Although the chances of you contracting salmonella from your pet bearded dragon is very slim, you, as the owner, should follow a few guidelines to make sure you and your pet stay safe and healthy.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can be found in the bearded dragon’s feces. If that contaminated feces is handled improperly the salmonella bacteria can be transferred to humans, however, you are more likely to contract salmonella through tainted food than you are from your pet lizard.
Most cases of salmonella cases in humans that come from reptiles is due to poor husbandry practices. Here are a few tips for protecting yourself from salmonella with bearded dragons.
Always Keep the Habitat Clean
It is very important to keep your bearded dragon’s habitat as clean as possible. Get into a weekly routine of cleaning the glass and decor items of the terrarium. Use special cleaners that are designed for cleaning reptile housing and disinfecting decor items.
Reptile Healthy Habitat spray is a very good choice for cleaning the terrarium and any items the bearded dragon may come into contact with.
Replace the substrate with fresh materials at least once a month. Make sure you remove all fecal and leftover food matter as soon as you find it. Allowing these to sit in the terrarium for long periods can lead to the build up of bacteria and fungus.
To avoid touching the fecal matter you can use a special scooper made for removing it from the substrate.
Give your bearded dragon frequent baths. Just let it splash around in a bath tub filled with a couple inches of warm water once a week. This is the ideal time to do this while you clean the habitat. You don’t want your bearded dragon to be in there while you clean anyway.
Remove any uneaten food items from the terrarium. Allowing vegetables and fruit to sit around for days and weeks can increase the amount of bacteria, fungus, and mold in the terrarium causing your beardie or you to become sick.
Thoroughly Wash Your Hands After Handling
Any time after you have handled your bearded dragon, or any of the items in its habitat, immediately wash your hands with a good anti-bacterial soap.
This will kill any salmonella bacteria that you may have inadvertently picked up.
Wash your hands, arms, face, and any other parts of your body that may have come in contact with the reptile or its items.
Always avoid touching your face or mouth after handling your bearded dragon and its habitat!
Using good sanitary practices when handling your beardie will go a long ways towards salmonella protection.
Take Your Bearded Dragon for Frequent Checkups
Make sure to take your bearded dragon to a qualified reptile veterinarian for routine check-ups. They can check for salmonella presence by performing a stool sample.
Salmonella can be present in even healthy bearded dragons, but one that is sick could have a higher concentration of the bacteria in its digestive system.
A veterinarian will be able to diagnose what is going on and prescribe medications that will help prevent any possible salmonella issues.
It is very crucial to the health of your bearded dragon, and your own health to have this checked routinely.
Other Considerations for Protecting Yourself from Salmonella
Salmonella is not commonly contracted via reptiles, but it is important to play it safe to make sure you do not get the illness. Never allow people with weakened immune systems, young children, or the elderly to handle bearded dragons.
Even though bearded dragons are very cute, never kiss one. This is an easy way to contract salmonella. Keep the bearded dragon away from your face, especially around the mouth and nose.
Following good husbandry and housekeeping is an important process for your health and that of your pet bearded dragon!
Everraud Raynard says
Very informative. Thanks for the helpful hints.
Oops…I kiss mine every day…
Me too …
Kimberly Fraley says
I also kiss mine she became use to being touched and talked to pretty quickly but for some reason she would slightly puff up and open her mouth when my face got close to her but i go cheek to cheek with a low tone saying it’s ok baby it’s ok baby on a daily basis even if I don’t have much time I still take a couple of minutes to greet her , pick her up and do a short little cheek to cheek session ? she’s only about 8weeks old she was my first ever 4th of July present I literally cried because she’s just so precious and i had wanted one for quite some time . Sorry for the long chat I get into my comments and replies most of the time ☺have a great day☺
Deborah Gott says
I always kiss mine and unless you are kissing their butt there is NO WAY you will get salmonella
oops! same here!!!:-0
Yet same here ?
It is a very nasty habit of mine to kiss my cute beardie. I also smell him because his scent is wonderful so I need to work on that.
now I will have to get rid of dragon, upon reading this, shame …
what do you mean you have to rid of your dragon
I think this is very useful information, but really, as long as you don’t French kiss your lizard you should be fine. And it is right wash your hands and face after you hang out with your scaly friend. And please keep the cage clean, it will keep your little buddy happy and healthy
When do Bearded Dragon go into hibernation. How many Crickets should my baby eat a day/ week during this time? Thanks
My beardie been sick took to vet X-ray no binding but she looks like she burping and trying to go poop idk what the deal is anyone have this issue
1.she pushing like she is trying to poop
2. She blows out of her and at times she sounds like a burp or whistle
Rebecca Dyer says
From what I’ve read before she could have a respiratory infection. Be careful when bathing them to not let them get water in their noses
If dragon is female check if she with eggs
Gail banks says
Me too …
This is a hilariously bad article. Who on Earth leaves veggies and fruit in cage for weeks…It is very simple make sure to bathe your Beardie once a week or so. Keep the cage clean. Sanitize monthly, clean daily. Pick up poos asap. If poo is mashed clean Beardie. Kissing your Beardie is perfectly safe if your dragon is clean and cared for. My boy is on sealed slate tiles and poo is cleaned immediately. His tail smacks his poo sometimes so he is cleaned accordingly. The only way a human could get salonella is thru the beardies poo. So you would have to have 1) very dirty cage where Beardie runs through poo 2) Beardie plays in his poo and you do not clean them 3) pick up poo with hands and not clean your handa before putting in you month…. Take care of your animal and you will be fine.
You’d be surprised – I just inherited a cage with poop and old food! The smell and dirt! What did you seal the slate tiles with (I’ve just been scrubbing each one and bleaching them, today). Would silicone caulk work? Thanks!
Haha whoops, I kiss my beardie all the time, and he often licks me… I am always snuggling him with my face, even though I have read this, I won’t stop… ??
Some of y’all really are irresponsible. Do your research before getting a pet…..
This is completely false. The only way you can contract salmonella from a bearded dragon is through there feces. It is completely safe to handle (and yes, kiss) your bearded dragon. Stop spreading false information.
Source: Multiple Veterinarians