Why Is My Bearded Dragon Breathing Heavy?

Bearded Dragon Breathing Heavy

It is normal for the bearded dragon to have some heavy breaths, just like other characteristic behaviors like hissing, darkened body, or puffing his head. Sometimes the fact that your beardie has to breathe heavily may not only be because of some common reasons but also a sign that your beardie is having some problems with his health. So, you must pay attention to your pet. In this article, we will explain and figure the solutions to your question: “Why is my bearded dragon breathing heavy?”


Reason Why Is My Bearded Dragon Breathing Heavy?

1. Your beardie Is Having A Digestive Process.

If you see your beardie breathing heavily after eating, this may not be something that you should be worried about.

Due to a different digestive system from humans, the heat has a more vital role than acid and bacteria in how the lizard consumes nutrition.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong if your pet has a heavy gasp while eating.

And you should not be bothered about it too much.

All you need to do is giving your pet the time to bask and digest his food.

It is also normal for your beardie to stop eating while having the meals to inhale and exhale heavily, then continue to eat again.

Sometimes, the reason why your beardies are having heavy breaths is that you have let them eat something too big.

It is important about the size of the food that has been given to your pet.

Particularly, you should certain to keep food smaller than the gap between the eyes.


2. Your pet Is Being Stressed By The Chances.

The abnormal changes in the environment are the most common reasons that make the reptiles stressed.

Even, it causes them to have some significant aggressive behaviors like gasping heavily.

Below are some suggestions about what could bring stress to your pet.

  • The Relocation.

It is totally reasonable for your pet to put on the guard and breathe slowly when you suddenly move your beardie into different places.

Even you move him out of his usual habitat to clean up the tanks.

Your baby beardie breathing heavily maybe because he may need time to be familiar with the new things and new places to not feel threatened anymore.

  • The Strange Movements Outside The Enclosure.

Breathing heavily may not only be a sign that your pet becomes wary but also show that he is feeling the threats about something unusual outside the tanks.

For example, the loud sound of children playing, the traffics which could be heard from the window, or the noise of your television could make your beardie scared.

Even the unexpected changes of the light and shadow could also be the reason for the sudden heavy gasp of your pet.

You could think about putting more plants and hides in your beardie’s habitat, which not only helps to cover the view around his tank but also give more place to hide when your pet is in danger.

  • Seeing Other Animals.

It is nothing unnatural and to be worried for your baby lizard to inhale and exhale cautiously because of the appearance of your other pet such as cats, dogs, or birds in his territory.

Your beardie will feel threatened and be aggressive toward the “unwanted guests” when catching the sight of the “invader” in his habitat. And he could be stressed due to that.

If you could not stop your beardie from breathing heavily with his mouth open and make your pets to stay happily in the room together, you should not push them to do that.

  • Seeing Other Bearded Dragons.

In the case that you accidentally let the beardies confront each other, you have put your lizards in a fierce war. Certainly, that only brings the worse.

The heavy gasps would be the first sign to show the belligerent, unwelcome.

Then they will come along with other aggressive actions like hissing, blackening the beards, and puffing their heads to point that they are ready for the fight to gain domination and territory.

However, you should not try to have more than one of your beardies stay together in the same tanks or the same room where they could see each other.

Because this would keep your pets staying in a state that they always feel threatened, uneasy, and insecure.

This makes your bearded dragon breathing heavy and would have some bad effects on the health.

3. Being Discomfort In His Tanks.

If there is nothing that could upset and make your pet feel uncomfortable, the reasons that make your beardie have heavy breaths are the improper things in his enclosure.

  • The Unsuitable Temperature In The Tank.

The beardies, just like the other lizards, always have their own ways to control the heat inside their bodies.

Darkening the body is how they use the heat to warm them up.

You can notice bearded dragons breathing heavy with mouth open to cool down.

In order to make sure that the condition in the tank is good enough for your pet, you could consider preparing the thermometer to keep the temperature in check as the humidifier makes sure the humidity is just right, and more UV lights will provide more heat and brighten the enclosure.

4. Your bearded dragon Is Shedding.

In case of your beardie breathing heavily while shedding, and your pet is still eating, dring, and pooping just like usual, there may not be anything for you to worry about too much.

All you need to do is checking to make sure that your beardie does not have his nose being plugged by the old shed.

There is advice that you should give your pet a warm bathtub.

Because this helps him get some of the old skin peeling off.

