While bearded dragons are becoming more and more popular as household pets, they aren’t always the only pet kept in the home. It’s important to know whether or not your bearded dragon will get along with your other pets, and the most common family pets are cats and dogs.
So, do bearded dragons get along with cats and dogs? Yes, bearded dragons can get along quite well with other household pets such as cats and dogs. They are usually quite placid and often show signs of affection towards both humans and other animals.
As with any animal, there are always chances that bearded dragons can feel threatened and react accordingly, but pet beardies are not known for being aggressive creatures.
Bearded Dragons, Cats, and Dogs – Oh my!
If you’re wondering if your new bearded dragon will get along with the cats or dogs already in your home, the odds are that it will. However, you will need to introduce your pets to each other and monitor them closely while they are getting to know each other, as with the introduction of any new animal to your home.
There are three important steps to follow when introducing your bearded dragon to your cats and dogs.
- Take it slow.
- Never leave your pets unsupervised together.
- Always watch for signs of aggression.
You want to take it slow when introducing your bearded dragon to other pets. Make sure to hold the bearded dragon tightly and allow your cat or dog to sniff it and get used to it. Remember your dragon is completely new and foreign to your cat and dog, so you want to let them get used to the dragon their own way.
Don’t leave the dragon out with your cat or dog unsupervised. Anything can happen that can lead to one of your pets feeling threatened and reacting accordingly. Even if your pets seem to be accustomed to each other, they are animals first. Instinct will take over in an instant if they feel threatened.
Make sure to always watch for signs of aggression when your animals are interacting with one another. If there are signs of aggression, then you can quickly separate your animals, so nothing happens.
For the most part, you will have to worry more about whether or not your cat or dog is an issue for your bearded dragon rather than the other way around.
Charles and Baby – The Unlikely Friendship
In 2016, The Telegraph published an article titled “Cat and Bearded Dragon Have Strange but Adorable Friendship.” In the article, the friendship between Charles, a bearded dragon, and Baby, a cat, is chronicled in both words and pictures, showing how the reptile and mammal became the best of friends.
Cheyenne March was worried that her beardie and beloved cat would not get along, but she was pleasantly surprised. She was able to capture their adorable friendship in pictures, showing Charles and Baby cuddling together, looking out the window at birds together, and playing with toys.
The article describes how the two animals are inseparable. They even like to take walks together! The pair loves to stare down the postman and then cuddle up together for a nap.
This wonderful pet friendship is truly a great indication of just how bearded dragons can get along with your other pets! You don’t have to look far to find lots of other fantastic examples of bearded dragons getting along great with cats and dogs…
Can Bearded Dragons be Harmful to Other Pets?
On the whole, Bearded dragons will not really pose much threat to your other household pets. Nevertheless, bearded dragons can house parasites and salmonella bacteria that can be transferred to cats and dogs; however, the risk of these being passed is quite low, particularly if your pets are healthy and properly cared for.
All animals run the risk of carrying disease and passing it to one another. Proper care is the key to prevention.
Signs of Salmonella
Most people know of salmonella as a foodborne illness, but it is not only transferred through food. It can live on the skin of many reptiles, like bearded dragons.
Some signs of salmonella infection include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of appetite
Symptoms will usually last up to a week, but they can become severe or last even longer if it is untreated. If you think that one of your pets is suffering from salmonella, bring them to the vet immediately to make sure that it is treated properly.
Signs of Parasites
To prevent parasites in your bearded dragon, you should bring them to a reptile veterinarian for a yearly fecal examination. Symptoms of parasites in your dragon are diarrhea and weight loss.
Additionally, your dragon could carry mites or ticks on its skin that could transfer to cats and dogs. The best way to prevent parasitic infection in all of your animals is regular veterinary visits.
The Risk of Biting with Dragons, Cats, and Dogs
One issue that may arise when you have your pets all together are bites. Even when animals are playing with one another, they can bite and break the skin of the other animal. Bites from bearded dragons, cats, and dogs all introduce different risks.
Bearded Dragon Bites
While bearded dragon bites are not as dangerous as some of its relatives, they do release a mild venom when they bite that is closely related to rattlesnake venom. However, the bites are not nearly as harmful as a rattlesnake’s bites and are usually nothing to worry about.
On a human, if the bite is severe enough it may cause swelling and could draw blood, but the effects don’t last long, and there are usually no serious side effects to worry about. So, if your cat or dog is bitten by your bearded dragon, you can simply treat the bite at home. The chances are that their fur will protect them from most of the damage anyway!
