My Bearded Dragon Is Not Eating: Possible Causes and Solutions

There are several reasons why a bearded dragon may stop eating, ranging from environmental factors to underlying health issues. First, owners must understand these potential causes and take appropriate action to ensure their pet’s well-being. 

One of the most common concerns for owners is when their bearded dragon stops eating. This can cause alarm, as a lack of food can lead to serious health issues for these creatures. By identifying the root cause of the problem, owners can work towards a solution and get their bearded dragon back to a healthy appetite.

Possible Reasons Bearded Dragons Do Not Eat

Environmental Factors

Bearded dragons require a specific environment to thrive, including appropriate temperature, lighting, and humidity. If any of these factors are not within the optimal range, it can cause stress and a loss of appetite in your bearded dragon. 

Bearded dragons are ectothermic, meaning their environment regulates their body temperature. They require specific temperatures to maintain their metabolic processes, including digestion. If the temperature in their environment is too low, their metabolism will slow down, and they may stop eating.

Bearded dragons also require specific lighting to regulate their circadian rhythms, which can affect their appetite. Without proper lighting, they may become lethargic and lose interest in food.

Also, Bearded dragons require a relatively low-humidity environment. However, if the humidity in their enclosure is too high, it can lead to respiratory problems and digestive issues, which can cause them to stop eating.

Bearded dragons can become stressed for various reasons, including environmental changes, improper handling, and other animals in their enclosure. Stress can lead to a loss of appetite and other health problems. 

It is essential to monitor the environmental conditions in which bearded dragons are kept to ensure they are within the appropriate range for the species. This can include using thermometers and hygrometers to measure temperature and humidity levels, providing appropriate lighting, and keeping their enclosure clean and free from stressors.

Health Issues

Several health issues can cause a loss of appetite in bearded dragons. Some common health issues include parasites, infections, and impaction. Parasites can cause digestive issues, while infections can cause lethargy and a lack of appetite. 

Bearded dragons may stop eating if they suffer from an illness or infection. This could include respiratory infections, parasites, or other health issues. If you suspect your bearded dragon may be sick, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

Furthermore, bearded dragons may stop eating if they have an impaction, which occurs when they ingest something they cannot digest. This could include substrates, such as sand or gravel, or even insects too large to be digested. Impaction can be a serious health issue, so seeking veterinary attention is important if you suspect your bearded dragon may be impacted.

Bearded dragons may stop eating if they have mouth or dental problems, such as mouth rot or dental disease. These issues can make it difficult for them to eat and may require veterinary treatment to resolve.

Behavioral Issues

When a bearded dragon is moved to a new environment, it may experience stress and anxiety, which can cause them to stop eating. This is particularly true if they have been moved to a new tank or enclosure or are in a new location unfamiliar to them. 

Giving the bearded dragon time to adjust and become comfortable in its new surroundings is important. You can also offer its favorite foods to encourage them to eat.

Male bearded dragons can become very aggressive and territorial during mating season. They may stop eating as they focus on establishing dominance and finding a mate. If your bearded dragon exhibits this behavior, keeping them separated from any females is important to prevent fighting and injury. You can also provide distractions such as toys or hiding places to keep them occupied.

Bearded dragons are generally docile and enjoy being handled, but excessive handling can cause stress and anxiety, leading to a loss of appetite. If your bearded dragon is not eating and you suspect that overhandling may be the cause, try limiting the time you spend handling them and providing them with a quiet, secluded area where they can relax.

Bearded dragons are very sensitive to their environment and may stop eating if exposed to loud noises, bright lights, or other stressful stimuli. Creating a calm and quiet environment for your bearded dragon is important, with appropriate lighting and temperature control. You can also use a feeding dish to help them feel secure while eating.

Treatment to Make Bearded Dragons Eat

Home Remedies

When a bearded dragon refuses to eat, owners can try a few home remedies before seeking veterinary care. One of the most effective methods is to offer a warm bath to the dragon. 

This can help stimulate their appetite and encourage them to eat. Another option is to try hand-feeding the dragon with their favorite food. This can help entice them to eat and regain their appetite.

Owners can adjust the temperature and lighting in the dragon’s enclosure. Bearded dragons require specific temperatures and lighting to thrive, so ensuring optimal conditions can help encourage them to eat. Additionally, owners can offer various foods to see if the dragon prefers something else.

Veterinary Care

If home remedies do not work, seeking veterinary care for the bearded dragon may be necessary. For example, a veterinarian can perform a physical exam to determine the cause of the dragon’s lack of appetite. They may also recommend blood work or other diagnostic tests to better understand the dragon’s overall health.

The veterinarian may recommend various treatment options depending on the cause of the dragon’s lack of appetite. For example, if the dragon suffers from impaction, it may need medication or surgery to remove the blockage. However, if the dragon is suffering from a bacterial or viral infection, it may need to be given antibiotics or other medications to help fight off the infection. 

It is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible if a bearded dragon is not eating. These animals can quickly become dehydrated and malnourished if they do not eat for an extended period, leading to serious health complications.

How to Keep Your Bearded Dragon’s Eating Habits Healthy in the First Place

Preventing your bearded dragon from refusing to eat is the best way to ensure its health and happiness. Here are some tips to help prevent your bearded dragon from experiencing appetite loss:

  • Provide a balanced diet: Based on my experience, it is best to offer a bearded dragon a variety of healthy foods, including insects, vegetables, and fruits. Avoid feeding them toxic or dangerous foods like spinach, beets, avocado, rhubarb, and glowing insects like fireflies.
  • Ensure proper lighting and temperature: Bearded dragons require specific lighting and conditions to thrive. Ensure they have a basking spot of 104 to 107°F and a UVB light source to help them absorb calcium and stay healthy.
  • Keep their enclosure clean: Regularly clean your bearded dragon’s enclosure to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria that can make them sick.
  • Provide opportunities for exercise: Bearded dragons need exercise to stay healthy and prevent obesity. Offer them ample space to climb, explore, and bask in the sun.
  • Monitor their health: Monitor your bearded dragon’s behavior and appearance. If you notice any signs of illness, such as lethargy, diarrhea, or breathing difficulties, take them to a veterinarian immediately.