Bearded Dragon Care:

Tips for New Pet Parents

Did you just bring home your first bearded dragon? Congratulations — you made a friend for life!

Now that your friend is finally home, it’s time to brush up on the basics of bearded dragon care. There are all kinds of things to learn, like whether beardies like vegetables, how often they need their nails trimmed and how to choose a heat lamp. 

Here’s our bearded dragon care guide, including everything you need to know to become a reptile master!

Feeding Your Bearded Dragon

One of the most important things to learn about your bearded dragon is what they like to eat. 

Your bearded dragon is an omnivore, which means their reptile food can include plants and insects. A baby bearded dragon tends to eat more animal-based foods, while adult bearded dragons prefer vegetables and leafy greens. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, your pet’s diet should be roughly half plant-based and half animal-based.

Here's what bearded dragon food can look like:

  • Dandelion greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Collard greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Live food including different feeder insect varieties:
  • Crickets
  • Earthworms
  • Mealworms
  • Dubia roaches

Bearded Dragon Grooming

Once you’re all stocked up on roaches, crickets, vegetables and the occasional tasty treat, it’s time to take the next step in bearded dragon care: grooming. Your scaly friend may not have a fur coat like cats and dogs, but they still need a little TLC. Add these things to your reptile grooming routine:

Nail Clipping

A bearded dragon naturally wears their nails down by climbing around in their habitat. However, if your beardie’s claws become too long or sharp, you can trim them occasionally. Just don’t clip too much — bearded dragons have a small blood vein in their claws that will bleed if you cut too close to the skin.


Some bearded dragons love taking baths and others hate it. Either way, your scaly friend needs to spend a little time in the tub — the reptile-sized tub, that is! Fill your sink or a plastic container with warm water so the water line is below your beardie’s limbs. Don’t add any soap or shampoo, and only use a soft brush or cloth. After bathing, pat your bearded dragon dry and put them right back in their enclosure so they can warm up in their basking spot.

Most beardies only need a bath once or twice a month, but that depends on how regularly you clean the enclosure.

Habitat Cleaning

To make sure your reptile has a cozy environment to call home, create a cleaning schedule for your bearded dragon habitat. This helps you remember which tasks to do every day and which can be saved for a less frequent “deep clean.”

Here are a few things to do daily:

  • Check the water level.
  • Check the enclosure temperature.
  • Remove uneaten insects, including live roaches or crickets.
  • Scoop and replace the reptile litter.

Save these things for your weekly or monthly deep cleaning:

  • Sanitize reptile food and water bowls.
  • Change the enclosure’s substrate, including reptile carpet, sand or other bedding.
  • Wipe the inside and outside of the enclosure.
  • Check UVB light or heat lamp bulbs and replace them if necessary.
  • Clean your beardie's basking area.

Remember to wear gloves when cleaning any reptile enclosure, and always wash your hands afterward.

Treats, Toys and Tips

With the basics out of the way, it’s time for the thing all bearded dragon owners love: having fun with your pet! Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Can Bearded Dragons Learn Tricks?

Your beardie is one clever reptile. Just like a cat or dog, they can learn all kinds of tricks, like walking on a leash, coming when you call their name and even using the litter box (which makes it easier for you to clean their habitat).

One of the first things you can do is teach your beardie to come when they’re called. Start by giving them a treat every time you say their name. This will teach them to associate their name with snack time (something most bearded dragons love!). Next, start calling their name when you walk into the room containing their enclosure — they should come running to see you. Once your beardie does this regularly, you can take them out of their habitat and call them from across the room. The final test is to take them outside and call their name across the yard — and if they come to you, you’ll know your training exercise was a success.

Remember, small animals like bearded dragons might not be exactly like cats and dogs, but they can do lots of the same things!

Can You Decorate a Beardie’s Habitat?

If you want to accessorize your bearded dragon enclosure beyond including a basking lamp and reptile carpet, it’s time to become an interior decorator. With fun accessories like the Lizard Lounger, you can give your pet’s habitat a little personality and functionality.

Do Bearded Dragons Like Wild Bugs?

Although you may be tempted to catch garden insects for your scaly friend, it’s best to stick to roaches, crickets, mealworms and other creatures you can get from a local provider. That’s because wild-caught bugs could have been exposed to insecticides, which can make your beardie sick.

Do Beardies Like To Be Held?

You might not be able to cuddle a bearded dragon the same way you hug a big dog or a fluffy cat, but you can still spend time with your beardie. These scaly creatures like to be held and some even enjoy head or chin scratches. Just remember to take your time and research bearded dragon behavior so you know when your beardie wants attention and when they need a break.

Stock Up on Bearded Dragon Necessities

From crickets and calcium to UVB bulb options and habitat accessories, new bearded dragon owners have a lot to learn. The good news is that you’ll do it all in good company, because your scaly friend will be there every step of the way — and so will we.

That’s right: At Pet Supermarket, we’re always here to help you stock up on everything you need to keep your pet happy and healthy. Stop by your local store to find out what we mean when we say We Speak Pet™!

Pet Owner Guide to Caring for a Bearded Dragon

If you’re thinking of adding a bearded dragon to your family, consider these tips and a checklist for essential supplies from Pet Supermarket.

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