Bearded dragons are interesting, unique animals that, once adopted into your family, can quickly become your best friend.
While it may seem harder to bond with them compared to other pets such as cats and dogs, it’s not impossible.
Your bearded dragon loves to spend time with you, and they love being active in different ways.
Some bearded dragons really like playing with toys – it brings out their natural hunting instinct, after all.
Other bearded dragons like swimming in elbow deep (their elbows, not yours!) water. And most bearded dragons love running around playing.
That doesn’t mean that they have to be confined to their cage, however. Did you know that you can take your bearded dragon on walks? Yep, just like a dog or cat!
There are special leashes and harnesses designed just for your little scaly friend so that you can take them along with you to experience the world. Interested in learning more?
Here’s your complete guide to walking your bearded dragon, including why, how, and some of the best options for leashes and harnesses!
Why Should you Take Your Bearded Dragon on Walks?
Bearded dragons used to be wild animals, so they’re used to spending a lot of time outside being active.
Taking them on walks helps them use the energy they may have stored when they spend a lot of time in their enclosure.
Bearded dragons also need UVB to help them produce Vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of calcium during digestion for healthy bones.
While they can get UVB rays from the full spectrum light in their enclosure, the sun is the absolute best source, so taking your bearded dragon on a walk lets them bask in the sunlight and soak up all the UVB rays they need to be healthy and happy.
How to Walk Your Bearded Dragon
Before handling your bearded dragon and taking them outside, you need to make sure that you have a close bond with them and that they trust you.
Going outside can be stressful for your bearded dragon, especially if it’s the first time, and they’ll need to know that you will protect them.
Putting their harness on will also take a fair amount of handling, so your bearded dragon needs to be comfortable with you holding them.
If you’ve recently got your bearded dragon, or you don’t have the best bond yet, here is how you can build trust.
Understand your bearded dragon’s body language
Bearded dragons can’t communicate with us through our language or even sounds such as barks, growls, and meows like other animals such as cats and dogs.
That’s why, before you begin handling your bearded dragon and working with you, it is important that you take a little bit of time to brush up on your bearded dragon body language.
Since bearded dragons can’t talk to us, it’s our job to learn to understand them so that we can make sure that they are safe and happy, so that, if they are demonstrating signs of distress, you can help your bearded dragon.
Aggressive signs are some of the easiest to interpret. However, it is important to know that, just because your bearded dragon is aggressive, you should not stop handling them.
This will cause them to continue in their behavior because, first, they will never grow to trust you if you do not handle them, and, second, they will learn that aggressive behavior or excessive squirming during handling is the key to getting their way.
Instead, if your bearded dragon demonstrates aggressive behavior, buy some rubber gloves to wear until your bearded dragon is used to you.
Here are some aggressive behaviors that are commonly demonstrated in bearded dragons when they are distressed:
- Arched back
- Flattened body
- Opened mouth
- Whipping tail
Another common sign of distress in bearded dragons is arm waving. While it may seem cute at first, it can also be a sign of discomfort in the right context.
Context is hugely important because it is also sometimes harmless – in fact, a lot of bearded dragons use this as a sign of acknowledgement to show that they are not a threat to other bearded dragons and animals in their area.
Learn to handle your bearded dragon
Make sure that you wash your hands before you pick up your bearded dragon.
This will keep your bearded dragons safe from anything you may have been touching, and it will help remove any scents that could make your bearded dragon uncomfortable during handling.
Then, approaching from a non-threatening angle (read: don’t approach your bearded dragon from the head as they will think you are a predator trying to eat them) pick your bearded dragon up by gently scooping them up by their belly.
Make sure to support the entirety of their body, from their head to their legs to their teeny tiny toes, to make them feel more secure.
Let your bearded dragon get used to humans
When you’re not actively working with your bearded dragon, you can still build trust by placing their enclosure in an area around people, such as the living room.
This will allow them to get used to all the scents and sounds associated with your family so that they aren’t so startled when you begin handling them more often.
Purchase the Right Equipment
Keep an Eye on the Weather
Once you’re outside, you won’t be able to help your bearded dragon regulate their body temperature like you do in their climate controlled enclosure.
This means that you will need to check the weather before walking your bearded dragon. For him or her to be comfortable, it should either be in the 80s or 90s and sunny.
Don’t take your bearded dragon out when it’s too hot or cold or when the weather is bad.
