In the wild, bearded dragons don’t need to worry about their hygiene. They will usually stay clean from the rainstorm or the rivers and ponds that are nearby. However, in captivity, they are not able to bathe themselves. Over time, debris and other elements in their enclosure and the atmosphere will get on them. If left for a long time, it could build up and make them sick or cause them to have other health issues.
In this guide, we’ll go through the process of giving your bearded dragon a bath, how often to bathe them properly, and many other things related to bathing a bearded dragon.
Should I Bath My Bearded Dragon?
Giving your bearded dragon a bath has many benefits. For one, giving them a bath will help keep them hydrated. As they are in the water, most of the time, they will drink some of the water. This is especially true during the summer months when it’s really hot. Bearded dragons tend to get dehydrated quickly during hot weather. By putting them in water, it will help keep them hydrated.
Another reason why you should bath your bearded dragon is when they are shedding. As they shed, it will take a couple of days to even a week to completely shed their old skin. By giving them a bath, you are actually helping them shed faster. Bathing them during shedding will loosen and soften the old skin. Thus, it will make it easier for them to shed.
The third reason is to help clear impaction. Sometimes your bearded dragon may eat something too big and it may be hard for them to digest it. By giving them a bath, it could help clear impaction much quicker. Simply put them into the water and gently massage their stomach.
How Often Should I Bath Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons should be bathed 1-2 times a week. This is sufficient for most bearded dragons, but it will depend on the type of bearded dragon and the age of them as well.
Baby and Juvenile Bearded Dragons
At this age, the young bearded dragons should be bathed more often. Both baby and juvenile beardie can be bathed 3 to 4 times a week.
Bathing them often will help prevent dehydration from occurring.
Also, frequent bathing will help them with their shedding. Since young bearded dragons grow up fast, they will also shed more often.
Bathing will help make their old skin soft which will cause it to shed easily.
Adult Bearded Dragons
Adult bearded dragons won’t require bathing much often. 1 to 2 times per week is sufficient for them at this age.
The only time you should bathe them more frequently is when they are shedding. Like with the younger beardie, water will loosen up their old skin which will make it easier for them to shed.
Types of Bearded Dragons
If you have selectively bred bearded dragons, they will require special care. Leatherbacks and Silkbacks bearded dragons are bred to develop smaller scales or no scales at all.
Both of these breeds will require more frequent bathing than regular bearded dragons.
These breeds have scales on their back that are small and smooth to the touch. Leatherback bearded dragons get their names for only having scales that run along their backs only.
Due to this breed having fewer scales, their color will be more vivid and bright. The colors will become more enhanced after bathing.
For leatherbacks, you’ll want to bathe them 2-3 times on a weekly basis.
These breeds require the most attention. Bathing a silkback bearded dragons is important for their skin health and overall appearance.
Silkbacks are bred to have no scales at all. Their skin will have a smooth soft appearance, much like those of the leopard gecko.
Hydration is important for all bearded dragon species, but for silkbacks, it’s utterly most important.
Since silkies have no scales on their body, they require frequent bathing to help keep their skin hydrated. Their skin is extremely delicate and could easily tear.
When it comes to shedding, this bred shed more often than all of the other breeds. To help them with shedding, bathing is required often.
Due to their skin requirement, silkies should be given a bath 2-3 times weekly. If it’s during shedding, you can bathe them more often.
Bathing A Bearded Dragon
What do I need to bathe a bearded dragon?
Bathing a bearded dragon is simple. All you really need to bathe them is nothing more than a container that’s large enough to fit them. Also, make sure it allows them to move around.
Some people like to use the sink or the bathtub. If so, you’ll want to clean them thoroughly first before placing your bearded dragon in there.
How Hot or Cold Should The Water Be?
Fill the bath with lukewarm water. The temperature should be around 37 degrees Celsius / 98 Fahrenheit. Simply, if you can place your hands in the water without getting burnt, it’s perfect for your bearded dragon.
if it’s the summer, which is usually warm, you can fill the bath with cooler water. This will help them cool down during the hot summer months. Sometimes, if the water doesn’t get cool enough, you can two or three pieces of ice cube into the water.
How Deep Or Shallow Should The Water Be?
