How to keep a bearded dragon cage from stinking

Bearded Dragon’s Cage Smelling Bad? 5 things to do

Here are some tips and ideas to keep a bearded dragon cage from stinking:

Regular cleaning: The most important thing you can do is to clean the cage regularly. Remove any uneaten food, feces, and other waste as soon as possible to prevent the buildup of bacteria that can cause odors.

Thorough cleaning: Every few weeks, thoroughly clean the tank with a diluted bleach solution to remove all bacteria. Make sure to wash everything with warm soapy water after the initial bleach to avoid any trace chemicals that may be harmful to your bearded dragon.

Use odor control products: Baking soda and activated charcoal can be used to control odors. You can sprinkle baking soda on the substrate or place a small container of activated charcoal in the cage.

Proper ventilation: Make sure the cage is properly ventilated to allow air to circulate. This will help prevent the buildup of moisture, which can lead to bacterial growth and odors.

Use a reptile-safe cleaner: When cleaning the cage, use a reptile-safe cleaner to avoid any harmful chemicals that may be dangerous to your bearded dragon.

Avoid using sand as a substrate: Sand can harbor bacteria and cause odors. Consider using a substrate that is easier to clean, such as newspaper or reptile carpet.

Causes Of Odor In A Bearded Dragon Cage

Several factors can contribute to an odor problem in a bearded dragon’s enclosure.

The primary cause is improper cleaning practices such as infrequent substrate changes or inadequate ventilation inside the enclosure resulting in waste accumulation, mold formation, and bacteria growth with decomposition causing an unpleasant smell.

Other causes may include using unsuitable substrates that hold moisture for too long periods or certain foods with potent smells.

Decorations and accessories animals are kept on may also become breeding grounds for microorganisms causing stench if not maintained appropriately.

Cleaning Schedule

Establishing a regular cleaning schedule for your bearded dragon cage is essential in keeping the odor under control. Depending on the size of your enclosure and the number of dragons you own, you may need to clean your cage anywhere from once a week to every other day.


A good rule of thumb is to clean the entire enclosure once a week and spot-clean as needed throughout the week. Spot-cleaning involves removing any visible feces or urine from the cage as soon as possible. This helps prevent bacteria growth and reduces odors.

If you have more than one dragon in your enclosure, it may be necessary to clean more frequently. Increased waste production can lead to stronger odors, so it’s important to keep up with their messes.

Areas that Require Frequent Cleaning

When cleaning your bearded dragon’s enclosure, there are specific areas that require extra attention. These include:

  • The Substrate: the substrate should be spot-cleaned daily and completely replaced every few weeks or when it becomes soiled or smelly.
  • The Food Dish: any leftover food should be removed daily, and dishes should be thoroughly washed with hot water and soap at least twice a week.
  • The Water Bowl: the water bowl should be emptied, cleaned with hot water and soap, and refilled every day.
  • The Decorations: Different decorations require different cleaning methods depending on the material they are made of. Be sure to follow proper cleaning instructions for each item in the cage.

A regular cleaning schedule will help reduce odor buildup in your bearded dragon’s enclosure. By paying extra attention to these specific areas, you can create a healthy and odor-free living space for your dragon.

Proper Ventilation

A poorly ventilated cage can create an ideal environment for bacteria and mold growth. These microorganisms contribute to the unpleasant odor that emanates from dirty or unclean cages. Proper ventilation helps to remove stale air from the cage, allowing fresh air to circulate in and out of the enclosure.

In addition to removing bad odors, proper ventilation also helps to regulate temperature and humidity levels within the cage. Excess heat and humidity can contribute to bacterial growth, which leads to foul odors.

Tips for Improving Ventilation in the Cage

Here are some tips for improving ventilation in your bearded dragon’s cage:

  • Add an exhaust fan: Installing an exhaust fan at the top of your bearded dragon’s enclosure can help remove stale air more efficiently. This will allow fresh air into the enclosure.
  • Use screen panels: Screen panels on windows or doors can also help improve airflow in your house or apartment. This will encourage better circulation within your bearded dragon’s room.
  • Clean filters regularly: If you’re using an air filter or purifier within your home, make sure you clean it regularly per manufacturer instructions. Clogged filters cannot perform optimally leading to poor circulation inside your home.
  • Avoid overcrowding: Overcrowding a cage can block the air from flowing freely, making it harder for stale air to escape and fresh air to enter. Make sure you give your bearded dragon plenty of space to move around and breathe.
  • Use mesh or wire: If you’re using solid walls or doors in your bearded dragon’s enclosure, consider replacing them with mesh or wire materials. This will help improve ventilation and allow fresh air to circulate easily.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your bearded dragon’s cage is well-ventilated, free of bacteria and mold growth, and an overall pleasant place for your pet to call home.

Appropriate Substrate

Choosing the right substrate for your bearded dragon’s cage is crucial in reducing odor. Different substrates have varying degrees of absorption and retention of moisture, waste, and bacteria. For instance, sand has been a popular substrate for a long time; however, it can trap bacteria and fungi that create odors.

Moreover, some substrates can stick to your pet’s feet or tongue while eating and cause impaction – a severe digestion problem that can lead to death. Thus, it’s essential to consider the texture of the substrate and how easy it is to clean when selecting one.

Reptile carpet is durable and easy to clean but may retain odor if not washed frequently enough. Paper towels and newspaper are cheap options that are absorbent but require frequent replacement.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Substrate

Reptile carpets are best suited for bearded dragons because they’re soft on their feet when moving around the cage. Additionally, they offer better traction than tiles or smooth surfaces like plastic since reptiles don’t have any suction pads on their feet.

