How to Clean a Bearded Dragon

How to Clean a Bearded Dragon

Regular cleaning is necessary to help keep your bearded dragon healthy and in a good mood. But cleaning not only benefits your beardie. By keeping your pet clean, you can also make sure that you don’t get any infection from handling it. However, keeping your bearded dragon clean is not an easy task. Here are some things to keep in mind when cleaning your beardie.

The one and the only way to clean your bearded dragon is by giving them a warm bath. It is also important to regularly clean and disinfect the beardie’s habitat. For instance, you should remove the feces and food leftovers from the enclosure, disinfect the terrarium’s surface and walls and sanitize the food bowls on a regular basis. For best results, consider using a combination of daily and weekly cleaning schedules.

Most bearded dragons enjoy taking a bath every so often. But, to keep them safe while giving them a bath, you should use the right tools and techniques. In this article, we’ll cover details about how to give your beardie a bath, including what tools to use, what to consider when developing a bathing schedule and a step-by-step guide to cleaning your beardie.

How often should you bathe your bearded dragon?

There is no set rule for how often you should shower your beardie, but typically once a week should suffice. Regular bathing helps keep your pet adequately hydrated. However, bathing isn’t the only source of hydration for your beardie. In the wild, bearded dragons often get enough moisture from the morning dew. The ideal frequency of bathing for a beardie in captivity depends on many factors, such as the weather condition, moisture level in the air, and how much water it drinks on a regular basis. For instance, in the summer months, you probably should bathe your pet two or three times a week.

When should you increase the frequency of bathing?

In certain situations, you may need to bathe your bearded dragon more often. For instance, if your beardie gets a skin disease, such as parasite infection, the vet may recommend a daily bathing schedule for your pet.

How long should a beadie bathe?

Typically, a bearded dragon should bathe for around 20 minutes. If, however, your pet is shedding or suffering from constipation, then the vet may recommend a longer bath time for your beardie. This could be half an hour or even a full hour.

Steps to bathing your beardie

When it comes to giving your beardie an enjoyable bathing experience, a little preparation on your part can go a long way. Before you start, keep all the essentials handy. For instance, you’ll need a bathtub, warm water, a mug or cup, a thermometer and a soft towel. Once you are ready, follow the below steps.

Step One: Choose the right bathtub

First of all, don’t use your own bathtub to bathe your beardie. It is common for a beardie to defecate in the bath. Often, their feces may contain the bacteria salmonella. So, using the same bathtub exposes you to risk of getting an infection. Ideally, you should have a separate bathtub for your reptile pet. Consider choosing a mini bathtub with high sides, so they cannot get away from the tub while bathing. For baby beardies, you can even use your kitchen sink.

Step Two: Clean the bath container

This seems obvious but make sure you clean the bathtub with water and vinegar mixture every time before and after a bath. Bearded dragons are very sensitive to chemicals, so it is always a good idea to avoid using any chemical cleaners, such as detergents and soaps.

Step Three: Fill the bath with just enough warm water  

Ideally, the depth of the bath water should be one inch or lower. Basically, the idea is to keep just enough water for the beardie to swim. But, you don’t want the water level to cross your pet’s shoulder, so they can enjoy the bath without any fear of getting drowned. Also, it is important to keep the temperature of the water between 90 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit. At this stage, you’ll need to use your thermometer to measure the water temperature.

Step Four: Place a rock in the water

Some bearded dragons love to swim in the water for a long time, while others prefer taking small breaks while swimming. Your job is to give them a solid surface, so they can get out of the water and climb onto a dry surface as and when they want. To that end, consider placing a rock at one corner of the bathtub.

Step Five: Put your beardie in the water

Once the setup is ready, now you can place your pet in the water for a bath. At this point, you should keep a close eye on your beardie to see if it is enjoying the process. If, however, your pet looks confused or still not ready for taking a bath, give it some more time to settle in. To help it read the situation, for instance, you can splash the water in the bathtub. That should help your pet fathom what’s going on and prepare mentally for the bath.

Step Six: Let the beardie bathe for some time

Now that you’ve placed your bearded dragon in the bathtub, your job is to just monitor them from a distance. Some beardies start splashing around the water immediately, while others may take some time to get acquainted. In either case, just watch them from a distance. You should not leave them unattended, as they might need your help anytime.

Step Seven: Clean your beardie

When your beardie climbs onto the rock, use a cup or mug to scoop water over its back and tail. However, if your bearded dragon is shedding, you can use a soft-bristle toothbrush to remove any loose skin from its body. Even otherwise, a gentle massage with the toothbrush would help clean the other body parts of your beardie, including the areas over its head, under its belly and chin. However, don’t massage the soft areas, such as its eyes and fecal or urinary openings.

Step eight: Dry your dragon and put it back in the enclosure

After you have taken your beardie out of the water, the next step is to dry it off with a soft towel. You can use any towel as long as it is clean and soft. Next, put the beardie back into the terrarium and switch on the basking light. Once a bearded dragon gets out of the warm water, it can feel cold. Therefore, it is important to give it the option of basking inside the enclosure.

Step Nine: Clean up the bathtub

It is always a good idea to clean the bathtub immediately after the bath. That way, you can remove any germs or bacteria from the container right away – not allowing them to stay back and gradually infect the area.

What if the dragon poops in the water?

A warm bath often helps in the bowel movement of bearded dragons. So, you can expect your beardie to poop in the water while getting a bath. In that situation, you should immediately remove the poop before it can contaminate the bath water. As a side note, bearded dragons usually don’t urinate in the bath water.

Can you bathe your beardie in the outdoors?

The short answer is – Yes, you can. But keep in mind a few things before you make that decision. First of all, make sure the weather condition in your area is suitable for taking the beardie to an outdoor bath. For instance, if the weather outside is extremely cold, then giving it an outdoor bath may not be a good idea. Secondly, try to avoid using any outdoor hose to bathe the pet. If you still want to do so, at least do not use high water pressure. Another problem with the use of an outdoor hose is that it is practically impossible to control the water temperature.

How to go about cleaning the beardie’s habitat

Just cleaning your bearded dragon isn’t enough. You should also regularly clean the terrarium. In addition to the daily maintenance cleaning, you should also give the beardie’s enclosure a thorough cleaning every week.  As part of your daily cleaning, consider removing the waste materials, any droppings and uneaten food from the enclosure. Also, change the drinking water and disinfect the water bowls daily. Your weekly cleaning schedule should include cleaning the enclosure inside out, replacing the substrate if necessary, and cleaning the accessories.

During the weekly deep cleaning session, you should shift your bearded dragon to a different terrarium. If you don’t have a separate enclosure, you can temporarily put your beardie in its bathtub. However, don’t put any water in the tub. If you can regularly clean your bearded dragon and its enclosure in a proper way as described above, you can keep your reptile pet happy and healthy for long.