Bearded dragons are popular pets among reptile enthusiasts due to their unique appearance and docile nature. As with any pet, keeping them safe and healthy is a top priority for their owners. One potential danger that many Bearded Dragon owners face is the risk of water aspiration, which can cause serious health problems.
To address this issue, some Bearded Dragon owners turn to nose plugs. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Bearded Dragon nose plugs, their function, how to use them, potential risks and side effects, and alternative methods of water safety.
Related: How big do Bearded Dragons get?
What is a Bearded Dragon Nose Plug?
A Bearded Dragon nose plug is a small device that fits over the nostrils of the lizard, preventing water from entering its airways during swimming or soaking. These plugs are typically made from silicone or rubber and come in various sizes and shapes to fit different Bearded Dragon breeds. Some nose plugs feature a small air hole to allow the lizard to breathe through its nose while submerged.
Why do Bearded Dragons need Nose Plugs?
Bearded Dragons are obligate nose breathers, meaning they rely on breathing through their nostrils to get oxygen. They cannot breathe through their mouths, which makes them vulnerable to respiratory infections, especially when they are submerged in water.
When Bearded Dragons are swimming or soaking in water, there is a risk that water can enter their nostrils and cause water aspiration, which is when water enters the lungs instead of the digestive tract. This can lead to a serious respiratory infection such as pneumonia, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. This is why it is essential to prevent water from entering the nostrils of Bearded Dragons during swimming or soaking.
A Bearded Dragon nose plug is a small device designed to fit over the nostrils of a Bearded Dragon, creating a barrier between the nostrils and the water. It helps to prevent water aspiration by ensuring that water does not enter the nostrils of the lizard during swimming or soaking. This can help to prevent serious respiratory infections and keep the Bearded Dragon healthy and happy.
In addition to preventing water aspiration, using a Bearded Dragon nose plug can also help to reduce stress for the lizard during swimming or soaking. Some Bearded Dragons may be uncomfortable or anxious when submerged in water, and the nose plug can provide a sense of security and comfort.
How to Use a Bearded Dragon Nose Plug?
Using a Bearded Dragon nose plug is a simple process, but it is important to do it correctly to avoid causing harm to your pet. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use a Bearded Dragon nose plug:
- Choose the right size: Bearded Dragon nose plugs come in different sizes, so it is important to choose the right size for your lizard. The nose plug should fit snugly but not too tightly, as a loose or tight nose plug can cause discomfort and injury to the nostrils.
- Clean the nostrils: Before using the nose plug, make sure your Bearded Dragon’s nostrils are clean and free from debris. You can use a damp cotton swab to clean the nostrils gently.
- Apply the nose plug: Hold the nose plug with the opening facing upward and place it over the nostrils of your Bearded Dragon. Gently push down on the nose plug to create a seal over the nostrils. Ensure that the nose plug is in the correct position and is not too tight or too loose.
- Monitor your Bearded Dragon: Once the nose plug is in place, monitor your Bearded Dragon closely. Ensure that it is not showing any signs of discomfort or distress. If your Bearded Dragon seems uncomfortable or stressed, remove the nose plug immediately.
- Remove the nose plug: Once your Bearded Dragon is out of the water, remove the nose plug promptly. Gently lift the nose plug off the nostrils, taking care not to pull on the skin or scales around the nostrils.
- Clean the nose plug: After using the nose plug, it is important to clean it thoroughly to prevent the buildup of bacteria or other harmful substances. Rinse the nose plug with warm water and mild soap, and allow it to air dry.
Risks and Side Effects of wearing Nose Plug to Bearded Dragons
While using a Bearded Dragon nose plug can help prevent water aspiration and reduce stress during swimming or soaking, there are also some risks and side effects that pet owners should be aware of:
- Discomfort and stress: While some Bearded Dragons may adapt well to wearing a nose plug, others may find it uncomfortable and stressful. If your pet appears uncomfortable or distressed while wearing a nose plug, remove it immediately.
- Skin irritation: Prolonged use of a nose plug can cause irritation and damage to the delicate skin around the nostrils. This can lead to infections or other skin problems. It is essential to monitor the skin around the nostrils and remove the nose plug if any irritation or damage is observed.
- Allergic reactions: Some Bearded Dragons may be allergic to the materials used in nose plugs, which can cause allergic reactions such as itching, redness, or swelling. If your pet shows signs of an allergic reaction, remove the nose plug and contact your veterinarian.
- Increased risk of overheating: Wearing a nose plug can make it more difficult for Bearded Dragons to regulate their body temperature, especially during hot weather. It is essential to monitor your pet’s body temperature and remove the nose plug if necessary.
- Impaired sense of smell: Bearded Dragons rely on their sense of smell to detect food and potential predators. Wearing a nose plug can impair their sense of smell, which can lead to decreased appetite and other problems.
- Improper fit: A nose plug that is too tight or too loose can cause discomfort and injury to the nostrils. It is important to choose the right size and ensure that the nose plug fits snugly but not too tightly.
Alternatives to Nose Plugs for Bearded Dragons
While nose plugs are a useful tool for Bearded Dragons, some pet owners may prefer to avoid using them due to the potential risks and side effects. Fortunately, several alternative methods can be used to protect your pet during swimming or soaking:
- Water levels: One simple alternative to nose plugs is to adjust the water levels in your Bearded Dragon’s enclosure. By keeping the water level low enough that the lizard’s nose remains above the surface, you can reduce the risk of water aspiration without the need for a nose plug.
- Shallow water dishes: Another option is to provide your Bearded Dragon with a shallow water dish that allows them to soak without fully submerging its head. This can be an effective way to reduce stress during bathing without the need for a nose plug.
- Water-absorbent material: You can also use water-absorbent material, such as a towel or cloth, to line the bottom of the enclosure during soaking. This material will absorb excess water and prevent it from splashing into the nostrils.
- Supervised soaking: If you are concerned about water aspiration during soaking, you can supervise your Bearded Dragon closely during the process. This way, you can monitor their breathing and ensure that they do not submerge their head or inhale water.
- Professional grooming: If your Bearded Dragon requires frequent bathing or soaking for hygiene purposes, you may consider taking them to a professional groomer or veterinarian. These experts can provide specialized care and ensure that your pet stays safe and healthy during the process.
Bearded Dragon nose plugs can be an effective way to prevent water aspiration in these lizards, but they must be used safely and correctly to avoid potential risks and side effects. If you choose to use a nose plug, be sure to monitor your Bearded Dragon closely, and never leave the nose plug on for an extended period. Alternatively, several other methods of water safety can be used in conjunction with or in place of nose plugs. Ultimately, the key is to prioritize your Bearded Dragon’s health and well-being, ensuring it is safe and comfortable while enjoying its time in the water.