Cat bites can leave deep cuts in the skin because of their sharp canine teeth. The bites may bleed a little, but they usually stop bleeding fairly quickly. However, the cuts can often trap bacteria from the cat’s mouth when they seal.
One of the most problematic issues that result from a cat bite is cellulitis. This can be serious for both humans and pets, so make sure to clean any cat bite as thoroughly as possible. You may want to bring your pet to a veterinarian to be checked out to make sure that there is no infection.
Dog bites are very similar to cat bites in that they cut deep into the skin and will superficially close and trap bacteria into the cut. However, dog bites can puncture further into the skin than cat bites and may cause nerve damage, as well. If your beardie is bitten by a dog, it is important to bring it to a veterinarian immediately.
There are diseases that can be transferred through dog bites like rabies, Capnocytophaga bacteria, Pasteurella, MRSA, and tetanus. While these diseases are unlikely if the dog is properly cared for, it’s important to see a medical professional.
Find a Pet-Friendly Bearded Dragon
For the best chance of success in your bearded dragon getting along with your cats and dogs, it’s important to know how your pet has been bred and tamed.
A couple of pointers when buying a pet-friendly bearded dragon:
- Choose a baby dragon. When you are introducing a bearded dragon to other pets, they are more likely to get along with them if they are introduced to them as a baby. (The same goes for your cat or dog, they are more likely to learn to get along with your dragon if introduced while young)
- Find a reputable breeder. Make sure that you purchase your bearded dragon from a breeder that treats its beardies right. An abused bearded dragon may react aggressively to your other pets.
Some things to avoid when you are buying a bearded dragon include:
- International transactions. Shipping a bearded dragon is tricky, and they can be harmed during the shipping process. Buying from an international seller is not recommended because the dragon can be compromised in transit.
- High-risk payment methods. Don’t pay with Western Union or MoneyGram services, gift cards, or in any way that requires you to give your bank account information. These methods of payments don’t allow for refunds in case something happens during the buying process.
- Blind buying. Always buy in person unless you know for a fact that you are working with an established and legitimate breeder. Look into the person you are buying for to make sure they are part of an actual business.
When to Keep Your Pets Separated
Because pets are animals at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how tame they normally act, there are certain instances that cause their animal instincts to take over. One time that you should keep your pets separated is when they are in heat or in the middle of their mating season.
Male aggression is at its peak during an animal’s mating season. So, if you are breeding your bearded dragons, you will definitely want to keep them away from your other animals until the mating time period is over. Additionally, cats and dogs that are in heat will often act more aggressively toward other animals as well.
Bearded Dragon – Biological and Emotional Warning Signs
Bearded dragons tend to behave differently in the wild than they do when they are bred in captivity, but biology is strong and can surface at any time. There are some actions that bearded dragons perform to communicate with their owners.
The following actions can warn you of times that your bearded dragon may not be in the right mood to associate with other animals.
- The Wave – Young bearded dragons will wave one of their arms when they feel scared or threatened.
- The Head Bob – The head bob is a way that a bearded dragon shows that it is dominant. Often, an older dragon will head bob to a young dragon that is doing a wave.
- The Beard Puff – Dragons use their beard to do many things – to react to threats, to show they are not feeling well, or to display dominance during mating season. Typically, the beard is puffed out, and it’s color darkens. The color tends to get darker the more threatened the beardie is.
- Color Changes – Color changes do not only affect the beard of a dragon. The entire body of the dragon can undergo color changes in the event of stress, illness, or other strong emotions. For instance, when threatened, beardies are known to turn black.
- Glass Surfing – Beardies will do something called “glass surfing” where they run back and forth in front of the glass of their enclosure. Lots of owners may believe this means their dragon is playing, but it usually means that the dragon needs a larger enclosure, more playtime outside of its enclosure, or that it may be stressed by other factors like another animal staring through its enclosure at them!
- Digging – When a female bearded dragon starts digging, it means she is looking to lay a clutch of eggs. If you notice your beardie digging, make sure to put proper substrate for her to dig, give her enough calcium, and monitor her eating and activity levels.
- Brumation – Brumation is a form of hibernation that bearded dragons go through in the wild. If you notice your reptile isn’t eating or moving like it normally is, it could be trying to brumate. Make sure to have it checked by a veterinarian to rule out sickness.
Bearded dragons can get along with cats and dogs very well. All it takes is a little bit of patience and the slow introduction of the animals to one another. There is always a period of adjustment when bringing animals into the home, but there is no reason why your family and pets cannot all coexist peacefully!