Ever since you start taking the responsibility of another being, it became your routine. It does not matter whether it is a cute little furry ball or a cold-blooded reptile; it is your family which you cherish the most. However, the problem arises when your pet behaves abnormally or starts avoiding the food. Every one of us wants a good eater.
If the animal refuses to eat or is reluctant towards its favorite food, it is a red alarm to many physiological and pathological conditions. You have to look deep into the routines and figure out what could be the problem. A simple lack of appetite can be quickly figured out by working a bit on your pet. However, severe cases need your vet’s attention.
Once you figure out the real problem, you can quickly determine how to help your pet resume eating. There can be multiple reasons behind your pet’s abnormal behavior. If you go more case-specific, you can look into your pet’s breed, habitat, and habit. All this will easily mark why your pet is disliking a particular food.
Bearded dragons are one of the most interesting, and I must say quirky pets. They are pretty enigmatic and expressive and are most commonly known for their odd personalities and behaviors. With these pets who express their emotions by the change in action, you can quickly determine what is wrong with their eating pattern. Sometimes they can be very stubborn about some specific foods. To help you with the bearded dragon’s feeding guide, we have written a whole other section exclusively on the bearded dragon’s diet. You may look into it and determine which foods are good for your beardie and which of them can pose serious harm to your little friend’s health even if it insists on having it.
In this very article, we are going to focus on all the possible reasons behind your beardie refusing to eat. In the first few sections, we will discuss the background to establish a relationship between food choice, hunger, and breed, helping determine the actual cause.
Table of Contents
A Bearded Dragon Background
Some seasoned bearded dragon breeders may not find this section novel. However it a precise talk about the background can be beneficial. New bearded dragon owners do not know a lot about their little friend’s breed and the origin and continue shooting in the dark. That’s why the beardie loses interest in the unusual bland food it is fed every time. Remember, every case is different. You have to focus on your very bearded dragon to determine the cause.
Bearded dragons or in Latin Pogonas, or Pogona vitticeps, is categorized among the family of lizards.
|Bearded Dragon Scientific Classification|
280 – 510 g
Bearded dragon has a life span of 10-15 years. Most bearded dragons grow up to 45 cm or 18 inches in total length in all these years.
These mesmerizing lizards originated from the forests of Australia. However, now they have found their homes with their loving owners all over the world. The best thing about this pet is that it can survive in any habitat. They are referred to as cold-blooded animals. It means that their body temperature can change concerning their surroundings.
Simply putting, your bearded dragon, unlike you, can become automatically adjust to the warmth and cold weather of the room. This ability of bearded dragons to acclimatize to any climate is the primary reason why bearded dragons are so common in the world now.
Of all the pet reptiles, bearded dragons are among the most common, easy to groom, and handle lizards. They are entirely safe for minor children and can go well with your lifestyle with a bit of training. These are typically very social, love to be handled or interacted with, and completely docile.
The habit I love the most in bearded dragons is that they are awake in the day and sleep in the night. It means you can concord your bearded dragon’s routines easily with yours. Moreover, you do not have to worry a lot about loneliness depression in them which is very common in furry pets. And most importantly, you do not have to stay on guard all the time and invest a lot of effort to train them according to your lifestyle.
Bearded dragons love to have lots of food. They love the variety and are attracted to colors. This article aims to help you keep track of your bearded dragon’s diet and get alarmed if it is losing interest in its favorite foods. Moreover, is there any flaw from your side resulting in your pet losing its hunger? So, let us continue.
Dietary Requirements Of The Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons are very much like human beings in their diet. They are omnivores that means they can eat most of the type of meat and vegetable present. However, some food kinds of stuff are not that healthy for your bearded dragon.
To understand any bearded dragon’s dietary pattern, you need to look at the natural nutritional requirements in the wild. In this way, you can better address the healthy condition and assess abnormalities in behavior.
However, a general rule falls, which says
- A juvenile bearded dragon must have at least 75% meat in their diet to maintain the nitrogen requirements for their growing body. This meat comes from insects. The rest of the 25% may comprise vegetables and fruits, which may serve as radiant colors to attract your beardie towards food.
As the bearded dragon grows old, you may decrease the proportion of meat content until it reaches 25%. You can then increase the vegetable part, and some fruits can also be fed
Vegetables And Fruits:
When we talk about plant products, the ones that bearded dragons love are
- Turnip Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
However, there are some in which you should be careful about their amount
You may also include fruits in recommended amounts:
In meat products, there come insects. The most common insects that your bearded dragon love consuming are
- Dubai Roaches
However, while feeding any nonliving thing to your bearded dragon, always remember to cut it into bite-sized pieces. To ensure that your beardie may ingest it without any problem as they are very poor chewers. There is a high chance that the food gets stuck in the throat, so be very careful about that.
