Shedding is simply a part of life for bearded dragons and is something that you shouldn’t involve or concern yourself with… usually.
In fact, it is advisable that if your dragon is shedding, no matter how uncomfortable they look, do NOT under any circumstance pull their shed off for them.
While you might think you’re doing them a favor, you’re actually only damaging their new skin underneath.
So, if you can’t exactly pull the shed off… what exactly CAN you do?
Well, just keep reading to discover how to help a bearded dragon shed, the safe way(s)!
If you want to help your bearded dragon with their shed, your best bet is going to be giving them nice warm baths regularly, to help encourage the outer layer of skin to come off quicker.
You’ll want to fill the tub no higher than their shoulders and be in the bathroom to observe and make sure everything is okay.
Use lukewarm water and allow them to soak for 15ish minutes 2-3 times a week, or 3-4 times a week if the shed is retained/difficult.
If the shed is proving to especially be stubborn, try using a soft bristle toothbrush and GENTLY brushing your dragon while they’re in their bath.
How To Help A Bearded Dragon That Is Shedding
What if My Bearded Dragon’s Shed Isn’t Coming Off?
If the shed seems to be retained, don’t panic! There are a few measures you can take, many of which have already been discussed.
Try the following measures…
- Up bathing them to 3-4 times per week and use a gentle bristled toothbrush to gently brush them.
- Massage aloe vera or 100% cocoa butter on the rough shed (but keep them away from basking light so they don’t heat up the oils and burn themselves).
- If you fear that the old skin is leading to tail rot or an infection, dilute betadine in a bath and soak them. You can apply Manuka honey on the troublesome spots after they get out and dry off as well.
- DO NOT PULL THE SHED OFF
- Consider purchasing Zoo Med Repti Shedding Aid.
- If all else fails, seek out a herp vet.
What if My Bearded Dragon’s Tail Isn’t Shedding?
If your bearded dragons tail isn’t shedding as quickly as the rest of her body, it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern right out the gate.
The shedding process can take some time and certain areas of the body, like the tail, can indeed shed quite a bit slower than the rest of the body.
Now, with this being said, you are going to want to look for a few warning signs that could signal you might need to get involved…
Warning Sign #1: Their Tail Looks Like Its Shriveling Up or Losing Circulation
Obviously, a no brainer here, right?
If the tail seems to be shriveling up or your notice what appear to be rings around the tail, then this is likely due to the dragon beginning to lose circulation.
Your best bet at saving the tail is going to be applying aloe vera to it to help promote the shedding OR some owners have applied 100% cocoa butter and had miraculous results as well.
Whatever you do, do not apply anything and then let them immediately go under their heat lamp as this can cause the cocoa butter or aloe vera to burn their skin.
Warning Sign #2: Color on the Tail is Changing Abruptly
If your dragon’s tail seems to have changed color quickly it could be a sign that they are losing circulation.
At this point, you will want to help the shedding process similar to above by introducing aloe vera or 100% cocoa butter.
Simply apply it to the tail at least once a day for several days and keep your dragon away from the heat lamp while the solution is there to avoid it burning them.
What if My Bearded Dragon is Lethargic While Shedding?
It’s to be expected that there may be some behavioral differences during a shed, I mean, it isn’t exactly a fun time for your bearded dragon.
If your dragon’s appetite seems to decrease or they seem lazier or grumpier this is pretty normal behavior.
However, if your dragon becomes so lethargic that they seem to barely be moving around their vivarium or refuse to eat for more than a few days, get them a reputable reptile vet ASAP as there could be something more serious going on.
Many first time owners tend to freak out over their bearded dragons shedding, but in reality, this is just a part of nature and although a little unpleasant, doesn’t pose a risk to your dragon.
Just make sure to monitor the process and help them along with regular baths if need be. As long as you’re keeping a watchful eye, you can surely spot signs of trouble before it’s too late.