It can get very scary when your bearded dragon is not eating. These poor reptiles cannot express themselves and say what their problem is, and this will get to a point you cannot stand anymore. Your main job will be to figure out what the problem might be, and this is an important skill that every owner must possess, but only a few have the ability to tell what the problem is with their dragons. It would be an important thing if all the pet stores had a manual that explains what might be because of some behaviors in your dragon, but unfortunately, that is not the case.
Therefore, this article seeks to give a clean guide that you can always consult whenever your bearded dragon is not easting. It will give some of the reasons why this may be happening and what you need to do for your beardie to start eating.
Why your bearded dragon is not eating?
Understanding why your bearded dragon is not eating is not as easy as it might seem. There are a number of causes, but the challenge is telling which exactly is the cause among those options. There are some causes that are easy to determine, and this means you can be able to eliminate them easily. It is also important to understand that not all causes are bad. Sometimes your bearded dragon might be going through some natural processes such as shedding.
This does not mean that you should not be concerned, but it means that it is not the end of everything, but it’s a matter of timer, and your pert will be okay. Importantly most of the causes of the dragon not eat are easy to fix, and if you are quick to realize and act accordingly, the pet will be alright.
Stress and Anxiety
When it comes to figuring out why your bearded dragon is not eating, this is one of the ignored causes. Many rushes to conclusions such as illness and lighting, and they skip this one. Most people are not aware that the dragon is more emotionally complex than they would imagine. People assume that these creatures are typical reptiles that do not have much of a personality. That is not true. The bearded dragons need to feel comfort abler in order to thrive. While we are not saying these lizards are not high maintenance, a change in their living condition can make them stressed, and the dragons end up losing their appetite. The most causes of this problem are changes in diet, temperature, lighting, and humidity. They can generally y contribute to change in the health of the dragon, but eventually, they get used to time.
The dragons might be okay but still will not eat until they get used to the new environment or other changes. Whenever they are stressed, they may exhibit aggressive behavior, and they may turn their beard back too. Change in the enclosure may be another reason why your dragon is not sating. They might take some time until they are used to the new environment.
The presence of other pets within the same areas can cause stress and anxiety to the dragon. If the cats and dogs are running up and down near the enclosure, this will freak out the dragon, and it will become stressed.
Insufficient Lighting and Temperature
The right lighting and temperatures are the most important for all reptiles, and this includes the bearded dragons. The lighting, temperature, and humidity generally affect their comfortability, and they may eventually stop eating. These conditions are also important in helping with the digestion process. The proper lighting sends a number of signals to the body of a dragon and informs them that it is time to eat. Cold and darkness do the opposite, and that is why the dragon will rarely eat. The dragon will always be too chilly in the enclosure instead of eating. You should always check the lighting since even a weak light or a light the is not properly set up might be a problem for your pet.
After the last meal of the day, that is dinner, and it is important to keep the light on for at least two hours to give them time to digest. Feeding them and switching off the lights immediately might send different signals and they may end up not eating. Another thing that might make the dragon stop eating is a change in lighting conditions, and this might happen until everything is done properly. This factor might seem like it does not matter to you, but bearded dragons are very sensitive to these factors. The lighting affects both the temperature and the humidity, and this is why the main factor is the lighting.
Your Bearded Dragon might be Getting old
This is one of the main reasons why people start getting worried why their bearded dragon is not eating as it was doing before. No one imagines that it could be normal and out of natural change. When your dragoons are young, they are growing rapidly, and they are full of energy, and this means they need to eat more to sustain the growth and be able to get that emery. However, when they grow older, and they are adults, they start changing, and they do not need to eat as much as they were eating when they were young. This means the appetite reduces, and they start eating less. For a beginner, this might be a bit shocking that the dragon is no longer eating, but instead, it feeds on half of what it used to. This should not worry you since it is a natural change.
If you notice that your bearded dragon is not eating, it might be suffering from impaction. This is something that happens to new owners mostly, and it is important to discuss it. The impaction is built up in the gut or the intestines that cannot be moved normally by the digestive or colon contractions. This problem might become so serious and can be so uncomfortable and will likely cause your bearded dragon to lose appetite. In addition to the loss of appetite, your dragon will always look fatigued and will not be active as it should be.
