With allergies to pets rising more and more every year, a common question for potential owners is, do bearded dragons cause allergies?
Over 30% of people struggle with pet allergies – and the number keeps going up! If you’re one of those people that battles pet dander, you may find yourself looking to other members of the animal kingdom as a companion.
And with such a high popularity, bearded dragons might appear on your radar.
So, can bearded dragons cause allergies? With no dander production and a distinct lack of fur, bearded dragons enjoy a position with other reptiles as not causing allergies, in and of themselves. However, aspects of their care management can lead to allergies in people and even other animals in the household.
Read On to Discover…
Are Bearded Dragons Hypoallergenic?
When it comes to allergies, the biggest pet culprits are usually cats and dogs. And the most popular belief is the cause is their hair/fur.
But when you get into the science of allergies, the actual sources are proteins found in saliva, urine, and sebaceous glands (glands in the hair follicles).
As animals groom themselves, the proteins get distributed over their bodies, and then they float into the air as dander. Poof! An allergy’s born.
Since bearded dragons require weekly baths AND lack hair of any kind, doesn’t that stand to reason they’re hypoallergenic?
So, are bearded dragons hypoallergenic? Reptiles fall into a category of pets considered hypoallergenic. They don’t produce dander in the same way mammals do. Also, they spend the majority of their lives in glass or acrylic enclosures that keep any allergens contained, preventing them from dispersing into the air.
Instead of hair, bearded dragons have scales. The scales DO shed, but not in the way fur or hair typically do.
And while beardie saliva certainly DOES contain specialized proteins, you won’t see your lizard using its tongue to lick feet, tail, or belly.
When you handle them, your skin doesn’t end up exposed to potential allergens (less so if you wear gloves). It’s different from petting the average cat, dog, or even rabbit.
Check out this guide that shares how to correctly handle your bearded dragon for new owners…
And while you probably allow your beardie to come out for visits now and then, they don’t roam throughout the house. (The poor thing would end up cold) That means any saliva or urea that MAY transfer to the scales won’t disperse into the air, collect on the furniture, or get lost in the carpet.
As such, bearded dragons are considered hypoallergenic. In other words, they’re not likely to trigger allergies in a person.
Are Bearded Dragons Allergy-Proof?
It’d be nice if the story ended there, but bearded dragons aren’t entirely off the hook. ANY animal carries the potential to cause allergies – and that includes reptiles.
Even with a lack of hair, dander, and copious amounts of saliva. Why? It comes down to proteins.
Allergists study three different “families” of proteins that trigger allergies in people:
If your immune system decides one of those proteins isn’t supposed to be in – or near – your body, it’ll trigger an antihistamine cascade.
Then you end up with the usual symptoms of watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, itchy skin, or even difficulty breathing. And bearded dragons? They carry those protein families!
People react to proteins on beardie scales most of the time, but the feces/urea may also be the source. However, it CAN start as a mistaken identity.
After all, you want to avoid potential Salmonella infections, so you wash your hands. And if you overdo it? You can see skin irritation.
Or you could end up reacting to the cleaning products you use on your beardie’s enclosure.
People have different sensitivities. If you forget to wear gloves (or you don’t rinse everything afterwards), you may pick up some residue when you reach for your bearded dragon.
But the skin reaction MAY be a sign of allergies. If you notice dry, itchy skin every time you handle your bearded dragon, you may be allergic. And if you develop a rash or trouble breathing? That’s a BIG clue.
Most allergy testing doesn’t include reptiles. But a doctor can help you find out for certain. If the allergy’s mild, you may cope with over-the-counter antihistamines. But when symptoms turn severe? You’ll have to consider rehoming your beardie.
Can Bearded Dragons Cause Any Other Kind of Allergy?
Most of the time, bearded dragons are innocent of the allergies owners see. Again, it’s possible that soap or cleansers caused the problem.
Rarely (RARELY) people have gone in for medical treatment for reptile bites (so, proteins in the saliva). It’s not a common concern.
Ever wondered if a bearded dragon bite hurts? Well, you can find out here…
However, caring for bearded dragons CAN cause other allergies to develop in their owners.
If you’re not careful in the products you choose to set up their enclosure, you may find yourself struggling with common allergy symptoms.
You’ll want to review ingredient labels carefully – especially if you know your allergy list. Because there’s nothing worse than blaming a beardie for something within YOUR control.
The biggest culprits for allergies related to beardies? Their diets and their enclosures.
Can Bearded Dragon Food Cause Allergies to Humans?
More and more bearded dragon owners are discovering allergies linked to their beloved lizards.
But not in the way most people think. The problem? The bearded dragon’s FOOD is causing the allergy!
Not the salads, either. (Though, hopefully, you’re not handling fruits or vegetables you know you’re allergic to) Nope, the problem’s with the protein.
People are discovering unknown INSECT allergies! And it stumped doctors and scientists when the first cases popped up. (Whoever heard of being allergic to an insect?) They often blamed the bearded dragon.
But the culprit usually came down to grasshoppers, cockroaches, crickets, and even mealworms. And when they dug a little deeper, it made sense.
Plenty of insects get raised on fish food. And people and fish don’t always agree.
Then you throw in that plenty of people list dust on their allergy card. What’s dust composed of? Gross as it sounds, it’s 75% insect carcasses and feces. Suddenly, insect allergies make sense.
If you find yourself with a scratchy throat, itchy eyes, or red skin around your bearded dragon, look at what you’re feeding them. The odds are HIGH their food is part of the problem.
You need to keep those proteins OUT of the house. Try using a garage or shed if you maintain your own colonies.
And ALWAYS wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself. When you finish, wash your hands thoroughly WITHOUT touching your face in the meantime.
