Raising a bearded dragon is not easy at all, and most pet owners often run into many difficulties with health problems. The issue of your bearded dragon not eating or pooping is one of them, which puzzles pet owners so much. A bearded dragon that maintains good digestion and stays healthy should eat and poop regularly. Therefore, there must be some underlying reasons when they are not eating or pooping.
In this article, we will discuss some possible reasons why the bearded dragon isn’t eating or pooping as well as answer some frequent questions relating to this issue.
- How often should a Bearded Dragon poop?
- Why is your bearded dragon not eating or pooping? Causes and Tips
- What to do if my bearded dragon won’t poop?
- Bearded Dragon is Not Eating – FAQs
How often should a Bearded Dragon poop?
The frequency of their pooping will depend on many factors, including ages, the diet, and so on. Firstly, we can determine how often they should poop due to their age.
While a healthy baby BD (3 months old or younger) will poop at least once a day or even up to three times per day as he or she consumes protein-rich food daily, an adult BD (older than 18 months) that lives in favorable conditions with adequate UVA and UVB levels can be expected to poop 1-7 times a week.
It is common for young or juvenile BD to have a bowel movement every other day.
If you still consider how old your dragon is, this chart will give information about their ages based on their lengths so you can guess their age.
(It is just reference – Bearded Dragon’s growth depends on diet, habitat, disease, and bearded dragon breed)
The diet will make a contribution to the frequency of the bearded dragon’s pooping. For example, they consume feeder insects that will defecate almost every day.
By contrast, they eat mostly greens won´t often have a bowel movement.
Another factor that will also affect bowel movements is the level of UVA and UVB exposure to BD experiences.
Why is your bearded dragon not eating or pooping? Causes and Tips
1. You feed unproperly
Although they are omnivores, this doesn’t mean they can eat everything, and many pet owners find it too complicated to give their healthy and balanced diets.
A diet is so important as it can decide on whether they are healthy or unhealthy, active, or inactive and even alive or dead.
Below are some common mistakes that you can have when feeding your beardie, affecting his bowel movements.
1.1 Not eating enough food to poop
The first reason: “they are not eating enough”
Firstly, you should know that it is common for small baby BD of up to 16 weeks of age to eat 3-4 times a day while juveniles of up to 28 weeks can eat twice a day, and once a day in case of all adults above that age.
There are some reasons why they are not eating, including both external and internal problems.
In specific, low, or very high temperatures in the tank can cause them to reject food.
In case of very high temperatures, they are more likely to suffer from stress, which leads to some kinds of behavior such as escaping, scratching the glass, and digging while lethargy or indigestion can be an indication of low temperatures.
Very high or low humidity is also the culprit for them not eating.
For example, bacteria and fungi can grow in high humidity, which leads to susceptibility to parasitic infections.
A very small tank could be also considered as a problem leading to pooping issues.
Also, most females that are gravid refuse to eat food until the end of gravidity.
In the period of brumation, they might be lethargic, eat little or nothing, and spend time sleeping a lot.
Another reason is that they may be stressed due to frequent setup change.
Internal parasites, other health issues, or even cage mate bullying might also result in not eating.
The fact of the bearded dragon not eating or pooping will definitely worry you so much so please consider all the reasons and changes and see the vet if necessary.
1.2 Too much salad in the diet
To have a balanced and healthy diet is not easy at all. There are some cases that the pet owner having too much salad in the diet, which leads to bearded dragons not eating or pooping.
A salad bowl in the tank all the time will be useful for the baby and young BD (0-7 months) so that they will start trying greens at a young age.
Otherwise, when they become a juvenile and an adult, he will be a picky eater.
The standard diet for BD over 7 months old includes insects 3 times a week, and salad – 4 times a week while a BD turning 18 months old needs offering salad 5 times a week and bugs only 2 times a week!
Also, overdoing with some vegetables or greens is not recommended.
There are some too many watery vegetables and greens, which can cause diarrhea or even more serious dehydration.
1.3 Feeding too much
Another mistake that you can make is feeding them too much, which can lead to bearded dragons not eating or pooping as they can get impacted by too many insects, which has a negative impact on their digestive system, and lead to impaction or also diarrhea.
The face that they are impacted by feeder insects that are just too big for him is quite common.
There are some cases that reptiles cannot digest their food anymore and the insect comes out undigested, which is very harmful to the reptile. Therefore, you had better not feed them too many insects a day.
Another resulting consequence is that they can suffer from obesity from eating too much.
Also, too many bugs can cause impaction and paralysis.
In specific, it is recommended that adult BD should not eat 30-40 feeder insects per week, and around 10-20 crickets per 15 minute feeding for example is common.
Especially, you shouldn’t feed them more than 10 high chitin or fatty bugs per day, such as super worms.
The components of the diet for them vary in different ages.
In particular, BD after 18 months of age should eat 15-30% insects and 70-85% veggies while it is better for baby BD to eat 20-40% greens and lots of bugs – 60-80%. In the case of a juvenile, 50% of insects, and 50% greens is optimal.
If you don’t follow this, a lot of problems relating to pooping, digestion, and kidneys will happen.
One culprit for bearded dragon not eating or pooping is that they are dehydrated as you know, water and essential hydration play an important role in the process of digestion, moving of fecal mass in the intestines and pooping.
There are some symptoms of dehydration such as sunken eyes, loose skin (not very elastic).
