Congratulations on your purchase of your new dragon! He/She will be arriving very soon. Before he/she arrives, here is a checklist along with a guide of things you will need, may need, or should know. We advise you to read through this guide thoroughly. Thank you once again for choosing Trilogy Dragons, and if you have any questions or concerns about this guide, or if you can’t find the answer you need within the guide, please reach out through Morph Market (Trilogy Dragons), Email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by text to Chris: 916-757-4306, Isabelle: 916-666-2723, or Sheryl: 916-730-3110. Phone calls are accepted, but a text or email with an agreed upon “appointment” would be preferred and appreciated.
All of this information and MORE is included in our book, which is available on Amazon as a digital or paperback copy at this link.
There will be more information added to this guide eventually regarding ethical breeding of bearded dragons, keeping and breeding feeders, and many other things that aren’t included
Trilogy Dragons is not a board-certified veterinarian. We do our best to relay correct and useful information to our customers. None of the information given in this guide is to be used instead of a veterinary visit. If you suspect something is wrong with your dragon, please call your veterinarian, do not just rely on this information. Trilogy Dragons cannot guarantee the success of these treatments, they are simply suggestions. Trilogy Dragons cannot be held accountable for any health issues that come about or worsen due to not contacting your veterinarian or scheduling a veterinary visit. Reading and utilizing this guide means you, the customer, agree to the above statement(s) and conditions. Reading and utilizing this guide means that you, the customer, confirm that Trilogy Dragons cannot be held responsible for the worsening condition of your dragon from prolonging or not scheduling a veterinary visit.
Table of Contents
Tank size: Your dragon should be in a cage that is a minimum of 20 gallons. If you start with a 20 gallon, you will need to upgrade to a 40 gallon or 4ftx2ftx2ft cage once your dragon gets older. If you start with a 40 gallon, they will be fine, but make sure you have plenty of decorations and hiding places for your baby.
Lights: Tube lights are recommended with UVB. We are currently using T5’s at 10.0 UVB, and they need to be checked every 6 months, and replaced yearly. We recommend the use of ceramic heat bulbs to maintain an ambient temperature of 80-85 degrees F, with a basking point of around 115 degrees F. Adults do not need as high of a basking temperature, theirs needs to be 100-105 degrees F. Always follow the directions about replacement times on the box or given by the seller.
Substrate: We do not use substrate for babies, as they can accidentally ingest it while chasing feeders. We use either newspaper or packing paper on the floor of the cages. Ceramic tile helps keep their nails slightly duller to prevent self-injury.
Light Schedule: Our dragons are currently on a 9am lights on and 9pm lights off schedule. You can adjust this to fit your schedule as well, as long as they have 12 hours of lights on and 12 hours of lights off.
Cleaning: At our facility, we use a diluted mixture of chlorhexidine solution to sanitize our cages. We mix this in a spray bottle and use it every time we clean a cage in our facility. You can purchase chlorhexidine from beardeddragon.co or from Amazon. There are directions on the bottle instructing how to dilute the mixture safely. When diluted, this chemical is not harmful to your dragon, and can even be used on him/her as a skin disinfectant. If you don’t want to use this, any disinfectant you can purchase from your pet store that is animal-safe will do the trick. You must make sure your dragon’s cage is as clean as possible to avoid illnesses and diseases that come along with a dirty cage. (See common illnesses and diseases section for more information)
Do NOT keep water in your dragon’s cage constantly, and do NOT mist your dragon’s cage. Bearded dragons have very sensitive respiratory systems and are from a desert environment. Humidity can give them a respiratory infection. (See common illnesses and diseases for info on respiratory infections).
Absolutely under ANY condition, do NOT use heat rocks. Bearded Dragons do NOT have heat receptors on their underbellies, and using a heat rock can overheat them without them knowing, causing serious injury, illness, and even death.
A baby beardie’s diet consists of 80% bugs and 20% greens. An adult’s diet is generally the opposite, 20% bugs and 80% greens.