One thing you need to understand that every insect you feed to your bearded dragon must not be caught or bought randomly. All the insects must be bred specifically and brought from a reputable pet store.
It is because wild bugs and insects may contain many harmful insect toxins and multiple parasites. These can have a negative effect on your beardie’s health, which can sometimes go unpredictable to fatal.
Regular supplementation of your bearded dragon is essential as a bit of a portion of non-native food cannot fulfill your little friend’s mineral and vitamin requirements. Do not start any supplementation on your own. Always consult your vet before jumping to any chemical product. Remember, what may go best for others may not be suitable for your beardie. However, there are few supplements with a very high safety profile. These supplements may include Repashy supplements and Repti Calcium.
Some food products are highly toxic for your little friend. Though they are natural and are found commonly, you must avoid them. For detailed information on food products that are not suitable for your beardie, you may float to the other sections of the website. Some of the foods are
- Glowing insects such as firefly
When we say bearded dragons love their food, we are not jocking. They love their food to the extent that they gain obesity to a dangerous degree. The importance of obesity increases with age. So, it would be best if you were extra careful with your bearded dragon’s diet as it continues to age to prevent any diseases attacking your little friend.
Is Your Bearded Dragon Not Eating?Here Are Some Possible Reasons Why
There are hundreds of possibilities why your bearded dragon is no more interested in its favorite snack. Sometimes, it happens that your little friend is not eating just because it is resisting itself to get something delicious from you. And it knows this is the only way to acquire the thing. Let alone this psychological part of this aspect, and there can be multiple other reasons too.
In the below section, we will discuss the most common reasons behind a beardie refusing to eat. However, before starting, we would like to make a disclaimer that these can be the possible reasons for most situations. However, this list is by no means exhaustive, and in case of any severe issue that you cannot handle at home, you need to visit your vet as soon as possible and ask for this help.
A Grumpy Dragon
We all know that our little friends are very expressive and learn how to win our hearts. It is the most outstanding quality of this very type of lizard. However, like positive emotions, bearded dragons know how to communicate all their owners’ negative emotions. The best way most bearded dragons find is by showing disinterest in their favorite food items. It may also be shown as a bit of aggressive behavior in their routines. If you observe so, you may be very sure that something alarming is happening, and you need to work on that.
The cause can be as small as irrelevant people trying to approach, play and handle your beardie. Others can be
- Change in diet
- Change in food brand
- Change in temperature
- Improper lightening
- Installing new tank
- Increasing more fellow beardies
- Moving your beardie to a new area etc
Moving your beardie to a new area can be a real problem for new bearded dragon owners. Though bearded dragons can acclimatize to almost any kind of environment, they do not like changing their home. This change makes them sad that they lose interest in the surrounding, even in food.
If you see such behavior, you may manage it by looking carefully at all the items in its previous container/ tank and providing very similar conditions in the new one too. Usually, these behaviors settle well in 4 to 6 days, and you do not need to worry a lot or take things to the next level to manage them.
You can also look into the series of food you are feeding, and you randomly try to change the habit by changing the sequence suddenly. It is like hurting the expectations or routine, right. In some cases, the pattern can also become the cause of your beardie’s loss of interest in the bowl of salad you are feeding. Bearded dragons love the variety of food, and you have to ensure it. Look at your very case and work according to the condition which works best for you.
One of the most common reasons is having a dominant beardie in the same tank. In the bearded dragons, the dominant one may control all the other beardies and rule over all the food they are provided. It may not allow all the other beardies to have even a single bite by bullying. Food is a territory for a bearded dragon. So, the stronger one has the total share of it.
If you place a new beardie in the tank and see others losing their hunger suddenly or the new one does not seem to be interested in food, you need to consider the fact mentioned above. In this case, it would be best if you keep your beardie in a separate place to provide a more healthy, stress-free environment to your new friend.
Lightening affects the mood of the bearded dragon a lot. It can cause unnecessary stress and violent behaviors, which make your beardie more vulnerable, causing it to lose its hunger.
There can be two different situations.
Either the light is too strong that it makes you fall in spot light or too dark, making you feel stressed. You can apply the situation to yourself also. Can you eat comfortably in the dark? Is it easy to feed in the spotlight? Yeah, the same no-goes for your little friend too.
You may also relate darker rooms and colder temperatures to their sense of hibernating or resting as they are cold-blooded. In colder climates or darker spaces, bearded dragons have signals for rest or sleep due to their diurnal body types. The continuous darker environment may also signal stress.
