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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18173
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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Why my bearded dragon doesnt eat?

Customer Question

Why my bearded dragon doesn't eat?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 4 years ago.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a Vet Tech with special interest in Reptiles and Reptile Rescue. I need to ask some questions to assist you.

How old is your Dragon?

Can you tell me about the set up?

Diet prey/veggies?



UVB light? Is it a florescent tube or compact coil, brand, and strength?

Basking light?

Temps and how measured?

State to locate a Herp Vet?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I responded last night, but it's showing up, so here goes again. We got the dragon 6 mths ago when he was 2 or 3 mths old. He is now about 15" long. He had never wanted veggies or fruits. I have tried to give him kale, dandelion, carrot, apple, banana, blue berry, strawberry and spinach,etc. He only had a tiny piece of kale and dandelion in 6 mths. He likes crickets. I also give him meal worms and wax worms. In the past couple days when he is sick, I have also been trying cook chicken which he had a bit. I spry on calcium on the food, no supplement have given. I have a 40 gallon tank. There is ZooMed comtact coil UVB5.0 on one side, a 100w bask light and a ceramic light on the other side. The temp is about 85 degree on the cooler side. I have thermometer inside the tank to measure it. I have been using viata sand since I got him until three weeks ago. I added a different kind of sand to one side. This sand is non editable unlike the previous one. I suspect that the sand caused him impacted. I changed sand back to editable sand this Saturday. Also, the ceramic night light was accidentally turned off for couple nights three weeks ago. I'm not sure if this could be a reason too. Can you please respond ASAP? I'm worried. Thanks

Expert:  Joan replied 4 years ago.


The edible sand is not edible and infact can be a part of the problems you are facing. The sand is calcium carbonate which hardens in the intestinal tract and can easily cause a blockage ofer time. Loose substrates are very dangerous. You can see here about loose substrates:

The UVB bulb you are using is way too weak for a Dragon. They need a Reptisun 10.0 florescent tube that stretches the length of the tank and it needs to be replaced every 6 months. This can affect activity levels, Calcium absorbtion, and eating.They need to have a good plain clacium powder on the food 4 days a week and a vitamin 2 days a week. The diet should be 80% veggies and 20% live prey. The temps should be 105-110 in the basking area, 90's in the warm side and mid 80's on the cool side of the tank. You should be feeding Collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, escarole and curly endives. Butternut squash and various berries are great for a treat. The Veggies should be put in fresh daily, and done about an hour after lights on.The live prey should include crickets, silk worms, roaches, goliath worms and phoenix worms.The canned prey looses the nutritional value and is high in chitin which is

the outer shells and can cause a blockage. Super worms and wax worms are like giving the Dragon candy. All veggies and prey should be dusted with calcium daily 5 days a week and vitamins 2 days a week .For now we need to give the Dragon a soak in 50/50 warm water and plain Pedialyte to prevent dehydration. While in the soak, gently massage the abdomen snout to vent. Please soak at least 30 mins. For feeding you can mix baby food with some calcium and drop on the snout and allow the Dragon to lick it off for a supplemental feeding. I do suggest a Herp vet visit to help rule out a parasite issue. I can locate a Herp Vet for you with State. Please let me know if you have questions about what I have given you here and I will continue with you. Joan

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We went to the vet today. He wants to give Rocky antibiotic and lactlose, because most of the lizards show up with respiratory infectoion in an X-rays. I feel like he is just guessing the problems. I didn't take the antibiotic or the lactlose. Do you know what else I can give Rocky if he is really impacted? The vet thinks Rocky is strong. He wants us to force feed Rocky if needed. How can I get him to eat?

Expert:  Joan replied 4 years ago.


The Laculose is very good to get things moving if an impactiion. If the Vet took X rays they should have seen a blockage. I sometime recommend Baby food prunes to get things moving. As far as the antibiotic, it cannot hurt, but I would use some Bene Bac which is a probiotic to aid with the gut flora. I would do the soaks and abdominal massage for the possible impaction. I like using a baby food slurry to feed rather than force feeding insects. The baby food works a lot better and can be syrine fed. If you would like a different Herp Vet for a second consult, I can locate one with the State. Joan.

Expert:  Joan replied 4 years ago.
I am just checking into to see how your Dragon is doing?