Feeders: We recommend the use of superworms, feeder roaches (Dubias are recommended), BSFL (Black Soldier Fly Larvae), hornworms, and Repashy. We do NOT recommend the use of mealworms, especially for babies, because they have a tougher exoskeleton, which makes digestion difficult. We also generally frown upon the use of crickets because they have a higher chance of carrying diseases and parasites. Repashy, specifically Beardie Buffet, is a dehydrated diet that has all of the necessary nutrients and supplements that normal feeders have, without the risk of parasites. It has a very long shelf-life, and once mixed, can be frozen and kept for up to 6 months. Gut Loading your feeders is important! Everything the feeders ingest, your dragon will ingest. You can use a gut load mixture, which you can order from reptilesupplyco, beardeddragons.co, or Amazon. Repashy also makes a feeder version of their diet called bug burger. You can use this to gut load as well. Lightly dust your feeders with calcium before feeding to your dragon. Do not dust them too much, as the calcium can inhibit their breathing and kill them. Anything you feed your dragon has to be smaller than the space between their eyes to prevent choking. You can purchase Repashy from Amazon or from beardeddragon.co.
At our facility, we put a bowl of feeders in their cage twice a day, around 11 am and 2 pm, and allow them to eat as much as they’d like for 5-10 minutes, and then remove it. This allows for the dragons to eat as much as they desire, but not allow the feeders to escape, roam the cage, and possibly injure the dragon. You can adjust this schedule to fit your schedule.
Salads: Your dragon should be given a mixture of veggies and fruits every day. Dragons in our facility are fed collard greens, mustard greens, and parsley greens. These are the “staple greens.” Try to stay away from kale and spinach, these bind calcium making it so that your dragon cannot absorb and process it in the way they need to. We “dress” our salads with squash, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and sometimes fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, mangoes, and apples. Stay away from any fruits that contain citric acid. (Oranges, pineapple, lemons, etc) We also spray our salads with a small amount of water or pedialyte to help supplements stick to the greens and to give hydration daily. Pedialyte is sweet and also has electrolytes in it that can help your dragons stay healthy and happy. Here is a link to a list of fruits and veggies you can or cannot feed to your dragon.
Water that is used for drinking or for water on salads needs to be treated with a water conditioner. Repti-Safe is the brand used at our facility.
Supplements: When you feed your dragon, you need to dust your salads and feeders with calcium DAILY. Calcium helps with bone development and prevents development of MBD (metabolic bone disease), which in most cases is irreversible. (See common illnesses and diseases for info on MBD). Twice a week, dust your salads with calcium with D3. We do this on Monday’s and Friday’s, but you can adjust that schedule to fit your needs.
Other kinds of supplements you can put on your dragon’s salads can be found on beardeddragon.co or on Amazon. Here is a basic list and the purpose of the supplement.
Bee Pollen: Packed with vitamins and minerals. Sweet taste that draws your dragon’s attention to the salad. Do not use every day, as it can cause mouth rot. (See common illnesses and diseases for info on mouth rot.)
Probiotic Powder: Packed with microorganisms that normally live in the intestinal tract of your dragon. This helps to promote healthy digestion.
Spirulina Powder: Contains all 9 essential amino acids, anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, Vitamin A1, B1, B2, B6, C, and E.
Multi-Vitamin Powder: Has many vitamins and minerals that help ensure your dragon has the perfect amount of nutrients to help boost their immune system. This is beardeddragon.co specific.
Moringa Powder: Contains protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, Calcium, and Iron. This is a human-grade product, so you can even use it for yourself!
Milk Thistle Seed Powder: Helps to maintain healthy liver function, boosts immune system, and anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.
Psyllium Powder: helps cleanse the intestinal tract and expel parasites after treatment. (See common illnesses and diseases for info on parasites) Also helps with diarrhea, constipation, and impaction.
Keep in mind, your dragon needs an average of 6-8 hours of heat and UVB to be able to fully digest their food.
