If you are thinking about owning a bearded dragon, you may have many questions including wanting to know if bearded dragons smell?
If you currently own a bearded dragon and you have recently noticed them smelling then you are sure to be curious as to why this is and how to stop it.
In this post, we will cover if bearded dragons do actually smell? If anything associated with your bearded dragon is likely to smell? and if so, how to eliminate the smells for good.
So, do bearded dragons smell? A healthy bearded dragon with good care from the owner shouldn’t smell. However, there are 7 reasons that can cause a bearded dragon to smell and they are:
- Not cleaning tank often enough
- Not cleaning urine often enough
- Not cleaning up faeces often enough
- Mouth rot
- Fungal infection
- Leftover food in the tank
- Poor substrate choice
Read On to Find Out…
Do Bearded Dragons Smell? (More Info)
A healthy and well kept bearded dragon shouldn’t smell and there’s no reason why your home can’t smell fresh and clean if you house a beardie.
Bearded dragons don’t have sweat glands as they open their mouths to regulate temperature and cool themselves down.
This means that they don’t produce the smells that build up and are often associated with sweating.
Of course, it’s possible that a bearded dragon can smell if they are suffering from some sort of illness or fungal infection (more on this shortly) but this isn’t something that should last a long time as it should be seen by a vet as soon as possible.
Poor husbandry or not sticking to a good daily/weekly tank cleaning schedule can also make your bearded dragons appear to smell but this is due to the tank they are living in and ultimately down to the owner.
Sticking to a good routine and being aware of when your beardie is ill will allow you to keep both your bearded dragon and their habitat smelling fresh at all times.
Let’s now take a closer look at the 7 reasons that could cause your bearded dragon to smell…
The 7 Reasons That Can Cause a Bearded Dragon to Smell:
Knowing the 7 reasons why your beardie could potentially smell will allow you to keep a clean, healthy and happy beardie as well as a fresh smelling home.
Check out the 7 reasons below…
1. Not Cleaning The Tank Often Enough
Sometimes it can seem like your bearded dragon is smelling but in reality, it’s actually their environment that’s the issue.
Beardies live in a glass tank which is essentially a toilet too. Over time even with daily spot cleaning the bacteria levels build up.
This bacteria can cause smells in the tank and even cause your bearded dragon to smell.
It’s advised to perform a full clean of the tank once per month. This will ensure that bacteria and smells don’t have a chance to grow and the tank will continue to smell fresh and be hygienic at the same time.
It’s a good idea to do the full tank clean at the same time every month, this way you won’t forget and it will become part of your monthly routine.
For example, you could do the full tank clean on the first day of every month or the last Friday of every month.
The main thing is to pick a day and time where you can be consistent and stick to it.
2. Not Cleaning Faeces Often Enough
If faeces isn’t removed from your beardies tank regularly then it will start to make the tank smell and this can also make your beardie smell too.
Bearded dragons often end up walking through their own poop and they are even known to eat it in certain circumstances.
You can find out exactly why bearded dragons eat their own poop and if you should let them do this in our fascinating guide here…
As a general rule of thumb, you should spot clean the tank for poop once per day.
Leaving it longer than this will cause the faeces to build up and make it more likely that your beardie walks in some of it at some point.
We actually recommend that you spot clean for poop 2-3 times per day as it only takes a minute or so and allows your dragon to live in a clean and fresh home.
3. Not Cleaning Up Urine Often Enough
Not cleaning up your beardies urine on a regular basis is certainly going to cause the tank to smell and create an odour and therefore pass on the odour to your bearded dragon too.
When bearded dragons urinate it’s in the form of a chalky and dry substance called ‘urate’.
Urate is often relieved at the same time as faeces and the two of them can be cleaned up together.
If not, urate can usually be identified with ease when doing a daily spot check and cleaned up as necessary.
Again, having a good daily spot-checking routine is vital and will stop any potential hygiene problems before they start.
Just like having a monthly tank cleaning routine, it’s also a good idea to do the same with your daily spot check.
This means trying to do the spot check at the same time each day. This could be the first thing in the morning or right after you finish work, but basically, you need a trigger that will allow you to remember to do it each day.
4. Fungal Infection
There are certain issues that can cause your bearded dragon to produce a smell.
One such issue is a fungal infection. The most common fungal infection in bearded dragons yellow fungus.
It’s usually easy to spot yellow fungus on your bearded dragon as you will notice a yellow/brown crust on their scales in small patches.
This crust can become larger if not treated so it’s important to take your beardie to the vets as soon as you notice any signs of fungal infection.
You may also notice other signs of fungal infection including:
- Random wounds
- Irregular shedding
- Restless behaviour
- Loss of appetite
If you have a good cleaning schedule and can’t pinpoint another reason why your beardie could be producing a smell, then it’s certainly worthwhile checking them for a fungal infection.