Your bearded dragon isn’t a dog. They’re not going to stroll down the boulevard with you, and that’s perfectly okay.
Your bearded dragon, especially at first, will be content with just standing around in your yard and soaking up the sunshine.
Going outside for the first time can be scary too. Once your bearded dragon becomes more comfortable outside, they may want to wander around a little bit.
7 Best Bearded Dragon Leash and Harness Options
1) Ware Manufacturing Nylon Walk-N-Vest Pet Harness and Leash
This harness will also work with other types of leashes, however, so if you happen to lose yours, you don’t have to worry about buying another harness and leash set.
The harness is available in three different sizes – small, medium, large, and extra large – so you can buy the exact size that you need to fit your bearded dragon.
After all, full body harnesses aren’t a one size fits all type of product, especially when you take in account the size differences between bearded dragons of different ages.
The harness is designed with clips and velcros so that it is secure during walks but you won’t struggle to take it off once it is time to put your bearded dragon back in his or her enclosure.
The high quality, durable nylon is comfortable and stretchy, and it’s made to not fade in the wash. The metal D-clip has a small bell and attaches to the simple black leash that comes in the set.
One thing to take note of is that sizing does run a little small, so, when ordering, you may want to choose a size up for your bearded dragon.
Also, while the mesh is breathable and comfortable, you will need to be careful when putting it on and removing it to make sure that you don’t snag any of your bearded dragon’s spikes or their claws.
2) Vehomy Walking Lead Control Rope
Originally designed for turtles, this leash and harness duo can also be used on your bearded dragon.
The straps of the cross body harness are made out of a soft suede that is designed specifically to reduce wear and tear on a turtle’s shell.
This means that you can use it and be sure that your bearded dragon is comfortable and not experiencing any pain from hard plastic or other rough materials against their skin.
The harness is adjustable with a dorsal loop that makes walking and guiding your pet much easier.
Other types of loops can attach more directly to the body and can tighten the straps of the harness, putting strain on your bearded dragon and potentially being painful.
Since the loop is on the top and in the center of all of the straps, the tension is distributed and gentler on your bearded dragon.
The harness is bright yellow, as well, so it’ll get people’s attention to help prevent any sort of accidents or scares – after all, it’s not every day that other people see a bearded dragon just walking around in public.
It comes in two sizes – a small and a medium – so that you can pick the size that best works for you. The leash is a chain made of solid alloy.
On your bearded dragon, the harness is designed to wrap around their chest, in front of their front arms, and under their belly in front of their hind legs for added support and comfort during walks.
3) KHLZ US Adjustable Lizard Leash Bearded Dragon Harness
And do you want to know the best way to do it? Turn your bearded dragon into the closest thing possible to a real dragon by purchasing a harness with wings.
Although, with these, your bearded dragon will probably look more cute than intimidating. The harness is made of a soft leather to help protect your bearded dragon’s skin and wraps around the front.
Their arms go into the two arms holes on either side of the leather band. Then, it wraps around and connects in the back using an adjustable strap. This is also where the wings are!
The harness comes in a pack of three with three different sizes – small, medium, and large – to help you pick the size that best fits your bearded dragon without all the guessing or struggle to measure them while they squirm.
While this duo comes with its own leash, it will also work with any leash you have laying around!
It’s also budget friendly, with a high rate of customer approval for a variety of reptiles and bearded dragons of different sizes.
Just make sure to be careful when putting this on your bearded dragon!
The arm holes can be a little snug, so make sure that you don’t accidentally catch or snag their fingers and nails when putting them on.
4) SLSON Adjustable Bearded Dragon Harness
If flashy, maximalist wings are your style but you really like leather front harness, then don’t worry, there’s a product just for you too! The SLSON adjustable harness is very similar to the last one.
It has the same harness design and is made of soft handmade leather and nylon that are made to be gentle on your bearded dragon’s skin.
However, this harness doesn’t have the wings, and it is also only designed for medium sized bearded dragons.
SLSON’s definition of medium is a chest girth that is around 4-6 inches, so make sure that you measure your bearded dragon before ordering.
However, SLSON does offer different size harnesses in their store if you find that you need bigger or smaller than a medium.
The included leash is a piece of durable rope that is 6.5 feet long and attaches to the back of the harness with a small clip.
This is a great budget product, especially if you’re just starting out with walking your bearded dragon and aren’t quite sure yet if they will like it enough to continue.
