A bearded dragon’s appetite is a very important part of their day-to-day lives, as it helps maintain the overall health and well-being of the animal. In this article, we will discuss why they stop eating, and some possible solutions that can be used to help them overcome any issues they may have with eating food.
How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go Without Food?
The majority of it has everything to do with the age and health of your dragon.
Adult dragons with a lot of fat reserves and a lot of weight may spend up to 2 months without eating, although this is not recommended.
Juveniles who are fast developing and cease feeding, on the other hand, should be a source of concern because they require protein to grow up healthy and powerful.
On the other hand, bearded dragons that are brumating can go without food for quite a long time. Depending on how long the winter is, they can go for months without eating. However, freshwater should be provided for them every day.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Stop Eating Food?
Your bearded dragon will not eat for a number of reasons. Some are minor and easily can be fixed, others are serious health issues that need immediate veterinary attention. If your beardie is refusing to eat or has stopped eating, you can rule out some common causes on your own.
Below are some of the reasons why your bearded dragons may stop eating:
The fact that you are creeping towards fall indicates that your beardie is merely going with the seasons and getting ready for brumation, which is perfectly normal.
Brumation is a natural process in the life of bearded dragons. It happens when temperatures dip below their normal basking spot outside. In brumation, a bearded dragon will stop eating and stay inactive for a few weeks.
This can be a stressful time for a bearded dragon owner because they’re not sure if the lizard is dead or just going through brumation. If it’s during the fall or when the weather starts to become cold, you can leave your bearded dragon alone.
2. Change in Environment
Bearded dragons are desert-dwelling lizards, where their environment is dry for most of the year. They have specially adapted to their habitat by being able to go for weeks or even months without food and water. Bearded dragons are desert creatures who rely on external sources of water such as dew and rain. They get most of their necessary moisture from the food they consume.
When the environment changes as moving your beardie to another room, they may stop eating. Bearded dragons are sensitive when it comes to their environment. A new location means that there are new threats such as predators. The beardie may not eat but just look around for a while.
Once they feel comfortable with their environment and don’t feel any threats, they will start to eat again.
3. Changes in the Food
Bearded dragons don’t like to be stressed out, and the easiest way to do that is by changing their food.
In the wild, their diet consists of crickets, mealworms, superworms, wax worms, and other insects. They will also eat many types of vegetation including flowers, grasses, and fruit from trees.
In captivity, a bearded dragon’s diet consists of live, whole prey such as crickets, flies, roaches, and worms. Young bearded dragons will eat small amounts of plant matter to help soften their growing bones and aid in digestion.
They can be picky eaters so it is important that you pay close attention to what your bearded dragon eats. When there is a change in their food, they may stop eating.
4. Low Temperatures
If their cage isn’t kept at a comfortable temperature (the basking temperature should be between 95 and 105 degrees for adults, and between 100 and 110 degrees for infants), dragons will almost certainly lose their appetite.
They require heat for optimal digestion, therefore if they do not have access to it, their body will not sense the urge to feed.
Also, make certain that your dragons have a cool side of the tank to go to when they get too hot. Ensure the temperatures range between 80 and 85 degrees.
If your dragon isn’t eating, you want to make sure it stays at the same temperature and humidity levels while also making sure they get enough exercise and socialization.
If you have a bearded dragon that isn’t eating, there is a good chance that it’s due to stress. They can become stressed due to moving them to a new location, other pets in the house, and the temperature of their cage.
If you have other pets such as a cat or dog, a bearded dragon will view them as predators.
Moving them to another location can also cause them to be stressed. Bearded dragons are not at the top of the food chain and they feel vulnerable when moved to a different location.
In order to help your bearded dragon eat again, avoid these stressors and provide them with a healthy habitat.
Alternatively, if none of the other frequent explanations seem to apply, it is possible that your bearded dragon is suffering from an ailment, in which case a trip to the veterinarian will be necessary.
As a result, if at all feasible, collect some of the lizard’s droppings, which may be examined or sent for testing to offer your veterinarian a clearer understanding of what may be causing your dragon’s lack of appetite in the first place.
Because insects provide a significant portion of your lizard’s nutrition, if the insects are obtained from an unsanitary source, they may infect your dragon with a parasite. These might make your dragon feel ill and make them not hungry.
However, this can also have the opposite effect, resulting in your dragon having an increase in appetite. They will eat a lot as they attempt to keep themselves healthy, while the parasite consumes the majority of the nutrients in the meal.
If you suspect that this is the source of your bearded dragon’s problems, you should take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Bearded dragons are susceptible to injuries like fractured bones, which can occur as a consequence of accidents, improper handling, or bullying/fighting from other lizards in the same cage.
If you notice that your dragon, particularly if it is still a baby due to the weaker bones, has a restricted appetite as well as an area of swelling on their body, it is recommended that you arrange a check-up with the veterinarian to verify that your dragon has not been hurt in any way.
9. Improper Lighting
The first step to ensuring your bearded dragon is eating well is making sure it’s comfortable. If you are not providing proper lighting for its enclosure, the lizard will be uncomfortable and may not want to eat as much as it normally would.
Because dragons are cold-blooded and diurnal, low temperatures and a dark environment will generally signify sleep or rest, but a brighter and warmer atmosphere will more accurately resemble a sunny day in your dragon’s natural habitat of Australia, which is a warmer and lighter environment.
In order to promote effective digestion, many dragons will not eat until they are sufficiently warmed, and their lights should be left on for around 2 hours after they have finished eating.
Feeding problems might also be caused by a lack of adequate illumination. Bearded dragons require both UVA and UVB illumination for around 10-12 hours each day, seven days a week.
A shortage of ultraviolet B (UVB) light can not only restrict your bearded dragon’s appetite but can also result in potentially life-threatening health problems.
What To Do When a Bearded Dragon Stops Eating Food?
If your bearded dragon is not eating for a period of time, you should first try offering food at a different temperature. Some owners have found that their bearded dragon will only eat if the food is warm, but others have had success feeding their pet cold food.
The next thing to do if your bearded dragon won’t eat is to observe its behavior and determine whether or not it looks healthy. If your dragon seems lethargic or weak, consult with a reptilian veterinarian as soon as possible.
The vet may prescribe medication to help your beardie eat. Another thing the vet may recommend is to force feed your beardie.
How To Force-feed a Bearded Dragon?
In my opinion, force feeding dragons is a bad practice. Dragons will usually eat when they are hungry. Force feeding dragons is not a good idea due to the potential for health complications, especially in younger dragons.
However, if your dragon is clearly frail and growing frighteningly thin, or if you have received permission from a qualified reptile veterinarian, you can attempt to force-feed them.
When it comes down to it, the process for force feeding is very straightforward. Be sure you have a good, solid grasp on your dragon and that they are in a reasonably comfortable posture before continuing.
Afterward, gently open their mouth by pushing the lower jaw down from their midline.
Last but not least, include food. It’s as simple as that.
See for yourself how force feeding works in the video below.
If you’re noticing your bearded dragon is not eating its food anymore, it could be a few different things. In this article, we covered the most common reasons that many people have found to be the cause of their beardie going off of their food.
If they are still not eating after trying some of the remedies, it could be time to take them in for a checkup with your local reptile vet. They can examine your pet for any signs of illness and offer advice on how to treat the problem.
We hope this was helpful and if there is anything else we can do for you please let us know in the comment below.