Many people own bearded dragons and absolutely love them. However, they are not conventional pets, and many bearded dragon owners also own cats, dogs, and other animals. Naturally, one of the first questions those people have is whether or not their bearded dragon will get along with their other pets.
It’s definitely fun, as a pet owner, if all of your pets get along, like each other, and even play together. But it can also be dangerous. Cats are cold-blooded predators. Dogs range from sweet to downright aggressive. And who knows what’s going on inside the head of a bird, snake, or hamster!
Do Bearded Dragons Get Along With Other Pets?
Yes, bearded dragons can get along with cats and dogs if they are introduced properly. It’s not a good idea for beardies to interact with other types of pets like reptiles, birds, or small mammals. Interactions should always be closely supervised and limited to very short amounts of time.
All of your pets can get along if they are introduced to each other properly and their personalities work well together. But also keep in mind that there are a lot of variables. Things could go well, or they might not.
For every cute picture you see online of a beardie and a cat or dog playing together, there are hundreds of homes where this type of interaction would be a terrible idea. That’s why we think there is another, much more important question to be asked.
Should Bearded Dragons Interact With Other Pets?
Bearded dragons should not be allowed to interact with other household pets. Most other pets are much larger than your bearded dragon. While there are steps you can take to try to protect their safety, one wrong move by your cat or dog can kill your bearded dragon. We don’t think it’s worth the risk!
Let’s be brutally honest here. The only reason you want your beardie to play with your other pets is for you, not for them. Your bearded dragon does not need a friend or a playmate. They do not get lonely. They do not need or want company.
The truth of the matter is that we, as people, get a lot of enjoyment from watching our pets play and interact. It’s one of the biggest reasons we take our dog, Anny, to the dog park every day. It’s so much fun to watch her romp and play and be the social animal that she is.
But that’s the difference. Dogs and cats are social animals. Bearded dragons are not.
We not only own Bacardi, our bearded dragon, but we also own a cat and a dog. Scooter is a 12-year-old indoor cat, and Anny is a 6-month-old Australian cattle dog. We love them both. And neither one of them has ever been allowed to interact directly with Bacardi! And they never will be.
Would it be cool if we could let them all out and be sure that they would get along? Sure! It would be cool for us, but they could care less!!!
So, before you go any further, please ask yourself a very important question. Why do you want your beardie to interact with your other pets in the first place? Is it making any of their lives better in any way? How would you feel if one of your pets was seriously injured or killed?
With that said, we know there are still a lot of people who are interested in having their beardie get along with their other pets. So let’s dig in a little further. If you are going to do this anyway, we want to make sure you have all of the tools you need to do it safely!
What Animals do Bearded Dragons Get Along With?
The calmer and more mellow of a pet you are trying to introduce to your bearded dragon, the better off you’ll be. Dogs and cats with calm, even temperaments are the only other pets we would try to work with here. And really, only dogs.
Bearded Dragons and Cats
Sorry to all you cat people out there, but even if your cat is sweet, calm, and even-tempered, we aren’t huge fans of introducing cats to bearded dragons. Cats are predators. Their natural instincts are to kill and eat other small animals.
Domestic cats kill and eat one to four billion birds, six to twenty-two billion small mammals, and hundreds of millions of reptiles and amphibians every year. (Source) That’s right, whether you want to believe it or not, your precious little Socks is a vicious killer.
And to Socks, your beardie does not look like a beloved pet. Your cat sees a tasty meal or simply prey to be toyed with. In fact, many cat owners mistake cats playing with their prey for simply playing. This can be a deadly misinterpretation. (Source)
Cats may show interest in or climb on top of your bearded dragon’s enclosure because it is warm, and cats like warm places. However, try to keep your cat off of their enclosure. When your cat climbs on top of your bearded dragon’s enclosure, it can open or shift the lid. This lets the heat escape, and your bearded dragon may climb out of its enclosure. (Source)
Bearded Dragons and Dogs
Dogs and bearded dragons can get along well, but your bearded dragon may become stressed because your dog is probably much larger than your bearded dragon. The dog will most likely be seen as a threat. It is possible that once they acclimate to each other, your bearded dragon and dog will get along, and your dog will no longer be seen as a threat. (Source)
While dogs aren’t the predators that cats are, they can still be dangerous to other animals. The danger here comes more from a dog who gets overexcited and inadvertently injures your beardie. This can be curbed with close supervision.
Of all of the other pets out there, you probably have the best chance of a good interaction between a dog and a beardie. Just make sure you are very careful and comfortable reading your dog’s body language.
Dogs, unlike cats, give off many warnings before attacking or trying to harm something. If your dog shows any signs of agitation, separate them from your beardie immediately!
