Can a Dog and a Bearded Dragon Be Friends?

With proper socialization, your dog may learn to tolerate—and even enjoy—spending time with a bearded dragon. Still, you should supervise every interaction.

Jun 2, 2024By Sara Payne
can dog and bearded dragon be friends

If you are adopting a new dog but already have a bearded dragon, you may be anxious about introducing them to each other. Do dogs and bearded dragons get along? Will your two pets be friends?

Dogs and bearded dragons can live together in the same home. Yet, it is important to introduce the two animals slowly and carefully to each other. Also, do not leave them together unsupervised.

Read on to learn more about introducing a dog to your bearded dragon.

Dogs and Bearded Dragons Can Cohabit

dog profile edited with bearded dragon
Image credit: pixabay.com, Edited in Canva by Sara Payne

Dogs and bearded dragons inhabit different parts of the home. Bearded dragons will spend most of their time in their enclosure and need exact temperatures and conditions to thrive. Your dog will roam more freely throughout the house. They should not interact very often.

However, when you have the two out together, it is important to introduce them to one another slowly and carefully. A beardie can get stressed if it feels threatened by the dog. Also, a dog may be curious and mess with the bearded dragon, which could result in injury.

In addition, bearded dragons may carry parasites that your dog could contract. So, all interactions between the two animals must be supervised.

Before Introducing a Bearded Dragon and a Dog

Introducing two pets together is a process you should take seriously. There are many considerations including the health of each animal, established territories, stress levels, and personalities.

Before introducing your bearded dragon to your dog, take both animals to the vet for a check-up. Both animals must be free of parasites and illnesses that could jeopardize the other. During the visit, ask your vet questions about introducing the two.

You can also start getting your two pets familiar with each other before they ever meet by allowing them to interact with each other’s scents. You can do this by leaving something that each pet interacts with often in the other pet’s territory. This way your dog and beardie get used to each other’s smell.

Step 1. Choose Neutral Territory

aggressive bearded dragon
Image credit: pixabay.com

When introducing any two animals together, you should choose a place in the home or outside the home in neutral territory. This may be difficult with a dog and beardie, as the dog will have most of the house as their territory. Find a room without food or other resources that either animal will guard.

Male bearded dragons are territorial and only allow females and juveniles into their areas. If a bearded dragon fluffs its beard, hisses, head bobs, or bites, it feels threatened and ready to fight. Dogs can also be territorial. A dog may show signs of aggression by growling, snapping, or biting—especially if he feels threatened.

A room or area neither animal claims is the best place to start an introduction. Both pets will meet each other on an even playing field and won’t feel they have to guard anything. For the best possible results, keep the area quiet and free of distractions during the introduction.

Step 2. Begin Slowly

curious dog on leash
Image credit: pixabay.com

You should have a second person helping you with the introduction. This should be another person who lives in the home or someone both animals feel comfortable around. One of you will hold the dog on a leash and the other will keep their hands and eyes on the bearded dragon.

To begin with, hold the beardie firmly but calmly, and let your dog sniff and investigate him. Encourage your dog to exhibit calm behaviors by rewarding him with a treat each time he interacts with your beardie gently. If your dog becomes too aggressive, move him away from the beardie or take the lizard away.

Watch for signs of stress in your beardie such as hand waving or head bobbing. If you see these signs, move the animals away from each other. If your dog begins to bark or growl, you may want to discontinue the introduction and begin again another day. The first introduction should only last a few minutes.

You will increase the amount of time the two pets spend with each other each time.

Step 3. Continue Interactions

curious boston terrier
Image credit: pixabay.com

To get your dog and bearded dragon to become friends, they must build a relationship. This happens through repeated interactions. After the first introduction, repeat the process over and over, increasing the amount of time the two spend together each time.

Some dogs may be overly excited about the beardie and need a lot of positive reinforcement to interact calmly with your reptile. Others may be more cautious. The interactions will depend on your dog’s personality and breed. For instance, a prey-driven Aussie may attempt to chase a bearded dragon, while a cat-like Afghan Hound might not give the lizard a second glance.

Your bearded dragon is also unique and may either take to the dog immediately, be apathetic to him, or be extremely wary. Let both pets build the relationship at their own pace. It may take a while for the pets to be comfortable in the same room together, but with patience, the two can learn to enjoy one another’s company. Spending time with your dog could also serve as an enrichment activity for your bearded dragon.

Different Pets Can Learn to Live Together

bearded dragon in hand
Image credit: pixabay.com

Your bearded dragon and dog can become friends with careful consideration, preparation, and patience. Always supervise the interactions between your dog and lizard. Also, to prevent injury, watch for signs of aggression. It may take time for the two pets to get used to each other, but once they do, you’ll love watching your bearded dragon and dog have fun together. These two pets can be rewarding on their own, but together is even better.

Sara Payne
By Sara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.