A somewhat hotly debated topic amongst bearded dragon enthusiasts, bathing a bearded dragon is often viewed as either totally necessary or NOT necessary at all!
Weird, right? The differing opinions typically stem around whether or not baths keep beardies hydrated and regular. You see, some owners SWEAR by weekly baths as they believe it encourages their bearded dragons to drink water or have a bowel movement.
On the flip side, some owners will tell you that they ONLY bathe their beardie to help with especially difficult sheds. These owners believe bearded dragons gain little to nothing from a soak as it is not an activity they naturally engage in.
So… how do YOU know if you should bathe your bearded dragon or not?
I recommend just sticking with your gut. I myself am pro bathing bearded dragons because I think it not only is one of the EASIEST ways to keep them hydrated, but also helps with bowel movements, and provides one of MANY fun bonding experiences for you both to enjoy!
I have always been fortunate enough to have beardies who love their bath time! And I’ve found that getting them started young really helps develop this fondness.
One word of advice though… if you are going to take away anything from this article make it that you MUST watch your bearded dragon while they’re in the tub.
Supervision is KEY. I don’t care if you’ve filled the tub only an inch, you need to be there observing them. Bearded dragons can aspirate water into their lungs easier than you think. This can not only lead to drowning, but can also cause other health issues like Upper Respiratory Infections.
So, bottom line? Be present and be diligent.
Now, with all of this being said… let’s dive straight in to answering all your
What Temperature Should the Water Be to Bathe a Bearded Dragon?
When bathing a bearded dragon, aim to heat the water up to be lukewarm. Ideally, water that is around 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit is good. Use about the temperature you would to bathe a baby. The water should feel warm but not hot and certainly not cool either.
How to Dry a Bearded Dragon After a Bath
Naturally, you may be wondering what the best way to get your bearded dragon dry is after their bath. After all, you DON’T want to leave this little stinkers wet considering how disadvantageous that can be for their health!
In fact, you’ll want to get them at least 75% dry and back in their vivarium as soon as possible to bask under their heat lamp. Beardies are cold blooded so they really on heat sources and not their own bodies to generate warmth.
When they’re wet and in a room that is much cooler than their vivarium, things can feel pretty cold to them whereas to us they would otherwise feel normal. Just something to keep in mind!
Wrap them gently in a soft towel and lightly press to absorb excess moisture on their body. Try not to rub as most beardies dislike it. If your beardie doesn’t seem to mind it, just make sure to run with the direction of their scales. You can wrap them up like a burrito and even snuggle them while you wait for them to dry!
I will say though… with babies you need to be EXTRA CAREFUL since their arms and legs are SO fragile. I would actually recommend drying them with a paper towel since you can kind of lose track of their bodies under a towel. All in all? Just be extra gentle to avoid any injuries.
How Much Water Should I Use to Bathe My Bearded Dragon?
You’ll want to fill the tub high enough that the water is right at your bearded dragon’s armpits, but well below their face. Bearded dragons can drown quite easily so it is important that their head can comfortably stay above water.
How Often Should I Bathe My Bearded Dragon?
Great question… although the answer will certainly vary some depending on whom you ask!
Some people will swear that 3 times a week is about right. Others will profess they give their bearded dragon baths daily. It really just depends on the bearded dragon in question and owner.
I do NOT recommend daily bathing unless your bearded dragon has become trained to only relieve themselves in the bath or they have a nasty habit of constantly getting dirty in their waste.
The ONLY reasons you should really bathe your bearded dragon are…
• They’re dirty
• They’re dehydrated
• They’re Shedding and/or Their Shed is Difficult
• They’re Brumating and You’ve Woken Them Up to Hydrate Them
• They’re Impacted
• You’re Treating an Open Wound
Now, of course you can totally indulge your beardie if they just LOVE their bath time. There’s certainly no harm in this.
With this all being said, as long as your bearded dragon doesn’t hate baths and become super agitated and stressed out in them, feel free to bathe them 2-3 times a week if your schedule permits or whenever one of the reasons above comes into play.
How Long to Give a Bearded Dragon a Bath
So, now that you know how often you should be bathing your bearded dragon, let’s discuss how long they should be allowed to soak…
You’ll want to let your bearded dragon enjoy their bath for about 15 minutes or so. If they LOVE bath time, you can let them enjoy it for 30 minutes, but I would not go any longer than this, especially if they’re enjoying multiple baths a week.
Are There Any Bearded Dragon Bath Toys to Improve the Bath Experience?
