When I was in college, my roommate found a Bearded Dragon chilling on a stop sign. How it got there is anyone’s guess, but I basically adopted it and that Bearded Dragon (which I named ‘Killer’ cause I love irony) stayed with me through a half dozen moves.
Bearded dragons are relatively low maintenance compared to other pets, and they’re really fun to have around. Like any pet though, they have certain requirements that you need to tend to to properly take care of them.
What if you’re thinking about moving across the country with a bearded dragon? How can you do it without affecting your pet?
Pets need to adapt to new places, and you need to make sure they’re comfortable during the trip. You don’t want your beardie to throw a tantrum on a road trip, do you?
Don’t worry; I have the answers for you.
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How to Move Across the Country With a Bearded Dragon?
When you think of traveling domestically, you’re thinking of the only two options valid: air or land (whether railway or road). However, if you haven’t decided on the method of traveling, there are a couple of facts to consider.
For one, not many airlines allow lizards or reptiles in general on a plane cabin. They mostly ask you to put it with the luggage in a cage or as cargo luggage. However, that’s not recommended because you never know what might happen in luggage arrangements.
Suppose that you’re already on a plane or in a car with your bearded dragon. What are the precautions?
Main Precautions to Keep In Mind
Make sure you get a carrier for your Bearded Dragon. You can buy a carrier specifically for small animals like a Bearded Dragon for relatively cheap or use a plastic or cardboard container to create a temporary carrier yourself.
Whatever the carrier you have for your pet, make sure it has enough room for your beardie to move around and that it has good ventilation. It’s also preferable to use an opaque container to help your little guy with stress levels.
Aside from the container, you’ll want to provide a good heating source and internal padding for any bumps that might hit the plane or vehicle you’re traveling in.
The padding should be well done to ensure your Bearded Dragon doesn’t get injured due to any traveling distress. In addition, using heating pads or packs will ensure a warm environment for your beardie to travel.
Having a UV lamp would be good for your beardie to get their dose of vitamin D synthesis; these fellows need a daily amount of light not to develop hypocalcemia. However, for most of us, being able to use a UV lamp while traveling isn’t very practical.
I always had a lot of success with keeping Killer in the floorboard of the vehicle and keeping the heat turned on low. This kept him warm and he still got some sunlight coming in through the windows.
In case you’re traveling using your own car, you can give your Bearded Dragon for a walk while filling your gas tank. This will make the journey way less stressful for it. Same thing if your bus stops for gas or resting.
Tips for Extra Comfort
If you want to keep your bearded dragon on a leash, try to familiarize the pet with it before traveling. It isn’t a good idea to expose it to the leash on the road or while you’re packing. You never know; they may not like it or feel comfortable with it. So, giving them time to adjust is always better.
As for the carrier, your Bearded Dragon might be used to having large spaces to move. So, keeping it in a closed area for a relatively long time isn’t a good first impression. You’ll want to ease your beardie and let him know you’re there and that you’re not leaving.
During the trip, keep checking on your Bearded Dragon from time to time to check that everything is going well. Check the food, heat, and water and ensure the pet isn’t stressed out.
Before Leaving the House
Before leaving the house, make sure you have enough water and food for your dragon. As insects won’t be a good option, take a variety of vegetables and fruits just in case.
It would also be good if you helped your bearded dragon defecate so that he won’t make a mess on the flight. Give him a warm bath, massage his stomach gently, and give him a few drops of olive oil for a couple of days before the flight/journey if he’s constipated.
Visit the vet before you go on your flight just to make sure everything is okay with your beardie. Also, try to look up a vet number in the other state/city you’re visiting if something happens, and you need a specialist. It would be good to know you have a backup in case anything goes wrong.
When You Arrive At Your New Home
Once you reach your new home your job isn’t done just yet. Bearded Dragons need time to adjust to their new place and overcome their relocation stress. It’s quite the same as us humans, even though their way of handling it is different from ours.
Relocation stress can be visible in a couple of cues: decreased activity, change in color, loss in appetite, or stress marks. If any of these signs become persistent, make sure you contact a vet as soon as possible.
Your Bearded Dragon will take about 3-4 days to adjust to the new location you’re settling in. Make sure you set up everything for its environment as soon as possible. In this stress overcoming period, give your buddy all the proper care and attention you can.
Some people prepare relaxing music for before and after the trip and after arrival. It’s shown great results, but it depends on your beardie’s preference.
If it takes your Bearded Dragon longer than three days to adapt and show signs of relaxation, try contacting a vet or an expert. This will help you make sure there are no special circumstances hindering the adaptation process.
It’s not hard to move across the country with your Bearded Dragon. You need to consider some factors to make sure it all and everything goes well.
Make sure your beardie is ready for the drive or flight. Take all the tools you need to make this experience easy for you and your pet. As long as the carrier is heated and you have a good amount of food, water, and supplements, you’ll be totally fine.