As a new pet owner, you might have a lot of questions. What could go wrong if I decide to bathe your bearded dragon? Do beardies like baths? How often should I bathe my beardie?
Beardies are becoming increasingly popular as pets, and if you own one, then what you must know is that bathing helps keep them clean whenever they’re dirty, which means you should only bring your pet into the water when he or she has gotten through their droppings.
One thing you should know is that the likelihood of your dragon liking bathing or not depends on their personality and also the way you choose to deal with it.
In this article, we’ll be debunking myths that come with bathing a bearded dragon, and we’ve got a step-by-step explanation of the process for you.
Do Beardies like baths?
Most bearded dragons don’t enjoy being in the water, and some do love to have a good soak in warm water. However, if your dragon has been staying in the water for too long, then it’s either their enclosure is too warm or the water helps them cool down enough to regulate their body temperature.
That doesn’t mean you have to always bring them into the water. If your beardie likes water, then bathing them every day would be an option. This is not true.
They don’t need bathing to stay hydrated because water doesn’t get into their bodies through their cloaca. Although drinking their bathing water might be beneficial because they haven’t been drinking enough in their enclosure, you must know that warm water is a muscle relaxant and that makes them release their droppings into the water. This isn’t a natural process unless it’s been advised by a vet, and getting them to drink that water isn’t safe either.
How do you bathe a bearded dragon?
But if you choose to start bathing your dragon a few times a week, what’s the right way to go about it?
Before we go into the details of explaining how the process of bathing a bearded dragon works, there are a few things you need to be prepared for:
- A sink/container. A sink works for a baby beardie and a container for an adult one. But don’t bring a dragon into your bathtub because your pet releases droppings into the water. A beardie’s droppings contain salmonella which can cause diarrheal reactions in your body. For safety purposes, get them their sink or container.
- A rock. This can be placed inside the container so your dragon has something to leap on to, in case they ever feel overwhelmed by being inside the water. This can happen in the case of a baby dragon that is yet to get used to the idea of bathing.
- Thermometer. You will need a thermometer to measure the temperature level of the water before placing your rabbit into the sink.
- A brush for cleaning them properly and getting dirt off.
- Paper cups for dousing their skin with water.
- A towel to leave in the bathing container so they have something to reach out to or for patting them dry after a bath.
If you’ve got those ready, then let’s get started with the first step:
Step 1: The first thing you need to do is to prepare their bathing area. Get their container or sink filled up with warm water that is between 86°-90°F. If the water is too hot, it might cause burns to the skin, and if it’s too cold, it’ll cause shock, which can make them avoid ever bathing again.
For depth, make sure it’s not too deep. 0.5-1 inch for baby dragons and 1-3 inches is preferable for adult dragons. After you’re done with that, slowly bring your bearded dragon into the water and let them get used to it.
Step 2: If your bearded dragon splashes around, then it means it’s loving it, and if it wants to get out, then that means it might not like it, but over time it’ll get used to it if it’s a baby dragon. Don’t, for whatever reason, leave your dragon alone. Bath time should always be supervised because if you fail to do that, it could cause your pet to start panicking or drown.
Start bonding with them during this session and get ready for a massage!
Step 3: Massage time includes getting a brush to scrub their skin and then dousing it with water, but be gentle with the brush as you don’t want to scrub too hard. Make them feel as though they’re getting something that rubs gently on their skin.
Next, place a rock in the bathing container so if they ever need to hop on something to feel safe or get out of the water, they have that readily available for them. And, during their bath, don’t get water in their eyes or ears. This is extremely important.
Step 4: Aim for 10 to 15 minutes because allowing your pet to stay for too long in water causes nothing but stress. The exception to this rule is, if your dragon loves it and doesn’t want to leave yet, let them stay. Whenever they’re prepared to get out, you’ll know because they’ll do everything to get out of the water.
However, the water can get cold if they stay for too long, so be ready to replace it. Secondly, if they stay for too long during the shedding period, that makes their skin heavier, and if that doesn’t get dried, it makes the skin susceptible to infections and bacteria.
Step 5: Get them a towel to dry off. This should be specially made for your dragon. Don’t rub too hard; just pat them a few times. Once you’re done with that, place them under their basking lights in the enclosure, which would help dry them off properly and help regulate their temperature back to their normal level.
This is not a perfect time to keep bonding with your dragon during this period because they need to bask under the lights. Towels or clothes don’t provide them with the heat they need.
Step 6: Lastly, get their sink or container disinfected. This is important because it deals with dealing with bacteria and other disease-causing microbes. Cleaning up every time they take a bath might get difficult considering the fact you need to bathe them a few times a week, but always make sure you do this as it is important for your pet’s hygiene.
And that’s really how to go about making your dragon clean again.
How often should you bathe your bearded dragon?
If your bearded dragon likes bathing, then two to three times a week will be your best option. If she doesn’t, once a week will help them stay clean again.
Again, if your dragon is shedding, a warm soak is necessary. This will help reduce the pain that comes with the process. Also, don’t pull on a shedding skin; allow it to fall off when on its own because pulling on it forcefully never helps your dragon. If anything, it brings discomfort to them.
Can I use soap to bathe my bearded dragon?
Humans need and use soap to stay clean, but never use this on a bearded dragon. Here’s your first reason: if you aim to get them hydrated before they get their droppings into the water, then how can you achieve that with soap water?
Secondly, soaps are made from chemicals that should never be used on a dragon as they can affect their skin and can be toxic to their overall health. So, while it can be understood that you need to use soap to help your dragon smell differently, it’s absolutely unnecessary.
What if a dragon doesn’t like bathing?
If you have a baby dragon that doesn’t like bathing, then you can carefully get them used to it. Over time, it’s going to be something they enjoy, but what if you have an adult dragon who, right from the beginning, never liked the idea of bathing and still doesn’t?
Then start by misting them with warm water to stop them from getting dehydrated, and if they could use a bath, get them into the water. Get them out as quickly as possible because you don’t want to force them to stay in the water when they don’t want to.
But, there’s no way to go about it if they’re adults, which is why it’s great to get your baby beardie started with bathing now because it’ll help them realize it’s mostly for their hygiene.
Can Bearded Dragons absorb water through their skin?
This is a myth. Although water enters the vent through the side of their tail, bearded dragons don’t absorb water through their skin. However, if you are trying to get your dragon to stay hydrated since most of them refuse to drink the water in their enclosure, then there’s a way to do that.
During their bath, get them a container filled with water. Make sure it’s so small that they can’t get into it, and they might try drinking it. You might also get them to drink before they release their droppings into the water or change the water after the droppings get into the water. The only downside to the other option is that it’s still not safe to drink because the sink or container hasn’t been properly disinfected.
Another great news is that your beardie doesn’t need too much water as they also stay hydrated through their diet and you can improve that by misting their veggies, but this all boils down to this: bearded dragons don’t absorb water through their skin.
Most bearded dragons don’t like baths, but the biggest benefit is keeping them clean while also keeping their enclosure disinfected and safe from bacteria.
Follow the steps above to achieve the best results, and to round this up, don’t leave them in the water for too long, and remember that all this is about making bathing a short and fun bonding session with your beardie.