Have you noticed your bearded dragon having skin that appears darker or duller than its usual vibrant skin?
This is likely a sign they are getting ready to shed.
Beardie owners want to take all the proper precautions to help their beloved reptiles shed quickly and easily.
However, it might be a bit of a complicated procedure.
There are many things you may want to do to remedy a stuck shed and promote better skin health for your beardie.
Bearded dragons can shed more easily with added moisture through more frequent baths and misting. You may also want to invest in a shed aid, cocoa butter, aloe vera, or Manuka honey. Proper diet and enclosure can go a long way toward an easier shed. Never pull the skin off them with your hands.
If you need to help your beardie get rid of the loose skin, here are seven tips to help you through this process!
Give Bearded Dragons More Frequent Baths
The shedding process requires your bearded dragon to have moisturized skin if you want the shed to come off quickly and easily.
When you notice your beardie is dulling in color or darkening, you need to start giving them more frequent baths with warm water.
This helps to loosen up the dead layer of skin and helps them to shed more comfortably.
How do you give your beardie a bath?
You have a few different options.
Many bearded dragon owners like to utilize their bathroom sink or bathtub.
All you have to do is pull up the stopper for the sink to hold water.
Let the bathwater warm up a little bit, but do not make it too hot for your reptile to comfortably splash around.
The water should come up to their rear knees and no higher.
It could be very easy for your beardie to get water in their lungs while splashing, so keeping the water to a minimum is key.
If you don’t love the idea of using your sink or bathtub, you might want to get a separate container for giving baths.
Make sure it is big enough for them to crawl and splash around in a little bit.
It should be deep enough to contain the lukewarm water, even with their motion and playing around.
The first time you give your bearded dragon a bath, they may be a bit uncomfortable at first. Give them plenty of time to get used to this.
Eventually, it will feel like a more natural process for them, and most will come to enjoy the water.
Allow them to soak for fifteen to twenty minutes so the dead skin can loosen up.
This warm bath should help both juvenile and adult bearded dragons to loosen up the stubborn shed.
This is a great time to help them shed their outer skin.
Get a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush to massage their skin with.
Using the toothbrush, gently brush in the direction of their scales.
This should feel good to your beardie, so make sure not to be too rough or harsh with it.
There is no need to vigorously scrub their sensitive skin with the brush.
Make sure to avoid sensitive areas like the eyes and cloaca.
Once they have been thoroughly brushed, rinse off any dead skin with a cup of water.
Be extremely careful about pouring water over them near their head area.
When you take them out, make sure to gently dry them off, so they do not get too cold.
Dry them this way with an old towel or paper towels.
Be sure to gently pat them dry instead of rubbing them as you might do to dry off a dog.
You are not aiming to peel off the shed while drying.
You just do not want them to catch a cold from the sudden drop in temperature.
For more info, check out our full guide on how to give a bearded dragon a bath.
Use A Bearded Dragon Shed Aid
If you need help with your bearded dragon shedding, a simple way to encourage the dead skin to leave is by using a shed aid.
We recommend the Zoo Med Repti Shedding Aid available for a few dollars on Amazon.
It takes just a few seconds a couple of times a day to get the maximum benefits from this shed aid.
It comes in a convenient spray bottle.
All you have to do is mist your beardie with it in the morning and evening to loosen up the outer layer.
It works because it helps keep them moisturized, which makes loose skin more likely to come off.
This is used for patches of skin that are having a hard time coming off.
However, it might be good to get in the habit of using this if you are consistently having problems with your beardie shedding.
Juveniles shed fairly regularly, so you may want to preemptively mist them with this aid to keep their skin soft and pliable as much as possible.
This will help with the bearded dragon shedding process each and every time.
Use Cocoa Butter Or Aloe Vera On Your Bearded Dragon
As you already know, regular baths help your adult and baby dragons to shed because they help moisturize the skin.
Moisture is key in removing shed from all beardies.
If you do not have access to a shed aid and want to do something more after the bath, you might want to give them a rubdown with some 100% cocoa butter or aloe vera.
Take the time to massage this thoroughly into their skin while taking care not to accidentally peel off any shed appearing to be loose.
If this is your first time doing this, your baby bearded dragon may be a bit fidgety.
Eventually, they should become accustomed to this massage if you do it regularly.
After you massage it in, make sure to keep them away from their basking light.