- However, in lighter rooms that indicate a warm and more comfortable environment, bearded dragon feels very relaxed as this concord well to their natural habitat. When it comes to bearded dragons, they will not eat until they are warm enough or the light is bright enough for them. However, please do not make it too bright to make it uncomfortable for them.
So, do not dim the light when you are going to feed your beardie. Moreover, light up the room until after two hours after the meal has been provided to ensure good digestion.
Proper UVA And UVB Lightening
Remember, the type of lighting also affects your bearded dragon’s hunger and body’s regular metabolism. Your beardie needs both kinds of UVB and UVA light to ensure a healthy metabolism. So, maintain it for 10-12 hours in the day. If you lack specifically UVB light, it will suppress your bearded dragon’s appetite and cause severe life-threatening issues.
A lack of proper lighting may also lead to Vitamin D deficiency in the body. This deficiency will lead to the malabsorption of calcium from the gut. Hence, it is also linked to hypocalcemia which is the most common disease condition related to diet in bearded dragons.
Therefore, if your bearded dragon is facing appetite issues and feels lethargic throughout the day, manage the light for your bearded dragon.
A Bit Of Brumation
Brumation is a kind of hibernation in bearded dragons. It is the same as is found in most animals, including bears. However, the period is a lot less than other animals. The brumation period for bearded dragons is case-specific, and every bearded dragon has its own specific time.
You can identify if your bearded dragon has chosen to go in brumation by the following facts:
- Your bearded dragon is lurking into cool, shadowy places of the tank.
- Your beardie is more lethargic than before.
- Your beardie is eating less or has lost its appetite.
- Your beardie rests a lot.
- Your beardie does not like much handling.
Be very careful about these situations, and vetter talk to your vet before concluding. It is because some symptoms may also refer to some disease conditions. However, if you are sure about your bearded dragon’s brumation, you may look into making the whole period more comfortable for your little friend. It is because a healthy, comfortable brumation will lead to a healthier bearded dragon.
You may look into
- Keeping the place with dim light
- Providing easy to chew foods that are full of nutrition
- Keeping the bearded dragon more hydrated
- Maintaining the temperature of the tank; make sure it is not too low for the bearded dragon.
Let us relate this point with human nature to understand it more if you feel any problem with gut movement, so the last thing you like has more food, right. The same goes for bearded dragon too.
Similar to humans, bearded dragons may also face the same issue. If your beardie is facing any problem with impaction, the first thing it will do is losing its hunger. Impaction in bearded dragon typically applies due to
- Change in food routines including an excess of certain substances in their food which causes the bowel to stiffen.
- Moreover, increasing insect portions may also have constipation effects for the lizards.
- Your bearded dragon may also be having something accidentally from his tank, which is causing the problem.
- Your beardie may be consuming the substrate in their container.
- Impaction typically occurs when your dragon has an excess of something in their diets, such as too many live insects or a poor ratio between meat and vegetation.
- Your dragon also might be accidentally consuming the substrate in their enclosure.
If you face the issue, you may look into different diet options available for the bearded dragon. Manage the fiber and carbohydrate portion of the diet along with meat content.
Moreover, to manage the substrates to decrease the risk of impaction, you may go for much simpler options such as reptile carpet, shelf liner, newspaper, etc.
An Itchy Dragon
Itching and discomfort are some of the most common reasons behind the bearded dragon’s losing its appetite. Whether it is shedding or brumation, the bearded dragon feels very itchy, changing its priority from food to resolve the issue first.
The biggest reason behind itching is dehydrated skin. A clear indication of this is scaly skin with many dry patches and a greyish tail at the tips.
The appetite will grow back as the shed is complete. To help the bearded dragon is shedding, you may bathe your beardie or shower it more continuously than before. However, whatever remedy you may use, make sure to adjust the water temperature closer to the average body temperature.
End Of Growth Spurts
The growth of the body needs a lot more nutrition which can only be acquired from food. So, if you have a juvenile bearded dragon, you will observe that as it ages, the bearded dragon’s hunger decreases. The appetite may increase over time; however, as the body stops growing, the hunger also reduces.
There is nothing to worry about in this situation. It is entirely normal for an adult bearded dragon to have fewer dietary requirements than the juvenile ones. Moreover, an increased food intake will cause nothing other than obesity in the adult bearded dragon. Please understand that the adult bearded dragon needs food only for sustenance, not for growth. So, this is perfectly natural for them to stay away from extra food.
As we talked earlier, insects in the diet bowel of your bearded dragon may be carriers of hundereds of deadly parasites that could cause serious infections.