When filling the water, keep the water at their shoulder level. This will allow them to easily wade around the water and prevent them from drowning. This is for juvenile and adult bearded dragons.
For baby bearded dragons, you should keep the water level at their feet level. If this is their first time in the water, they may get nervous if the water is too deep.
How Long Should A Bearded Dragon Bathe?
That will depend on your bearded dragon. Some like water and can stay in the water all day long. Others don’t prefer to be in the water and will not want to stay too long or even at all.
Either way, you’ll want to keep them in the water for about 10 to 20 minutes. This will be enough to get them cleaned of debris and other things that are on their body.
For a beardie that loves water, if you leave them in there for a long time, make sure the water temperature doesn’t get too cold. After about 10 minutes, you can add more warm water to their bath.
How To Bathe A Bearded Dragon
Depending on your bearded dragon, it can be easy or difficult to give them a bath. Some will require more time to get used to the water, while others will just jump in the water right away.
To bath a bearded dragon, do the following:
- Start by gently grabbing them by their entire body with both hands.
- Slowly place them into the water and see how they react. If they are scared or nervous, they will run up your arm. If not, they will either jump and start splashing water around or sit there in the water.
- Let them play with the water for about 10-20 minutes.
- If you need to clean them, take your hand and splash some water onto them.
- Rub gently on their body to remove any debris off their body.
- After 20 minutes, take them out of the water and let them sit to dry.
- Once they are dry, place the bearded dragon back into the enclosure.
How To Bath a Bearded Dragon That’s Nervous
There is some bearded dragon that will get nervous at the sight of water. As you lower them into the water, they will quickly climb up your arms.
If this is the case, you’ll need to calm them first. One of the things you can do is gently place them near the water. Take their tail and submerge it into the water. Then gently splash water up to their back. Do this for a couple of minutes. If they seem calm, start to lower half of their body into the water.
If they start to get nervous after half of their body is in the water, pull them out, and repeat the above process again.
How To Bath A Baby Bearded Dragon
Giving a bath to a baby bearded dragon is easy and it doesn’t require anything special equipment. All you need is a container or use the sink in the kitchen. Make sure to clean it thoroughly first before putting your baby beardie in it.
Once it’s clean, fill the container with about an inch of water. You’ll want them to get used to the water first. If the water is any deeper, it may scare them and it could prevent them from ever going in the water again.
Slowly place your baby bearded dragon in the container and see if they are frightened. If not, leave them alone in the water and let them play around.
If the seem frightened of the water, take them out and put them next to the container. You can bath them by pouring water gently on them. In a day or so, try to put them in the water again. After a couple of times, they should get used to the water and will feel safe around it.
Can Bearded Dragon Swim?
Bearded dragons can definitely swim and some are a great swimmer too. However, it’s not actually swimming as a fish would. Their motion is more of those of a crocodile. They will inflate themselves to keep afloat and sway back and forth while using their tail to move forward.
This doesn’t mean you can drop just your bearded dragon in the water and leave them unattended. After a couple of minutes or so, they will begin to get tired. If they are unable to get back on land in time, they may drown.
If you do allow them to swim, make sure to keep an eye on them at all times.
Can you bathe a bearded dragon with soap?
While most soap manufacturers claim their soap is gentle enough for wildlife such as dogs and cats, that’s not the case for bearded dragons. Most of those soaps contain harsh chemicals that could do damage the skin of the bearded dragons over time. Therefore, it’s best to use no soap at all to clean your bearded dragon.
Can you bathe bearded dragons in tap water?
While it may seem safe to bathe them in tap water, it’s actually not. The reason why is due to chlorine being present in tap water. This chemical can cause damage to the skin of the bearded dragons. If you have no other choice, but to use tap water, make sure to use this Zoo Med ReptiSafe Water Conditioners, which can be found on Amazon. It will help removes chloramines and chlorine, detoxify ammonia and nitrites, and helps hydrate your bearded dragon.
Dan got started with his first reptile, which was a green iguana, at the age of 10. From there, he has raised many different species of reptiles. Besides caring for reptiles, he enjoys woodworking, playing basketball, and spending free time with my 4 wonderful kids.