Is your bearded dragon turning mealtimes into a test of wills? Are you worried they might be dehydrated? It can be scary when your beloved critter isn’t eating right!

But don’t worry: even experienced owners can encounter challenges when it comes to feeding bearded dragons. Here, we’ll delve into the five most common bearded dragon feeding issues—and provide expert solutions to get your scaly friend back on track to eating well.

“Why is My Bearded Dragon Not Eating?”

A lack of appetite is a frequent concern for bearded dragon owners. Before you jump to conclusions, consider the potential causes of this troubling but common bearded dragon feeding issue:

  • Stressful Situations: Bearded dragons are surprisingly sensitive creatures. A new environment, a change in routine, or even the presence of a new pet can all be stressful for them, leading to a loss of appetite. If you’ve recently introduced any changes to your dragon’s life, try to minimize them as much as possible.
  • Enclosure Comfort: Ensure your bearded dragon’s enclosure is set up for optimal comfort. This includes providing proper basking temperatures (around 100-105°F) on one side of the tank, a cooler side for thermoregulation (around 80-85°F), and adequate UVB lighting. UVB light is essential for calcium absorption and proper digestion.
  • Check With Your Vet: If your beardie has gone more than a day or so without interest in food, it could be a sign of illness. The sooner you get it checked out the better, so don’t delay in making that appointment if this bearded dragon feeding issue persists.

“Is My Bearded Dragon Constipated?”

Impaction is another bearded dragon feeding issue that occurs when your beardie ingests food that’s too large or struggles to digest it properly. This can be a serious health concern. Here’s how to prevent impaction in bearded dragons:

  • Portion Control is Key: When offering live feeders like crickets or mealworms, ensure they’re no wider than the gap between your dragon’s eyes. This ensures they can comfortably eat and digest their prey.
  • Fiber Powerhouse: Incorporate a variety of fiber-rich vegetables like chopped collard greens or shredded carrots into your bearded dragon’s diet. Fiber aids digestion and helps prevent impaction. Remember, a balanced and varied diet is crucial for their overall health.
  • Keep Them Hydrated: Sometimes multiple bearded dragon feeding issues are related! We’ll cover proper hydration later in this post.
  • Use Proper Substrate: The wrong substrate can cause impaction in bearded dragons and other reptiles. Read our latest article on The Great Reptile Substrate Debate to learn how to choose the right bedding for your pet.
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“My Beardie Will Only Eat Certain Foods.”

Sometimes, bearded dragons can develop preferences for certain foods. Here are some tips to tempt even the most picky bearded dragon:

  • Textural Delights: Experiment with different food textures. Offer chopped greens, grated vegetables, or live feeder insects with varying textures. Dubia roaches are a popular choice due to their high nutritional value.
  • Temperature Matters: Bearded dragons are more likely to eat food that’s warmed slightly to their body temperature. Try gut-loading your feeders with nutritious greens before offering them to your dragon. Gut-loading involves feeding your feeder insects healthy vegetables before they become a meal for your bearded dragon, ensuring they pass on essential nutrients.
  • Patience is a Virtue: Don’t give up if your bearded dragon doesn’t immediately take to a new food. It may take some trial and error to find what they enjoy. Be patient and persistent, offering a variety of options until you discover their favorites.

“My Bearded Dragon Won’t Drink Water.”

Dehydration is one of the most common bearded dragon feeding issues, especially if they avoid their water dish. Here are some alternative ways to keep your dragon hydrated:

  • Syringe Savvy: Offer water droplets with a syringe. Gently hold the syringe near your dragon’s mouth and allow them to lick the water. This is a great way to ensure they’re getting enough fluids.
  • Fruity Treats: Provide occasional treats like watermelon or chopped berries. These fruits have high water content and can contribute to their hydration needs. However, remember that fruits should only be offered as a small part of their overall diet.

“Is My Bearded Dragon Too Fat?”

While addressing picky eaters and ensuring proper hydration are important, monitoring your bearded dragon’s weight is also crucial for their well-being. If you notice signs of an overweight bearded dragon such as a thick tail base, large fat pads, or lack of a defined waistline, it may be time to think about slimming down. Here are a few suggestions for treating an obese bearded dragon:

  • Reduce Portion Sizes: Most of the time, an overweight dragon is simply eating too much. Offer less of both feeders and vegetables. Opt for leaner feeder insects like dubias instead of superworms or mealworms. Limit sweet treats like fruits and focus on offering more fiber-rich vegetables.
  • Give Them More Exercise: Provide opportunities for your bearded dragon to move around more within their enclosure. This could involve adding climbing structures or creating a larger basking area that encourages them to move between warm and cool zones. Supervised playtime outside the enclosure can also be beneficial.
  • Check With Your Vet: Always consult with your veterinarian for a personalized weight management plan specific to your bearded dragon’s needs. They may recommend additional adjustments or specialized treatment options.

Stay on the Safe Side With Bearded Dragon Feeding Issues

Early intervention is key for preventing health problems associated with bearded dragon feeding issues. By monitoring your beardies’ health and addressing any concerns promptly, you can help them live a long and healthy life. When in doubt, it’s always best practice to consult a herp-savvy veterinarian!

Remember: Every bearded dragon is an individual. Finding the perfect feeding routine may involve some experimentation and patience. If you have any concerns about your dragon’s eating habits, a lack of appetite persists for an extended period, or you suspect they might be ill, consult with a veterinarian for expert advice.

Let’s Keep Our Bearded Dragons Thriving!

By understanding common bearded dragon feeding issues and implementing these solutions, you can ensure your beardie receives the proper nutrition they need to live a long, happy, and healthy life.

For more valuable tips and tricks on caring for your bearded dragon, follow us for regular updates! And be sure to check out our selection of affordable dubia roaches online: they are one of the healthiest things your beardie can eat!