The bearded dragon bath process is something you’ll need to be quite comfortable with if you’re an owner. Baths are very beneficial to these pet reptiles, so it’s something you’ll be doing regularly.
This guide will take out the guesswork and teach you how to give your bearded dragon a bath. Once you and your beardie get used to it, the entire thing will be a piece of cake!
Table of Contents
- The Importance Of Giving Your Bearded Dragon A Bath
- How To Bathe A Bearded Dragon
- How Often Should You Give A Bearded Dragon A Bath?
- Should You Use Soap?
- What If Your Beardie Doesn’t Like Baths?
- Closing Thoughts
The Importance Of Giving Your Bearded Dragon A Bath
Despite coming from dry and arid environments, bearded dragons can benefit from regular bathing. A dip in the tub can help keep your beardie in good health while also preventing the buildup of harmful bacteria or fungus.
Now, bathing can be a point of contention among beardie owners. Some swear by it and bathe their reptiles every other day! Others see no point in it all.
We fall into the former camp.
The truth is, there’s a lot to gain from bathing your bearded dragon. Sure, many can get by without baths. But there’s no harm in it if you get the job done right. So why not take advantage of the benefits?
If you’re still on the fence about the importance of bathing your beardie, here are some notable benefits that the activity can bring.
It Helps With Hydration
Beardies can have trouble staying hydrated. Most of the moisture they obtain comes from the food they eat. Daily mistings can help, too.
But aside from that, these lizards aren’t big drinkers. Even if you have a small dish in the enclosure, it’s rare to see them lap some water up.
Bathing can help keep your bearded dragon hydrated. When they’re surrounded by water, most beardies can’t resist taking a drink. It’s one of the first things they do!
Better Skin Health
With more water in their system, you may also see your bearded dragon’s skin health improve. Thanks to all that basking, these reptiles can experience dry skin.
Usually, that’s not an issue. But when it’s time to shed, dry and rough skin will only make the process more difficult. Regular bathing will keep the skin more hydrated and supple.
In times of shedding, a bath can help get rid of stubborn flecks of dead skin. Peeling skin off your beardie is a big no-no! However, letting them soak in the bath will make that skin slough right off.
Let’s face it: bearded dragons can be pretty dirty creatures. They practically live in their own waste. While most are smart enough to avoid crawling in it, others will get it all over the place.
Your dragon’s enclosure can quickly become a petri dish of bacteria and disease! When you pick them up, you’re spreading the bacteria and increasing the chances of infection or health problems.
Bathing will keep your lizard clean and fresh. Regular baths aren’t going to eliminate bacteria entirely. You’ll still need to disinfect and clean the enclosure regularly.
That said, baths can do a lot to significantly reduce the spread of bacteria. Your beardie will be healthier and have a lower risk of getting sick. Plus, they won’t smell bad!
Better Digestive Health
Believe it or not, regular baths can do wonders for the digestive system. A big benefit comes down to increasing your dragon’s water intake, since some extra hydration is always great.
This is especially important if your dragon suffers from impaction issues on a regular basis. Impaction from eating substrate or hard foods can be a potentially life-threatening issue. But when your dragon is drinking more water, objects are able to get through your dragon’s system much easier.
Expert Tip: A bath can also encourage your bearded dragon to go to the bathroom. If they’re having some trouble, this extra nudge can make a big difference!
How To Bathe A Bearded Dragon
Now that you understand why baths are good for your bearded dragons, let’s go over the process itself! While it is simple, there are some details you should be aware of.
Step 1: Fill The Tub With Warm Water
The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare the bathing area. Your easiest course of action is to just use your bathtub! Standard tubs have ample space and can keep any splashes contained.
If you’d rather use a separate container for hygiene purposes, that works too. Small plastic tubs or even your kitchen sink are viable options.
Fill your tub up with lukewarm water, but don’t fill it to the top. Safety is key here! Beardies can get water into their lungs pretty easily, so you want to keep the water level low to prevent drowning.
As a good rule of thumb, keep the water no higher than the rear knees. It’s about the same height as the front armpits. At this level, your beardie can soak safely while still keeping their head above the surface.
Step 2: Make Sure The Water Temperature Is Correct
Next, you want to make sure that the temperature is correct. Lukewarm water between 85 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Anything hotter than that and you run the risk of scalding your dragon.
Treat bathing your beardie like bathing a baby! The water needs to be lukewarm so that it’s comfortable and doesn’t surprise your lizard in any way.