The biggest advantage of using reptile carpets is that they’re easy to clean – just throw them in the washing machine with hot water. Newspapers offer an excellent option for reducing odor because they absorb moisture effectively due to their porous nature.

They’re also cheap compared to other options like reptile carpets or tiles. However, using newspapers can be time-consuming since you’ll need to replace them frequently.

Bearded dragons on tile substrates can easily get scratches on their bellies due to their rough texture; therefore, it’s not recommended as a primary substrate option but rather as additional basking areas within the cage. Sand isn’t ideal for bearded dragon cages because it can cause impaction, which can be fatal.

It also soaks up urine and feces, making it difficult to clean. Furthermore, sand creates dust that can lead to respiratory problems in both your pet and you.

Temperature and Humidity Control

One of the main reasons why bearded dragon cages can become smelly is due to high temperatures and humidity levels. Bearded dragons require specific temperature ranges, depending on their age, that are necessary for proper digestion, metabolism, and growth.

Additionally, they also need a certain level of humidity to keep their skin hydrated. The optimal temperature range for adult bearded dragons is between 80-85°F during the day and around 70°F at night.

For juvenile bearded dragons, the ideal temperature range is between 100-110°F during the day and around 80-85°F at night. It’s essential to monitor the temperature in your bearded dragon’s enclosure using a thermometer.

The optimal humidity level should be around 30%-40%, which can help prevent respiratory infections and reduce odor in their enclosure. However, high humidity levels can lead to bacterial growth and mold formation.

Tips for Controlling Temperature and Humidity Levels

To maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels in your bearded dragon’s cage:

  • Use basking lamps or heat mats to regulate temperature.
  • Ensure that any heating equipment you use has a thermostat controller.
  • Place a hygrometer inside your pet’s enclosure to monitor the relative humidity.
  • Use a reptile fogger or humidifier if necessary.
  • Keep water bowls away from heat sources as it will increase evaporation.
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows or using fans as required.

By following these tips, you can maintain ideal temperatures and humidities without contributing excessive odor within your bearded dragon’s enclosure.

Dietary Considerations

Bearded dragons are omnivores and require a balanced diet of protein and vegetation. However, certain types of food can contribute to odor buildup in their cage.

For example, feeding your bearded dragon too much meat or fish can cause a strong, unpleasant odor in their waste. Additionally, feeding them certain types of vegetables such as Brussels sprouts or broccoli can cause gas which also contributes to the smell.

Tips for feeding your bearded dragon to reduce odors

To minimize the odor in your bearded dragon’s cage, there are some tips you should consider when it comes to feeding. First, make sure you’re providing a balanced diet with the appropriate amount of protein and vegetation. Avoid overfeeding meat or fish.

Instead, try offering leaner protein sources like chicken or insects such as crickets or mealworms. Also, consider offering vegetables that are low in sulfur such as carrots or green beans instead of those high in sulfur like cabbage or cauliflower.

Another tip is to feed your bearded dragon smaller meals more frequently rather than one large meal once per day. This will help reduce the amount of waste produced at any given time and ultimately decrease the odor buildup in their cage.

Always make sure to remove uneaten food from their cage promptly as it can quickly start to decompose and produce unpleasant odors. By following these dietary considerations and tips for feeding your bearded dragon, you can significantly reduce the smell coming from their cage while still providing them with a healthy diet they need to thrive.

Cage Accessories and Decorations

Adding accessories and decorations to your bearded dragon’s cage can be a great way to provide them with enrichment and make their living space more visually appealing.

However, these items can also contribute to odor buildup if not cleaned properly. It’s important to evaluate any new items before adding them to the cage and regularly clean existing ones.

Evaluating accessories and decorations that may contribute to odor buildup

When selecting accessories and decorations for your bearded dragon’s cage, consider if they will create any additional areas for waste or food debris to collect.

Items with small crevices or multiple parts can be difficult to clean thoroughly, potentially contributing to odor over time.

Tips for selecting accessories and decorations that are easy to clean

When possible, choose accessories and decorations that have a smooth surface without many small crevices or complex parts. Smooth surfaces are easier to wipe down with a disinfectant cleaner, reducing the likelihood of odor-causing bacteria accumulating over time.

Additionally, consider materials such as plastic or ceramic that are non-porous and won’t absorb odors as easily as other materials like wood or natural stone. To further reduce odor buildup from cage accessories, try rotating out different items regularly so you can thoroughly clean them before using them again.

Cleaning Techniques

Proper cleaning techniques are essential for maintaining a healthy and odor-free environment for your bearded dragon. Here are some tips:

Spot Cleaning:

Spot cleaning should be done daily or as needed to remove any feces, urine, uneaten food, or shed skin. Use a scooper or paper towel to remove any solid waste and wipe down the area with a disinfectant solution.

Deep Cleaning:

A deep clean should be performed at least once a month or more frequently if necessary. Remove all substrate, accessories, and decorations from the cage.

Wash them in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly before drying them completely. Clean the cage itself using diluted bleach or vinegar solution, making sure to rinse it thoroughly and dry it completely before returning the substrate and accessories.


Maintaining a clean bearded dragon cage is critical for your pet’s health and happiness. By developing a regular cleaning routine that includes proper ventilation, appropriate substrate selection, temperature control, dietary considerations, accessory selection, and effective cleaning techniques will keep odor away from your home while allowing your pet to lead a happy life.

The good news is that keeping your bearded dragon’s home smelling fresh isn’t too difficult in practice with the right steps in place.


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