Is Plywood Safe for Bearded Dragons

You head to the pet store to buy your bearded dragon’s new home. Then you come across plywood and wonder – is it safe for my bearded dragon?

Not all types of wood are safe for your bearded dragon (or any pet reptile, for that matter). Some can be toxic or carry harmful bacteria. So before you purchase a plywood tank, let me share with you what type of plywood material is best and safest for your pet.

I’m going to go over in detail whether or not plywood is safe for bearded dragons, as well as other alternative materials.

Is Plywood Safe For Bearded Dragons

Building a safe enclosure for your Bearded Dragon is one of the most important aspects to consider. One of the materials you may use to construct the enclosure is plywood, but that raises questions about its safety for reptiles.

So is plywood safe for bearded dragons? Generally speaking, plywood is considered a safe material for reptile enclosures as long as it is properly sealed and treated. The wood needs to be waxed or sealed with polyurethane or some other sealant so that your dragon cannot ingest it. You also need to make sure that only non-toxic paint and glue are used when building the enclosure.

In addition to using a sealing agent and non-toxic paint, making sure any hardware used in the enclosure (such as screws, nails, etc.) is rust-proof should also be considered part of making an enclosure secure enough for your reptile friend. Taking these few extra steps will ensure that your furry companion can enjoy their new home properly secured with excellent ventilation and plenty of enrichment activities to keep them happy and healthy.


Plywood is an ideal choice when it comes to building reptile enclosures that are safe and suitable for Bearded Dragons. Plywood is made up of several thin layers of wood that are bonded together with binders and heated, creating a highly dimensionally stable material compared to regular wood which can contract and expand due to moisture.

This makes it resistant to warping, shrinking, or breaking – the more piles in plywood, the better quality it is.

Overall, plywood offers superior stability and durability, making it a safer alternative than harvesting wild-sought lumber and an excellent option for building reptile enclosures.

It can stand up to wear and tear much better than regular wood, making it an ideal choice for any projects involving reptiles. The dimensional stability provides added strength so that your enclosure does not warp over time.

Plus, with the variety of colors available you can easily customize your build according to your needs!

Safety of Plywood for Bearded Dragons

When it comes to Bearded Dragons and plywood, the safety of the enclosure will depend on a few factors. Firstly, you need to make sure that the type of plywood you use is safe for your reptiles.

Many plywood products use either phenol-formaldehyde or urea-formaldehyde during their production processes so you want to pay attention to these chemical substances and make sure they are not toxic for your Bearded Dragons.

Phenol-formaldehyde resins are great wood adhesives used to increase the quality of plywood but they can be potentially harmful if not handled properly, so be sure to take safety precautions while using them.

Additionally, the plywood should be moisture resistant and must also be treated with flame retardants so there is no risk of fire hazards in your Bearded Dragon Enclosure.

When it comes to the safety of plywood for bearded dragons, it’s important to know what type of plywood you’re using and what materials it is made from. Phenol-formaldehyde-made plywood is highly recommended because it quickly reaches undetectable levels that pose no harm to your dragons.

On the other hand, urea-formaldehyde-made plywood should be avoided as much as possible since it releases formaldehyde gas more quickly than phenol-formaldehyde-made plywood and at levels that may be too risky for your bearded dragons’ health.

Formaldehyde gas can be toxic to Bearded Dragons if they are exposed to too high levels. That’s why it’s important to consider the rate of ventilation and the amount of urea-formaldehyde in a room when building an enclosure with this kind of material.

In general, urea-formaldehyde should not be used in enclosures for these animals, as its toxicity could be potentially harmful.

For added protection, invest in good quality ventilated enclosures that have a padded bottom so that the floor is comfortable for your reptilian friend and properly ventilated at all times.

Constructing a Secure Habitat for Your Bearded Dragons

Here are some more safety measures to consider when constructing a habitat for your Bearded Dragons:

Choose a Safe Plywood

One of the most important decisions you can make is choosing the right type of plywood. Safety is more than a concern for toxic fumes, structural strength also matters. Hardwood plywood is the safest choice for building an enclosure because it will hold up better to wear and tear and doesn’t emit any harmful fumes that could be toxic to your reptile.

Be aware that some types of wood like pine and cedar are not advisable because they give off irritating or potentially harmful fumes when heated. The best options are Oak or Maple plywood since these types of hardwoods are much less likely to emit any dangerous substances.

Using hardwood plywood also helps reduce the chance of the enclosure falling in on itself which could cause injury or distress to your reptiles. It also ensures that anything interior decorations you add inside your bearded dragon’s enclosure remain firmly attached to the walls reducing their likelihood of swallowing a decoration piece or having it fall into their feeding area.

Seal It

When constructing a secure habitat for your Bearded Dragons, one of the most important steps is to seal the plywood. Whether or not you need to do this depends on what type of plywood you are using; phenol-formaldehyde plywood does not require sealing, as it off-gasses less and cures in a short amount of time.

However, if you are using urea-formaldehyde, it would be wise to seal the plywood as this type off-gasses for longer periods and could potentially pose a health risk to your Bearded Dragons.