We recommend picking up a digital thermometer for this, so you’re not relying on your senses alone. What could be comfortable you might be out of the safe zone for your beardie.
Step 3: Place Them In The Water And Let Them Get Comfortable
Once everything is set up and the water is at the right temperature, place your dragon in the bath. If this is your first time bathing your beardie, don’t be surprised if you encounter some resistance.
This may be a new experience for your lizard, so take things easy. Let them relax a bit in your hand. While you’re doing that, move the water around a bit so that they can see it.
Then, place them in the water! Give your bearded dragon a moment to get comfortable. Let them investigate on their own so that they know there’s nothing to fear!
Expert Tip: Some beardies will splash around and drink. Others will sit still. Whatever the case may be, let them adjust at their own pace.
Step 4: Clean Them
Now, it’s time to get cleaning!
You don’t need a ton of tools or products to get the job done. In fact, we recommend keeping it simple. All you need is a soft-bristle brush (a toothbrush works just fine).
Use the brush to gently rub them down. Don’t scrub or apply excess pressure. Brush in the direction of the scales and touch up all areas. The only parts of the body you need to avoid are the eyes and cloaca. Everything else is fair game.
Using a small cup or spoon, rinse your beardie clean. Be gentle here and avoid dousing your dragon. This is especially true around the head. A few drops here and there will do the trick.
At this point, you can let your beardie soak. Give them ample time to drink water and relax. Aim for about 15 to 20 minutes of soaking time. Just make sure to keep an eye on them the entire time.
Step 5: Dry Them Off
After they are done soaking, lift them out of the bath and take some time drying them off.
You can use a paper towel or a soft towel. The best choice for you is all up to personal preference.
Whatever you use, gently blot the skin to remove excess water. Don’t apply too much pressure. You should also avoid any rubbing motions. Keep it gentle and enjoyable.
Then, wrap your beardie up like a burrito to dry off more. The goal is to get rid of as much excess moisture as possible.
However, you also need to be relatively quick. Bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals. The transition from lukewarm water to a cool room can be a bit jarring for them.
This means you want to dry them off quickly and get them back under a basking light as soon as possible.
How Often Should You Give A Bearded Dragon A Bath?
Generally, two to three baths a week is best. Sticking to an established routine like that will help your beardie take full advantage of the benefits bathing has to offer.
That said, you can also bathe your beardie more frequently if you wish. Daily baths are a bit overkill, but you can provide more baths if your dragon is particularly filthy. In times of shedding, an extra bath or two every week may help the process along as well.
Should You Use Soap?
It’s best to avoid using any soaps or cleaning detergents. Even so-called “animal-safe” products are not good for your beardie.
There are a couple of reasons for this:
First, soaps will ruin the water. Remember: beardies love to drink during a bath. If you’re using soap, your lizard is bound to ingest some!
Secondly, soaps have chemicals that could harm your dragon. No matter how natural or organic the formula is, you could encounter some problems. Bearded dragons absorb chemicals through the skin, so you need to keep the bathwater clean.
All you need to clean your beardie is a soft brush and clean water.
What If Your Beardie Doesn’t Like Baths?
Not all bearded dragons are going to enjoy baths. And since the emotional well-being of your beardie is very important, you’ll need to assess their experience before you make bathing a regular thing.
If you have a young beardie, acclimating them to the process isn’t too difficult. Just start early and go slow. The more you expose your dragon to baths, the more comfortable they will get.
The same goes for adult bearded dragons, but it may take a bit longer to get them comfortable. Keep baths short and consider infrequent baths in the beginning.
Start with bathing them only once a week. You can then gauge their comfort levels moving forward if you want to increase frequency.
If, for whatever reason, your beardie never gets comfortable with bathing, don’t push it. Some bearded dragons will get angry or freak out in water regardless of how often they are exposed to it.
Expert Tip: Some common signs that your bearded dragon isn’t happy with the bath are a black beard, frequent squirming, and puffing up.
If this is the case with your dragon, it’s probably not worth pushing them any further. The last thing you want to do is cause undue stress. Instead of bathing your lizard, you can look for alternatives like misting and providing a water dish.
Learning how to bathe a bearded dragon is nothing to be scared of. Once you get familiar with the process (and get your pet used to it), it will become second nature to both of you.
Stick to the simple process we listed above and don’t overthink it. For most owners, bath time is actually a lot of fun!