The Poop Story! Is my Bearded Dragon's Poop Normal??
The Poop Story
When you own a Bearded Dragon, the subject of poop is one that seems to come up with quite some frequency. Everything seems to resolve around it and for good reason! Is it too smelly? Is it too mushy? What is the perfect poo supposed to look like? Healthy dragons have healthy looking poop, and since one of the things they do most frequently is eat, the next most frequent thing they do is poop. Here we will go over healthy poop, non healthy poop, and what you should do about it.
So, what is a healthy poop supposed to look like anyways?
Ok, so first off, what should it look like anyways? Your Beardie's poo should be well formed and have a soft but firm consistency. The texture will vary depending on what was eaten, but usually it has a dark green color with some grain to it. Insects will make it darker and firmer, being more dense with a rough texture. Butternut squash, carrots or other bright vegetables will add some color to it and make it moist, the same as it went in. Certain processed foods, such as Nature Zone Bearded Dragon Bites will make it a bright neon green. The amount or size is very directly related to how much was ingested and it can be relatively large in comparison to your dragon! Remember, if your dragon is not eating with any frequency, then there will be less to expell.
Why is part of it white?
The white part is the urate. Bearded Dragon's bodies have evolved to use water much more efficiently than ours so instead of urinating, they excrete the solid waste and retain the fluid. Urates can be very firm to very runny, typically this depends on the length of time since they last went. The longer it's been, the bigger and harder the urate can be. Urates can also be pinkish in color or partly hard and partly soft. Very hard and chalky urates that are difficult to pass are not a good thing. This typically means that your dragon is not well hydrated or that it has too much calcium in the diet. A urate plug can cause a partial or full blockage for your beardie, so it is important to pay attention to it's bathroom habits to ensure everything is being expelled easily.
So what if it has a lot of liquid around it?
Sometimes your beardie's poop may be accompanied by a body of liquid. If the puddle is mostly clear looking and the rest of the poop looks normal then have no fear! You have a perfectly hydrated dragon that is just expelling the extra liquid that he does not need.
What if it has no form? What if it smells?
Down to the dirty. If your dragons poop looks like a pile of mush, if it smells horrid (now lets be honest, dragon poop smells terrible anyways, however anything stronger than usual), then it's time for a check up at the vet. Loose stool can be a sign of intestinal parasites such as pinworms or coccidia which cause physical damage to the intestinal cells. Do not put off having a fecal check by your vet. The longer you wait, the more damage you could be doing. Dragons don't act different in the early stages of parasite infections, typically the lethargy will come after some time. If caught early enough, then medicating your beardie will be easier and a lot less harsh on their systems.
How often should my Dragon poo?
How often a dragon poops very much depends on how often it eats, how much it eats and how long it basks. It also depends on the dragon's metabolism. All dragon will develop a pattern, some going as often as one to three times per day, while others will only go every two to three days.
My Dragon has parasites! What do I do?
So, you've taken your animal to the vet, and it does it fact turn out to have parasites. No fear! These are common in the Bearded Dragon world and are fairly easy to treat with some patience, persistance and a little OCD. Here are some items we recommend to help your baby overcome those pesky little buggars and get back to having healthy poos soon! Click on the links!
Generic Panacur - For treatment of Gastrointestinal Parasites
Toltrazuril - For treatment of Coccidia
Probiotic Powder - You'll want to replace all that good bacteria that medications can kill off while getting rid of the bad stuff!
1cc Oral Syringes - It's typically better to avoid recontamination by using a fresh syringe for each dose of medication.
Disinfectant - You need to disinfect your entire cage daily to ensure that you kill off all parasites and don't re-infect. Be sure to follow the instructions!