It also has a 100% money back guarantee for life, so if something happens to your leash or harness, or your bearded dragon just doesn’t like walking, then you can return it for a refund.
This allows you to experiment without worrying about the investment!
5) SAYOPIN Adjustable Reptile Bearded Dragon Harness
If you have two bearded dragons and want to give each of them their own harness, or if you’re just looking for a backup in case one harness goes missing or you want to switch things up, then this is a budget-friendly pack for you.
This pack comes with two harnesses, one red and one black.
The harnesses are made of a soft leather and are designed to reduce the strain on your bearded dragon’s neck and throat, making walking an enjoyable, discomfort free experience.
The included leash is made of nylon and is connected to the harness with a stainless steel clip.
All materials are non-toxic and animal-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about any harsh chemicals or dyes rubbing off onto your bearded dragon’s skin.
You can also clean it with a damp cloth and allow it to air dry to make sure it is always clean for your bearded dragon to use.
One thing to keep an eye out for, however, is the fact that this harness is only designed to cover a chest girth of 0.5 to around 4.5 inches.
This means that this is a better option for baby or young juvenile bearded dragons rather than adults.
6) WATFOON Adjustable Bearded Dragon Harness Leash
The WATFOON lizard ropes have undergone repetitive testing to make sure that your bearded dragon is as comfortable as possible while you are walking him or her.
It is made from high quality super soft leather, durable and lightweight nylon rope, stainless steel swivel link and aluminum buckles to make sure that it is both non-toxic and animal-friendly so that your bearded dragon is as safe as possible.
It is also available in two colors. The total length of the included leash is five feet, and the harness is adjustable to help make sure that your bearded dragon is comfortable.
The leash has a front harness design, so it wraps around your bearded dragon’s chest and secures in the back, with holes for their arms.
This helps make sure that your bearded dragon is secure and won’t escape without putting a lot of strain directly on their sensitive throat and neck.
7) Serdokntbig Adjustable Reptile Lizard Turtle Harness Leash
This harness is another one of the crossbody ones which wraps around your bearded dragon’s legs and belly and forms an x on the back where you can attach the included leash – or any leash you have laying around, really.
The harness is adjustable and is designed to be gentle on even baby bearded dragons so that you can begin training them to walk on a leash at a young age.
While there are a variety of choices, including pink, red, and blue, leashes and harness are randomly selected, so there’s not much room for customization.
It’s also a bit on the pricier side of the spectrum compared to some other options. The leash attaches to a metal D-ring designed to be secure and sturdy.
The harness itself is made out of a soft cotton material, so you don’t have to worry about it scruffing your bearded dragon’s skin or causing a harmful reaction.
Top Picks: Best Bearded Dragon Leash and Harness
My top pick for the best bearded dragon leash and harness would have to be the WATFOON harness.
First, I love the dragon aesthetic, and you can purchase wings that will attach to these harnesses. However, that’s not the only reason I chose this harness and leash combo over the other ones.
Out of all the others on this list, I think it is the best made for the price, the most comfortable, and the safest and most secure.
WAFTOON is also a widely known brand with an abundance of positive reviews from customers, which makes it much easier to trust in their products.
I also really like the fact that it comes in a pack with three different sizes.
Getting a correct measurement with a squirmy bearded dragon can be hard – and that’s when they’re not puffing up to intimidate you – so I really like the fact that you can just try on the different harness to find the one that best fits your bearded dragon.
Final Thoughts: Best Bearded Dragon Leash and Harness
While it may be surprising to learn at first, bearded dragons are actually really exciting, interactive pets.
They love playing and swimming and exploring, and the best part of it all is that they love for you to join in on the fun!
Walking your bearded dragon isn’t just a great way to help them get their exercise and bond with them, however; it’s also a great way to help them get sunlight.
Sunlight is packed full of UVB, which is really important to your bearded dragon – and you, actually! UVB rays help stimulate the production of Vitamin D, which in turns aids in calcium absorption.
Calcium helps keep your body in order and keeps your bones and healthy and strong.
Just make sure that you’re being patient with your bearded dragon. They may not enjoy being walked at first, and some may never get used to the feeling of a leash and harness.
In this case, you can still take them outside, just make sure to purchase a playpen for them.
So long as you are safe and keep a close eye on your bearded dragon to make sure that they aren’t expressing any discomfort or distress, walking with your bearded dragon can be a fun, healthy experience that you’ll both enjoy!