It’s only natural to be curious about your beloved pet’s sneaky business. Sometimes, the question springs out of the blue and catches us unaware, and you realize that perhaps you’ve never seen your beardie pee. If they do, how come you haven’t noticed?
Every animal must excrete urea in one way or the other to remain healthy. Since bearded dragons are native to the scorching dry environment of the Australian deserts, they happen to develop a little differently than humans in specific. Everything from their metabolism to their excretion is unique. So, do beardies even pee?
Bearded dragons pee in a totally unusual way from what we generally understand peeing to be. For beardies, their pee is called urate and is majorly passed out with the poop! They do not pee fluid as we do, and this is because of how their system functions. Since they circulate little amounts of water in their bodies, beardies must pee less to remain hydrated.
In this article, we’ll be discussing everything concerning your bearded dragon’s pee, how they pee, and when exactly you should be worried. Let’s get into it!
What Really Is a Bearded Dragon’s Pee – Urate Or Urine?
As I mentioned earlier, beardies do not pass urine but urate. Now, you may be wondering what the difference is; urate is basically a crystalized form of urine. While humans excrete uric waste in liquid form, bearded dragons excrete a crystalline equivalent of the composition, and they excrete it mostly attached to the poop. There are a few times when the urate is passed on its own, and that’s okay. Sometimes, food takes slower to digest and your beardie might just need to pee.
If you were to develop urate, it would cause serious kidney or urinary tract infections as a result. Have you ever heard the term “kidney stones”? That’s what happens when your urine forms little crystals in the kidney, in this case, called urate. Since beardies require very minimal amounts of water to survive, they evolved to solidify urine ensuring that a safe level of hydration is maintained. So, more or less, bearded dragons do pass urine.
What Is Your Beardie’s Urate Telling You?
Examining and comparing your bearded dragon’s appearance is a great way to ensure it’s healthy and safe. If you suspect that your beardie is suffering, you can easily check out how vibrant its skin is, how responsive its eyes are, the general body structure, and how active it is to give a first-aid analysis to either debunk or approve your suspicion. However, one major sign you simply couldn’t miss is the appearance of the urate.
The urate is one of the major ways your beardie can use to communicate with you if there is danger, and should be treated very seriously. So, here are 4 signs you should be looking for, or rather, hoping not to see.
Healthy Beardie Urate – All White
A healthy bearded dragon’s urate is white with a firm consistency. It measures nothing more than one-quarter of the size of the actual poop, or if passed alone, is nothing more than a centimeter in length and half a centimeter thick. It should be hard enough that when you hold it between your fingers it feels like a piece of chalk, and soft enough for you to smash with a press. It’s normal to see residue on the urate which would be poop or mucus.
A healthy urate passed with poop or on its own can sometimes be accompanied by moisture, almost like a tiny pool surrounding the clump. If this pool happens to be more than three times wider than the space occupied by the solid waste, then something may be wrong with your beardie. At this point, you should visit the vet for a cross-examination.
Now that we know a healthy dragon substrate, let’s move on to the horrors of beardie pee.
Clogged Or Impacted Beardie – Yellowish Urate
A urate plug is a large clump of urate that has been nesting in a bearded dragon’s tract. It would be significantly larger than the normal urate sizes you’ve witnessed and would be passed with mucus infused into or surrounding the clump making it yellow. Urate plugs can be a result of dehydration or improper diet. Similar to how humans develop kidney stones, excessive amounts of protein, calcium, or dehydration can result in a plug that could last days to weeks for your beardie to pass it out.
As you can imagine, it certainly will be painful and uncomfortable for your bearded dragon to deal with.
If you observe that your pet hasn’t excreted in a couple of days, your beardie is likely impacted and so, a visit to the vet should follow suit immediately. In the worst case, surgery will be needed to take out the urate plug. Otherwise, a few bowel-stimulating drugs and a change in diet will be administered.
