How to Care For a Shedding Bearded Dragon
It’s natural for a Bearded Dragon to shed it’s skin as it grows. All reptiles go through the same process. One of the first signs that your Beardies going to shed is his color will dull and his eyes might seem more puffy than usual. Don’t worry it’s perfectly normal and a sign of a healthy shed.
Age will play an important factor in how often your Bearded Dragon sheds. Shedding will occur as often as every few months for younger dragons. Adult Dragons may shed once or twice a year.
If you are like me, you are probably thinking what can I do to help my Beardie. Well, good news there are a few things you can do to help your dragon.
Never Pull the Skin Off, or Peel The Skin
First of all, Resist the temptation to start pulling your Dragons shed off. Let nature do its work. They have evolved to be able to shed on their own. Removing the shed does cause them pain, infections, and may damage their new scales.
Of course, issues can arise when shedding. You will need to keep an eye on the tip of the tail, eyes, and toes. These are problem areas where the skin does not always come off easily. If left on this can have a constricting effect cutting off blood supply and causing swelling in the area, with the build-up of dead skin. If this is already an issue do not wait for the next shed. Bring him to a vet.
If he has stuck shed around the eyes or nose you can use a wet paper towel and dab at the skin, never peel it off.
The main cause of shedding issues is The undersupply of nutrition. I’d recommend giving him Fluker’s Repta Vitamin Reptile Supplement to help with future shedding, dust his crickets once a week with vitamins.
Mist Your Beardie’s Skin During Shedding
It’s always a good idea to mist your Bearded Dragon in the morning and evening, regardless of whether shedding or not. It simulates natural morning and evening dew. My Beardie loves to run around his tank after I mist him, licking up the droplets. While shedding I will mist him more often, It will help soften the skin making it easier to shed.
Give your Bearded Dragon a Bath
Giving your Beardie a bath every other day during shedding will help soften and loosen the skin. You will want to use lukewarm water, fill up to shoulder level, and let him soak for 15 minutes or so. If he really loves bath time you can let him soak for up to 30 minutes, I wouldn’t go any longer than this though.
Make sure to always keep an eye on your Beardie during bath time. Bearded dragons can aspirate water into their lungs this can lead to drowning or Upper Respiratory Infections.
If your Dragon has stuck or retained shed on his tail or toes, you can use a soft-bristle toothbrush in the bath to gently help the skin loosen. Don’t put pressure on the toothbrush just let it glide over his skin. In my experience, most Dragons seem to enjoy the toothbrush scrub.
Use a Shedding Aid
Shedding Aids are available to help condition and hydrate your Dragon’s skin. There is no downside to using a shedding aid every time he sheds, just an extra expense that is not always needed. It comes down to personal choice more than anything.
A favorite of mine is Zilla Shed-Ease. It will help shedding and promotes the development of healthy skin and makes the skin cast off easier. Just add to the bathwater and let him soak. Most of the time you will not need a shedding aid. Usually misting and frequent baths are enough.
Can you hold a Bearded Dragon while shedding?
Handling during shedding will depend on the individual Dragon. Some will get agitated during sheds and prefer not to be handled. Others will be un-phased.
One of my Dragons hates being handled while he is shedding so I just give him a bath every few days and let him be. My other one it doesn’t bother him one bit to be handled when he sheds. I take him out and let him run around on the carpet every day. He loves rubbing his belly on the carpet it Helps him lose his skin. In the end, every Dragon will act differently during the shedding process.
Why is my Bearded Dragon not eating?
Shedding can be a stressful time for your Dragon. It’s not unusual that he will experience a loss of appetite. Just keep offering food. It is usually nothing to worry about, sometimes Dragons won’t eat for days while shedding. When your Beardie finishes his shed he will become the cricket destroyer you knew before.
If you notice your Dragon eating his shed it might be a sign that he is making up for a deficiency in calcium. I would recommend that you LIGHTLY sprinkle his Crickes with Calcium powder (6 times a week). While the shed itself is harmless to eat, there is always the chance it may have been contaminated by fecal matter.
If you’re buying your crickets at the pet store. I recommend reading where to buy crickets online.
Dragons make great pets, and with the proper care, he will be with you for a long time to come. If you are new to Dragons would suggest reading about how to sterilize wood for your reptiles. please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information, leave a comment below.