Are you worried because your beloved bearded dragon isn’t eating? Don’t fret! It’s a common concern among reptile enthusiasts. In this article, we’ll explore:
• why your bearded dragon might not be eating
• How to determine if your bearded dragon not eating is a real problem,
• 5 solutions to help your scaly friend regain their appetite.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in and ensure your bearded dragon stays healthy and happy!
Understanding the Issue: Is it a Real Problem?
By the time many dragon owners find themselves admitting, “my bearded dragon is not eating,” they automatically go into panic mode. But don’t worry. Sometimes, bearded dragons go through periods where their appetite decreases.
If you have a case of a bearded dragon not eating, it’s important to stay calm and rational. The first thing we need to do is to distinguish between normal “bearded dragon not eating” behavior and a genuine problem.
7 Reasons a Healthy Bearded Dragon Won’t Eat
Before you go crazy trying to figure out how to make a bearded dragon eat, consider whether one of these common situations might be the issue:
- Is it a new dragon to your household? Like all animals, beardies love routine. They like to be in familiar surroundings. Just like some people, a bearded dragon may lose their appetite for a little while in a new environment.
- Did something change in your beardie’s environment? You don’t always have to move a beardie to a whole new home for him to feel unsettled. Sometimes all it takes is a change to the same-old, same old that he’s used to. A new pet or baby in the household, construction in the area, or a new tank decoration may throw him off his feed for a bit.
- He’s too hot or too cold. Bearded dragons should always have access to a warm (95-110 degrees F) place to bask in the daytime as well as room to get away from the heat if they need to cool off. Keep their tank between 65-75 degrees F at night. Temperatures outside this range can result in stress. Your bearded dragon not eating can be one of the first signs that all is not well temperature-wise. Be sure to correct improper temperature right away because if it goes on too long it can lead to long term health problems.
- He’s in shed. Like most reptiles, beardies often lose their appetite when they’re getting ready to shed their skin. Don’t worry, chances are his appetite will come raging back once that old skin is gone!
- He’s having growing pains. Just like some kids, a growth spurt can make some beardies feel under the weather. If this is the case, it should clear up within a few days. When he’s ready to eat again, offer him some high protein food like Dubia roaches. He will likely scarf them down in a snap!
- He’s feeling cramped. A too-small enclosure, or one that is too cluttered, is sometimes the cause of a bearded dragon not eating. Having a “friend” in the tank may be the issue, too. It’s best to avoid cohabitation where beardies are concerned.
- He’s going into brumation. Wild bearded dragons naturally go into brumation (a type of hibernation) for part of the year. Many pet beardies do, too. When this happens, his whole system will slow down as he prepares to enter his long sleep. This is normal, but you’ll want to prepare for it. Check out this article about bearded dragon brumation from Reptile Advisor to learn how!
Bearded Dragon Not Eating? 3 Red Flags to Watch For
A bearded dragon not eating could be a sign of a number of illnesses, including metabolic bone disease, parasites, infection, or impaction. Injury could do it, too. If your bearded dragon is not eating, here are a few signs to look out for that may indicate a cause for concern:
- Long Term Weight Loss: If your bearded dragon is losing weight consistently over several weeks, it may indicate a real problem.
- Lethargy: A lack of energy, reduced movement, or spending more time hiding than usual can be signs of a health issue.
- Abnormal Stool: Keep an eye on your dragon’s droppings. If you notice diarrhea, blood, or an absence of stool, it’s a cause for concern.
If you observe one or more of these symptoms along with your bearded dragon not eating, It could indicate a serious health problem. We recommend having your vet check him out right away.
How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go Without Food?
Bearded dragons can survive without food for a considerable period. However, it’s not ideal for their health. Adult bearded dragons can go for several weeks without eating, while juveniles may need food more frequently. If your bearded dragon goes without eating for more than two weeks or shows other signs of distress, seek professional advice.
“How Do I Get My Bearded Dragon to Gain Weight?” Solutions to Encourage Eating
Wondering how to make a bearded dragon gain weight? While there are no sure -fire ways that will help in every situation, the following 5 time-tested solutions are a great place to start:
Provide a Proper Environment
Ensure your bearded dragon has a clean and spacious enclosure with the correct temperature and lighting. Create a comfortable and stress-free space by minimizing loud noises and disturbances.
Offer a Variety of Foods
Bearded dragons enjoy a diverse diet. Offer a mix of vegetables, fruits, and insects such as dubia roaches. Experiment with different food items to find out your dragon’s preferences.
Optimize Feeding Conditions
Feed your bearded dragon in a separate feeding enclosure to associate it with mealtime. Ensure the food is appropriately sized for your dragon to avoid choking hazards.
Address Health Concerns
If you suspect an underlying health issue, consult a reptile veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination and provide appropriate treatment if necessary. Parasites, respiratory infections, and impaction are common health problems that may affect a bearded dragon’s appetite.
Assist with Feeding
If your bearded dragon refuses to eat, you can try hand-feeding them small pieces of food. Be patient and gentle during the process. You can also provide hydration by dripping water on their snout using a dropper or syringe (without the needle).
Is your bearded dragon not eating?
In most cases, a bearded dragon’s decreased appetite is temporary and can be resolved by implementing the solutions mentioned above. First, rule out illness or injury. Then, look for and remove any stressors if possible. Be aware of where he is in his life cycle and offer food accordingly. And always remember to monitor your pet’s health closely and seek veterinary assistance if necessary!
We wish you and your bearded dragon all the best on your feeding journey. And if you have any experiences or solutions you’d like to share about a bearded dragon not eating, please share in the comments below!