should you use cat litter

Can I Use Cat Litter for My Bearded Dragon [The Top Alternatives]

Do not use cat litter in your bearded dragon’s enclosure. Cat litter is designed to absorb urine and feces and is too dusty to be an appropriate bedding material for a bearded dragon.

Although loose material (such as cat litter) provides a more natural environment for your bearded dragon, unfortunately it comes with the risk of ingestion. Therefore, it’s best to stick with paper or reptile carpet for your bearded dragons substrate.

What Are the Potential Risks of Using Cat Litter for My Bearded Dragon?

Cat litter can be an attractive option for pet owners looking for a low-cost substrate for their bearded dragon. However, there are some potential risks associated with using cat litter for your reptile.

Potential Ingestion Risk

One of the biggest risks when using cat litter for a bearded dragon is that they may ingest it. Ingesting cat litter can cause serious digestive problems and can even be fatal.

Respiratory Problems

Another potential risk when using cat litter for a bearded dragon is that it can cause respiratory problems.

If the cat litter contains dust or other airborne particles, it can irritate the respiratory system of your pet and cause difficulty breathing.

Allergic Reactions

Some bearded dragons may experience allergic reactions to certain types of cat litter. Bearded dragons may develop allergies to certain ingredients in the cat litter such as fragrances, dyes, dust, or other chemicals used in its production.

RELATED:  Can You Shower a Bearded Dragon? [Why Baths Are Better]

Skin and Mouth Irritation

Many types of cat litter contain perfumes and other chemicals which could irritate the sensitive skin and mouth of your bearded dragon.

What Alternatives to Cat Litter Are There for Lining My Bearded Dragon’s Enclosure?

Now that you know cat litter isn’t suitable for your bearded dragon’s enclosure, you might be wondering what your options are.

Thankfully, there are several options to consider. Below are some of the most popular alternatives that can be used to line a Bearded Dragon’s enclosure:

Paper Towels

Paper towels are a popular, easy-to-find alternative to cat litter. They are much easier to clean than sand and can be changed weekly.

This makes paper towels a great choice for those who want a no-hassle substrate that’s easy to maintain.

However, it is important to note that paper towels can be slippery for your reptile, so it is best to avoid them if you have an active dragon that moves around a lot.

Reptile Carpet

Reptile carpet is another great alternative that offers traction and comfort for your bearded dragon. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns, so you can pick something that matches your reptile’s enclosure.

Reptile carpet is easy to maintain and can be wiped down with warm water or spot cleaned as needed.


Newspaper is absorbent, but less so than reptile carpet, so it may need to be changed more often. However, it is very affordable and easy to find in most stores.

Coconut Coir

Coconut coir is made from the husks of coconuts and is an excellent choice for lining a Bearded Dragon’s enclosure. It is highly absorbent and can be used in conjunction with other materials such as reptile carpet or newspaper. It also helps keep the enclosure clean and dust-free.

Signs Your Bearded Dragon Consumed Cat Litter

Cat litter can contain chemicals that can be toxic to your bearded dragon, so it’s important to know the signs of cat litter ingestion.

RELATED:  Can I Put Live Plants in With My Bearded Dragon? [Which Plants?]

Diarrhea and Vomiting

One of the most common signs that your bearded dragon has consumed cat litter is if they have sudden bouts of diarrhea or vomiting. This is due to the toxins present in cat litter that can cause digestive issues in your pet.

If you notice any sudden changes in your bearded dragon’s bowel movements or if they appear to be having difficulty eating or drinking, then it’s important to take them to the vet right away.

Loss of Appetite

Another sign that your bearded dragon may have consumed cat litter is a loss of appetite. If they don’t seem interested in their food anymore or they are refusing meals altogether, then this could be a sign of cat litter ingestion.


If your bearded dragon appears lethargic or seems uninterested in activities they usually enjoy, then this could also be a sign that they have ingested some cat litter.

Change in Behavior

Finally, a change in behavior can often indicate that something is wrong with your dragon. If they seem less active than usual or show signs of aggression, this could be a sign that they have ingested something they shouldn’t have like cat litter.

What Should I Do If My Bearded Dragon Ingests Cat Litter?

If your bearded dragon has ingested cat litter, it is important to take action quickly and safely. Here are three steps you can take to help ensure your pet’s health and wellbeing.

Remove the Litter Box

The first step is to remove the litter box from the enclosure. The chances of digestive obstruction are high in this situation, so it is best to avoid any further risk by removing the box altogether.

Observe Your Bearded Dragon

Look for any signs of distress such as diarrhea, vomiting, or lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.

Soak in Warm Water

To help hydrate and warm your bearded dragon, soak them in warm water for 5-10 minutes three times a day. This will help them flush out the cat litter and reduce the risk of any further complications.

RELATED:  How to Dry a Bearded Dragon After a Bath [7 Step Method]

Seek Veterinary Care

It is always best to seek veterinary care if your bearded dragon has ingested cat litter. Your veterinarian can provide further treatments such as antibiotics and fluids as needed, depending on the severity of the case.

Stick with Paper Substrates

After your bearded dragon has been properly treated, it is important to stick with paper substrates for their habitat. Litter can be easily ingested and cause respiratory issues, so it is best to avoid any potential risks by using paper substrates instead.

[su_note note_color=”#eee”]

What You’ve Learned

  • Cat litter is not a suitable bedding material for bearded dragons due to the potential risks associated with it.
  • Using cat litter can cause ingestion, respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and skin and mouth irritation.
  • There are several alternatives to cat litter that can be used to line a bearded dragon’s enclosure, such as paper towels, reptile carpet, newspaper, and coconut coir.
  • If you suspect that your bearded dragon has ingested cat litter, remove the litter box, observe your pet for signs of distress, soak them in warm water, and seek veterinary care if needed.
  • Signs of cat litter ingestion in bearded dragons include diarrhea and vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, and changes in behavior.