Bearded Dragon Care

How To Euthanize A Bearded Dragon And When Explained

Losing a pet is always hard, especially so if you have to put it down. However, it is important not to shy away from it as it will prevent your beardie from experiencing extreme sickness or pain. Simply put, sometimes euthanization is the best way to go.

If your pet suffers from a serious illness that is majorly affecting its quality of life and subjecting it to extreme pain—you might want to consider euthanization.

The right way to go about it is to get your beardie evaluated by a vet and get their opinion. Only a vet will be able to properly guide you about the prognosis of the disease and whether euthanization should be considered.

How To Tell When To Euthanize A Bearded Dragon

Some signs to look out for that may indicate an underlying disease are abnormal bowel movements, skin problems (wrinkled, rotting, damaged, or unshed skin), trouble moving or tremors in the limbs, loss of appetite, and respiratory problems. Catching a disease early on will greatly increase your bearded dragon’s chances of survival and recovery.

However, if the disease reaches its advanced stages before it is diagnosed and treated, it will lower your pet’s odds considerably and the vet may recommend euthanization. There have been some cases of pets surviving for a considerable amount of time despite challenging circumstances, but these have been few.

It is necessary to be aware of common diseases affecting beardies and how they present themselves so that you can identify the symptoms early on. You should also be very careful about providing your bearded dragon with a suitable environment and nutritious diet.

Any changes in the temperature, humidity, and lighting of the tank could affect your beardie’s health and lead to disease. For example, if the tank is too hot this could lead to the bearded dragon becoming dehydrated, lethargic, and ill. Similarly, improper UVB lighting in the tank and a diet that is low in calcium could lead to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

Getting Your Bearded Dragon Put Down By A Vet

The best way to get your bearded dragon euthanized is by a certified veterinarian. This is because the process will be quick, easy, and painless for your beardie and less traumatizing for you as well. The vet will usually give the bearded dragon a sedative at first to help it calm down and give you time to say goodbye to them.

Then after twenty minutes or so, the vet will give it another injection containing the medicine for euthanization. The medicine is injected into a vein and contains a large amount of anesthesia which completely numbs the brain and prevents the bearded dragon from feeling any pain. The euthanization solution also contains a chemical that stops the heart from beating.

How Long Does Euthanasia Take To Take Effect

Before injecting the final euthanization solution, you will have about 20 minutes to say goodbye to your pet. Then the vet usually takes the animal away and euthanizes it. The entire procedure is planned to be as quick and pain-free for the animal as possible as well as also give you time to properly send off your bearded dragon.

Why A Vet Putting Down A Bearded Dragon Is The Best Way

If euthanization is inevitable, it is best to get your vet to do it as this is the most humane way possible. This is because it involves the least pain compared to other methods like decapitation or freezing, and is quick and mess-free as well. It also allows you to have a good final memory of your pet and is less emotionally disturbing than if you do it at home.

You should also keep in mind that the vet is a professional and has performed this procedure multiple times before, which lowers the chances of something going wrong.

How To Put A Bearded Dragon Down At Home

Putting down a bearded dragon at home includes either freezing the animal to slowly reduce blood flow until it is completely frozen dead or impacting the head to crush or decapitate it.

Needless to say, it is infinitely better to have your pet put down by an experienced vet rather than attempt to do either of these at home.

However, if you do not have access to a vet and want to euthanize your bearded dragon at home, these are the two main ways it’s usually done.

1.    Decapitation or crushing the head

Decapitation involves severing the head of the animal from its body using a knife or something sharp. It’s best not to go into the gory details of this method, but it is obviously a messy process and the animal feels considerable pain for up to an hour after decapitation.

An alternative to decapitation is to smash the head of the bearded dragon with something heavy. Not only does this take a lot of guts to do it is also very messy. However, it is less painful compared to decapitation since the brain, where the pain is perceived, is destroyed quickly.

2.    Freezing

The last method for euthanization at home is freezing the animal. Although this method is not as messy compared to the previous ones, it is still extremely painful for the bearded dragon as the cold causes the blood to freeze and sharp crystals to form in the tissue.

Due to this, freezing the animal is not recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Giving anesthesia to numb the pain before freezing the animal is a better way to go.

Why You Should Not Euthanize A Bearded Dragon At Home

There are many reasons why you should not euthanize your bearded dragon at home and instead opt for a vet to do the procedure instead. First of all, euthanizing a bearded dragon, or any pet for that matter is mentally hard to take and might end up being a traumatizing experience for anyone involved, especially children.

Secondly, most of the methods of euthanizing a bearded dragon at home are quite messy, long, and painful for the animal. As a pet owner, you want your beardie to go as easily as possible and experience the least amount of pain. Having your vet euthanize your bearded dragon will ensure a quick and painless death.


The takeaway is that euthanization should be considered if your bearded dragon suffers from a chronic and debilitating illness with a poor prognosis. The best way to go about euthanization is to get it done by a professional veterinarian since it will be as quick, easy, and pain-free as possible and will allow you to say goodbye to your pet properly.

It is possible to euthanize your pet at home and common methods include decapitation and freezing, but these are not recommended since they will be painful for the animal and hard on the owner as well.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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