If you have an upcoming move, vet visit, or trip that your bearded dragon will need to go on with you, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and make sure you’re prepared for the most stress-free trip you can give your bearded dragon. Keep in mind that many beardies are uncomfortable with travel and will likely not enjoy going on an unnecessary trip with you, but each is different so use your best judgment with your own beardie. Regardless of the reasons for your travel, there are plenty of steps you can take to make the trip as gentle and easy on your beardie as possible.
What Do You Need to Travel with Your Bearded Dragon?
- Carrier: Just about any small animal carrier or box with secure lid will suffice for this purpose if it has plenty of ventilation. Clear plastic carriers may seem like a fun way for your beardie to see the sights during travel, but this type of carrier may become too hot, especially in direct sunlight, even in the car. So much vision of the outside world may be overwhelming and stressful for your beardie as well.
- Soft Materials: You want your beardie to be safe in the car, so make sure to provide soft materials like towels or blankets to keep things padded in case of an accident or sudden stop.
- Heat Sources: A heated car is important, but you may need heat packs or hot water bottles, especially in cold weather. Just use these very carefully to avoid burning your bearded dragon.
- Substrate: Substrate will help make sure any messes in the carrier will not end up all over your bearded dragon.
- Leash and Harness (optional): If you’re planning a long trip or move, a leash and harness can provide the opportunity for your beardie to safely feel the grass under its feet during the trip. This can also be a beneficial tool if you need to clean the carrier because it will ensure your beardie will stay safely near you and not have the opportunity to bolt.
- Portable UV/Heat Light (optional): This is only necessary for long trips or moves. Natural sunlight isn’t reliable, especially in the car since you can’t control how strong the lighting is and the angle it enters the car at. This will also help ensure your bearded dragon stays warm, even in places like hotel rooms.
The 6 Steps to Travel with Your Bearded Dragon Stress-free
1. Prepare Your Bearded Dragon
Get your bearded dragon used to being handled and taken into novel environments, even if it’s just different spots in your house or yard. This will help reduce stress from the travel itself as well as the frequent handling. You can even let it spend time in the box or carrier you’ll be using for the trip so it feels and smells familiar at travel time.
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2. Plan Ahead
Make sure you have everything you need before the day of travel. You don’t want to get to the last minute and realize you don’t have a carrier or heat lamp you need for a trip. Also, make sure to pack food and water for your beardie for your destination and for stops along the way. Plan out your stops with places that will be safe and bearded dragon friendly.
3. Pack Up
Pack up everything you need and double check to ensure you have everything. Make sure you’ve packed all necessary items and any additional things you’ll need during the trip or at your destination. Go ahead and put your bearded dragon into the carrier or box. Make sure the carrier contains substrate so if poop happens, it won’t get all over your beardie.
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4. Be Safe
Buckle your bearded dragon’s carrier into a seat in the car or put it in the floor in a place where it is secure and won’t fall over or have things fall onto it. Drive safely and slowly and do everything you can to avoid sudden stops.
5. Heat the Car
Turn the car on and get it heated so your beardie won’t get too cold. This will also give you some extra time for your bearded dragon to adjust to its temporary environment.
6. Take Breaks
If you’re traveling a long way, take breaks along the way to check on your bearded dragon. You’ll want to ensure the temperature in the carrier is appropriate and your beardie is comfortable and safe.
Traveling with your bearded dragon doesn’t have to be a stressful experience for either of you! Preparation and planning are key when it comes to travel, and that extends to your bearded dragon as well. Getting it used to being handled and to the carrier itself will help significantly with stress prevention and reduction. Have a fun trip!
Featured Image Credit: Gerhard G., Pixabay