Why Does My Bearded Dragon Skin Smell?

Are you wondering why your bearded dragon’s skin has an unpleasant odor? You’re not alone! Many bearded dragon owners have experienced this issue and are left wondering what could be causing it.

The truth is, there are a few different reasons why your bearded dragon’s skin might smell, but don’t worry – we’re here to help you figure it out!

One of the most common reasons for a bearded dragon’s skin to smell is an unclean enclosure. Bearded dragons produce waste, which can build up and create a foul odor if it is not cleaned up regularly.

But fear not, this problem can be easily solved by spot-cleaning your bearded dragon’s enclosure daily and doing a full cleaning at least once a week. However, there are also other reasons why your bearded dragon’s skin may have an odor, such as health problems.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the potential causes of a bearded dragon’s smelly skin and provide you with tips on how to keep your pet healthy and happy. So, let’s get started!

Common Causes of a Smelly Bearded Dragon

When it comes to the common causes of a smelly bearded dragon, unclean enclosure, urine and feces, and diet are some of the top culprits. A dirty and unsanitary environment can lead to bacterial growth, which can cause unpleasant odors. Additionally, a poor diet can also contribute to bad smells emanating from your bearded dragon.

Unclean Enclosure

Credit: Coma Niddy

Now that we have discussed the common causes of a smelly bearded dragon, let’s take a closer look at one of the most significant factors, an unclean enclosure.

An unclean enclosure can lead to a build-up of bacteria, which produces a foul odor in your pet’s habitat. Bearded dragons require a clean and hygienic living space to maintain their health and well-being.

Failure to keep their enclosure clean can lead to various health issues, such as respiratory infections and skin irritations.

Therefore, it is essential to keep their enclosure clean by regularly removing any uneaten food, feces, and urine. This will help to prevent the build-up of bacteria and maintain a pleasant odor in your pet’s habitat.

Remember, a clean enclosure is not only beneficial for your bearded dragon’s health but also for your nose’s health.

Urine and Feces

Credit: Aidan Hornsby

Now that we’ve covered the importance of keeping your bearded dragon’s enclosure clean, let’s move on to another common cause of a stinky dragon – urine and feces.

As with any living creature, waste elimination is a necessary bodily function. However, when it comes to bearded dragons, their waste can produce an unpleasant odor if not properly managed.

This is especially true for male bearded dragons, who tend to have more pungent urine due to the presence of a scent gland.

To prevent a smelly situation, it’s crucial to spot clean your dragon’s enclosure on a regular basis. This means removing any feces or urine as soon as possible to prevent them from lingering and causing an odor. It’s also recommended to deep clean the entire enclosure at least once a month to ensure all areas are thoroughly sanitized.

In addition to proper cleaning, monitoring your dragon’s diet can also play a role in managing waste odor. Feeding your dragon a balanced diet rich in fiber can help promote healthy digestion and reduce the likelihood of smelly waste. On the other hand, feeding your dragon an excessive amount of protein can result in foul-smelling feces and urine.


As the saying goes, “you are what you eat,” and the same goes for your bearded dragon – their diet can greatly impact their overall smell. If your bearded dragon’s diet consists of too many insects, especially ones with a strong odor like crickets, it can result in a pungent scent emanating from their enclosure.

In addition to insect-heavy diets, feeding your bearded dragon overly ripe or spoiled fruits and vegetables can also contribute to their foul odor. It’s important to ensure that their food is fresh and properly stored to avoid any unwanted scents.

Consider incorporating more leafy greens and vegetables into their diet to balance out the protein-heavy insects and reduce any unpleasant odors. A well-balanced diet not only improves your bearded dragon’s health, but also their overall scent.

How to Prevent a Smelly-Bearded Dragon

To prevent a smelly bearded dragon, it is important to maintain a clean enclosure by regularly removing waste and providing a balanced diet.

By keeping the habitat free of excess food and feces, the risk of unpleasant odors is reduced. Additionally, it is advisable to use a substrate that is easy to clean and disinfect to further prevent odors from accumulating.

Clean the Enclosure Regularly

Now that we know the common causes of a smelly bearded dragon, let’s talk about how to prevent it. One of the most important things you can do is to clean the enclosure regularly.

A dirty enclosure can lead to bacterial growth, which can cause unpleasant odors. Regular cleaning ensures that your bearded dragon’s environment stays fresh and healthy.

To clean the enclosure, start by removing all of the furniture, substrate, and decorations. Use a reptile-safe disinfectant to clean the entire enclosure, including the walls, floor, and any other surfaces.

Rinse everything thoroughly and leave it to dry completely before adding new substrate and furniture. Be sure to clean the enclosure at least once a week, or more frequently if it becomes dirty or smelly.