Bearded Dragons and Other Pets
If you have lizards other than your bearded dragon, keep them apart and never put them in the same enclosure.
If you have a bird, keep them away from your bearded dragon, especially if you own a large bird. Birds are one of the bearded dragon’s natural predators, so even if your bird is small, your bearded dragon will see them as a threat and become extremely stressed. If your bird chirps often, it may irritate your bearded dragon, even if they are in separate rooms. (Source)
How to Introduce Your Bearded Dragon to Other Pets
If you want your bearded dragon to get along with your cat or dog, you need to introduce them slowly. To do so, do the following.
- Determine the temperament of your cat or dog. If your cat or dog is easily excited, wait until they are calm to introduce them to your bearded dragon.
- With dogs, it’s a good idea to exercise them first. This will usually result in a calmer interaction.
- Hold your bearded dragon the entire time you are introducing them to your other pets.
- Bring your bearded dragon into the same room as your cat or dog.
- Have someone else in the room with you that can pull your cat or dog away if they become aggressive or stressed.
- Allow your cat or dog to sniff your bearded dragon, but keep your beardie protected in your arms, so your beardie doesn’t feel threatened.
- Don’t be nervous when your cat or dog is sniffing your bearded dragon, as they will sense this stress and become more stressed.
- After a few minutes, take your bearded dragon out of the room and put it in its enclosure. Don’t let your cat or dog in the room.
- Repeat the previous steps, extending the time all of your pets are together slowly as they get used to each other.
Never let your cat or dog be alone unsupervised with your bearded dragon, even if they are aware of and seem to like each other. You never know what will happen when you leave your pets unsupervised together, so it is best not to do so.
If at any time, your bearded dragon shows signs of stress (black beard, squirming to get away, hissing, puffing up, etc.), immediately return them to their home. Too much stress can seriously harm your bearded dragon.
When to Keep Bearded Dragons Away From Other Pets
Sometimes, when you are introducing your bearded dragon to your other pets, you need to remove it from the situation. There are a few signs that they will show that mean you should remove them from the room as soon as possible.
When your bearded dragon’s beard becomes black, put them back in their enclosure. When a beardie’s beard is black, they are extremely stressed.
Keep your bearded dragon, cat, and dog away from each other when your dog enters heat, or your bearded dragon is ready to mate. When animals are ready to mate, they can become more aggressive. Two aggressive animals should never be in the same room, especially when one animal is much larger than the other.
If your cat seems to be hunting your bearded dragon, remove it from the room, put it in its enclosure, and keep your cat out of the room. Your cat is showing signs that they are hunting your bearded dragon when they crouch low to the ground. Watch your bearded dragon with laser focus, wiggle their butt and tail, and look like they are about to pounce.
If your cat shows these signs, it might be a good idea to keep them out of the bearded dragon’s room altogether. Your cat will find a way to get into the enclosure when you aren’t around, and once that happens, your beardie doesn’t stand a chance.
Overall, bearded dragons are relatively calm animals, so they will get along with your other animals if they are introduced properly. It may take a few months for all of your animals to get used to each other, so be patient and don’t force the introductions until you think that all of your animals are in the right temperament to be introduced to another unfamiliar animal. If you force the introductions, your animals may never get used to each other and won’t get along.
Better than that, please realize that, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there is no benefit to your beardie of introducing them to other pets. There is nothing but a downside for the most part.
What’s the safest way to have your pets get along with your bearded dragon? Not doing it in the first place!
To Everyone Who Says It’s Safe…
We wanted to add this video as an example of what not to do. The internet is littered with videos of people letting their beardie and cat chase and fight each other. We can tell you from some horrifying reader emails that this is a terrible idea!
The cats in this video are being patient and curious. Anyone that has ever owned a cat knows how quickly this behavior can devolve to your cat killing whatever it was toying with. Please, we know this is cute, but don’t take the chance!
Sources and Further Reading
Frequently Asked Questions
Aren’t you being overly cautious? My cat is a sweetheart and wouldn’t hurt a fly!
Are you willing to bet your beardie’s life on that? Because that’s exactly what you are doing if you let your beardie and your cat interact. All it takes is a split second of instinct, and your normally calm cat is not the sweetheart you think they are!
Can bearded dragons interact with other bearded dragons?
This is not a good idea. Beardies are solitary creatures and should live alone. The only time bearded dragons should be kept together or introduced to each other is if you are breeding them. Otherwise, it’s always best to keep bearded dragons separate from each other.
Can a bearded dragon injure other pets?
Yes, they can! Bearded dragons have lots of very sharp teeth, and once they bite, often don’t let go. Their claws are usually sharp too, and can easily damage another pet’s eyes.