When the bearded dragon is experiencing the impaction problem, there are two likely causes, and they are;
- Eating the substrate
- Too much of the same protein in the diet
Feeding on substrate might seem abnormal, but it does not happen intentionally. As your bearded dragon is eating food more so those that it is picking from the ground, it usually ends up picking some substrate from the ground. However, some bearded dragons might eat substrate on purpose, which can be noticed straight and stopped immediately.
Whenever you are feeding your dragons, you can also be taking some time to assess the diet and compare it to the guidelines recommended to check if you are giving them too much of the same protein-rich because this is one of the common causes of impaction. T be safe if you notice this is the reason why your bearded dragon has not been eating. You can take them to a vet to be safe. It is not right to focus on adjusting the cause before addressing a potentially serious health problem.
They are In Brumation
Whenever you see your bearded not eating, you should consider brumation as one of the possible problems. Brumation is a state that looks like hibernation, and the dragons go through it mainly during the cold months of the year. When they are in this state, most of their body function go slow. They will not move around nearly as much, and they will eat less. This is because they do not need a lot of energy at this time.
One of the main signs to identify that they are under brumation is when they spend most of the time in the cooler part of the enclosure. This will not happen if they are not eating for other reasons. It is not the main way to prove that is the actual problem. Bet it gives you an idea of what might be the problem. If your bearded dragon is going through brumation, there is not much you can do about it rather than just keeping it hydrated and providing some food whenever it shows interest. The temperatures should also be kept at the desired level because if they go so low during brumation, it can result in a serious problem.
They might be Shedding
Whenever your bearded dragon is shedding, it might experience some appetite loss. Most beginners are usually worried to hear about this since it is a natural process. This process can be uncomfortable for the beardie. This process can make your dragon itch and dry though this varies with the individual pet. This feeling has a severe impact on the mood of the dragon, and this is why they have no appetite. The best you can do during this period is give them time and try as much as possible to make them comfortable. You can be feeding them whenever they show some interest, but as soon as the shedding is over, you will see them back to eating as usual.
YOUR Bearded Dragons might be sick
As you have probably guessed, there is a variety of illnesses that can cause the dragon to stop eating. The sickness is one of the causes that most beginners jump into when they realize the dragon is not eating, and they start panicking. However, this does not mean it cannot be the cause. There are a number of illnesses that can affect t your beardie, but the most common ones are infections and parasites. One f the common infections you are likely to see is mouth rot. This occurs when there is an infection of the mouth, and it ends upswelling, bleeding, or even making it lose teeth. As usuals, such signs will make the pet lose appetite since they can be painful.
There is also a possibility of parasites, and this will make the dragon generally feel ill and unwilling to eat. It is very common for reptiles to get parasites from the insects they eat since the dragons eat the insects a lot. This is why it is important to feed your bearded dragon with high-quality food from a trusted seller. There are many other illnesses that can make your dragon lose appetite, and that is why it is always important to consult whenever you notice something is wrong.
In some instances, the attack by parasites might actually increase the appetite of your dragon since most of the nutrients are being consumed by parasites rather than the dragon. This way, it will need more food to have enough nutrients for parasites and for itself.
Another common reason why your bearded dragon might not be eating is due to being fed with the wrong foods. The bearded dragons are omnivores meaning that they feed on plant matter and fresh, and that is insects. Foods such as meat, fish, onions, dairy, dead insects, and peppers should not be fed. The adults need a diet that consists of 75 percent of plant matter and 25 percent of insects. Feeding your dragon with too many insects at this stage can lead to impaction or constipation and definitely loss of appetite. The juveniles, on the other hand, should be fed with more insects and less plant matter, and the insects such as the mealworms should not be fed due to high chitin. Such insects have a hard shell that can cause blockages in the intestines.
Also, not all beardies love the same food. Some might prefer dubia roaches, while others opt for crickets. It is important to try and offer different foods to your dragon to establish which it likes most. Feeding them with a variety of foods is also a way of ensuring they get a healthy balance of vitamins and nutrients.
There are a number of vitamins that the bearded dragon needs to remain healthy. They include vitamin E and B1, and they are all important to the general health of the pet. Lack of enough vitamin E causes loss of appetite, but this happens in rare cases. Many beardies lack vitamin D. This is, however, compensated by giving animals the calcium supplement by dusting them on the food. Most of the vitamins are found in the plant matter, and it is, therefore, advisable to feed them with a lot of vegetables to prevent most of the vitamin deficiencies. Whenever you suspect your dragon is having vitamin deficiency, it is vital to always take them to a vet so that the blood can be tested for vitamin levels and the necessary action will be taken.