Read more: Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Turned White And Died

5. Bearded Dragon Breathing Heavy In Sleep.

If you are the newbie, you would be super anxious when seeing your pet have a heavy breath, inhale slowly.

And you could not make sure if your beardie still stays alive or not.

However, it is a normal thing for your beardie to draw a heavy breath while being asleep so you do not have to worry.

When sleeping, the lizards like beardies may slow down their metabolic and respiratory rate.

That could cause a slow and heavy breath of your beardies, which makes it hard to say if they are dying or not and make a false alarm to you.

6. After Having A Bath.

It could be normal when you catch your beardie breathing heavily in the bath as a reaction to the change in pressure of the water in the tub or just because he does not like to have a bath.

There would not be any problems to bother if your pet still looks fine, even happy, and is not getting his head in the water.

However, when your pet is having other actions like hissing, blackening while breathing heavily.

This may be because he truly does not like to be bathed.

And you should not force him to do what he does not want.

You should also consider the possibility that your beardie may inhale the water in the bathtub unintentionally and have the water in his nostrils.

In this case, your pet could have a respiratory infection due to the lack of the diaphragm to throw up the water out effectively after aspirating the liquid.

It could also occur after your beardie drinks too much water.

If this incident happens, you should let your beardie sleep at a slight decline position to draw the water that may still remain in his lungs out.

7. Your Pet Is Having A Respiratory Infection.

Heavy breathing may not be the only sign of a respiratory infection.

If your beardie is gasping heavily and having other symptoms to show that your pet does not feel well such as coughing noises, gaping like it is choking, lacking appetite, and so on, you need to take your sick lizard to the reptiles’ vet as soon as possible.

In order to, the vet can diagnose and treat the infection of your beardie carefully.

If your pet has to use the medicine to treat the illness, you should feed him before letting your beardie have the pills.

Commonly Questions About: “Why Is My Bearded Dragon Breathing Heavy?”

1. What makes my beardie gaspe?

It is normal for the lizard to have a heavy breath for some reasons such as eating, temperature regulation, shedding, having a bath, or being stressed.

But it is also one of the remarkable signs to point out that your pet is having problems with respiratory disease.

To be careful, you should take your beardie to the lizard’s vet and ask for more advice.

2. Why my beardie is breathing heavily while being handled?

Because of the need for “the lonely time” and the hiding places that the lizard can relax and be alone, your beardie could be stressed and tired in case of the lack of his private time and space.

Another reason is that you spend too much time handling him and impacting his own route.

It could also happen when you hold him improperly and make your pet feel uncomfortable.

For example, you hold him too tight, hurt him by using more force or grab him from the wrong angels.

You just need to give him more space, and when you want to come near him, remember to be gentle.

3. Should the bearded dragon get a bath?

Almost all the beardies would love to have a nice, warm bath. But you should know the process to go on step by step in order to bathe your little pet properly.

Especially, you need to set up the temperature and the depth of the water for your pet.

This makes sure your pet does not have to worry about drowning and being cold when you bathe him.

Source: Reddit

4. How to bathe my beardie?

First, you should make sure that the level of water is just as high as the knees of your pet’s limbs.

And, you always pay attention to your beardie when put in the water.

The ideal temperature of the water in the “tub” is between 85 to 92 degrees F.

That makes it feel warm instead of being scalded or discomfort while bathing.

You should use dechlorinated water and never put any soaps or detergents in a bath.

Because your pet may drink the bathwater include other substances in it.

In addition, you can gently splash water on your beardie with a paper cup pour the water up and down easily.

But you should remember to not pouring water around its eyes and nose.

Your beardie should be soaked in the water for about 15 to 20 minutes to help clean the skin and to peel off some shed.

Read more:

5. What should do in the case that my beardie hates to have a bath?

There are so many beardies that like to have a warm bathtub.

But not all of them would like that idea.

Some of them may be terrified when being put in the bathroom.

Even he keeps showing some unwelcome signs like a dark beard, having a heavy gasp, and hissing out of fear.

For some of the first times, you could try to make your pet have a good soak in the bath at a comfortable temperature.

Besides, you should ensure that the water is not too deep for your beardie to get drowning.

When he becomes familiar with the bathing process, you could give your pet a warm bath frequently with nothing to worry about.

However, if your beardie still does not like the idea of getting a bath, and being stressed about that, it is pointless for you to force your pet.


Through this article, we hope you have achieved all the information that you need to find out the reasons and do not be confused whenever you see your bearded dragon breathing heavy. Thank you for reading and wish the best for you and your lovely lizard!

Further Reading:

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