Whether taking your bearded dragon to the vet or taking it with you on a cross-country trek, you’ll want to plan it out carefully to ensure your bearded dragon’s safety and comfort.
When planning, you’ll want to consider the following:
- The distance you will be traveling
- The weather conditions that you will be encountering.
- The stresses that your bearded dragon may encounter while being transported.
Traveling with your Bearded Dragon by Car
If you are bringing your bearded dragon to the vet or for some other local commute, you’ll likely not have to do much planning. In fact, if you can arrange for someone else to do the driving, you may be able to hold your pet while headed for your destination. But what about long car trips?
Can a Bearded Dragon Ride in a Car?
Yes, they can if you properly plan for it. Regardless if the drive is for short or long distances, there are two things that you should keep in mind when having your bearded dragon travel in a car:
1. No Feeding
Do not feed your bearded dragon two days before your departure. In other words, if you leave on Friday, do not feed your bearded dragon on Thursday or Friday.
Bearded dragons must be kept at temperatures between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. If your pet has a full stomach and travels in temperatures below this range, it will not be able to digest its food properly.
Additionally, even if it is the correct temperature, your bearded dragon still can have trouble digesting its food because of the extra stress of being moved and the car’s motion.
2. Prepare a Secure and Comfortable Traveling Container
For short distances, you can use a carrier. When selecting a carrier, you want to keep the following in mind:
- The carrier should be big enough for your bearded dragon to stretch out fully.
- It should be padded to avoid your pet getting hurt while in transit.
- It should be insulated to keep in the heat.
- It should be well-ventilated.
- It needs to be secure to ensure that your pet can not escape.
If you are taking a short-distance trip, you can hold your pet or place it in a 20-gallon container.
For long distance-trips, you will want to house your bearded dragon in a full-size enclosure. The enclosure should meet the criteria described for the carrier; however, you will need to consider additional requirements:
I recommend using a mercy vapor bulb to maintain the correct temperature. It will save you trouble because this bulb will give heat and UV light. Hand warmers can also be used to maintain the proper temperature.
Another trick you can try is using microfiber towels as a heat pack. Let the towels soak in warm water, wring them out, and then fold them. Place the folded towels in plastic bags, leaving some air.
The air will aid in keeping the towels warm. Placing the bag underneath a dry towel will create extra cushioning for your pet. You will not have to provide extra heating if the ambient temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
While traveling, monitor your bearded dragon regularly to see how it is doing and to check the enclosure’s temperature. Bring a thermometer for that reason.
Bedding for the Enclosure
Bedding, or substrate, is needed to minimize the mess that your pet will make when it relieves itself. For bedding, you can use newspaper or paper towels. Bring extras to replace the soiled ones.
Secure the Enclosure
When loading the enclosure into your car, ensure it does not move during sudden stops or tight turns.
If you are going to travel cross country, bring freeze-dried insects. They will save you the trouble of bringing live feeders. You can also bring greens.
Keep a shallow water dish in the enclosure for your bearded dragon to drink from. Though bearded dragons get most of their moisture from their food, you should still provide it.
Gather any cleaning supplies that you may need.
Provide a few furniture pieces, such as a log, for your pet to hide in. When providing furniture, make sure that they will not topple during the drive.
Bring a harness with you so that you can exercise your bearded dragon during your stops or when you arrive at your destination. This way, you can maintain control of your bearded dragon as it moves about.
Take your veterinarian’s phone number, in case it is needed.
How Do You Bring a Bearded Dragon on a Plane
Traveling by plane requires the same preparations as for a long-distance drive, plus a few additional ones:
Is your Bearded Dragon a Carry On?
Make sure that you check with your airlines to see if they allow live animals. If they do, find out if they will treat your bearded lizard as a carry-on. It is important to realize that placing your lizard in the cargo area can be extremely dangerous as the cargo area may not be pressurized or heated. Even if it is, the conditions will probably be less than ideal.
Know the Laws of Other States and Countries
If your travel plans involve entering other countries or states, find out if they have any laws that may apply to your bearded dragon. Failing to do could lead to creating trouble for you and your pet.
Label the Carrier
Losing your luggage at the airport is an unavoidable risk, and the same can happen to your bearded dragon. To mitigate this risk, label your pet’s crate with your phone number, e-mail address, or your veterinarian’s phone number if you receive their permission.
How Long Can A Bearded Dragon Be Out Of Its Tank?
You do not want to keep your bearded dragon out of its regular enclosure longer than needed. Moving your lizard about can cause it stress. While your bearded dragon is out of its tank, it is important to make sure that all of its husbandry needs are met. For your convenience, here is a list to help you prepare:
- Carrier or enclosure
- Proper lightening and heating setup
- Spare bulbs
- Cleaning supplies
- Paper towels or newspaper
- Other heating or insulation aides (i.e., hand warmers and towels).
- Water dish
In addition to the above, do the following for air travel:
- Check with the airlines about their pet policy
- Check with the laws of other countries and states.
We hope you enjoyed this article. Transporting a bearded dragon requires planning to avoid disrupting its essential husbandry needs, like temperature and lighting. Use this article as a checklist to help you prepare. We invite you to share your comments and questions.