This might seem weird, but the bearded dragons get injured most of the time, if not all. This is mainly caused by a fight with other animals, or they might get hurt by a poorly made enclosure. A bearded dragon that is injured will sometimes be in pain and will most likely stop eating. This may be due to the discomfort and the unwillingness to leave their hiding spot or something worse.
The injuries are easy to notice. If you always give your dragon a thorough check-up every day, there is a probability that you will notice any injury. If you have kept your dragon in a situation that could increase the risk of getting injured, you should make the correction immediately—for instance, keeping them with other animals or keeping them in a poorly made enclosure. You should improve the conditions for you to avoid this problem.
When your bearded dragon is dehydrated, it will not have a healthy appetite. This is because the water carries crucial indigestion and the moving of fecal masses through the digestive system. A dragon that is dehydrated will have sunken eyes, loose skin anis slimy saliva. Your dragon can also be dehydrated if the temperatures in the enclosure are too high, and you should remember that the dragons mostly depend on the food they eat to get the water they need. To help hydrate your bearded dragon, you can spray some water on the nose for it to lick. If your dragon is also not interested in water, you can offer diluted fruit juice from fruits such as grapes, apples, and others.
During the breeding season, which mainly occurs during the month of the match, the dragon becomes a bit anxious. Some male dragons may eat less since they spend most of their time looking for a potential mate. Also, the females tend to refuse to eat at some point as they become gravid.
Ways of getting your Bearded dragon to eat
Make the feeding Experience fun.
If you have enough time and your bearded dragon is not eating or can always try to hand feed it with some greens, and this will encourage it to eat. Some jus6 love being hand-fed and will only eat the green this way. To give them a new texture, you can also wet these greens before feeding them or sprinkle in a little unsweetened apple source to provide a new and exciting flavor. Additionally, you can also add some wiggly feeders, such as the super worms underneath the greens, to provide a movement that stimulates their hunger and interest in greens.
Offer varied diet
The bearded dragon is just like human beings, and when you feed them with the same food all over and over, they will become bored and eventually lose appetite. To avoid this, it is advisable to have a variety of foods so that you can be feeding them alternately. This is common when you are feeding them greens. If you notice your dragon is no longer interested in eating a certain type, you can always try to feed a different plant that will give it a different taste.
Consider Appetite Stimulant
This should be the last thing to do after establishing the dragon does not have any problem. When you find your dragon is not sick or does not have the above causes, you can consider this, but it may not fix it as expected. You can try to encourage the animal to eat the stimulant as you figure out what exact food you should give to them.
Hold your ground
As long as your bearded dragon is healthy and in good weight, you can consider holding your ground and give it time until it eventually starts to eat. You can also consider stopping them from eating feeders until they start eating the greens also. Once they have started feeding on greens, you can now start feeding them with feeders slowly. Some bearded dragons can stop eating food with the hope of getting something better, and the moment you give in to the demands, you will be encouraging a bratty behavior in them.
How to force-feed Bearded dragons
We do not encourage forced feeding the bearded dragons. The dragons are very good at feeding on what they want, and any attempt to force them can lead to a serious health problem. However, if your dragon continuously refuses to eat and becomes visibly weak and thin, you are allowed to go ahead and force the dragon to feed.
Make sure you have a nice, secure grip on your dragon and that they are in a relatively comfortable position. Gently own their mouth bay, pulling the lower jaws, and then insert food.
How Long can a Bearded Dragon live without food?
The length they can live without food depends on the age and the general health of the individual dragon. A healthy adult dragon with enough fat stores and weight to lose can stay for up to 2 months without food. However, this is not encouraged since it can be dangerous. On the other hand, they babe dragons and juveniles who need a lot of food to support their rapid growth should concern you immediately they stop eating. They need the food continuously to remain strong and healthy. The dragons who are bromating can go for weeks or not months without food, but they need water on a daily basis.
It is usually a scary experience if your bearded dragon is not eating. It becomes so stressful for both you your dragon. This article has clearly stated all the possible causes of these problems and the steps you should take to solve the problem. Some of the problems might be health issues that require a vet, but others might be just a natural process that will pass with time. Whatever the cause is, it is important to identify the cause of the appetite loss as soon as possible so that you can eat the necessary action as early as possible before the problem advances. I hope this post has given all the necessary information to guide you on this.