The biggest beardie foods that cause allergies include:
Can Bearded Dragon Substrates Cause Allergies to Humans?
As your beardie spends time walking across the bottom of its enclosure, it picks up material from the substrate in its scales.
You then end up with the substrate touching your skin when you handle your beardie. If a reaction pops up on your skin, you may blame your bearded dragon. But the actual source? The substrate.
You have plenty of choices when it comes to your bearded dragon’s substrate. But some options will irritate your skin more than others.
You don’t want to leave a bare glass (or acrylic, as the case may be) bottom, but you also need to consider your personal list of allergens.
Sand will trap EVERY tiny piece of shed your beardie produces – no matter how diligent you are at cleaning.
That’s a lot of potential protein for your skin to come in contact with.
Meanwhile, plastic synthetics will irritate anyone with an allergy to latex.
And mulch? Do you know what trees went into creating the mulch? Are you allergic to any of them? Not to mention the possibility that sand and mulch can generate dust particles as your beardie digs away.
You need to think through EVERY option when you set up your bearded dragon enclosure.
And if you’re not cleaning everything thoroughly, some products may linger. Again, many allergies end up getting blamed on bearded dragons when the poor lizards aren’t at fault.
If you can’t remove all of the cleaning products from the substrate, you may end provoking an allergy in yourself.
The substrate we generally recommend is ‘sand Mat’ as it is basically a rough-surfaced mat with no loose particles.
This means it’s easy to install, clean and maintain as well as providing many benefits for your beardie.
You can check out the latest price of Sand Mat over at Amazon below…
- Sand Mat - Desert Terrarium Substrate
- Provides a natural desert look
Last update on 2022-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Can Bearded Dragons Cause Allergies to Other Household Pets?
Cats and dogs end up with allergies – the same as humans. Feline asthma appeared in veterinary literature over NINETY years ago, providing some of the first evidence of allergic reactions in furry household pets.
But if you see allergies in your other pets, should you start thinking your bearded dragon’s to blame?
It’s possible, but not in the way you may think.
Our feline and canine companions usually get allergies from three common sources:
- The environment
Food only accounts for 10% of allergies in cats and dogs (though people think it’s more than that).
And if you’re not struggling with fleas, that’s not likely. But the environment?
That’s the BIGGEST source of allergies in household pets.
And the same beardie sources that can lead to problems for you can cause your cat or dog problems.
Dust triggers respiratory troubles in both dogs and cats. So if you have a substrate that produces fine particles in the air, or if you manage an insect colony in the house, you may find your household pets sneezing or coughing.
It isn’t your beardie causing the problem, but their care IS the source. And unlike in human allergy testing, veterinary allergy tests check for pesky arthropods.
If one of the animals in the house shows problems, you may need to rethink how you manage your beardie (it’s only fair – you want everyone to stay happy and healthy).
Recommended Reading: How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live (Fully Researched)
Can Bearded Dragons Be Allergic to Household Pets?
Everyone focuses on bearded dragons and whether or not they’ll trigger an allergic reaction in a household.
But what about beardies themselves? Are they at risk? After all, dogs and cats represent 15% of allergies in people.
Should you worry about your beardie developing problems if your cat hangs out near the enclosure?
While there’s ALWAYS a possibility of interactions between species, no one’s documented evidence of reptilian allergies.
If you start to notice respiratory signs in your bearded dragon, there are other concerns you should consider BEFORE you start to blame the other household pets.
Namely, do you have a proper humidity level? Have they demonstrated elevated stress levels prior to showing trouble breathing?
Make an appointment with your veterinarian. The odds are there’s a genuine medical concern taking place.
Here’s a great guide that covers all you need to know about stress in bearded dragons as an owner…
Can Bearded Dragons Be Allergic to Humans?
You may well exhibit allergies to your bearded dragon. But can your beloved beardie ever become allergic to YOU?
After all, you know dogs and cats can have allergies to their owners (crazy as that sounds).
Is it possible you’ll start to see your beardie avoiding contact with YOU due to allergies?
Again, there’s no scientific evidence of a bearded dragon showing signs of allergies – to ANYTHING. So odds are, no beardie’s going to end up allergic to a human.
However, we also don’t have a great barometer for testing. To verify an allergic reaction, you need to perform a prick-to-prick test to find an elevated IgE (a type of antibody). With scales, trying to identify a response is nearly impossible.
Those scales also prevent us from noting rashes, raised red bumps, or other skin irritation signs. But if your beardie’s demonstrating frantic itching? You should consult a veterinarian. SOMETHING’S going on.
It’s not likely an allergy to you, but it’s worth checking out. And, of course, ANY respiratory sign is cause for concern.
Can Bearded Dragons Be Allergic to Certain Foods?
Bearded dragons have one of the most varied diets available. Ordering from an omnivore menu opens a lot of choices up for them. But are they allergic to any foods?
Again, there’s no documentation of an allergy in reptiles, much less bearded dragons. However, there are PLENTY of foods that are toxic for beardies.
It’s not the same as an allergic reaction, but you want to avoid making your bearded dragon ill (or worse).
If you’re ever unsure about a food item, make sure you consult a list first. Just because something’s safe for you doesn’t mean the same applies to your beardie.
Allergies are tricky things. And for more and more people, they’re interfering with pet ownership.
Luckily, if you’re smart with how you set up the enclosure and you take care with your insect colonies, bearded dragons shouldn’t present too many problems. But always observe any new reactions – just in case.
With so many questions surrounding bearded dragon sleep, we have...
As a bearded dragon owner, understanding your pet's poop is...
We get many questions surrounding UVB and bearded dragons. For this...