How to Help Dogs Co-Exist With Reptiles

As a pet owner, have you ever wondered if dogs can co-exist with reptiles? And if they can co-exist, which type of reptile can you easily introduce to your dog? You’re not alone; some reptiles like iguanas are pretty aggressive and can scare your territorial dog. Plus, just because some reptiles spend most of their time in a terrarium or aquarium, it doesn’t mean that your dog won’t care.

Fortunately, certain dog breeds and reptiles can successfully live together. And with a bit of patience, time, and some unique tips, they can become great pals. But you have to do everything correctly if you want them to get along and avoid unnecessary stress between the two. So if you want to learn how to help these two creatures co-exist, please read on…

Helping Your Dog Live With a Reptile Pet

The first step to safely introducing a reptile to a home with a dog is picking the right reptile. Picking the right pet will make the interaction phase easier and more fun for you and your pets. So to help them live peacefully, you should do the following:

1)   Pick the Right Type of Reptiles That Can Get Along With Dogs

As aforementioned, not every reptile can get along with your dog; for example, iguanas are aggressive creatures; therefore, if you own an inquisitive pup, you should avoid iguanas. Some of the best options for dogs are turtles and tortoises that are friendly and easy to maintain.

A tortoise can retreat to its shell when threatened, while turtles are always safe in the water tanks. But before you pick the right reptile, you need to determine your dog’s temperament. If you have a powerful dog that loves hunting, like a Labrador Retriever, you need to teach it not to kill other animals. After all, some small reptile behaviors can excite your dog and have him barking all over the house and ready to attack. Some of the best reptiles that can co-exist with dogs include:

Bearded Dragons

A bearded dragon’s sociability and calm nature make it the best option for first-time reptile pet owners. It is one of the most popular reptile pets on the planet. So when introducing your dragon to your dog, you should support its body with your hand with its tail on the upper arm. And then let your leashed dog sniff it while petting him, but make sure you monitor their behaviors.

If your dog doesn’t start barking or growling, it is okay with the new pet. Bearded dragons are also known for making some gestures when happy and content. So if you notice your bearded dragon waving, it means that it has submitted to the dog and is ready to co-exist. 

Blue-Tongued Skinks

Even though they are less social, the blue-tongued skinks are easily tamed. As mentioned above, you can introduce it to your dog, but you have to keep the interactions short. Since it is less social than a bearded dragon, you should take your time and wait until it’s comfortable before increasing the amount of time they spend together.

Leopard Gecko

A leopard gecko is a docile and affectionate lizard that can be a great pal to you and your dog. You should hold the gecko in your palm during the first interaction and encourage your dog to sniff it. But make sure you pay attention to both pets’ behaviors. If your reptile starts hissing, sticking the tongue out and puffing out its body, or the dog starts growling, you should keep the introduction phase short. Remember, dogs can get jealous, so you shouldn’t give the reptile more attention.

Which Dogs Can You Keep Around Reptiles?

When picking the right dog to match a reptile, the temperament matters a lot. For example, a panicky and anxious pup can scare the reptile. Therefore, you should avoid Cocker Spaniels, Border Collies, Bichon Frise, Australian Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers.

An exceptional dog breed for families with a reptile pet is a Goldendoodle. A Goldendoodle is easy to train and can adapt to changes, making it the best option for a reptilian companion.

2)   Teach Your Dog Some Basic Commands

Generally, some simple commands like “leave it,” “quiet,” “sit,” and “stay” can help keep your reptile safe. So make sure you train your pup to follow your commands, especially when it is distracted, without using an aversive-based method. These commands will stop your pup from lunging at the terrarium or aquarium.

3)   Observe Your Pup’s Behavior

You are the only one who can judge your pooch and are in a better position to detect signs of aggression. Therefore, you should observe how your dog behaves when around smaller animals—knowing how your pet responds to commands when introduced to smaller animals matters a lot. This will help you pick the right reptile; after all, there are some huge reptiles that can intimidate your dog.

4)   Create a Dog-Free Space for Your Reptile

Try and create a room for the reptile enclosure in a place where your dog can’t reach. Keeping them close for a very long time can make your reptile squeamish and aggravate your dog at the same time. Therefore, you should pick a room that your pup isn’t allowed to visit and place the terrarium on a high table where the dog can’t reach. A room with a door can come in handy in this situation.

How to Introduce Your Reptile to Your Dog

Dogs naturally know when a new creature enters their territories; therefore, you must do the introduction properly. Positive interaction between the two is mandatory for the survival of your reptile. So if your dog loves children and interacts with small dogs and chickens, it will respond to your reptile.

Before introducing the reptile to your dog, you should put it on a leash. Next, let it sniff the enclosure, and if it ignores your lizard, you’re good to go. So make sure you reward your dog for keeping calm. But if your dog barks or whines, you should reprimand it and get it out of the room. Repeat this procedure later, but if the problem persists, then it means that they may never become friends. So you can either separate them completely or try introducing them later and see if it works.

Final Verdict

Unfortunately, there are many stories of our dogs eating some reptiles and getting sick. Therefore, proper introduction and creating a separate space for the two of them, even if they become friends, is mandatory. After all, leaving them together for an extended period is not good. Your dog’s instincts can kick in, and it may eat your lizard. So if you own aggressive pets, you should find a way to always keep them apart.