Want to make bath time extra fun for your bearded dragon? Why not add in some fun and safe bearded dragon bath toys! As long as the toys aren’t so small that the bearded dragon could swallow them, this is a great way to help your bearded dragon get a little more stimulation!
This can also help your bearded dragon take their mind off the bath if they don’t particularly enjoy it…
What if My Bearded Dragon Doesn’t Like Baths?
It is not uncommon to adopt a bearded dragon who, for whatever reason, hates bath time. Often time in the case of babies, you can slowly acclimate them over time and get them to tolerate baths if not enjoy them as they get older.
But, what if your bearded dragon is older or just never seems to come to enjoy their baths? What then?
Well, for starters, I would recommend you consider the level of emotional stress that the bath is causing your bearded dragon. Do they have a total freak out in their baths or do they just seem kind of annoyed?
If they’re freaking out, you should probably just stop bathing them all together. It won’t be worth the stress it’s causing them.
✅PRO TIP: If your bearded dragon HATES baths but you fear that they’re getting dehydrated, just mist them or drop water droplets on their snout a couple time a day.
You could also try placing a water dish in their tank. Just make sure this doesn’t raise the humidity too much.
On the flip side, if they seem to be just slightly bothered, perhaps reduce baths down to just once a week or once every other week. Or, just during sheds or when they need a cleaning due to soiling themselves. Use your best judgement.
Knowing the signs of a dehydrated bearded dragon will help you avoid unnecessary bathing that can lead to unwanted stress.
Bearded Dragon Bath Soap… Safe or Not Safe?
Depending on what exactly you’re reaching for, soap can help to get your bearded dragon cleaner. However, while your first instinct might be to reach for Dawn or some other popular brand of dish soap, I would actually advise AGAINST it.
You see, although Dawn claims they’re gentle enough for wildlife, their soap actually contains some pretty harsh chemicals that if brought into regular contact with a bearded dragon could definitely do some damage over time.
Bearded dragon absorb chemicals through their skin, which means they don’t exactly have to eat something toxic to feel the toxic effects. Because of this, you’ll want to use soaps that are extremely gentle and contain as few ingredients as possible.
In fact, in most instances I would actually advise against you using any soap at all! If your bearded dragon is extra dirty or perhaps soiled in their waste, just gently scrub them with a soft bristle toothbrush.
Should You Bathe Your Bearded Dragon While Shedding?
While not totally necessary, bathing your bearded dragon during a shed can help make the experience easier on them as warm water has been known to really help soften up and detach their old skin.
I would recommend soaking them for 15 minutes in warm water per day while shedding to help with the process. This will be especially helpful if they’re having a difficult or retained shed.
If you notice areas of shed that are struggling to come off, you can soak them in warm water and take a VERY soft toothbrush and very gently scrub the area for a few moments or so to help loosen the skin up. Again, this should be done VERY gently.
If the skin isn’t coming off after 20-30 seconds of gentle scrubbing let it be as it isn’t ready yet.
✅PRO TIP: These 2 products are extremely popular with readers for helping alleviate difficult sheds.
Now, if your bearded dragon hates baths but needs some help with their shed, you could always keep areas of their skin damp that are not coming off by applying a wet paper towel.
For instance, if they have a difficult spot of shed on their tail, try keeping that area alone wet and gently scrubbing.
In actuality, there are a ton of things that help a shedding bearded dragon, with giving them a bath being just one of them.
How Old Does a Bearded Dragon Have to Be to Take a Bath?
There’s actually no age a bearded dragon should be before having their first bath. While I would hold off on bathing hatchlings, you can certainly start bathing your baby and juvenile bearded dragons once they reach a couple months of age.
In fact, I would actually encourage you do this as it will likely increase the chances that your bearded dragon will enjoy bath time as they grow older.
You’ll be happy you started bathing your bearded dragon at a young age when you find they tolerate it quite nicely as an adult!
Wrapping Up Bathing a Bearded Dragon
I hope by this point you have a solid understanding of how to successfully AND safely bathe your bearded dragon. Again, if you are going to takeaway anything from this article I encourage it to be to always monitor and watch your bearded dragon while they’re bathing. The last thing you want is for any accidents to occur!
Also, I’d like to additionally encourage you to use your best judgement when it comes to bathing your beardie. If you suspect they are clean and hydrated, there isn’t really a huge need to bathe them. At the end of the day, do what YOU think is best as no one knows your pet better than you.