Also, thicker saliva and poor appetite would be signs of dehydration.
Especially, you can realize that urates (white part of the poop) will be harder as well as smaller or missing.
There are some cases that you put the bowl of water in the tank but they don’t drink enough water.
Therefore, you can try putting a drop of water on their nose as well as mist the tank a few times a week.
Especially, you should get a small dispenser or fountain like this, which can create moving water and attract them to drink more.
Giving them a bath is also an efficient way to help with hydration. In specific, bathe them at least 1-2 times a week for extra moisture.
Also, you can help to get more moisture by offering then salad at all times.
3. Lazy or lethargic
If they are lazy or inactive, which can lead to problems with pooping such as not pooping regularly as activity helps promote healthy digestion. Therefore, it is better for you to get him to involve inactivity.
For example, some accessories can be introduced to encourage them to move around so that they can climb to a lounger like this, or go for a walk.
4. Low temperatures and lack of lighting in a cage can be a cause
If the bearded dragon is not eating or pooping, this can come from low temperatures in the tank as they are desert lizards, and very low temperatures will prevent them from having a healthy gut and digesting the food efficiently.
This will result in constipation, low energy levels, and low appetite.
Besides low temperatures, lack of lighting can result in them not eating or pooping as they need UVB lights to produce vitamin D for their development, and it is better to get both UVA and UVB lighting for around 10-12 hours every day.
In specific, due to their cold-blooded nature, many dragons won’t eat until they are warm enough to ensure successful digestion.
A lack of correct lighting can also cause feeding issues.
It would be ideal to have temperatures between 92-110 degrees F (33-43 Celsius) in the hot basking spot under the lights and 75-85 F (23.8-29 C) in the cool spot while at night, temperatures of 65-70 F (18.3-21.1 Celsius) are ideal.
In case temperatures at night in the cage decrease dramatically, you had better use an additional heating source to keep stable temperatures.
We also would like to recommend the ReptiSun 10.0 bulb as it provides a higher amount of UVB, which is more suited for them.
5. Impacted or constipated
Many become impacted due to loose substrate, random objects, or large feeder insects. In specific, many pet owners see loose substrate as one of the biggest fears as they can ingest some, which can make them impacted or even die.
For example, sand, gravel, coco coir and so on are loose substrates despite the fact that they are loved by most pet owners because of their good looks and convenience
There are some signs that can help you to know whether they are impacted or not.
Firstly, it’s will poop less for more than a week and has a round and full belly. However, there are some cases that you can see the ingested substrate in the poop of them.
Secondly, they may gain weight and seem lethargic. Especially, you can notice that they will eat, but won’t poop.
Feeding them bugs that are too big (larger than the width between the eyes) can make them choke and develop constipation or even paralysis (back legs).
Therefore, always remember to give him appropriately sized bugs.
If they runs into difficulties with these problems, bathing them can help it relax and poop in the water.
You should prepare a bath with the water temperature of approximately 90-95 degrees F (around 32-35 Celsius), and massage their belly gently while sliding fingers towards the vent.
Just let them sit in the water for some time and repeat until your dragon has pooped out the mass. If it doesn’t work, offer them one drop of vegetable or mineral oil.
However, in case none of the methods are working, and bearded dragon won’t poop for 7-10 days, you had better take him to the vet immediately to take an X-Ray to see if they have any foreign objects in the stomach or guts.
What to do if my bearded dragon won’t poop?
After having a look at some reasons why the bearded dragon is not eating or pooping, you may come up with some ideas to deal with the bearded dragon not pooping.
If you suspect ingestion, you should immediately remove the loose substrate.
In specific, you should ask yourself whether you give for them a healthy and balanced diet and feed properly or you are offering correct greens and properly sized bugs.
Also, you should think about any recent changes in their activity levels and eating tendencies.
If they are not getting better, and the symptoms persist for more than 10 days, you had better take them to the vet.
However, there is a case that the bearded dragon won’t poop because it is brumating, which is normal.
If bearded dragon won’t poop because he eats little, you should help by soaking them once in 10-14 days to make it poop.
Make sure to always help them poop everything out before brumation starts so that he can avoid constipation and food rotting in the guts during brumation.
Bearded Dragon is Not Eating – FAQs
1. How Long Can Bearded Dragons go without pooping?
It is better for them to have a bowel movement at least once per week.
However, regarding impacted them, they can go without defecating for several weeks, which can be very harmful to them, and result in the death of the animal.
2. Why Does Bearded Dragon Poop Smell So Bad?
If you find the poop smell so awful, maybe he either has parasites (a pretty common occurrence), he eats something that is just not good for his stomach.
If you have taken some actions such as adjusting his diet, but his stool is still reeking, it’s time for you to have a fecal sample tested for parasites.
3. How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Eating?
This depends on age, weight, general health, and so on. But a fully grown healthy dragon can live without food from a few weeks to up to 3 months.
By contrast, younger dragons that need a lot of food for their growth are not able to survive without eating almost every day.
4. Should I force-feed My Bearded Dragon?
Of course, it is possible for you to force-feed BD if there is for veterinary approval.
Otherwise, this can have negative impacts such as raising stress.
It would be terrible to find a bearded dragon not eating or pooping. Therefore, I really hope that this article will help you deal with that, and you can take some simple measures to encourage your pet to eat or poop regularly. If nothing is better, the best option is taking them to a vet and check for health problems.