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What You Need To Know Before Owning a Bearded Dragon

Apr 22, 2023 | All About Animals, Ask a Vet, Exotic Pets


Bearded Dragon 101

Bearded dragons are an excellent choice if you’re considering a pet reptile! They’re docile, friendly, and relatively easy to care for. Not to mention entertaining! However, before bringing a bearded buddy home, there are just a few things you should know.


Are Bearded Dragons Good Pets?

Bearded dragons are a very popular choice for reptile enthusiasts and first-time pet owners alike. Between their laid-back personality and relatively easy care requirements, they make great pets for people new to the reptile-keeping world. They’re also highly social animals and enjoy interacting with their owners. Just think of them as scaly dogs!


What Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

A bearded dragon’s diet should primarily consist of vegetables and insects. Some of the best insects include mealworms, crickets, and roaches—YUM! When it comes to veggies, bearded dragons aren’t too picky. They enjoy collard greens, mustard greens, and dandelion greens. However, it’s important to note that bearded dragons shouldn’t be fed any sort of fruit, as it can cause digestive issues down the line.


Bearded Dragon Lifespan

Compared to other reptiles, the bearded dragon lifespan is relatively long. On average, bearded dragons can live for 8-12 years with proper care. However, some have been known to live up to 20 years! Providing your bearded dragon with a clean environment, a wholesome diet, and regular veterinary care can help them live a long, happy, healthy life.


Bearded Dragon Tanks

One of the most important things to consider when taking on this pet is its enclosure. Bearded dragon tanks must be large enough to accommodate their size while also providing ample room to roam about. The minimum size for an adult bearded dragon tank is around 4 feet long by 2 feet wide by 2 feet tall. The tank should also have proper heating and lighting to provide a comfortable environment for your bearded dragon to bask and maintain a healthy body temperature.


How To Bathe a Bearded Dragon

Though it may sound silly, bearded dragons require regular bathing to help keep their skin clean and healthy. However, bathing should not be done daily as it can strip their skin of natural oils and cause irritation. Instead, establish a monthly or bi-monthly bathing routine, or bathe as needed if they get especially dirty. 

Here’s how to bathe a bearded dragon:

  1. Fill a shallow dish with lukewarm water. Ensure the water level is no higher than the dragon’s shoulders to keep their head from submerging.
  2. Gently place your dragon into the water. They may initially seem hesitant, so supporting their body fully and keeping them calm is important. 
  3. Allow your dragon to acclimate and soak in the water for 10 minutes or so. This will also help hydrate their skin and loosen any grime. 
  4. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub your dragon’s scales with reptile-safe soap, particularly in the areas more prone to dirt and debris. These often include under the chin and around their vent. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can damage the skin.
  5. Rinse your bearded dragon with clean water, ensuring all reptile-safe soap residue is gone. 
  6. With a soft towel, pat your bearded dragon dry. 
  7. Return your dragon to its enclosure and provide them with a warm basking spot to help dry off further.
  8. Reward with a treat! 


Safe to say, bearded dragons make excellent pets for those interested in reptiles or those looking for a low-maintenance companion. They’re extremely friendly, easy to care for, and highly social creatures, so you’ll never get bored! With the TLC (and regular dragon baths!), your bearded dragon will be part of the family for years to come. Many locations in our family of animal hospitals provide veterinary care for exotics and pocket pets. Click here to find a vet for your exotic pet!

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.