Proper care goes a long way toward making sure that your bearded dragon lives a long and healthy life. One of the key things to watch out for when caring for beardies is their bathroom habits – and it can certainly be concerning when you notice that your pet has poop stuck in its vent, also known as the cloacal opening.
There are many reasons why this could happen. Some of the most common include constipation, dehydration, and even the wrong temperature. It’s also possible that the substance is not poop but rather seminal plugs. Regardless, you have to be careful not to pull on the blockage, as it can hurt your beardie.
In this article, we’ll talk about why your bearded dragon has poop stuck in its vent and some ways to help your pet.
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4 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Has Poop Stuck In Its Vent
Here are four reasons why your bearded dragon may get some “poop” stuck in their vent.
It’s not at all unusual for bearded dragons to become constipated.
Constipation refers to the inability or difficulty of passing stool, and it’s caused by a range of factors. These include not enough fiber in the diet, inadequate hydration, injuries, diseases, infections, and even parasites.
When bearded dragons are constipated, their stools become hard and dry, making them difficult to pass. As a result, they can get stuck near the vent area when the beardie defecates.
Impaction is the term used to refer to the buildup of materials in the digestive tract that can lead to blockages.
Bearded dragons that are constantly constipated can become impacted easily. Think of it as a more severe form of constipation.
That said, it’s also caused by other things, such as a diet of worms or insects that are too large, wrong temperatures, or even improper substrates.
If you believe that your beardie is impacted, it’s important that you deal with it immediately because it can be life-threatening. Signs of impaction include a swollen vent, loss of appetite, inability to defecate, and lethargy.
Dehydration is another major culprit when it comes to your bearded dragon having poop stuck in its vent.
For one, bearded dragons that are not hydrated enough may experience difficulty passing stool. Proper hydration is essential for a normal bowel movement.
That said, there’s another reason why hydration is important if you want to avoid stuck poop. Beardies, like other lizards, tend to have dry skin. If the humidity level in their enclosure is too low, it can make them drier than usual, causing their poop to not fall out all the way.
The temperature in your beardie’s enclosure is incredibly important. Bearded dragons need an ambient temperature range between 77°F and 99°F in order to keep their internal temperatures at the right levels.
Temperatures that are too low can slow down digestion in lizards. Over time, this can cause constipation, impaction, or even death.
On the other hand, if it’s too hot, your bearded dragon could get dehydrated, leading to the same issues.
What Is a Seminal Plug in Bearded Dragons?
Sometimes, the “poop” stuck in your bearded dragon’s vent isn’t really poop at all. If you have a male beardie and the blockage looks off-white or yellow, it could be a seminal plug, also known as a sperm plug or a hemipenal plug.
Male bearded dragons naturally let out a bit of sperm every now and then. What you may have noticed in your beardie’s vent is actually a remnant of that process, but instead of getting out with their poop as usual, it has gotten stuck and dried up.
Seminal plugs are not typically something you should be concerned about. It’s very common in male pet beardies, and most can resolve it naturally on their own.
If it still remains stuck after some time, though, you can do the same thing you should do with regular stuck poop, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
How to Help Your Bearded Dragon With Stuck Poop
Luckily, it can be pretty easy to remove poop stuck to your bearded dragon’s vent. The important thing here is to not do anything that would hurt your beardie. Here are some tips on how you can help.
- Soak your beardie in warm water. Fill a shallow container with water that’s between 90-100°F. It should be deep enough to soak your beardie’s vents but shallow enough that it won’t be higher than his armpits. 15-20 minutes should be enough time to let the poop soften and pass naturally.
- Rub it gently. If the poop still hasn’t come free after the 15-20-minute soak, you can get a soft toothbrush or cotton bud and use it to gently rub the blockage off.
- Leave it alone. If it still wouldn’t come off, simply take your beardie back to its enclosure and allow it to rub it off themselves. Just like with clogged femoral pores, beardies tend to rub their body against rocks, branches, and other hard surfaces to help them get rid of blockages naturally.
- Gently massage their belly. If the cause of the stuck poop is impaction or constipation, you can also try a gentle massage of your beardie’s belly to help promote the passing of their bowel movement.
- Provide proper hydration. Misting your beardie’s enclosure can help rehydrate them and make their skin moist. You can also use a dropper or syringe to make them drink. If this doesn’t work, you can place a few water droplets onto their snouts.
Can I use oil to remove the stuck poop on my bearded dragon?
Some owners believe that oil is a good solution for stuck poop, but it’s not recommended. It won’t really help with the blockage and could even cause skin problems if used too liberally.
Additionally, if your beardie basks under a heat lamp or heat rock after you put oil on them, there’s a possibility that the high temperature can burn their oiled skin.
When should I be worried about my bearded dragon’s stuck poop?
If the blockage has been there for more than a day, or if it’s accompanied by signs of distress, you should take your beardie to a reputable herp vet as soon as you can. They may need medical assistance to help them pass the blockage.
Why does my bearded dragon have something red or purple stuck in its vent?
Be careful if you see something red or purple in your bearded dragon’s vent. Although there are many possible reasons for it, it could be a prolapse, which can become serious really quickly. If you’re unsure bring your beardie to the vet right away.
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