5. Mouth Rot
Another infection that can cause your bearded dragon to protrude a smell is mouth rot.
Infectious stomatitis or mouth rot is a bacterial infection of the mouth that directly affects the gums or jaw bone.
You will often notice a thick mucus around the mouth that looks somewhat like cottage cheese.
As you can imagine, this bacterial infection can smell but it will be pretty obvious once you notice the build-up around the mouth as to what is the cause.
There are lots of reasons why bearded dragons could potentially get mouth rot but most centre around poor dental hygiene and food choices.
Beardies are prone to tartar build-up if exposed to a high sugar diet that’s mainly achieved by offering too many sugary and acidic fruits.
6. Leftover Food In The Tank
Leaving insects in the tank after mealtime isn’t recommended for various reasons.
You should only feed your beardie as many insects as they can eat in a selected period of time (usually around 10 minutes).
After this time, you shouldn’t leave any unwanted insects in the tank. One of the problems with doing this is that insects hide and end up not being eaten.
They then often die a few days later hidden under the substrate and in between rocks and plants.
After a while, the insects will begin to rot and start to smell. This, in turn, will make the tank smell as well as your beardie.
Another thing to look out for is leaving veggies and greens in the tank for too long.
You should ideally provide your bearded dragon with fresh veg and greens on a daily basis and leaving them in the tank for days on end will result in the greens beginning to rot and smell.
Imagine having a bowl full of rotting cabbage in your beardies tank, this is sure to smell and cause hygiene issues.
The bottom line is to ensure that you stick to a good feeding routine with both insects and greens and this will prevent any possibility of rotting insects or greens in the tank.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if your bearded dragon ate only insects?
Well, we have answered that very question in our guide here…so you can see exactly what would happen if your beardie just ate insects and nothing else!
7. Poor Substrate Choice
Something that’s often overlooked is the possibility that poor substrates choices can end up smelling.
Many loose particle-based substrates such as soil or bark can smell and are also often treated with chemicals that give off extra smells too.
We never recommend using loose particle base substrates as they can cause impaction and are problematic overall.
There are many many choices of substrate that are satisfactory for beardies, however, we recommend using ‘sand mat’.
Sand mat is a rough sheet (almost like sandpaper) that can be cut to the size of your bearded dragon’s tank.
It doesn’t contain any loose particles, it’s great for their nails, looks and feels natural and doesn’t give off any smell.
Overall, sand mat is a great choice of substrate and one we recommend you use, you can check it out over at Amazon below…
- Sand Mat - Desert Terrarium Substrate
- Provides a natural desert look
Last update on 2022-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Is It Unhealthy For My Bearded Dragon to Smell?
If your bearded dragon smells sometimes it could be a sign of health issues or infection as we mentioned earlier.
For this reason, yes it can indeed be unhealthy for your bearded dragon to smell and therefore it should be something you look into straight away to find the route cause of.
In addition to this, your beardie certainly won’t want to live in a tank that smells so if this is the case it could increase their stress levels to live in a tank that’s unhygienic.
The bottom line is that if you notice any new and potent smells coming from either your beardie or their tank, it’s important to find out what is causing the issue as soon as possible.
Does Bearded Dragon Poop Smell?
Many people thinking of owning a bearded dragon ask if a bearded dragon’s poop smells? And if so does it smell bad?
This is a valid question as you should always try and find out as much about an animal before you decide if it’s a good fit for you including if a bearded dragons poop smells.
So does bearded dragon poop smell? Bearded dragon poop does have a smell, however, this is natural and it’s not overly potent. A bearded dragons poop will smell more or less depending on their diet. Another factor to consider is if the bearded dragon has parasites as this can increase the smell of their poop a lot.
If you notice that your beardies poop is smelling really bad all of a sudden then it could be down to a change in diets such as offering different insects and worms or a new variety of greens and veggies.
This should be monitored and taken note of as some changes just don’t sit right with your beardies digestive system.
You will also need to check their poop for parasites. If you do notice parasites, which can be common in bearded dragons, then you will need to book your dragon in for a vet appointment to get the issue sorted.
Does Bearded Dragon Pee Smell?
Understanding if your bearded dragon’s pee is supposed to smell or not will help you see if they have an underlying illness or infection.
It’s important to learn as much as you can about your bearded dragon so you can care for them in the best way possible.
So does bearded dragon pee smell? Bearded dragon pee does have a smell. The smell is mild but will become stronger if it’s left in the tank for a long time. They pee uric acid in a dry powdery substance rather than a liquid so it’s relatively easy to spot. It’s advised to do regular spot checks to keep the smell to a minimum and hygiene to a maximum.
It’s worth noting that bearded the pee of a bearded dragon is no worse than that of any other animal or reptile.
Any pee that is left without cleaning will eventually begin to smell and gradually smell worse and worse.
