One of the most worrying things that can happen with a bearded dragon is that it will sometimes stop eating. There are a variety of reasons for this, some simple and some more complex.
If temperature is too low during the day, a dragon will go off his food. It should be around 100 Fahrenheit on the basking side and 85 Fahrenheit on the cool side of the cage – so do a check of your vivarium’s temperature to make sure that it’s correct. If you’re using a fluorescent bulb, it may have worn out as they don’t last very long.
So, step one: when in doubt, check your bulbs and make sure your temperatures are correct.
Impaction & Constipation
Dragons will sometimes eat things that are too big for them to digest properly or just not food, such as cage substrate. If it’s something that’s stuck and your bearded dragon can pass it, soaking him in warm water can have immediate results. If that doesn’t work, a trip to the vet is in order.
You’re going to be a lizard grandparent.
If the dragon is female and has been around a male dragon, she could be producing eggs. Check to see if she’s getting bigger. Even so, you will definitely want to get her to the vet.
Your dragon is bored of what you’re feeding him.
When some people state that their dragon is no longer eating their crickets, my first suggestion is to change up what they’re being fed. Try some superworms, some roaches, pink mice – something different. Dragons like variety in their diets and they can become bored, so don’t just feed them the same darn thing over and over again.
Infection and Illness
Dragons will sometimes stop eating when they’re sick. Parasitic infestations, respiratory infections and other infections and sicknesses can cause your dragon to just say “No” to food.
During the winter months, your dragon will become less active – a form of semi-hibernation called brumation. They will not eat nearly as much, and it’s often suggested to just keep some greens in the vivarium while they’re brumating.
Beardies under stress don’t eat. Have you just purchased or adopted your dragon? Did you introduce a new cagemate? Did something change in your dragon’s surroundings? They don’t take change very well, so your dragon could very well be stressed out.
Regardless of what the potential issue may be, you will want to get your bearded dragon to a vet as soon as possible because there are so many possibilities for what could be wrong, some of which can only be discovered by various testing that a professional has access to, but not you.
So, if your dragon goes off food, even if the problem is something mentioned above, you should get your dragon to a vet to get it checked out, just in case there are other factors at work. You can never be too certain, and your vet may have more information at his or her fingertips than what you do. Don’t risk your beardie’s health, he’s relying on you!