How to Give a Bearded Dragon a Bath

When you decided to get a reptile for a pet, your first thought was probably not of the need to give it baths. In fact, bearded dragons benefit greatly from regular bad. A warm bath can improve your bearded dragon’s digestion. Baths help with shedding and the general conditioning of skin. Some bearded dragons with special skin and scale morphs may have different bathing needs or need more frequent bathing.

Learn all of the benefits of bathing, as well as when your dragon is old enough for a bath and how often to bathe. Learn exactly how to set up your tub and what kind of container should be used, as well as what other tools are useful in bathing your bearded dragon. Discover what kind of behavior to expect from your bearded dragon in the tub, as well as interesting quirks like how much brighter the color looks after a bath. If you have a leatherback or silk back bearded dragon, learn what kind of special care they will need around bathing.

The benefits of bathing for bearded dragons are extensive. This is why bathing should be a regular activity for every bearded dragon. Dragons are ready for a bath from a very early age. Bath routines will be slightly different between younger and older dragons.

Setting up a bearded dragon bath is not difficult, but care must be taken to follow the required specifications for your dragon’s safety.

Most bearded dragons have anticipated behavior in the tub. Colors will likely be brighter. You’ll find you need to change the water sometime during the bath. If you have a silkback or leatherback dragon, learn exactly what you will need to do to provide the best bath for her.

Benefits of Bathing

There are many benefits to bathing your bearded dragon. Every bearded dragon owner should do it regularly. The first and most obvious benefit of bathing your dragon is to maintain hydration. Your bearded dragon will absorb water through her skin as she bathes. Most dragons will also drink the water as they bathe. Furthermore, bearded dragons are often stimulated to defecate by a warm bath. This can help a dragon that is becoming impacted or constipated. Baths also keep dragons moreregular overall. Regular bathing helps your dragon shed without any problems and keeps the skin and scales in good condition.

When is your Dragon Old Enough for a Bath?

Your bearded dragon will benefit from receiving regular baths from a very early age. As soon as your baby bearded dragon is willing to drink misted water off of her she is ready for a bath. Very young bearded dragons can be bathed in a bath right in their enclosure if they are resistant to being handled or not used to being handled yet. Baby bearded dragons that are okay with being handled can be bathed in an appropriately sized container with the correct level of water compared to their size, just like an adult dragon. It is more important to bathe baby bearded dragons regularly since they are more likely to become dehydrated or have issues with impaction.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dragon?

How often you need to bathe your dragon depends on her age and scale type. Dragons with normal skin and scales should be bathed at least three or four times a week when they are very young, and bathing can decrease as they get older. Once your dragon is a year old she will only need a bath once or twice a week. Some dragons really seem to enjoy baths so their owners choose to bathe them more often. It is up to you, but an adult dragon should not be bathed every day.

Dragons with smaller scales or no scales due to genetic mutation need more frequent bathing and different care. If you have chosen a dragon with these kinds of mutations research their bathing requirements.

How to Set up the Bath

Like all reptiles, bearded dragons can carry salmonella and other diseases. For this reason, you should not bathe your bearded dragon in a container that is used for other purposes. It is not ideal to bathe your bearded dragon in your family’s bathtub or sink. Neither should you bathe your bearded dragon in a container that is general use such as one used for laundry or other household tasks.

Rather, choose a designated tub that is escape-proof and free of any kind of contaminants. Keep this tub clean and for your bearded dragon’s use only. Choose a material that will be easy for you to clean, since your bearded dragon is likely to defecate in the tub.

Run warm, not hot water that is up to your bearded dragon’s elbows.  Never use chlorinated water or water with any additives.

Your dragon should be able to lightly touch her nails to the bottom of the tub so that she has a sense of stability and will simply bask in the water instead of trying to escape. Bearded dragons can swim very well, despite being desert animals, and some seem to enjoy the opportunity for exercise. If you’d like, provide a tub that is slightly tilted or has a gradient of height. This lets your dragon touch in some areas and have other areas deep enough to swim in comfortably.

