How To Bathe a Bearded Dragon
Bathing your bearded dragon is a simple but vital part of the care process for your reptile friend, learning how to bathe your bearded dragon correctly helps during the shedding process as well as keeping your bearded dragon free from any potential hygiene issues.
So how do you bathe a bearded dragon? Simply add warm water to either a bathtub or a container capable of holding water, but be sure to check that the temperature is around 85F to 95F, higher temperatures may scald your bearded dragon, and any cooler can cause your bearded dragon to become very uncomfortable, also take care with regards to the depth of the water, this should be around knee height to the bearded dragon to prevent accidental drowning.
One important point to mention is to never leave your bearded dragon in a bath unattended, regardless of the depth of water, this is a task that only takes 15 to 20 minutes but you need to be present at all times to ensure the safety of your pet.
Bathing a bearded dragon is a very enjoyable task for both owner and your pet, but there are a few other points I want to mention in this article to make this task a safe and rewarding one for both you and your bearded dragon.
Water and Temperature Requirements
Younger bearded dragons generally require less water, as long as the water is around knee depth to the bearded dragon then this will be more than adequate.
Just make sure that you never put more water in than needed, bearded dragons can swim, and they do enjoy a splash around, but if they are “forced” to swim then it can make them feel very stressed.
Bearded dragons don’t really encounter large bodies of water that much in the wild, so although they can cope with swimming they simply much prefer a paddle instead.
One other point to note is that the water you use to bathe your bearded dragon should be chlorine free, most tap water has some element of chlorine in it, so it’s important to use a water conditioner which will remove it.
It’s also important to make sure the temperature is correct, the obvious point here is that we would never want to expose a bearded dragon to extreme temperatures as this would just scald them and could cause serious injury and even death.
As for the cooler temperatures, cold water can be very uncomfortable and can cause many issues for your bearded dragon since they have to thermoregulate their own body temperature on a regular basis.
Soaps and Cleaning Agents
Simply put, don’t use any standard cleaning agents that you might have in your bathroom, your bearded dragon could ingest these substances and they are particularly unhealthy for them.
Instead, just use dechlorinated water and nothing else that could irritate the skin of your bearded dragon or be ingested.
Bath time for a bearded dragon is actually a lot of fun for both your bearded dragon and us as owners, as long as they are not forced to swim and the water is nice and warm (not hot, not cold) then they will have a great time.
When bathing, it’s always a good idea to use a really soft brush to try and remove any food that they have stuck to them, or even substrate or insects, however, do not scrub them, just be very gentle and take your time.
Just to reiterate, the brush must be soft, rub the brush on the back of your hand or cheek to see how hard the brush feels, a brand new toothbrush I would consider a little bit too harsh.
If you are bathing your bearded dragon with hopes of helping them to remove a stuck shed then I would advise against trying to remove the shed yourself as this can be very painful and stressful for your reptile.
Instead, give him a nice warm bath, and be very gentle especially around the shed. The moisture from the bath and the water getting onto the shed will help, as well as the hydration your bearded dragon will receive in general.
If the shed is still on your bearded dragon when you remove him from the bath, then just dry him down gently and be very careful around the shed, don’t try to remove it yourself and just let nature do its thing.
If your bearded dragon is hydrated correctly and receiving regular bathing, then the shed will just fall off naturally anyway, regardless of how unsightly it seems.
Using a Cup
You can also use a cup to pour water onto your bearded dragon, however, don’t pour water onto his face or eyes, just stick to bathing him along his back and tail.
You will find that your bearded dragon will most likely enjoy splashing around anyway, so a little bit of moisture on his face he will be able to handle, just don’t pour water directly on his face.
When bathing your bearded dragon you will find that most of the time they really appreciate and enjoy the experience, you want to make this a positive one.
Drying Your Bearded Dragon and Warmth
Once your bearded dragon has received decent bathing for around 15 to 20 minutes then it’s time to take him out.
You want to make sure that you dry your bearded dragon as much as possible before putting him back into his enclosure, especially if it contains any loose substrate like sand that would stick to his wet skin.
Just take him out and dry him by dabbing him with paper towels and maybe a soft designated towel just for your bearded dragon.
Once he is dry, I then place him back into his enclosure right next to his basking lamp, it’s important for them to get back up to temperature quickly which will make them feel much more comfortable.
Do not ever scrub your bearded dragon hard, especially if they are shedding, this can be a stressful and sometimes painful process if you are not gentle enough.
How Often Should You Bathe a Bearded Dragon?
Depending on where you live it’s generally recommended that you bathe a bearded dragon once or twice per week.
If it’s particularly warm and sticky then it’s nice for them to receive a couple of baths per week, I live in the UK where it’s not really ever that hot, so I tend to bath them once per week.
Common sense is also needed here if your bearded dragon is particularly dirty, then just give him a nice warm bath regardless.
Should I Bathe a Bearded Dragon Which Is Struggling to Shed?
Absolutely! Bathing a bearded dragon that is struggling with the shedding process helps rehydrate your reptile and also loosens the shed in the warm water, however never attempt to remove the shed yourself, let nature do its thing!
Do Bearded Dragons Enjoy the Bathing Process?
If you follow the guidelines in this article then you will find most bearded dragons really enjoy a light splash in lukewarm water, just be gentle and never leave them unattended and you will both enjoy the process a great deal.