When your bearded dragon stops eating, it can be a cause for serious concern. It’s important to understand the reasons why your beardie isn’t eating and take action to correct the problem as soon as possible. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons why bearded dragons stop eating and provide tips on how to get them started again.
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About Beardies’ eating habits:
Bearded dragons are naturally opportunistic feeders, meaning that they will eat whenever food is available. In the wild, this means that they’ll consume whatever prey is available, including insects, small mammals, and reptiles. However, in captivity, we can provide them with a more consistent diet that meets all of their nutritional needs.
If you’re keeping one in a vivarium in your home, you may have noticed that your beardie consumes more food during the day than at night. This is because they are basking reptiles, meaning that they rely on heat from their environment to help them digest their food. At night, when it’s cooler, their metabolism slows down and they don’t need to eat as much.
Common reasons bearded dragons stop eating:
There are several reasons why your bearded dragon might stop eating, including:
1. Lack of appetite:
If your beardie isn’t interested in food, it could be a sign that they’re not feeling well. A number of things can cause a decrease in appetite, including illness, stress, and changes in temperature or humidity. If you think your beardie might be sick, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up.
2. Improper nutrition:
Bearded dragons need a diet that consists of both live food (insects) and vegetation. If they’re not getting enough of either, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can cause them to stop eating. It’s important to consult with a reptile specialist or vet to make sure you’re providing your beardie with a well-balanced diet.
3. Incorrect basking temperature:
Bearded dragons rely on heat from their environment to help them digest their food. If the basking area in their vivarium isn’t warm enough, it can slow down their metabolism and cause them to stop eating. The basking temperature should be between 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
When bearded dragons are in the process of shedding their skin, they may stop eating until the shed is complete. This is perfectly normal behavior and nothing to be concerned about.
Bearded dragons are sensitive to stress and it can cause them to stop eating. Some common sources of stress include loud noises, being handled too much, and changes in their environment (such as a new pet in the house). If you think your beardie is stressed, try to minimize their exposure to potential stressors and make sure they have a hiding place in their vivarium where they can feel safe.
Brumation is a period of inactivity and reduced metabolism that reptiles undergo during the winter months. In the wild, this helps them to conserve energy when food is scarce. In captivity, bearded dragons will sometimes go through brumation even if they have access to food. If your beardie seems sluggish and isn’t interested in eating, it’s possible that they’re in brumation. This is nothing to be concerned about and they will eventually come out of it on their own.
How to get your bearded dragon eating again:
If your bearded dragon has stopped eating, there are several things you can do to try to get them started again.
1. Check their environment:
First, make sure that their vivarium is set up properly and that all of their needs are being met. This includes providing them with a warm basking area, a hiding place, and a well-balanced diet of live food and vegetation.
2. Try different foods:
If your beardie isn’t interested in their usual food, try offering them something new. This could be a different type of live food or a new vegetable. Bearded dragons can be fussy eaters, so it may take some trial and error to find something they’re willing to eat. I have always found protein-based foods like crickets or mealworms to be the most effective in getting a finicky beardie to start eating again.
3. Hand-feed them:
If your beardie still isn’t eating, you may need to hand-feed them. This is especially important if they’re shedding or seem to be ill. To hand-feed your beardie, you’ll need to catch live food (such as insects) and offer them to your dragon. Be careful not to force them to eat, as this could stress them out even more.
4. Give them time:
Sometimes, bearded dragons will stop eating for a short period of time while they adjust to a new environment or routine. If you’ve recently moved them to a new vivarium or introduced a new pet into the house, they may just need some time to adjust. Be patient and keep an eye on them to make sure they’re doing okay.
4. Take them to the vet:
If you’ve tried everything and your beardie still isn’t eating, it’s time to take them to the vet. There could be an underlying medical condition causing their appetite loss, and a professional will be able to diagnose and treat the problem.
5. Try different approaches:
If your bearded dragon is still not responding to any of the above methods, it may be time to try a different approach. Some owners have success by offering their dragon live food that is moving (such as crickets). Others find that using a small amount of force-feeding syringe can help get them started again.
What vets explain regarding beardies not eating:
If you have a beardie that suddenly stops eating, it’s always best to take them to the vet to rule out any potential medical problems. However, there are some things that vets typically check for when a bearded dragon isn’t eating.
Intestinal parasites are a common cause of appetite loss in bearded dragons. If your vet suspects that your beardie has parasites, they will likely recommend a course of treatment with an anti-parasitic medication.
Another common reason for appetite loss is impaction, which occurs when the bearded dragon’s digestive system becomes blocked. This can happen if they eat something they shouldn’t (such as sand or gravel), or if they don’t drink enough water and become dehydrated. Treatment for impaction typically involves manually removing the blockage and providing the dragon with plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
As mentioned above, stress is another possible cause of appetite loss. If your vet suspects that stress is the issue, they may recommend some changes to your dragon’s environment (such as providing more hide spots) or diet (such as adding live food).
Finally, illness is always a possibility when a bearded dragon stops eating. If your vet suspects that your beardie is ill, they will likely recommend a course of treatment with antibiotics or other medications.
Why is my bearded dragon not eating?
There are a variety of reasons why your beardie isn’t eating, and one of the most important is that he’s getting ready to brumate. A dragon goes into a deep sleep during brumation and doesn’t eat for weeks or even months. If your dragon has other signs of brumation (such as sleeping more, being less active, etc.), it’s possible he isn’t eating because he’s getting ready to brumate.
Another possibility is that your beardie is sick or stressed. If he’s ill, he may not feel like eating. And if he’s stressed, he may not have an appetite either. Be sure to take him to the vet if you think he may be sick or stressed.
Finally, it’s possible that your beardie is just picky and doesn’t like the food you’re offering. Try offering a variety of foods to see if he’ll eat anything.
What food should beardies avoid eating?
There are a few food items that you should avoid feeding your beardie, as they can be harmful or even deadly. These include chocolate, avocado, tomato, and onion.
What should I do if my bearded dragon won’t eat?
If your beardie isn’t eating, the first thing you should do is take him to the vet to rule out any potential medical problems. If the vet finds that your beardie is healthy, there are a few things you can try to get him eating again.
One approach is to offer live food, as some beardies will respond to the movement and start eating. Another approach is to use a small amount of force-feeding syringe to help your beardie get started again. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you can always take your beardie to the vet for assistance.
Finally, remember that it’s important to offer a variety of foods to your beardie, as he may just be picky and not like the food you’re offering. Try offering a variety of foods to see if he’ll eat anything.
What should I do if my bearded dragon is shedding?
If your beardie is shedding, it’s important to make sure he has plenty of water available, as shed skin can be very dehydrating. You can also offer him a bath to help him loosen and remove his shed skin. Finally, be sure to avoid handling him too much, as this can stress him out and slow down the shedding process.
When should I take my bearded dragon to the vet?
If your beardie isn’t eating, is shedding excessively, or has any other unusual symptoms, it’s important to take him to the vet for a check-up. Additionally, you should take him to the vet if he hasn’t seen one in the last six months. By staying up-to-date on his vet visits, you can help ensure that your beardie stays healthy and happy.