One of the challenges of being a responsible pet owner is making sure your pet is taken care of when you aren’t at home. However, when you want to travel, go on vacation, or go camping, you need to consider who’s going to care for your pet. So any outdoor lovers might be wondering if they can just take their bearded dragon with them on their next camping trip.
Can I Take My Bearded Dragon Camping? Unfortunately, taking your bearded dragon camping isn’t a good idea. While camping may be fun for us, the changing environment is less enjoyable for your beardie and can even be unsafe. On the bright side, you can leave mature beardies on their own while you go for a weekend camping trip.
It can be challenging to find boarding for reptiles, so wanting to bring your lizard with you is perfectly understandable. However, I think the key is to consider the safest and most comfortable environment for your pet. Yes, you probably could work out a way to bring your beardie camping, but there are a lot of risks, and even if they don’t end up hurt, that doesn’t mean it’s a pleasant experience for them.
Camping Can Be Uncomfortable and Dangerous
Beardies won’t do well with the changing environment that comes with camping. There are a lot of adjustments that come with camping. From riding in the car to becoming accustomed to all the new sights, sounds, and smells surrounding them, the sudden changes can be as stressful to your pet as they are exciting to you.
These changes aren’t just uncomfortable. They can be quite dangerous for your beardie. Camping usually gets quite cold at night, and you won’t be able to regulate the temperature of your pet’s environment.
The best scenario for camping would be bringing a tank with you to try to regulate their environment. But even if you do that, there are risks of the bulbs breaking or just not being strong enough to combat the temperatures outside.
There are other environmental risks, such as rain or other animals. Along with the wild animals that could pose a threat to your beardie, there are other pets at the campsite to consider. Dogs and cats could easily come across your beardies enclosure.
Plus, if you’re planning a camping trip with lots of activities, you probably won’t have the necessary time to care for your beardie. Unlike a dog, you can’t really take reptiles with you on a hiking trip or a dip in the lake. At the same time, leaving them unattended at your campsite could be unsafe.
Even though adult bearded dragons are fairly low-maintenance, bringing them to an entirely new place automatically requires more care. You need to make sure they stay at the right temperature, are comfortable, and safe. Worrying about if your beardie will only take away from the time you should be enjoying your camping trip.
Camping Could Be Especially Bad for Young Bearded Dragons
All the problems with taking beardies on a trip with you are only amplified when dealing with a young bearded dragon. Baby bearded dragons are even more sensitive to changes in temperature. You can’t control the temperature where you’re camping, and even if you keep them in their tank, the UV bulb may not be strong enough to keep the cage at the proper temperature.
You especially have to think of the temperature at night. Even in a warm climate, the temperatures can drop quickly in the evening, which could be very dangerous for a young beardie.
The younger your pet is will also contribute to how much care and attention it needs. A young beardie will need about three feeding periods throughout the day and require more insects than an adult. All of this takes a lot more time and energy from you and will give you less time to go on hikes or other adventures away from the campsite.
On top of these practical issues, the changing in locations is sure to stress young and old bearded dragons alike. Since these lizards have such a calm demeanor, you may not notice when they are in distress, but this doesn’t mean they don’t feel stressed. One way to tell when beardies are upset is if they start glass surfing. This is when your beardie seems to be trying to climb the walls of its cage. If you see your beardie doing this, you know something is making it worried.
Leaving Your Dragon Home Alone
However, just because your beardie won’t enjoy camping doesn’t mean you can’t. Though you shouldn’t leave your pet alone for an extended time, you’ll have no problem taking a weekend camping trip and leaving your beardie at home. You just have to follow a few guidelines to make sure they’re safe and happy.
Firstly, just like we mentioned earlier, you need to take your lizard’s age into account. If your beardie is a baby, you need to feed it several times a day, so you really shouldn’t leave it alone for more than a few hours.
As they get older, their metabolism begins to slow, and they’ll be fine for longer stretches of time. You can leave juvenile bearded dragons for up to two days, and shouldn’t have a problem leaving adults for a three-day trip.
With adults, you could even stretch it to up to 4 days. However, this is pushing it, and it’s not something you should often do. If you need to leave for longer than three days, it’s best to enlist a friend or neighbor to check up on your bearded dragon.
Before leaving your beardie for any number of days, you should make sure to clean their cage. You don’t have to go crazy, but make sure to clean out their food and water dish. Clean up any skin they’ve shed, feces, or old food.
It’s also a good idea to clean your beardie as close to your departure as possible. If you haven’t already, put the lights on a timer. Twelve hours on and twelve hours off will be ideal. Using a timer is good practice even when you’re at home.
Before leaving, you want to make sure your beardie has enough protein. Give them a large meal of feeder insects as close to the time you go as possible. You’ll also want to give them fresh water and a large salad to have while you’re on the trip. Put the greens out right before leaving so they’re as fresh as possible.
If you’re nervous about leaving your beardie alone, set up a webcam to keep an eye on them from afar.
Routine for Coming Home From a Trip
After you get home from camping, you’ll want to feed your beardie as soon as possible. Start by giving them a salad as that will be easier for them to digest if they’ve gone longer than usual without eating. After they’ve had some lovely greens, you can give them some feeder insects, but be conscious of overfeeding. A typical sized meal should be a healthy and satisfactory amount.
It’s also a great idea to give your bearded dragon a nice, warm bath. This will help them to get hydrated, and give them some needed relaxation. Along with giving them a soak, you’ll also want to take the opportunity to clean their tank and freshen the water bowl. It’s a good time to swap out the substrate in the tank.
Once your beardie is fed, bathed, and their cage is clean, you can both relax. After being apart, some quality time will do you both good. So give your beardie some TLC. You can spend a while holding them and hanging out.
They’ve also been in their tank the whole time you were gone, so they’ll probably appreciate an opportunity to roam around a bit. It will help to destress your beardie from the change of having you gone for a few days. Plus, you probably missed them, and what’s better than some time with your beardie?
Although it is possible to travel with your beardie, camping with them isn’t the best idea. There are too many unknown variables such as weather and wildlife that could be dangerous to your beardie. The changes in location will also be distressing to them.
Plus, having a pet to worry about at your campsite may make your trip less enjoyable. It’ll be hard to do all the activities you want while also monitoring your beardie. This is especially prevalent for young beardies who need to be fed several times throughout the day.
If you want to go camping, your best option is to take a few simple steps to get your beardie set up to stay home alone. This shouldn’t be a problem for a short camping trip, and if you’re going longer, you can always get a friend to stop in and check on your beardie or have them boarded somewhere.
So while you can go camping when you own a bearded dragon, you probably don’t want to go camping with a bearded dragon.