Sealing the plywood will not only make it more durable but also help ensure that the enclosure is secure and safe for your reptiles. You can use various types of sealants such as polyacrylics or physical products. Ensure that whatever product you use is non-toxic before applying it to the wood.

Controlling and Preventing Formaldehyde Off-Gasing

If you’re constructing an enclosure for your Bearded Dragons, it’s important to take steps to ensure that there is no off-gassing and the formaldehyde is sealed in. Start by allowing your plywood to air out in a shady structure with good airflow within each piece.

Once ready, use a safe, non-toxic sealant such as a clear acrylic-based coating or 100% silicone sealant to lock and seal in the formaldehyde.

There are many other sealants that can also be used; however, it is important to observe all safety precautions when using them and make sure the enclosure is fully cured before putting your reptiles in it.

Generally, this can take anywhere from 48 hours up to 7 days for sealants to cure completely so extra time should be allowed after application just to be sure that any potentially toxic fumes have dispersed.

Taking Other Safety Factors into Account

Other considerations include the following.

Heat Flow Regulation

When you’re supplying heat to your Bearded Dragons, it’s important to consider other safety factors in addition to the size of their enclosure. You should make sure that the artificial heat source you choose is appropriate for your Bearded Dragons’ needs and environment so as not to cause any unnecessary risks.

  • For instance, when fixing a heat lamp in a small enclosure, it would be safer to use a stand with a clamp instead of directly placing the heat lamp inside the enclosure. This way, the temperature can easily be regulated and adjusted depending on need.
  • By doing that, you won’t have to worry about putting your Bearded Dragons at risk from excess heat or suffering from health problems caused by too much stress from high temperatures.
  • So remember to always take other safety factors into account when setting up your Bearded Dragons’ enclosure. That way, you can rest assured knowing that they are safe and comfortable!
  • When regulating the heat flow in an enclosure, there are other safety factors you need to consider. One of these factors is ensuring there is space for a thermometer so you can easily monitor the temperature. This will help you keep track of the temperature and quickly make adjustments as needed.
  • You also need to be aware of any possible exposed wires in your enclosure. During construction, it’s easy for wires to get exposed and not properly connected, which could put your Bearded Dragon at risk of electrocution.
  • To prevent this from happening, explore all available options that keep the interior wiring away from your dragon’s enclosed space. If you have to use exposed wiring, make sure they are adequately insulated.

This will provide the extra protection needed to ensure safety when regulating heat in an enclosed space.

Poor Choice of Decoration

When it comes to using decorations to add beauty and appeal to a Bearded Dragon’s enclosure, safety should be taken into consideration. In addition to avoiding decorating items that could injure them, there are other safety factors that should also be factored in.

  • For instance, greenery should not be attached with sharp objects such as pins as they have exposed sharp points. It is better to attach the greenery with adhesives but make sure the adhesive cures completely so that there won’t be any respiratory challenges or skin irritation.
  • In addition, poorly constructed hides can fall apart and injure the Bearded Dragons. Therefore, it is important to construct hides properly and use materials that are safe for them.
  • The foam should not be used unless steps are taken to ensure that the Bearded Dragon does not scratch and swallow tiny chunks of it as this could lead to gastrointestinal problems.
  • Rocks should also be secured properly during construction of hiding areas so they would not fall apart on any delicate part of your Dragon’s body.

Taking all these factors into account can help protect your bearded dragon from any harm caused due poor choice of decoration in their enclosure


When it comes to building an enclosure for Bearded Dragons, ventilation is an important factor to consider. However, there are other safety factors that must be taken into account when constructing the enclosure in order to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for your Bearded Dragon.

  • When determining the size of the airways that need to be built, the size of your Bearded Dragon will be taken into account. But regardless of their size, it’s recommended to always have a two-way ventilation system in place.
  • This will allow air exchange from outside the tank which is essential for providing oxygen and allowing your Bearded Dragon to breathe properly.
  • In addition to ventilation, you should also take steps such as including easily accessible basking areas with different temperatures depending on the species of lizard; choosing appropriate materials based on heating needs; and making sure your enclosure walls are escape-proof so that they don’t try to get out or hurt themselves.

Taking all these safety factors into account when building an enclosure for your Bearded Dragon is essential!


When it comes to fire safety, simply building your Bearded Dragons enclosure with fire-resistant materials won’t be enough. You should also consider other safety factors that could increase the risk of a fire outbreak.

For example, make sure that all electrical cords and outlets are properly secured and not exposed. This will help prevent any potential electrical fires from occurring due to faulty wiring or incorrect usage.

You should also check that your heating system is working properly and is set at an appropriate temperature for your Bearded Dragons’ needs.

Finally, use fire-resistant sealant to coat the enclosure in order to minimize the risk of it burning easily during a fire.

This will buy you some extra time to save your Bearded Dragons when needed in case of a fire emergency.

Taking these measures into account can help you ensure that your Bearded Dragon’s enclosure is safe and secure against any potential threats of fires.


Plywood can be a safe material for your bearded dragon, as long as you take the time to ensure it is properly sealed and treated. Keep an eye on your pet while they are using plywood, and make sure to replace any pieces that have become worn or damaged. With the right precautions, using plywood can be a great way to save money while still giving your pet the home it deserves.