In addition to cleaning the enclosure, you should also spot clean daily. Remove any waste promptly, and clean up any spilled food or water. This will help prevent bacterial growth and keep your bearded dragon’s enclosure smelling fresh. With a little effort and attention to detail, you can keep your bearded dragon’s enclosure clean and odor-free.

Remove Waste Promptly

Now that we’ve delved into the root causes of a smelly bearded dragon, it’s time to take action and prevent this odorous situation from occurring. One of the most crucial steps in preventing a smelly bearded dragon is to ensure waste is promptly removed from their enclosure.

Bearded dragons, like any other animal, produce waste regularly. The longer this waste is left in their enclosure, the more it accumulates, leading to a foul odor that can be unbearable.

To avoid this, make it a habit to check your bearded dragon’s enclosure daily and remove any feces or uneaten food immediately. This not only helps to maintain a clean and odor-free environment but also prevents the buildup of harmful bacteria that can cause health issues for your beloved pet.

Remember, the key to preventing a smelly bearded dragon is to remove waste promptly. By doing so, you’re not only keeping your pet healthy and happy, but you’re also ensuring a pleasant living space for both your bearded dragon and yourself. So, roll up your sleeves and get to cleaning – your pet (and your nose) will thank you!

Feed a Balanced Diet

Now that we know the common causes of a smelly bearded dragon, let’s focus on prevention. One of the most important steps to keeping your scaly friend smelling fresh is by feeding them a balanced diet.

Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. It is important to provide them with a diverse range of food options to ensure they are getting all the necessary nutrients.

A diet high in protein can lead to a smelly dragon, so make sure to balance it out with plenty of leafy greens and vegetables. Additionally, avoid feeding your bearded dragon too many treats, as these can also contribute to an unpleasant odor.

What to Do if Your Bearded Dragon’s Skin Smells

Now that we’ve established why your bearded dragon’s skin might smell, let’s discuss some steps you can take to address the issue.

First and foremost, it’s important to check the enclosure for cleanliness – a dirty environment can lead to bacterial growth and unpleasant odors.

Check Enclosure for Cleanliness

Now that we’ve discussed how to prevent a smelly bearded dragon, let’s talk about what to do if you’ve already detected an odor emanating from your scaly friend’s skin. The first thing you should do is check the enclosure for cleanliness.

Bearded dragons are notorious for being messy creatures. They love to dig, eat, and explore, all of which can lead to a dirty enclosure. A dirty enclosure not only smells bad, but it can also harbor harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause health problems for your bearded dragon.

Make sure to clean the enclosure thoroughly with a reptile-safe cleaner and replace any soiled substrate. It’s important to do this as soon as possible to prevent the smell from getting worse and your bearded dragon from developing any health issues. Remember, a clean enclosure is a happy and healthy bearded dragon!

Check for Any Signs of Injury

Now that you have checked the cleanliness of the enclosure, it is time to examine your bearded dragon for any signs of injury or infection. Smelly skin is often a symptom of a larger issue, and it is important to take action before it becomes worse.

When examining your bearded dragon, look for any visible injuries or abnormalities. This can include cuts, bruises, swelling, or discoloration. In addition, pay attention to their behavior and appetite. If they seem lethargic or have a decreased appetite, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue.

If you notice any concerning signs, it is best to take your bearded dragon to the vet immediately. They will be able to diagnose and treat any health problems before they become more severe. Remember, early intervention is key to keeping your bearded dragon happy and healthy.


Now that we’ve covered how to prevent a smelly bearded dragon, let’s talk about what to do if you notice an unpleasant odor emanating from your scaly friend’s skin.

As mentioned before, the first step is to check the enclosure for cleanliness and make sure it’s up to par. But what if the enclosure is sparkling clean and the smell persists? In that case, it’s time to check for any signs of injury or infection.

While it’s not common for bearded dragons to develop skin infections, it can happen. Some signs to look out for include redness, swelling, and discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to take your bearded dragon to the vet as soon as possible.

Skin infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses, and can quickly become serious if left untreated. Your vet will likely prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medication, as well as suggest changes to the enclosure or diet to prevent future infections.

Remember, bearded dragons are hardy creatures, but they still need proper care and attention. Keeping their enclosure clean and monitoring their health regularly can help prevent any issues from arising. And if you do notice a funky smell or any signs of infection, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Your bearded dragon will thank you for it!


In conclusion, a smelly bearded dragon can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor hygiene, improper diet, or underlying health issues. To prevent a smelly dragon, owners should maintain a clean and spacious enclosure, provide a balanced diet, and regularly take their pet to the veterinarian for checkups.

If your bearded dragon’s skin smells, it is important to identify the root cause and take action to address it. This may involve adjusting their diet, improving their enclosure conditions, or seeking medical treatment.

By taking proactive measures to maintain a healthy and clean environment for your bearded dragon, you can ensure that they thrive and remain a happy and pleasant addition to your household.