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Why Is My Bearded Dragon Breathing Heavy?

Although keeping reptiles is not as popular as keeping some of the other popular types of pets, more and more people are starting to add reptiles to their homes with more and more people opting for the ever-popular bearded dragon.

With the bearded dragon being such a popular reptile to keep as a pet, we have noticed a steady increase in the number of questions being asked from the community about keeping a pet bearded dragon.

One question that we do see people asking about is why their bearded dragon is breathing heavy and this can actually be due to a number of serious issues so we wanted to publish our own article on the topic.

To try and help as many of our readers as possible who have noticed that their pet bearded dragon is breathing heavy, wheezing while breathing or has any other type of labored breathing.

There are a number of things that can be causing these breathing issues in your beared dragon with the most common one being a respiratory infection that can be potentially fatal.

We would highly recommend that you book a video call with a veterinarian to have them assess your pet beared dragon as soon as possible. The majority of the time your bearded dragon can and will make a full recovery provided it gets the treatment that it requires as soon as possible.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Breathing Heavy?

The most common cause of heavy breathing in bearded dragons is a respiratory infection that can end up being a serious problem.

Some of the less common causes of heavy breathing in your bearded dragon can also be serious so we usually recommend that you seek advice from a vet as soon as you notice any problems with breathing in your pet bearded dragon.

Although a trip to your local vet’s surgery can be expensive, a video call with a veterinarian can work out to be much cheaper while offering the exact same advice to you from a fully qualified vet.

This can help narrow down exactly what is wrong with your bearded dragon and why it is having trouble breathing normally helping you better identify the correct treatment path moving forward to help ensure that your bearded dragon is able to make a full recovery.

Other issues can include problems with parasites and fungi but these are rare, problems with dehydration or the temperature in the vivarium being too high or tool low can also cause heavy breathing in bearded dragons.

Obstructions such as food being lodged in the throat of your bearded dragon is surprisingly common too but you should never try to remove it yourself.

In some situations, tumors on the lungs of your bearded dragon can also be a reason your bearded dragon will breathe heavily but this is thankfully very rare and one of the least common causes.

What Are Signs of Respiratory Infection In Bearded Dragons?

The most common sign of a respiratory infection in a bearded dragon is heavy or labored breathing that can often include wheezing when inhaling.

Depending on the severity of the infection, your bearded dragon can also be lethargic and not have its normal appetite for food and will sometimes refuse to drink too.

Less common signs of a respiratory infection in bearded dragons that are not always displayed include very shallow weak breathing, rapid breathing, and panicked behavior.

A strange one that people often confused with your bearded dragon simply basking is your bearded dragon remaining still with its mouth wide open and not focusing on anything other than breathing for an extended period of time.

This is probably the most commonly overlooked symptom of a respiratory infection in a bearded dragon as it can easily be confused with other natural behaviors of bearded dragons.

If you listen carefully though, you can often hear your pet bearded dragon wheezing when it inhales while its mouth is wide open with this being a tell-tale sign that the bearded dragon’s behavior is due to a respiratory infection.

How Do You Treat A Bearded Dragons Respiratory Infection?

Depending on the type of respiratory infection that your bearded dragon is suffering from, there may be little to nothing that you are actually able to do to help your bearded dragon but most bearded dragons tend to recover from these infections.

In other cases, some medication from a veterinarian can be effective and may even be essential for other types of respiratory infections in your bearded dragon.

The vast majority of our readers will not have the experience and knowledge required to be able to work out if their bearded dragon is able to recover without medication or not though so this is why we recommend that you get a veterinarian involved as soon as you notice the breathing problems in your bearded dragon.

It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to get yours though so a quick and easy check-up with a vet is often recommended and then take their advice for moving forward.

If your bearded dragon’s respiratory infection is due to dehydration or heath problems in its vivarium then you are usually able to easily correct the issue quickly to help your bearded dragon make a full recovery quickly.

The problem with this is that you should still have a veterinarian go over your bearded dragon to confirm that the problems with its breathing being due to this rather than a full-blown respiratory infection.


That concludes our article going over what to do if your pet bearded dragon has heavy breathing to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand why your pet bearded dragon may be having problems with its breathing as well as how this is a serious issue and should usually result in you getting advice from a veterinarian as soon as possible. As we covered though, there are a number of potential causes of breathing problems in bearded dragons with each requiring their own treatments but you do still usually need a veterinarian to diagnose the cause of the problem so you are able to move forward with the correct treatment.