Injured Beardie – Reddish & Yellowish Urate
As a result of impaction, there could be a few broken blood vessels that will emerge in the urate getting stained with blood. This is highly dangerous and should be treated at the vet with immediate effect! If your beardie has blood in its urate, it could be susceptible to internal infection and will most likely be in a lot of pain. The urate could also be unusually bigger or harder than normal just like it would in the situation of impaction or clogging.
Beardie With Diarrhea – Watery Or Soft Urate
Sometimes, when a bearded dragon is suffering from diarrhea, it could pee liquid urine instead of the regular solid urate. It’s a serious sign of concern if this happens because the dragon could be losing a lot of vitamins with the fluid. The beardie, in this case, will also pee more than usual accompanied by watery poop. This situation usually occurs if your pet is eating too many vegetables than protein, or watery vegetables like lettuce and tomatoes way too often.
The presence of parasites can also induce diarrhea which is why a visit to the vet is mandatory for an accurate diagnosis of the problem. Your beardie’s vet will take a poop sample, run some tests, and at the end of the day, your beardie may be prescribed deworming medication or have their diet rearranged.
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Pee?
A bearded dragon will pee as much as their age requires them to. Usually, this goes in sync with how much they eat. Baby beardies and juveniles can pee anything from 1 to 3 times a day, while subadult and adult beardies pee 1 time a day to 3 times a week. This is because of a difference in the diet for each stage.
It’s common for beardies not to pee that often. In the wild, their source of hydration is from the live food they consume or a few dew drops here and there, and because of this, their body excretes urate instead of urine to preserve moisture.
How Do I Help My Bearded Dragon To Pee?
If your bearded dragon is impacted or clogged by their urate, you can carry out a few measures to help it relieve the waste and clear its gut.
Here are 2 great ways to help your bearded dragon pee:
1. Give Your Beardie A Warm Soak And Massage
Soaking your bearded dragon in a bath is a great way to help them get their bowels moving and cure the clog. All you have to do is put them in shallow water where their butts are fully immersed, then slowly massage their bellies from their chest towards their tails. Do this for 5 minutes if your beardie permits, and let it sit or move around in the water for 15 minutes before you take it out of the bath.
If your dragon is uncomfortable with the situation, you can help it out by dropping in a little rock for it to perch on while its waist area is still submerged in the water.
2. Feed Them Watery Vegetables
In a normal beardie diet, it’s dangerous to feed them high-water-content vegetables because they hold little mineral value and can cause diarrhea. However, if your bearded dragon is clogged and unable to pee, watery vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, and spinach can help to push out the urate plug before you return to the proper diet.
Does A Bearded Dragon’s Pee Smell Bad?
Most of the time, the urate comes along with the poop– and it does smell bad! It’s surely not a killer, but it’s enough to have you scrunch your nose. On its own, the urate may not smell as horrible as the poop, but it leaves a lingering stench that very much resembles urine. Also, because the pee is in small amounts. Perhaps if your bearded dragon dropped a urate the size of its head, then you could grab a disheartening whiff!
How To Safely Clean Bearded Dragon Waste And Remove Odor
When your bearded dragon drops urate or poop, picking the clump out of the enclosure may not be enough to ward off the smell. Remember that sometimes the waste is passed with fluid that dries up in the tank causing the smell to linger.
The safest cleaning products you can use in a beardie’s enclosure to ward off odor are vinegar and water. All you need to do is mix equal amounts in a spray bottle, spray some on the targeted spots, wipe off with a paper towel or sponge, and you’re good to go!
I choose this method because it’s the most natural technique you can apply that isn’t detrimental to your beardie’s health. Sure, some great disinfectants and deodorizers are relatively safe, but if you decide to be safer than ever, vinegar and water are the way to go.
At the end of our discussion, we have established that bearded dragons do pee, and just how detrimental it is to acknowledge your beardie’s urate. Since you now know what to look for, you’ll be able to track your dragon’s health through its urate. If you notice a change in consistency or color, you should instantly contact your doctor and take your pet for examination.
The urate tells you what could be troubling your beardie internally, and is best to be treated immediately before it gets out of hand. Good luck!