Most dragons are not very active in the tub, choosing to simply drift and relax in the warm water. Keep an eye on your dragon to make sure nothing goes wrong and that they do not panic. Generally, it is a good idea to let your dragon soak for 15 to 20 minutes.  Check to see if your dragon drinks while she is in the tub since if she does she’ll be unlikely to accept misted water later on.

What Tools Will You Need?

You will need a tub that is designated for the task of washing your dragon. The tub should be deep and sturdy enough that your dragon will not be able to escape from it. It should also be easy to thoroughly clean and free of contaminants.

Have a soft bristle toothbrush on hand to gently brush away any shedding scales or dried on dirt or grime from your dragon’s body. Most dragons enjoy gentle brushing. The bristles are perfect to get debris out of those spines.

If you have a bearded dragon that does not have the normal scales, a toothbrush may be too rough even if the bristles are as soft as possible. Silk backs and leatherback dragons may benefit from a very soft washcloth instead.

How to Wash Your Dragon

When you first put your bearded dragon in the tub, she may immediately start drifting and relaxing or she may swim around the perimeter of the tub for some time. Your dragon should settle down and begin drifting after a lap or two. If she doesn’t you may need to reduce the depth of the water.

Once your dragon has drifted and soaked for 15 or 20 minutes, you can use the soft bristle toothbrush or cloth to gently wipe away any grit, feces, etc. Always wipe in the direction of your dragon’s scales. If your dragon has any skin or scales that is shedding, you can gently rub at them but never pull. If loose skin does not come off with gentle rubbing and a 20-minute soak, it is best to leave it and try again the next day.

Behavior in the Tub

Most dragons run around for a bit in a tub and then settle down to soak. It is expected and normal for your dragon to defecate while in the tub. For her to drink from the tub is also normal. It is not ideal for your dragon to do both of these activities at the same time. If your dragon does defecate in the tub it is important for you to empty the tub and replace with clean water.

Some dragons seem to enjoy swimming around in the tub, but most will simply bask. If you have several dragons of the same gender or who live communally otherwise, it should be no problem for them all to take a bath together. Most bearded dragons find a bath to be a mellowing experience.

Bring on the Color!

Whatever color morph your dragon is, her color and design is likely to look more exciting, bright, and vibrant during and after a bath. If you want to photograph your bearded dragon or show her off to friends for the first time, right after a bath is a great time to do so. The warm water softens the skin. This lets the skin show its best color. Brushing with a toothbrush removes any dead, dry scales that would otherwise dull your dragon’s color. Furthermore, the warmth of the water makes most dragons spread out. This causes them to show their color as they absorb the pleasant warmth.

Special Bathing Needs for Silkbacks and Leatherbacks

Depending on how reduced the size and number of scales your leatherback bearded dragon has, her care may be more or less difficult. Her needs may lean more towards the needs of a Silkback or towards a regular bearded dragon. Carefully measure your dragon’s appearance against the mutation standard for both breeds. This will help you decide how best to care for your particular dragon.

Silkback dragons require different care because they are entirely lacking in scales. It is more important to bathe Silkbacks weekly than it is for a regular dragon. Normal dragons can go a week or two without bathing without any problems. Silkback dragons need a weekly bath at a minimum. Many benefit from more frequent bathing, especially around shedding. After your Silkback bearded dragon soaks, look over her carefully for any loose or stuck skin. Gently rub with your fingers or a very soft cloth such as a microfiber cloth.

Check your bearded dragon very carefully for any injuries. Treat even the smallest cuts or scrapes with Neosporin daily until healed.

In addition to the weekly bath, Silkback bearded dragons also require a moisturizer to be applied at least once a week. The moisturizer should be completely natural, non-toxic, and food grade without mineral oils or artificial ingredients. Dragons that tend towards dry skin may have the moisturizer applied several times a week. Healthier Silkback dragons can have it applied only once a week.


Bathing is an important part of your routine with your bearded dragon. From the beginning of your bearded dragon’s life, regular bathing will be important to maintain health and hydration, skin health, and regular defecation. Once you and your bearded dragon have established a bathing routine, you will find it an easy and pleasant time for both of you.