Are you a bearded dragon owner who’s planning a vacation?
Do you know what to do with your reptile buddy?
Do you want to be a responsible owner?
Then it would be best if you had a game plan when you go on a trip and know what to do with a bearded dragon while on vacation.
When you’re going on a vacation, you need to arrange for your bearded dragon to be cared for. This is done through a pet sitter, a boarding program, or take them with you, but sometimes you’re able to leave them at home.
Read on for more details on what to do with your bearded dragon when planning a vacation.
Table of Contents
Finding a good pet sitter is probably the best option for your lizard.
Pets are at their healthiest and happiest when their home and care stay as consistent as possible.
A visiting pet sitter can come to your house and do everything as close as you do as possible.
Some people suggest a pet sitter only needs to come once a week for a baby bearded dragon.
The main reason for this is bearded dragons are hardy reptiles and don’t need to eat or drink a lot anyways.
I would suggest finding one able to visit at least once a day.
This helps your pet get attention and makes you feel better it’s being checked on regularly.
However, the downside to pet sitters is they tend to be pricey (unless you convince friends or family to help out).
This higher price may mean you’re unable to afford the pet sitter coming every day.
Balance what you’re willing to pay and how much you need the sitter to come.
Make sure to leave the pet sitter detailed instructions on handling, what to feed, and how to manage the bearded dragon tank.
For help in making this list, write down everything you do for a few days to care for your bearded dragon and break your list down into an easy-to-read format.
Even better than a list, have the sitter come to your house once or twice before you leave and show them the ropes and everything they need to know.
To find a good pet sitter, you have a few different options to look for.
Find Pet Sitters From Your Veterinarian
Your bearded dragon’s vet is likely to know of people or professional sitters capable of handling an exotic pet.
Going through the vet is my recommended choice because you get someone local the vet trusts.
Find Pet Sitters From Your Local Pet Store
Make sure the store deals with reptiles like the central bearded dragon.
They may have a list on file of people who provide this service.
Often, the store managers and employees know these people and can vouch for them.
They may also have advice on how to develop a list for the sitters’ instructions.
Pet Sitters On Care.com
If none of these options work for you, check out this website.
Look for someone who is certified or rated highly by others who have used them for this service.
There are also boarding programs available for those who don’t feel comfortable having someone come into your home.
Boarding facilities are also usually a little cheaper than a paid pet sitter.
Not every boarding facility will handle a pet reptile, so make sure you check before planning on them.
Ask your vet for any suggestions they have.
Often these facilities provide the following daily services:
- Daily feedings
- Other special needs
You most likely need to bring your bearded dragon habitat and terrarium.
You’ll also need to do your part to ensure your baby beardies have their basking spot, heat lamp, and vivarium adequately set up before leaving them.
Even if a boarding program has experience with reptiles, they may not keep the materials on hand.
A phone call is all it takes to find out what a boarding program can do and its costs.
Some facilities will board a reptile even if they haven’t before.
In this case, be as specific with your instructions as possible.
Most places require it, but make sure you give them the name and number of your bearded dragon’s vet.
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Taking The Bearded Dragon With You
In some cases, where possible, it may be cheaper and easier for you to bring your bearded dragon with you.
This is usually only a good idea if you’re traveling by car and have enough space for the bearded dragon enclosure.
Reptiles have a more challenging time during air flight because they’re unable to regulate the temperature.
Also, if your vacation includes a place inside with electricity, you may consider bringing your pet.
But if you’re outdoors without a place to plug in your UV lamp and keep the animal warm, you may be putting your bearded dragon in danger.
Make sure when you bring your dragon in the car, you keep the cage nice and warm.
90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C) is the standard ambient temperature for the enclosure.
Most cars don’t naturally rest at this temperature.
Note: If you decide to bring your bearded dragon with you, keep in mind you have to bring the enclosure and all of the food and supplies you need to care for your pet.
We have a post on traveling with bearded dragons to guide you on your journey and keep your pet safe while doing so.
When To Let Your Bearded Dragon Stay Home Through Vacation
There are some cases when you go on a vacation where it may be OK to leave your bearded dragon alone at home.
Obviously, in an ideal world, someone would still come to check on them, but if you’re unable to afford it, here’s when it may be OK to leave it alone.
If your trip is short, as in 1-3 days, you will probably get away with leaving your pet be.
Bearded dragons are hardy creatures.
In the wild, they can survive for more extended periods without food or drink.
Keep in mind when these reptiles are kept in captivity, they lose some of their resilience.
But they can still last some time.
To help this be possible, start with feeding the right kind of food and herbs (see the section below for general good vacation foods).
Bearded dragons don’t typically defecate too often (this is especially true if you follow the suggestions for vacation food below).
Unless you’re gone for more than a week, you probably don’t need someone to clean the tank.
If you are gone longer, you should get a pet sitter or board the reptile.
For water, you don’t need to worry.
Leave the normal amount and food, and your dragon should be OK for a while.
They are used to dry climates and don’t need much water to survive.
They mostly get their water from their food in the wild.
For lights, you need to have a lamp with a timed on and off switch.
This way, the bearded dragon can go through its natural day and night cycles in response to the change in temperature.
Warning! Make sure someone you know in the area is available to help in case of a power outage.
Some people suggest forcing your bearded dragon to brumate (sort of like hibernation) by leaving the lamp off the whole time.
This is certainly possible and is an option.
By keeping it cool, you force the reptile’s body into a conservation mode it naturally goes into when it’s rainy and cool.
Be aware! Though this is a natural process, it doesn’t frequently happen in the wild.
In nature, it happens once a year.
Doing this often can harm your animal.
Many people don’t suggest this method because you attempt to manipulate the natural cycle of the bearded dragon.
If you’re considering this, check with a vet first.
Things To Prepare For Your Bearded Dragon
Whichever option you go with, make sure you’re well-prepared for the trip with some of the following supplies:
- Food for the time you’re gone
- UVA lamp
- Spare light bulbs
- Misting water bottle
- Contacts to your vet
- Instructions on how to care for the pet lizard (if applicable)
Vacation Foods For Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are omnivores.
This means they need meat and greens to survive.
In the wild, it’s a balanced diet, but in captivity, they tend to eat a more meat-based diet.
This is higher in fats and can create greater dependency on more proteins.
Normally, it would be best if you mixed it up.
Keep it around 50-50.
For vacations, you may want to opt for a diet more focused on greens instead of feeder insects.
A green-based diet keeps them satisfied longer, it contains more water, the food stays good longer, and it helps them defecate less.
Here are some suggested greens:
- Bolivian jew
- Maple leaves
- Grape leaves
- Hazel leaves
- Shepherd’s purse
- Evening primrose
Check out our bearded dragon diet sheet for more details and options for your pet.
We hope you enjoyed learning about what to do with a bearded dragon while on vacation.
There are many options to choose from and steps to take, so don’t be afraid! Just be a responsible pet owner.