“Why won’t my bearded dragon drink?”

This is a common question – and for good reason! Dehydration can contribute to serious health conditions, including gout.

So when our beloved beardies refuse to take a sip, of course we’d be concerned!

In this article, we’ll discuss why bearded dragons may refuse to drink and how to hydrate your bearded dragon. So if you’ve been wondering, “Why won’t my bearded dragon drink?” then read on!

How Bearded Dragons Stay Hydrated

When discussing bearded dragon hydration, it’s important to understand their natural habitat.

Bearded dragons come from the desert of Australia. They are adapted to very dry, hot conditions. They don’t need as much water as other popular pets.

Most of the water wild bearded dragons need comes from the food they eat. Wild beardies also get occasional water from rainfall by licking the drops of water off of their noses. But drinking from a pool of water just doesn’t come naturally to them.

Even in captivity, many bearded dragons don’t like drinking water on its own. This is why a healthy diet of fresh leafy greens and live insects is so important for their health.

Unfortunately, sometimes their food doesn’t provide enough water to stay properly hydrated.

Or maybe you just got a rescue who hasn’t been cared for well.

In that case, you’ll need to take some extra steps to rehydrate your beardie. Let’s talk about how to help a dehydrated bearded dragon.

Signs of Dehydration in Bearded Dragons

Before we talk about how to hydrate your bearded dragon, let’s look at common signs of dehydration.

  • Sunken eyes. This is an easy one to look for. Just note, if they have sunken eyes without any other signs of dehydration, it could be a different health concern. In that case, seek the opinion of your vet.
  • Sticky Saliva. Thick, sticky saliva that forms strands when your bearded dragon opens its mouth is a clear sign of dehydration.
  • White poop. A bearded dragon’s poop can tell you a lot about their health. White urate is normal. But if the entire poop is white or more solid than usual, it could indicate dehydration. MoreReptiles.com has a great article that explains what various poop color and consistencies mean for your beardie’s health.

The pinch test is another easy way to determine if your bearded dragon is dehydrated. Gently pinch a small area of skin on their torso. The longer it takes to “bounce back”, the less hydrated they are.

How to Hydrate Your Bearded Dragon

“If it’s dehydrated, then why won’t my bearded dragon drink water?”

This is a good question. Remember, in the wild bearded dragons often don’t have access to pools of water. And they aren’t born knowing how to drink from a water dish.

drops of water on red lettuce leaves
Spray water on your bearded dragon’s salad to boost hydration.

But don’t worry! There are several ways to keep your bearded dragon hydrated:

  1. Mist their salad. You can mist your beardie’s salads with water before feeding. This adds a little bit of extra water to their diet.
  2.  Feed high moisture bugs. Insects like hornworms and silkworms have moisture levels of 80-90%. Just don’t feed them too often, or it could lead to over hydration. Staple feeders like dubia roaches, crickets, and BSFL have an average moisture level of 60-77%. This is a good percentage for regular feedings.
  3. Drip water on their nose. Dripping water on your beardie’s nose mimics rainfall. They often enjoy licking the droplets off.
  4. Mist your dragon. Some reptile groups and veterinarians recommend misting your bearded dragon to help with hydration. However, too much moisture in the air can cause respiratory illness. If you are a first-time dragon owner, we recommend talking with your vet before spraying water on your dragon or in their enclosure.
  5. Give your beardie a bath. We do not recommend bathing your dragon often. They’re from the desert, after all! But if they are severely dehydrated, placing them in a shallow bath may encourage them to take a drink.

A Note on Over Hydration

Sometimes, we ask “why won’t my bearded dragon drink?” but dehydration isn’t the problem. It is possible for a bearded dragon to be over hydrated just from their food – especially if they’ve been eating a lot of veggies!

Over hydration is not considered as dangerous as dehydration, but it does come with its own set of health complications.

If this is a topic you’d like us to talk more about, let us know in the comments!

A Hydrated Dragon Starts with a Healthy Diet

5/8 to 3/4 inch dubia roaches compared in size to a quarter.

Feeding a healthy diet of greens and live insects is the best way to keep your beardie hydrated. Take a look at our selection of dubia roaches – perfect as your everyday feeder insect!