If there is one thing bearded dragon owners hate, it's impaction. What is impaction might you ask?
Well, impaction is similar to the human condition known as constipation, but it refers to the stool becoming dry and unable to successfully pass through the bowels. It’s basically like a fecal plug playing the “None Shall Pass” card and in the end you feeling bloated and very uncomfortable.
Now imagine how uncomfortable it would be for a beardie. Bearded dragons (aka, beardies) only have one exit. It's a vent in which they pass both feces and urine in the form of a urate. Not only is your beardie unable to pass waste, but it’s also unable to remove urine. This can be a great concern and lead to sluggish behavior in your bearded dragon. If left unnoticed, it can be fatal.
“What should I do if I think my beardie is impacted?”
First thing is to not panic. Impaction is fairly common among reptiles and the problem can easily be resolved with simple home remedies.
A Nice Soak
Filling your sink, tub, or a bucket with lukewarm water can prompt the natural urge to defecate in bearded dragons. The act of soaking In water can allow muscles in the body to relax and make the process of expelling impacted waste, a lot easier. Just always be sure to have the water shallow enough to where your beardie is not struggling to keep its head up above the water. Always be sure to feel the water yourself to be sure the water is not too hot, or too cold. Never EVER leave your beardie unsupervised in a body of water.
Soaking in water may not cause an instant bowel movement, so this is when your hands come in “handy”. When your beardie is soaking, you can gently begin to massage his/her's belly. Do not flip your bearded dragon on its back. Just cup your hands around the sides of beardie until your fingers touch the belly. Massaging can help break up large stools into more passable ones.
There is a whole lot of fruits and veggies that can act as natural laxatives for bearded dragons. Not only to they help cleanse the bowels, they also taste good! Blueberries are nature’s Fiber One snacks. They are packed with nutrients and dietary fiber that aid in “nature’s calling” They’re also my beardie’s personal favorite fruit! I can almost guarantee you that within a day of your beardie eating 2 or 3 blueberries, he/she will likely relieve themselves.
Hope these tips come in handy for whenever your beardie is faced with dreaded impaction!