Common Illnesses, Diseases, and Treatments
Here is a list of common illnesses and diseases, their symptoms, and possible treatment methods. Keep in mind that these are simply suggestions, and NONE of these treatments are to be used in replacement of a veterinarian, and it is up to the owner of the dragon to schedule and take the dragon to a vet visit. If a visit is skipped, and the condition of your dragon worsens, Trilogy Dragons CANNOT be held responsible. If you think your dragon is acting abnormally or showing any abnormal signs, call your veterinarian right away.
Parasites: Parasites can be noticed through many different symptoms. Super runny (diarrhea), terribly smelling, and slight blood spotting in a fecal sample are some of the main symptoms. The only way you can be certain the cause of these symptoms are parasites is by having a fecal examination done by your veterinarian. Suggested treatments include Toltrazuril, Panacur, and Antiprotozoal medications. All of these can be purchased from beardeddragon.co. Waiting to treat parasites can cause lethargy, sickness, and weakened immune systems; leading to different illnesses and possibly death.
Mouth Rot: Mouth rot can be noticed through a variety of symptoms, such as gray or yellow areas in the mouth, dead tissue in and around the mouth, swollen tissues in the mouth, decrease in appetite, and excessive saliva. Untreated mouth rot can lead to the spreading of infection throughout the body and possibly blood poisoning, which can be deadly. Mouth rot can be caused by a weakened immune system, improper diet (too many sweets such as fruits and bee pollen), incorrect cage temperatures and humidity levels, and stress. We suggest the use of Rot Guard and colloidal silver to treat mouth rot, along with using a soft bristle toothbrush to brush away any plaque buildup. Do not hesitate to contact your vet if you think your dragon may have mouth rot, as extensive treatment may be required.
MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease): Metabolic Bone Disease is a condition that is caused by either lack of calcium in the diet of your bearded dragon, or by lacking the ability to absorb the calcium that they ingest. It is a severe and extremely painful disease to your dragon, so do your absolute best to prevent it from forming. To metabolize calcium, your dragon needs vitamin D3 that is naturally created by the sun, artificially created in T5 bulbs, given through calcium containing D3, or given by liquid supplement. A combination of D3 from lights and/or bulbs and calcium with D3 is the recommended way to make sure your dragon has enough D3 in their environment and diet. Liquid supplement D3 is not recommended due to the fact that your dragon can overdose if given too much. D3 from bulbs and from the sun can be absorbed up to a limit, but eventually your dragon will naturally stop absorbing D3 through their skin to prevent overdosing. Supplementing D3 into the diet causes your dragon to be unable to limit metabolization of the D3, causing them to overdose, which can be life-threatening.
MBD is shown in the beginning by walking with their feet turned upside-down, relatively walking on the tops of their feet. They will seem very weak and lay on their bellies instead of holding themselves up like normal. In more severe cases, dragons will have “swimming” limbs when you can visually see that the affected dragon has little to no control over their limbs, and they seem to straighten out and can become paralyzed. “Kinks” in the tail as well as spine are also symptoms, and all 3 symptoms are virtually irreversible. If your dragon begins to show any signs of MBD, call your veterinarian right away to find out what the best course of treatment would be.
Vitamin B Deficiency: Vitamin B is a very important compound that is needed for neurological function in bearded dragons. Without vitamin B, your dragon can begin to “roll” and have stargazing-type symptoms due to the lowered neurological function. Vitamin B can be found in many different dark leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, and in some fresh fruits, such as bananas. Vitamin B supplements can be given to your dragon through syringe feeding with supplements. You can give multiple small doses daily. You do not need to worry about overdosing, as vitamin B is water based, and any excess will exit your dragon’s body through the digestive tract and feces.