As long as you spot check your beardies tank at least once per day then the smell of their pee should never be a problem.
Does Bearded Dragon Food Smell?
Something that’s often overlooked when thinking about owning a bearded dragon is if their food smells? And if it will stink your house out?
This is a valid question and one that needs addressing as bearded dragons need to be offered a combination of both live insects and greens to be considered healthy.
So does bearded dragon food smell? The food you offer to your bearded dragon such as live insects can smell a little once the container is opened especially if they are gut loaded. As long as the insects are stored in suitable containers, the smell shouldn’t be overpowering or enough to make your home smell.
The main takeaway from this is that any food you offer to your pet is bound to have some sort of smell if you put your nose right up to the food, however, the insects you offer to your bearded dragon shouldn’t make your home smell if they are properly stored.
Does a Bearded Dragon Tank Smell?
Many new owners often worry about the likelihood of their bearded dragon’s tank smelling.
As we have talked about many times throughout this post, it’s possible for your beardies tank to smell but it’s also just as easy to keep it fresh and clean too.
So does a bearded dragon tank smell? A bearded dragons tank can smell if there are no daily spot checks or regular tank cleaning routine in place. If you keep stick to a regular cleaning routine there is no reason why your bearded dragon’s tank will smell at all.
Having a regular routine really is the key to keeping a fresh smelling tank in your home.
Daily spot checks are one of the most important things you can do to keep the tank bacteria and smell free as well as providing your beardie with a clean and safe habitat to live in.
Bearded dragons aren’t smelly reptiles so the smell of their habitat will ultimately come down to having good habits in regards to cleaning.
Recommended Reading: How to Pick The Correct Sized Tank For Your Bearded Dragon…
How to Keep a Bearded Dragon Tank From Smelling:
When it comes to keeping your bearded dragon’s tank clean and smelling fresh, there really isn’t any magic formula.
It will basically come down to sticking to a set routine that’s both attainable and practical.
Here is what we recommend:
1. Daily Spot Checks
You should spot check your beardies tank at least once per day for poop and pee.
We actually recommend you do this 2-3 times if possible as this will ensure your bearded dragon is less likely to step in their own poop and walk it in their water bowl etc.
It will give you the best chance of keeping things fresh at all times and it only takes a minute or two to do a spot check.
2. Weekly Clean
You should also give your bearded dragon tank a clean once per week. This clean should include the tank walls, decor and other habitat furniture.
This clean should be done with a damp cloth and no chemicals and is basically to keep on top of hygiene until the main clean.
3. Monthly Clean
Once per month, you should give your beardies tank a full clean so that it’s fully disinfected and sterilized.
This clean will include fully stripping the tank, cleaning all individual decor items and completely replacing substrate.
It’s important to do this full clean once per month as this really is the foundation of the other two.
If you want to know what products you can use to eliminate odours and keep the tank smelling fresh then have added a list of our favourite ones below…
Can I Use Any Products to Make Bearded Dragons Tank Smell Better?
When you are cleaning your bearded dragon’s tank you can use certain chemicals and products in order to keep the tank smelling fresh.
Depending on your setup, the products and chemicals we recommend may come in really handy.
Here are the products and chemicals we recommend you use to keep your bearded dragon’s tank smelling fresh:
- Easy to use and maintain
- ReptiFresh can last up to 12 months before needing replacement
Last update on 2022-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
We never recommend using loose particle-based substrate; however, if you choose to use this kind of substrate, then Repti-Fresh can help eliminate odours that occur.
You basically add it to your loose substrate of choice (for example sand) and it will neutralize odours that are produced from urine and faeces.
No-scent is great for eliminating any odours that are produced by urine and faeces.
You don’t have to worry about the chemicals inside this product as they are not harmful to your bearded dragon.
You can actually spray and wipe down dirty areas of the tank with your bearded dragon still inside as the product is 100& safe for them to be around.
No-scent neutralizes the odours and keeps the tank from smelling. This product is really good to use in weekly tank cleans to ensure smells are kept to a minimum.
This product isn’t necessary, but it can be a really good option for owners that are struggling with odours coming from their beardies tank.
What Should I Do If My Bearded Dragon Continues to Smell?
If your bearded dragon smells then you first need to ask yourself if you have followed the advice given in this article.
If so, and your beardie is still smelling then it would be a good idea to get them to the vets.
This is because, as we mentioned earlier, bearded dragons can sometimes smell due to fungal infections etc.
This means that no matter how much you clean their tank and have other good housekeeping habits, your beardie will continue to smell and also have bad health.
Always try and eliminate as many possibilities as you can and see what you are left with.
If a fungal infection or mouth rot etc is one of those possibilities, then it would make sense to get your beardie to the vets for a check-up and some advice as they can give you a more personalized opinion.
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