Pet reptiles don’t travel well, so if you need to take your Bearded Dragon on the road, make sure you are prepared.
Most reptiles are averse to travel, and if it is at all possible to leave your Bearded Dragon at home while you go on vacation, this is highly recommended. It’s not always possible, though, and you may need to bring your pet lizard along with you. Before you do this, you should make sure you are doing it safely and wisely. Reptiles can react very poorly to a changing habitat, a stressed lizard can be unpredictable and volatile, and travel can even result in health issues. Here’s what you should know about travelling with your pet:
- To transport your Bearded Dragon, you will need an appropriately sized carrier, ideally around the same size as your reptile habitat at home. Since reptile carriers are not easily found, you may need to use a dog or cat carrier. Make sure the carrier is secure, though, and there are no places through which your reptile could escape. You may want to cover the bottom of the carrier with carpet so that your reptile doesn’t slip around while the car is moving.
- Since your Bearded Dragon is accustomed to hotter temperatures than will probably be comfortable for you in the car, you will need to find a way to keep him warm in his carrier. This can be done with a small heat mat or by simply keeping the temperature up in the car.
- Another important supply is your pet’s health information. It is essential to carry this with you during travel. All of his health certificates should be included. If your pet has any medications, be sure to pack those as well.
- Before you leave, you should take your reptile to the veterinarian for a check-up. It’s important, when going on a long trip, to make sure your Bearded Dragon is healthy and happy. Your veterinarian can also help you in obtaining all of the health information necessary for travelling with your pet lizard.
- You don’t want to stress out your reptile by abruptly moving him to a new location, so in the days and weeks leading up to a trip, take your Bearded Dragon into his prospective habitat in the car and let him get used to it. This will make the trip easier for him.
On the Road
- Make sure to drive cautiously. Rapid acceleration and jerky braking and turns will toss your pet about in his makeshift reptile habitat. A comfortable ride will reduce stress and reduce the likelihood of any complications from the trip.
- Check up on your pet frequently. It’s important to watch your pet for signs of any injuries or other problems. Make sure he is safe and secure in his carrier. An escape can be traumatic and dangerous for both of you.
- Travelling by plane is even more difficult and stressful for reptiles than by car, and is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. If this is the case, you should first contact the airline to ask them about their pet travel policies. If it is possible to carry-on your Bearded Dragon in an appropriately sized carrier, that would be preferable. Otherwise, ask questions about the cargo hold to make sure it will be a safe and comfortable place for your reptile (it must be pressurized, the temperature must be safe, etc.). Once you have ensured this, you will need to prepare medical information and handling instructions. These documents should be displayed on the carrier. Make sure the carrier is rigid and sturdy, but also secure from escape. Include any necessary equipment that your pet may need should a problem arise. Also, make sure the carrier is marked “Live Animal” and has your name and address on it.