To bathe my bearded dragon all I use is a plastic container of warm water, and two towels. Though if she gets something a bit yucky stuck to her I do use an old toothbrush as well, to get off the really tenacious grubs. Today I’ll show you exactly what I do when I bathe my bearded dragon, and share a quick video I made of the process.
- Where to bathe your bearded dragon
- Bath time preparations
- Tips for bathing your bearded dragon
- Getting dry and cleaning up
My bearded dragon, Jelly, is around a year old. She’s a large, confident dragon and not too fussed by the occasional dip in the water. But not all beardies are the biggest fans, so how you carry out this process will differ a little depending on your bearded dragon’s temperament.
Bearded Dragon Bathing Containers
I tend to use a RUB box to bathe my bearded dragon. She isn’t a big fan of bath days, but she’s not too upset by it so the type of tub isn’t a big issue. I choose one with relatively low sides that she can climb out of if she choose, and with opaque sides so that she can see out.
If your bearded dragon is a bit nervous of new experiences or unsettled by water, then use a box with high sides so they can’t shoot out. They can also find dark plastic sides reassuring if they are in a room that they aren’t familiar with.
Setting Up Bearded Dragon Bath Time
Choose a room with plenty of space, and ideally a hard tile, wood or lino floor. If you have any free roaming pets like cats or dogs, make sure they are secured in another room behind a door. Babygates won’t do in this case, because if your dragon makes a run for it when they are on the floor you need ot make sure they can accidentally end up through the bars and in with your larger mammalian pets.
I use a two towel system when I bathe my bearded dragon. Jelly has one towel that’s dedicated to drying her off, and I use another to keep the floor dry.
Jelly isn’t a splashy bather, but my old bearded dragon Ray loved a good swim and used to throw water several feet from the bath. The towel habit dies hard, and despite Jelly’s calmer approach to bath time I will continue to protect the flooring just in case.
Filling Your Beaded Dragon’s Bath
I recommend room temperature or a little warmed for your bearded dragon’s bath. When bathing Jelly I use my elbow to judge this, just like you would with a baby’s bath water. It should feel warm to the touch but not scalding.
It’s a good idea to have a big jug of hot water next to the bath to pour in during if the water starts to cool. Make sure when you add the hot water it’s a little at a time, and into an end of the bath away from your bearded dragon, rather than directly onto them.
When I put my bearded dragon into her bath I hold her with one hand under her abdomen, and lower her into the water slowly. I then scoop water with my hand, and let it run over her back so that she’s well covered.
If your bearded dragon has poop or much stuck to them, you can rub very gently with an old toothbrush. If using a new toothbrush go with the baby variety, as they have much softer bristles. Don’t push too hard, just gently work the area until it comes loose.
If your bearded dragon is nervous when you place them in the water then there are some things you can do to help them stay calm. The first is to make sure the water level is really low. Just covering their feet if they are particularly nervous, or part way up their legs.
Well handled bearded dragons can also find it really calming for you to place the palm of your hand under their belly and give them the impression of a bit of support.
Nervous bearded dragon behaviors include flattening of the body, head bobbing and darkening of the beard. Extremely upset beardies will even hiss and on incredibly. rare occasions bite if they are scared enough. If your bearded dragon is visably unhappy then cancel bath time and pop them back home. Unless it’s been recommend by your veterinarian as part of rehabilitation for stuck shed or something similar.
Pooping and Drinking
Bearded dragons often poop in their bath water, but they like to drink it too. Mostly they have a drink before they poop, but as soon as they have emptied their bowels do whisk them straight out before they have a chance to go for another, rather less appetizing, gulp.
Drying Your Bearded Dragon
Our beardies have warm homes with a direct hot spot, so they should dry off pretty fast. But they don’t always make great decisions. When I put Jelly back in her tank she will sit where I’ve left her under the heat lamp. But your dragon might have different priorities. A new bather or less calm bearded dragon might well want to hide after a handling and bathing session. They won’t warm themselves up as well as a result. Therefore I recommend to anyone putting their bearded dragon onto a towel after their bath, and softly patting dry before you put them back in the tank.
Cleaning Up and Biosecurity
Bearded dragons can carry some parasites that you don’t want to spread around. Even if they appear totally well. Therefore when you clean up their poop or even used water, you want to dispose of it safely. Don’t tip it out the backdoor or in with the trash. I recommend putting bleach in with the water, then disposing of it down the toilet. You can then clean the toilet through with bleach when you flush.
Clean the container with bleach based household cleaning products, and leave to air dry somewhere safe.