The shedding process can be a difficult one for some bearded dragon and this means they often feel and behave differently to normal.
One question that comes up often is if bearded dragons itch while they are shedding? Or if this is just a myth?
In this post, we will take a deeper look and see if bearded dragons do actually itch when they shed, if so, what are the signs of an itchy bearded dragon and we will also look at ways to make your bearded dragon less itchy and have an overall better shedding experience.
So do bearded dragons itch when they shed? It is possible for Bearded dragons to itch when they shed. Not all bearded dragons will itch when they shed and this can largely depend on the individual and other aspects such as diet, hydration and having the correct tank setup.
Read On to Discover…
Do Bearded Dragons Itch When They Shed? (More Info)
As a bearded dragons owner, you will have to watch and aid your beardie to shed their skin numerous times over the course of their life.
The number of times they shed per year will decrease as they get older and they stop growing so the first 2 years really are where the majority of the shedding happens.
You always want your beardie to have the fastest and most pleasant shedding experience possible with no problems or complications.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and shedding can be a slightly unpleasant time for bearded dragons and other reptiles and it does mean they can become irritable and itchy.
Shedding for bearded dragons can be more difficult than for other reptile species due to the fact that reptiles such as snakes generally shed their skin all in one piece while, as you know, bearded dragons shed in patches.
This makes the process much longer and if they are itchy they will be itch for much longer periods too until they have fully shed their old skin.
If your bearded dragon is itchy when shedding then there are some things that are in your control to try and reduce and even stop this.
We will take a closer look at these shortly, first, let’s take a look at the ‘tell-tale’ signs of an itchy bearded dragon…
What Are The Signs That My Bearded Dragon Is Itchy Whilst Shedding?
When your bearded dragon is shedding you may notice differences in their behaviour.
This is normal and as we mentioned above, shedding can be a slightly stressful time for beardies so its common for them to behave differently.
Normal changes in behaviour for bearded dragons whilst shedding are…
- Sleeping More
- Puffing Up The Beard
- Loss Of Appetite
- Eye Bulging
- Rubbing Up Against Rough Surfaces
Out of these behaviours mentioned, the 2 that are most commonly associated with an itchy dragon are irritability and rubbing up against rough surfaces.
Now, let’s look at these 2 reasons more closely…
1. Becoming Irritable
Bearded dragons can become irritable when they shed if they are either sore or itchy.
If your bearded dragon is irritable then it could be a good indication they are feeling itchy due to stubborn shed.
They will often become snappy for no apparent reason and can even hiss at you when they would normally welcome and be glad to see you.
An irritable beardie will usually not like to be picked up either and will try to almost run out of your arms.
This is understandable, as any kind of touch to certain parts of their body can cause the itch to become worse or if the shedding area is sore then handling could be very painful.
2. Rubbing Up Against Rough Surfaces
You may also notice your bearded dragon rubbing up against rough surfaces in their tank whilst they are shedding.
There are 2 main reasons for this, the first is that rough surfaces will loosen the shed.
The second reason is that rubbing up against the rough surfaces actually relieves the itching sensation they are experiencing.
If you notice your beardie doing this then there is a possibility they are feeling itchy.
Can I Help My Bearded Dragon to Become Less Itchy When Shedding?
As an owner, there are lots of things you can do to help your bearded dragon feel less itchy whilst they are going through the shedding process.
- Branches & Rocks In The Tank
- Warm Bath
- Correct Tank Setup
- Good Diet
Let’s take a closer look at these reasons and see exactly what you can do to help your bearded dragon to shed…
1. Provide Rough Branches & Rocks
One of the best things you can do to allow your beardie to shed more easily and feel less itchy is to create a habitat with lots of rough branches and rocks.
This will allow them to naturally rub up against different places in their habitat and loosen stubborn shed constantly.
It will also relieve the itch that they are feeling and allow them to feel far less irritable.
This can make the shedding process much shorter and easier for your beardie as well as giving you a much happier dragon in the process.
You can check out our recommendation for good quality branches and rocks in our recommended tank accessories here…
2. Taking a Bath
Another good way to help your bearded dragon loosen stubborn shed and stop them from feeling itchy is to give them a bath.
Providing your beardie with a lukewarm bath will soften stubborn areas of shed and aid in a much smoother shedding experience.
You will usually find that your bearded dragon will enjoy the time in the water during this period in much the way as we enjoy a bath after a hard days work.
It’s actually a good idea to get into the habit of doing this around 2-3 times per week until the shed process is completed.
In addition to giving your beardie a bath, you can also mist them regularly too.
Misting your beardie has much the same effect that a bath does except it only takes a fraction of the time and can be done much more frequently.
Misting is a really good and effective means of loosening stubborn shed while relieving that itchy and irritable feeling.
If you aren’t sure exactly how to mist your bearded dragon then head over to our step by step guide that shares all you need to know about misting your bearded dragon…
4. Good Tank Conditions
We’ve just talked about things you can do to help your bearded dragon when they have itchy skin whilst shedding but there are also things that you can do that may prevent them from getting itchy skin in the first place.
The tank set up can influence how well your beardie sheds in general.
For example, if you set up your bearded dragons tank with poor UVB and incorrect basking temperatures then it’s going to be hard for them to shed their skin.
On the other hand, if these tank conditions are correctly in place then it will give your beardie a much better chance of shedding both fast and smooth.
You can head over to our complete tank set up guide here to see how we recommend setting up your dragons tank.
Or alternatively, you can go straight to our recommended lighting equipment to see what UVB, thermostats & more we suggest you use as well find out the best place to get it from…
Something that’s often overlooked is the importance of diet in how easily your bearded dragon will shed.
A diet that is full of nutrients and namely calcium will create a healthy skin that sheds well.
Hydration also plays a key role in the shedding process as dehydrated skin naturally becomes dry and itchy.
Consistently providing your beardie with access to water and a high-quality diet will allow the skin to become healthier and therefore make the shedding process easier and have far less chance of being itchy as a result.
Foods such as dandelion greens and mustard greens are great for adding high volumes of calcium to your dragon’s diet and forming healthy skin.
Did you know that there are so many nutrients in the shed skin of a bearded dragon that they will often eat it so they don’t waste its goodness?
In fact, we have just created a guide that explains why beardies eat their own skin and if you should let them do this…
Do All Bearded Dragons Itch When They Shed?
You may now be wondering if all bearded dragons feel itchy when they are shedding?
The answer to this is actually no, not all beardies itch, feel soreness or even have stubborn shed.
Some beardies just find the process a total breeze, while others just seem to find it a lot more difficult.
Some of this could be down to individual genetics but if truth be told, you really need to ensure your bearded dragon has everything in place both inside their tank and with their diet in order to give them the best possible chance of an easy and smooth shedding experience.
Should I Still Handle My Bearded Dragons When They Are Itchy & Shedding?
When your bearded dragon is both itchy and shedding it can be a bad idea to handle them too much.
As we have mentioned earlier in this post, when your beardie is itchy, they could also be sore as well and this can also make them irritable.
All of this makes it a better idea to leave your bearded dragon alone as much as possible and let them complete the shedding process.
Of course, there are times when you will need to handle your beardie and this makes total sense to do this, for example, when you are bathing them or cleaning the tank.
The main thing to remember is that you just need to keep handling to a minimum and be extra gentle when you do handle your dragon.
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