragon. Think twice when a vet, whom you've entrusted, or a pet store, whom you believe is smart, tells you to use a water dish.



Dehydration:

When a beardie becomes ill they are often too weak to drink fluids on their own, and if they are not drinking or eating they become even more lethargic and weak. Severe dehydration may lead to fatal shock.

A beardie that is dehydrated will often perk up after given fluids. If the beardie does perk up some, you will often have a better chance of curing the health problem. Of course, if a beardie acts ill, it's often very ill and should be taken to a reptile vet immediately. Also, most medications will dehydrate a beardie. It is always a good idea to make sure to give fluids when medicating a sick beardie. Ask your vet to make sure that the fluids will not interfere with the medicine.

  • Symptoms:
    • Blue Eye Lids
    • Sunken Eyes
    • Dry, Wrinkled Skin
    • Lethargy
    • Loss of Appetite

A good way of checking to see if your beardie is dehydrated is to gently pinch the skin on the side of their back between your fingers. If the skin rolls back into place almost immediately then the beardie is likely well hydrated. In a dehydrated beardie the skin may stay in a pinched, or tented position. Depending upon the cause of the beardie's illness, fluid should be offered by mouth, or by subcutaneous injection.

Warning: Force feeding a moderately or a severely dehydrated beardie may result in shock and possibly death. The digestive tract requires fluids to process foods, if there are not enough fluids available they will be taken from other critical systems. When dehydrated, having a loss of appetite may be one way the beardie's body tries to protect itself. However, when the beardie has been properly rehydrated, it may still fail to eat on its own. Force feeding may be necessary, but only after rehydrated. The bottom line is that a beardie must be rehydrated before feeding.

The best fluid to give is Pedialyte. If you don't have Pedialyte on hand, don't wait to get some, offer water right away. And bottled water would be best because of all the added chemicals that they treat our tap water with. Sports drinks like Gatoraid will work, but must be diluted 1:1 with water. Pedialyte is better than sports drinks because it is metabolised quickly.

Before forcing your beardie to drink, try to coax him to drink from a needleless syringe or eye dropper. Beardies will eagerly drink a mixture of 25% all natural juice with no additives, sugar, or preservatives (apple, grape, cranberry, etc) with 75% water.

If you've tried to get them to drink on their own but were unsuccessful, you may have to try forcing them to drink, especially if they are on meds that require the beardie to be kept well hydrated like Albon. Before you can force fluids into your beardie's mouth, you will need a syringe (without the needle), or an eyedropper. If you are offering liquids with a syringe, it should be easy to tell how much you are giving as syringes have the amount of cc's or ml listed right on them (note: cc's and ml's are the same). I use a needleless 1 cc syringe with a rubble nursing nipple. Simply cut the very tip of the nipple off so that the beardie can chew on the nipple without causing any damage to his mouth, teeth, or gums from the hard plastic needle. The nipples fit perfectly over the tip of the 1cc small tuberculin syringes. These nipples can usually be found at Petsmart in the kitten or small animal section.

Fluids are generally calculated based on 1 - 2% of bodyweight during a 24 hour period. Please note that too much fluid at one time may be just as lethal as severe dehydration because the kidneys and circulatory system can only handle a certain amount of fluid. A Veterinarian should be involved to determine the proper amount of fluid, based upon the severity of the dehydration. Visit Beautiful Dragons for a table.

 

Information Provided By: Anapsid.org, Kakadu Dragons, Enigma and Beautiful Dragons.