The heat coming from these lights can heat the oil you just massaged into their skin.
In other words, it can heat up and burn your beardie.
Mist Your Bearded Dragon More Regularly
Does your beardie have a hard time getting enough water in their diet?
Many baby beardies are unaware of how to drink standing water from a bowl.
This can lead to dehydration and make it more difficult for them to shed their loose skin.
This is an underlying issue that can easily be addressed in just a few minutes each day.
Misting the bearded dragon skin will help them to become better hydrated and will loosen up stuck shed.
Be sure to spray them until their face is dripping with a few water droplets.
This encourages them to lick their lips and take in the water.
Meanwhile, the water on the rest of their body will soften and loosen up those dead skin cells which need to be sloughed off.
When it comes to misting your beardie, you need to do it several times a day during shed time.
Do your best to get in the habit of doing it morning, afternoon, and evening.
If you notice loose skin hanging on them without it coming off easily, increase the frequency you mist them.
Add in a few extra sprays each day until the shed is completely removed.
Frequent misting can help.
Proper Bearded Dragon Diet And Habitat
If you want to help the bearded dragon shedding process, then you need to ensure their habitat is ideal for the process.
Understanding the unique needs of your beardie is important to keep them happy and healthy.
The right conditions in their enclosure, such as tank humidity and the correct lighting, help them get rid of the loose skin.
Beardie owners are often overwhelmed by the small details of setting up their enclosure for the best chances of success.
Your beardie needs the right amount of UVB lighting to help with their shedding.
You also need to ensure the enclosure is not too dry, with humidity levels ranging from 20 to 40% measured by a hygrometer or humidity meter.
Their diet is also an important component of a healthy shed.
Make sure they have enough calcium from their meals.
A lack of calcium can lead to severe issues, including stuck shed, so be sure to give them an adequate source of this mineral.
You also need to give them some decorations in their habitat setup.
These are important for more than just aesthetics and hiding places.
Your beardie will likely use these items to rub up against and loosen up some of their shed.
This is a natural way for them to get rid of stubborn skin without any assistance from you.
Let Nature Help Your Bearded Dragon
Sometimes, you just need to be patient and let nature do its job with the shed.
Never pull the shed off yourself forcibly.
Every bearded dragon owner has been tempted to do this at one point or another.
You see those outer scales hanging from their body, and you just want to help them out.
What could it hurt to pull a little bit of the shed off on their behalf?
After all, it looks like it is already loose.
Allow nature to do its job.
The loose skin will come off on its own eventually if you are just patient enough to wait.
If you pull the shed off before it is ready, it can lead to cuts and infections.
Sometimes, the skin may appear loose but still be stuck in some areas.
When the skin is still attached, it will cause your beardie pain to remove it.
It might be tempting but refrain from helping beyond some of these other methods listed here.
Manuka Honey For Trouble Spots With Stuck Bearded Dragon Shed
If your beardie is starting to show signs of illness such as tail rot due to a stuck shed, you need to apply something to help with these problem areas.
After you give them a bath and gently brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush, you need to take them out and dry them off thoroughly.
Take care not to peel off the shed while gently patting them dry.
It will come off in the enclosure when they brush against the items inside if it is ready.
However, there may be a few spots that cause you some concern.
On these spots, you want to apply a thick layer of Manuka honey.
This supplement is a bit pricey, but it should last you for quite a while.
Manuka honey is made in both Australia and New Zealand by bees who specifically pollinate the Manuka bush.
It has additional health benefits compared to raw and pure honey, including the ability to help heal wounds faster.
Honey works to help heal up areas because it moisturizes dry skin and is antibacterial to kill any germs which may be taking over the area.
It should help them heal up damaged skin in a hurry.
When it comes to application, consider using a Q-tip to give you more control over where the honey is applied.
This also lessens the temptation to peel the stuck pieces of skin from the trouble areas.
There is no need to apply this all over the entire skin.
Rather, just keep to areas you’re concerned about other skin issues developing, such as tail rot.
If you plan to apply the Manuka honey to the affected areas, make sure to leave feeder insects out of their enclosure for a while.
The smell of sweet honey may attract them.
If you use feeder insects who can bite, they are likely to nip at your beardie to get a taste of the sweet honey you just slathered on their skin.
This can lead to more damage to the area, so it is best to keep insects away until you are done with the honey.