Egg Bound: Female dragons can become egg bound for multiple reasons, but the main cause is calcium deficiencies and not having a spot to dig and lay. Making sure that your female is getting enough calcium is significant in making sure they are healthy. Female dragons lay infertile eggs if they are not mated, so no matter what, your female dragon could become egg bound. Symptoms of this are lethargy, unresponsiveness, laying eggs over multiple days, and eggs being laid that seem to be attached. If this goes untreated, the eggs may cause a necrotic mass or may even burst, causing blood poisoning, illness, and even death. Female dragons need a lay bin of repti-soil that is moistened where they can dig a tunnel to lay their eggs. If you believe your female may be egg bound, take her to the vet ASAP.
Respiratory Infection: Bearded dragons have extremely sensitive respiratory systems. Generally, the bacterial infection is caused by high humidity. Regular cleaning and disinfecting along with monitoring the humidity and heat levels can help prevent respiratory infections. Symptoms include but are not limited to: lethargy, excessive black bearding, excess mucus in the mouth and nose, wheezing, “coughing,” mouthbreathing, and lack of appetite. If you suspect a respiratory infection, see a veterinarian. Serrapeptase is an enzyme derived from silkworms that is proven to help ease respiratory infections by battling the mucus and bacteria housed in the lungs. Making a slurry of this mixed with water, reptiboost, repasy, leafy greens, and any bugs and feeding it to your dragon may help ease the infection.
Prolapse: A prolapse of your dragon’s cloaca is shown by a pink bulge coming from their rear end. The main causes are parasites, lack of calcium, egg laying, and diarrhea. If you notice a prolapse, moistening the area is very important. Bag balm, vaseline, and water are the best ways to do this. Mix a warm bath with sugar water, and gently apply pressure to the area to guide the pink tissues back inside of the vent. If you feel as if you cannot accomplish this, take your dragon to the vet immediately. If your dragon is having prolapses often, or the prolapse is out for an extended period of time, make an appointment with your vet to establish care to prevent it from happening again.
Eye Infections: Eye infections are relatively common in bearded dragons. They can be caused by vitamin A deficiencies, incorrect substrate, incorrect heating and lighting, or an obstruction in the eye. Symptoms are excessive closing of the eye, extra moisture in the eye, crust causing the eye to become unable to open, and swelling around the eye. If you notice your bearded dragon is developing an eye infection, try to up the intake of vitamin A. This can be through supplements, carrots, corn, peas, etc. Check to make sure you have the correct heating, lighting, and humidity levels and adjust where necessary. If this doesn’t help to improve the infection, see your veterinarian.
Tail/Toe Rot: Tail and toe rot can be caused by stuck shed, infection, or trauma to the tail. The tissue becomes necrotic and begins to die and rot. Generally, it will turn a very dark color and will be partnered with lethargy. Betadine in a 1:5 ratio with water can help, along with colloidal silver or NON pain relief neosporin. If this doesn’t help to improve the condition of the tail or toe rot, take your dragon to the vet. If the infection progresses too much, your vet may suggest amputation for some or most of the tail or toe/foot.
Impaction: Impaction is caused when there is a blockage in the digestive tract of your dragon. Bugs that are too large or have thick exoskeletons such as mealworms can cause impaction, along with improper temperatures, and incorrect substrates. Symptoms are generally noticed as an inability to pass feces, rear leg tremors or the dragging of the rear legs, lethargy, and a bump along the lower spinal area. Warm baths can help to release impactions, but if this does not work, see a vet ASAP. Impactions that go untreated can cause rear leg paralysis and possible death.
Dehydration: Bearded dragons get most of their hydration through their salads. Although, sometimes this isn’t enough. Once every few weeks, your dragon should be soaked in warm water to release any shed, dirt, and to promote hydration. Bearded dragons cannot see still water, so using a bubbler or “wiggling” your finger in the water to make it move can help them to notice the water and begin to drink. Dehydration can cause stuck shed, lethargy, weight loss, and death.
