If you’re a dog person, you know how social they can be. Affectionate, cuddle-seeking, and suckers for a little attention. And if you’re a bearded dragon person, you know they can be affectionate too—but they can also be loners!
Which brings us to the question on your mind if you have (or want) both pets: can a spiky, solitary bearded dragon get along with a cuddle-loving, sociable dog?
At the very least, can your dog and bearded dragon be in the same room without upsetting one another?
We’ll unpack these important questions so you can keep both of your pets safe and happy.
Are Bearded Dragons Safe Around Dogs?
Yes, bearded dragons are generally safe around dogs, provided that there is constant supervision and that you take a few precautions.
- Making sure your pets are used to each other’s presence before they interact
- Supervising the entire time
- Having another person around to remove your dog from the room if necessary
- Only allowing an interaction when both pets are calm
Can Bearded Dragons and Dogs Play Together?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, but there are some important factors to consider first.
- Are your pets ready for an interaction? If your dog is not well trained or tends to be rambunctious, you may want to avoid a play session with your uncaged dragon.
- Are your pets used to each other? If not, they will need to be assimilated before they can get too close in proximity.
- Is it ok for your pets to cuddle? No matter how much your dragon loves a good beardie burrito or how affectionate your dog is, you should approach this with an abundance of caution. If you want to let your dragon roam free to cuddle with your dog, you should be quite certain that your pets won’t hurt each other. This means both pets really need to be comfortable with each other before getting up close and personal. And if you have a highly energetic dog, we would recommend avoiding cuddle time entirely.
- What is the best way for a dragon and dog to play? We recommend holding your dragon the entire time and letting your pets interact calmly. If you do let your dragon go, stay close enough to snatch her back up if need be. The best way for your pets to play is in a laid back environment with two people supervising. It’s probably not a good idea to engage your dog in any feisty games like fetch while your dragon is out and about. Although it may seem like a fun idea, it can result in one or both of your pets getting hurt.
Pro Tip: If you want to have a really cute playdate with your dog and bearded dragon, grab a friend and take both pets for a walk! Make sure the weather is suitable for your cold-blooded dragon, of course.
How to Introduce Your Dog and Bearded Dragon
Here’s how to help your dragon and dog feel comfortable around each other.
- Keep your dragon in the terrarium at first. To introduce your dragon and dog, simply bring your dog into the room where you keep your bearded dragon. Then simply let them acknowledge each other.
- Be patient. Some dragons and dogs get used to each other quickly; some don’t. It just depends on the personality and disposition of each pet. For example, if your dragon is timid or your dog is uncomfortable around smaller animals, it can take several introductions until your pets feel safe around each other.
- Keep things calm. Bearded dragons don’t usually enjoy loud noises. If your dog is barking a lot, you should postpone the introduction. Additionally, make sure the room is quiet and that both pets are in a pleasant, calm mood when they meet. The less stress, the better!
Pro Tip: To prevent tank toppling and other accidents, never leave your dog unsupervised in the room where you keep your bearded dragon.
How to Help Your Dragon and Dog Interact
Once your pets are used to each other, it’s time for your pets to interact. Here’s how to keep them safe.
- Keep things quiet. Make sure the environment is serene. No sudden noises, no distractions, no commotion. This helps limit the chance of your dog becoming rattled and hurting your dragon.
- Choose “neutral territory.” Have your pets interact in a room or space where your dog doesn’t spend the majority of her time. That way, your dog won’t feel threatened.
- Hang on to your dragon. Plan on holding your dragon the entire time for safety. Eventually you may feel comfortable letting him go, but it’s not a good idea to do this during the first out-of-tank interaction.
- Maybe hang on to your dog, too. If your dog isn’t calm by nature, hold your dog the entire time.
- Have two “chaperones.” You should have another person present so there is someone to hold your dragon, and someone to hold your dog (or remove her if need be).
- Call it quits if things get tense. At the first sign of stress or agitation from your dog, take her out of the room. And if your bearded dragon shows signs of stress, put him back in the terrarium.
Will My Dog Eat My Bearded Dragon?
This question sounds horrifying, but it’s a valid question. If you think about it, you’re introducing a small creature to a (possibly much) larger creature who is probably filled with energy and unexpected outbursts. It’s not much of a stretch to picture what might happen if your dog doesn’t realize your dragon is a fellow pet rather than…well, a chew toy.
Here are a few things that can go wrong especially if you don’t hold your dragon when he’s out of the terrarium around your dog:
- Too much stress. One or both pets may get stressed and act defensively, leaving one or both bitten or injured.
- Too much excitement. Your dog may get excited and want to play with your dragon, but may hurt your dragon as a result (such as by swatting at him with a paw).
- Your dog may eat your dragon. Thankfully this is a rare situation, but horrible nonetheless. This is really unlikely to happen if you’re supervising thoroughly and don’t let your dragon go. But, in the event the unthinkable does happen, call your vet immediately. Your reptile may die and your dog may end up with salmonella poisoning, so you’ll need intervention as soon as possible.
Most of the time, the biggest concern you need to worry about is one of your pets getting stressed, which can be mitigated if you follow the guidelines in this blog post for a safe introduction and interactions.
Takeaway: Bearded dragons and dogs can coexist peacefully. They can even get along and play together when both are calm and supervised.
If you have questions or would like to give feedback, please email us at [email protected]