The Top 7 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Is Not Eating

 The Top 7 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Is Not Eating

Why is my bearded dragon not eating?


The reason why your bearded dragon is not eating could be from some form of illness, parasites, brumation, or shedding.


When a bearded dragon is not properly fed or taken care of, they can form diseases, and even get parasites. A lot of these illnesses are common in bearded dragons even though they are hardy animals. 

1. Metabolic Bone Disease


Metabolic bone disease is very common dietary disease in bearded dragons. MBD happens when reptiles are not getting enough calcium in their diet. Their bones become brittle and walking becomes a struggle. Neglecting to change their UVA/UVB bulbs every nine months can also lead to MBD.


Signs of metabolic bone disease are a swollen lower jaw, their bones become extremely soft, and swollen limbs. Their limbs and bones become so soft that it is often hard for a bearded dragon to walk or even pull their bodies to move around. In more severe cases, their bones will fold over instead of just breaking.


You can prevent MBD with calcium powder and proper lighting. If your bearded dragon is already showing signs of MBD, the best thing you can do is to change out the lights, and actually sprinkle calcium powder on his food. You will also need to go and seek veterinary help or someone who is an expert on this disease. 

2. Mouth Rot (Infectious Stomatitis) 


Mouth rot is a bacterial infection of the gums or jaw bones. Signs of mouth rot are swollen gums, thick mucus that looks thick and chunky, and a swollen jaw. The bones of the jaw are infected with the bacteria and it will cause a lot of discomfort for your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons will not get this as often as other reptiles, but it is possible.


Mouth rot can be avoided by feeding your beardie the appropriate foods, calcium powder, and getting enough water to drink. However, I think that you should go see a veterinarian for more information about mouth rot. They can give you an antibiotic to give to your beardie to clear out the bacterial infection. 

3. Parasites


Parasites are a common illness with bearded dragons. They can get these parasites if they are fed wild crickets. Pinworms are pretty common to find in a bearded dragon’s digestive tract.


The only way you can see the parasites is through a fecal sample. Mites can also live on the skin of a bearded dragon. The mites are contagious and will invade their skin. They also like living in the folds of their heads.


Again, a veterinarian can give you something to kill off the mites and other parasites. Mites are easy to find because you can see them crawling on your beardie. The intestinal parasites are a little bit more difficult to spot because they don’t really harm the bearded dragon.


I would suggest that you take a sample to your vet and make sure they are free of parasites. It is best for your beardie that they are completely free of the parasites and mites. 

4. Respiratory Infections 


Respiratory infections are due to poor enclosure conditions. If the humidity is never right, there’s not enough light or heat, and if they are stressed, they are going to get an infection.


These infections can also be from a virus, bacteria, and parasites. Just like people, bearded dragons will have mucus coming from their eyes, mouths, sneezing, decreased appetite, and shallow breathing. They will eventually become lethargic as well.


If you see any signs of your beardie have cold like symptoms, they need to see a vet immediately. They will know what to do to help your beardie.


To prevent this from happening again, keep the humidity at the right level in the tank and feed your bearded dragon the proper food regularly. Tank humidity needs to be at 30%-40% maximum.


The calcium powder is such a helpful dietary supplement because it really gives them the nutrients they need to be healthy on top of the healthy food you are already giving them. 

5. Impaction


Impaction is one of the most common reasons why a bearded dragon stops eating. While it is not a disease or an illness, it can lead to illness if left untreated.


Impaction is when your beardie cannot pass a bowel movement because there is some blockage in its bowels. They may have eaten some sand that is not digestible or was unable to digest the hard shells of insects. Impaction is painful for beardies and whatever is blocking their bowels will only get harder and more difficult to get out.


Impaction can lead to less mobility, lack of appetite, and a lot of discomfort. More serious cases of impaction will require surgery to fix the issue.


At home methods to fix impaction are frequent baths to help coax the fecal out and giving your beardie some olive oil. 

6. Brumation


Brumation is a biological reason for why your bearded dragon is not eating. Brumation is a period of time where your bearded dragon goes into a deep sleep. Their bodies tell them that it is time to shut down for a little while and they will retreat to their dens.


Even though brumation is not an illness, it is a cause for lack of appetite. If your bearded dragon is going through brumation often, this is something to be concerned about.


If brumation is happening every couple of months, your bearded dragon could be underfed, extremely dehydrated, or the humidity is not right in their tank. Brumation should only happen a few times a year and not every month. While brumation is unpredictable and not seasonal, frequent brumation can be a negative sign.

7. Shedding


During the shedding period, bearded dragons are not going to be as hungry. Shedding is very uncomfortable for bearded dragons and they can become irritable. From my personal experience with my bearded dragon, he did not want anything to do with food while he was shedding. 

Wrapping Up


Don’t panic right away if your bearded dragon is not eating. Brumation and shedding are normal reasons for a lack of appetite. However, if you notice that your bearded dragon is feeling lethargic often and showing signs of discomfort when trying to eat, taken them to the vet. There might be more severe reasons for why they are not eating. 

Jade Messieh

Proud bearded dragon, tortoise, crested gecko, and green tree python mom. I've always been passionate about animals and hope to help other reptile & amphibian enthusiasts along their journey!

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