Stuck Shed: If your dragon is having a hard time shedding, he or she may have a case of stuck shed. If the humidity isn’t high enough or they aren’t getting enough hydration, shed might become harder to release. Never pull shed from your dragons scales, as this can damage them. Warm soaks can help release stuck shed. You can purchase shed eaze from beardeddragon.co, or use a balm called bag balm that can help to rehydrate and release stuck shed. Shed that is stuck in layers can cause toe and tail rot, and the cut off of circulation to limbs or sections of skin. If you cannot get the shed to release, take your dragon to the vet for further guidance and treatment.
Impacted Femoral Pores: Male dragons have pores near their vent on the underside of their backside. These pores release pheromones. Sometimes, they can become clogged from substrate, or from not having an area to rub the pores to clean them out naturally. Basking, NON HEATED, rocks can help with this. If your dragons pores seem clogged, a warm soak in water is suggested. Using bag balm on the area may help to release the blockages. Brushing with a soft bristle toothbrush may help as well. If this doesn’t help, you can gently manipulate the blockages from the pores by applying slight pressure on the outside of the pores. We recommend the usage of bag balm afterwards to promote healing. Buildup of blockages can cause infections, abscess, and illnesses which can lead to death. If your dragon’s pores will not clear out with these remedies, take your dragon to the vet to be evaluated.
If you would like to learn more about ADV (Atadenovirus) in bearded dragons, take a look at this article written by Tracy Saltmarsh of Phantom Dragons. Links to peer reviewed articles and scientific research journals are on the bottom of the article.
Phantom Dragons is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, bearded dragon breeder in the United States. They are extremely reputable and have been teaching and breeding for 30+ years.
Important Items to Keep on Hand
All of these items can be purchased from BeardedDragon.co.
Vitamin B: This is a supplement that can prevent Vitamin B deficiency and help with neurological function in your beardie.
Liquid Calcium: Females that are making eggs or that are gravid need a heightened level of calcium. Having it on hand to give an extra dose is a great way to help prevent calcium deficiency and MBD.
Serrapeptase: This is an enzyme derived from silkworms that can help to clear out the lungs and prevent or assist in ridding respiratory infections.
Colloidal silver: This is a natural antibiotic that can help with wounds and illnesses. It can be applied topically or given orally.
Bag Balm: This is a moisturizing product that can help with a wide range of problems from clogged femoral pores to stuck shed. It has been used by farmers on animals since the late 1800’s so it is extremely reliable.
Baby Spoons: These are great for giving slurry or medications to dragons before attempting to force feed. They allow the dragon to lick the mixtures off of the spoons, or bite them without worry of injury.
Syringes for feeding: These are used for feeding with dragons are having a hard time eating on their own or for administering medications. Attempt to have your dragon lick the liquid from the syringe or put it on their nose to lick it off before force feeding.
Repashy: This is a mixture of bugs and other nutrients and vitamins that are everything your dragon needs for sustenance. It can be made into a gel or a liquid and put on salads or given from a tongs, syringe, or baby spoon. Once you train your dragon to go after it, they absolutely love it and it makes a great treat or addition to daily salads and diets.
Reptiboost: This is great in slurries or fed alone as a paste. It boosts your dragon’s immune system and can help battle minor illnesses. It is also great for gravid and breeding females to get more of the nutrients they need to produce healthy eggs.
Reptaid: This is another great immune system booster for your dragon. This can be found on Amazon. It is great to be given with deworming medications to boost the immune system to help expel the worms and parasites.
Toltrazuril: This is a dewormer that is mostly directed towards coccidia. It’s great to have on hand to do at home dosages if you notice a change in your dragons excrement, but not to be used to replace a vet visit.
Panacur: This is a dewormer that is very wide-range and rids of many different kinds of worms and parasites. It’s great to have on hand to do at home dosages if you notice a change in your dragons excrement, but not to be used to replace a vet visit.
Activated Charcoal: If your dragon ingests something that is poisonous to them, such as a dragonfly or firefly, activated charcoal can reverse the effects of the toxins.
Shed Eaze: If your dragon has stuck shed, shed eaze can help to release it and prevent layers of shed. Combined with a warm soak, it can really help to release the toughest of stuck sheds.