These parasites may cling to the gut, irritate it, and cause it to lose the appetite. They will not only suck nutrients directly from the food but also do not allow the proper absorption of food in the gut.
The problem can also result in the reverse in which your bearded dragon, instead of being disinclined to eat, eats a lot more than usual. The parasite has the lion’s share in the food, and the body of beardie is consistently demanding enough nutrients to meet the metabolic needs.
If you think your bearded dragon is suffering from any such issue, you may consult your vet as soon as possible and take proper medication after the correct diagnosis.
Infection (Mouth Rot)
Infection such as mouth rot can be one of the fundamental reasons for loss of appetite in bearded dragons. It is one of the diseases most bearded dragon owners are terrified of for their beardie. Mouth rot is a prevalent condition in which the oral cavity of the bearded dragon is severely affected.
It is one of the most severe and painful infections afflicting a vast majority of bearded dragons. Symptoms of mouth rot include
- Severe Pain
- Loss of appetite
- Inflammation around the head portion
- Yellow or decolorized oral cavity
- Increased salivary production
- Loose teeth
- Bleeding from mouth and gums in severe cases
The situation may seem very complicated and extreme to you, and however, luckily, it is cent percent treatable. Most skilled veterinarians with having specialization in reptiles or lizards will be easily able to diagnose and administer the correct treatment. Through proper treatment, your beardie can recover in days. When you vet for the treatment of mouth rot, do not forget to ask for extra supplements and diet options for your beardie.
As you see, we are now moving towards the worst-case scenarios, and illness comes at the higher end.
If you have looked into all the above causes and no one seems to fit or work in your case, the next possibility is the loss of hunger as a symptom of some underlying illness. So, in this case, schedule an appointment with your vet and have a complete body examination. Even if you had a recent check-up, do not hesitate in another one as a constant malnutritional can be as dangerous as lethal for bearded dragons.
You may go the extra mile, record the poop texture have some snapshot, collect its sample and send it for examination. After having the reports, your vet can quickly diagnose the cause behind the loss of hunger in your bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons are not very prone to injuries, but that does not make sure that they are immune. A different incident like accidents, bullying, improper handling, fighting with other lizards in the same tank may result in serious injuries such as broken bones.
The reason is more common in juvenile bearded dragons or the ones suffering from hypocalcemia. If your beardie is exhibiting a visible swelling in any part of the body, you need to go for an immediate appointment with your vet and have an x-ray. The loss of appetite is undoubtedly related to the pain and inflammation due to injury in this case.
Bearded dragons have very enigmatic, unpredictable, and persnickety personalities. They may have a good reason behind a particular behavior or stop eating or behaving like usual without any reason.
You can easily chalk up this appetite suppression to usual beardie habits as long as it does not affect its health. Moreover, if the fasting breaks are too long, you need to pay good attention to the most probable reasons mentioned above. If you cannot figure it out, do not waste much time experimenting, and contact your vet as soon as possible.
Most of the time, shedding, stress, and brumation are the significant causes behind the loss of appetite in the bearded dragon. In this situation, we suggest you not be involved in the natural process a lot and let your bearded dragon manage it at its own pace. The issue will be automatically resolved as the beardie comes out of the specific phase.
However, there are still some cases where the bearded dragons do not come back to their normal state that easily. The effect of laxk of food is exhibited as severe malnutrition signs in them. In this case, you need to contact a well-experienced vet specializing in reptile to help your pet in the best possible way. However, we recommend not disturbing your bearded dragon in the phase of shedding or brumation unless the situation worsens
Most of the cases of appetite suppression are very treatable and can be managed at home. Look for the most common reasons and remedies we recommended to manage your pet in the best possible way.
We tried to cover most of the things related to the bearded dragon’s appetite in this article. However, if you still have any queries, you may drop down the comment or contact us. We would be happy to help.
I am a graduate of a veterinary university. Dealing with all the kinds of pets from the dawn to dusk, it’s like understanding their language. That is the best time ever, I must say!
Writing has always been my orphenadrine. I love to share my experience and talk about the most common issues people have been facing with their pets. My writing career began in 2015. I aimed to work for pets to share my experience and make pet humans relation a lot better. I usually talk about the most significant or recurrent cases of the day. During my practice at pet centre, I face a lot of questions by pet owners. Moreover, I also own a variety of pets myself including different species of mammals, birds and reptiles.
Therefore, I have decided to educate all the pet owners about their little friends who can’t talk the way we do. Understanding what they are telling us is all we need to do. And most of us fail to perceive.
So, I am here to serve the purpose. Let’s help each other in better understanding the needs, behaviours, and problems of our best friends with the best possible solutions!