Are you worried about stuck shed on your bearded dragon and wonder what the best way to help your pet out is?
A stuck shed may end up being a severe issue.
But we’re to help with this guide on how to take care of it and prevent it in the first place.
How Can I Help My Bearded Dragon With Stuck Shed?
Do not remove the stuck shed by pulling it off. You can aid your bearded dragon in removing the damaged skin but do not pull the unshed skin off. Doing so can damage an underneath layer of skin. Instead, your best bet is to put your beardie in a warm bath.
While pulling the stuck shed off is tempting, you will cause pain and injury to your beardie and create a bigger problem.
|Age||Frequency of Shedding|
|Hatchlings (0-6 months)||Every 1-2 weeks|
|Juveniles (6-12 months)||Twice a month|
|Adults (12-18 months)||About 4 times a year|
|Adults (18+ months)||Twice a year|
When Do Bearded Dragons Shed?
As a bearded dragon owner, it’s essential to understand what a normal bearded dragon shedding process looks like.
The body shed process can take a few days or even a couple of weeks.
Bearded dragon hatchlings often shed due to their rapid growth.
At this point, they are shedding their skin layers every week.
As bearded dragon ages, and they are between 6-12 months, their shedding will slow down to a couple of times a month.
Your adult beardie will shed every couple of months.
In addition, you may see the grey skin come out in patches rather than all at once.
You will notice that the skin becomes tight and turn white before the shedding begins.
Keep in mind; your beardie may show a loss in appetite before they begin shedding and may appear lethargic.
The shedding process is sometimes painful for bearded dragons, and the more they move, the worse they feel.
Consider handling them less during the process.
As your bearded dragon sheds, you may even notice their eyes bulging.
While strange, it’s completely normal.
Their eyes bulge to help loosen the skin around their head before shedding.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Shed?
First, growth will cause your bearded dragon’s skin to become tight and fall off.
It then will be replaced by larger portions of the skin.
A lizard’s skin doesn’t stretch like a human’s skin.
Secondly, your lizard has sensitive skin and can easily get damaged, which will require them to shed off the damaged pieces of skin.
Finally, don’t be surprised if you see your beardie eat its shedded skin.
While it sounds gross, it’s perfectly safe for them, pending their enclosure is clean and there is no chance fecal matter on it.
It is a great source of calcium and other nutrients.
In the wild, they do this, so predators don’t know where they have been.
Symptoms of Stuck Shed For Bearded Dragons
A stuck shed, also known as Dysecydsis, is when there is an abnormal shedding of your bearded dragon’s outer skin layer.
Knowing the warning signs can help you diagnose the problem before it gets too severe.
The spots likely to experience stuck shed are its eyes, top of the head, feet, belly of your dragon, and tail.
A common sign of a stuck shed is a shriveling up at the tips of tails.
It may even look like they are losing circulation.
Finally, if you notice dry, dull skin on your beardie, it indicates your pet is having a problem properly shedding.
Causes of Stuck Shed
Bearded dragons have had no problems shedding over millions of years in the wild.
This is why it’s so important to mimic their natural habitat when you set up their cage.
First, they require proper hydration, heat and light, and the correct substrate.
In addition, if your beardie’s enclosure is not clean, they are more likely to develop skin infections.
A bearded dragon’s basking spot helps them digest their food and process the much-needed nutrients.
Second, your bearded dragon needs a substrate in its tank.
Without it, they are more likely to develop a stuck shed.
Also, beardies need rough spots in their tank to rub up against, and without it, they will stop shedding too soon.
When the temperature and humidity levels are not at the correct level, your bearded dragon is more at risk of developing a stuck shed.
Finally, stuck shed occurs when a bearded dragon does not have the proper diet with the necessary nutrients.
A diet deficient in Vitamin B or Calcium is going to put your beardie at risk for stuck shed.
A multivitamin supplement is beneficial in ensuring your beardie is getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Sprinkle it over their food 3-4 times a week to ensure they get the proper dose.
How to Remove Stuck Shed From Bearded Dragons
Whatever you do, do not pull the stuck shed out.
You should never physically help with the skin removal process.
Warm baths are the best way to help remove stuck sheds from bearded dragons.
Aim for giving baths a few times per week and gently massage the stuck shed with a toothbrush.
Also, there are shedding aids on the market to help aid in the process.
If you go this route, I recommend using Zoo Med Repti Shedding Aid, which is great for lizards.
If you are still unable to remove the stuck shed, be sure to call your veterinarian to avoid any potential infections.
Also, check out our post on 7 ways to help bearded dragons shed for some additional shedding tips, and maybe your pet’s shed won’t get stuck at all!
- Aids in removing dry sheds from snakes and lizards
- Conditions your reptile's skin and provides a visible sheen
- Helps keep the skin moist and pliable
How to Prevent Stuck Shed On Bearded Dragons
Enclosures should also provide the correct amount of humidity and an ideal temperature to create a safe living environment.
Also, make sure you have plenty of textured logs and rocks for your beardie to rub up against.
Also, ensure they have fresh water daily.
They won’t just drink it but also bathe in it for hydration.
Regular baths can help prevent the stuck shed from occurring.
Also, if your beardie is currently shedding, consider misting them daily.
It will help keep their skin moist, and when they rub on their logs and rocks, it will make it easier for the skin to fall off.
Finally, ensure you are routinely cleaning your beardie’s vivarium.
You should be doing routine cleaning daily and a thorough cleaning once or twice a month.
Health Issues with Stuck Shed
If a stuck shed is not treated properly, your bearded dragon may experience severe health problems.
The stuck shed can cause infections, loss of limbs, restricted blood supply, or even death.
It also affects the eyes, even leading to blindness.
Tail rot is another side effect caused by a stuck shed.
Tail rot in reptiles causes the end of a beardie’s tail to darken in color and eventually rot away.
One stuck shed isn’t likely to cause significant problems for your beardie.
When the second shed fails, the skin underneath cannot grow as normal.
It will put pressure on the area, causing the tissue underneath to die.
If you see any significant side effects, it’s best to contact your reptile vet immediately.
While death caused by a stuck shed isn’t common, it can happen due to losing blood flow to a limb or tail.
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While you may feel like you are helping your beardie by physically removing the stuck shed, it’s essential to resist the temptation.
The best way to help is to provide a warm bath for them and allow the damaged skin to fall off on its own.
Prevention is key.
Keeping a clean environment and providing a proper diet will help reduce the chances of your beardie developing a stuck shed.