My Bearded Dragon Has Gone Off Food

My Bearded Dragon Has Gone Off Food

Authored by Pete Hawkins: Chameleon Network / Bearded Dragons Network / Snake Network / Lizard Network / Amphibian Network

The subject of “My Dragon has gone off food”, or “my dragon is on hunger strike”, is something I see time and time again on my Bearded Dragon Facebook group. Obviously, it’s a worrying time. But not only this. It’s also not just a simple diagnosis of “parasites” as many will state. So, let’s go through some of the more common causes.


A parasite load will affect food intake. So, if symptoms persist longer than a few days, it’s time for a faecal test. Either via your local Reptile Vet. Or, PALs (Pinmoore Animal Lab) If it is indeed parasites, an oral treatment will be needed. This in turn, often causes more stomach upset, and decreasing food intake.

It’s always worth treating with a pro and prebiotic alongside the parasite treatment. Using both of these together is far more efficient. As one product feeds the other. Making it far more efficient at its job. This will help settle the gut flora, and bring all back into balance. As the medication not only kills the bad gut flora in the gut/digestive system. But the good gut flora too.

I recommend Avi-Pro Plus and Reptaboost.

UV Lighting

UVB Placement

Ideal UVB placement

Incorrect/inadequate heat and/or UVB.Both of these are vital. Vital to the well-being and lifefunction of your Dragon.

Make sure UVB is the tube type. The coil bulb types are woefully inadequate regarding coverage, and exposure levels for our Dragons. So don’t even bother with these. Despite what you are told.

Stick to the top brands. Those being Arcadia 12% (14% if you have a 2ft high vivaria) and ZooMed ReptiSun 10.0 always with a reflector.

You MUST make sure these are used at the manufacturer’s recommended distances. The distance stated means from UVB tube, to the dragon’s back.

Poor UVB and temperatures will effect the dragon, everything from food intake to activity
Check the basking temperature. Don’t worry about ambient and cool end for now. Get the basking temperature at optimal range. I always recommend around 104f (38-42c).

Make sure the UVB is NEVER filtered through mesh. Mesh will reduce the output projected within the Viv/tank by around 50%. Making the remaining UVB output very poor.

Incorrect Diet

Feeding an improper diet in the first place, is not going to do any good at all, variety is vital. Feeding any one or two bugs, forever, is not nutritionally balanced enough and will cause problems in the long run.
Quality of bug is also important.

Fatty foods WILL have a negative effect over time. Meaning, Wax worms and Morio worms(Supers) should be kept to a minimum and used as treat only. So a few a week.

Now for the couple many underestimate

Not only done this boost the nutritional value of bugs, tenfold. It also changes the taste of them. Always use a quality gut-load.
Don’t use the awful ‘bug grub’. It’s is adding nothing to these bugs. Fresh ingredients are great. So feed either what you feed your dragon better still, what you are NOT feeding them. This way, double


Arcadia Instect-Fuel, Gutload

I recommend ‘Arcadia Insect-Fuel’, ‘Repashy Bug burger‘ and ‘Nekton Cricket feed’.

All boost the bugs nutritional content and help balance that needed Ca:Ph ratio


Who’d have thought, huh!.
Many don’t realise the taste of a supplement can vary. This CAN be a reason for going off, or getting bored of food. Over the years I’ve done my own experiments with this. And the conclusion was, changing supplements around every 6 months to a different brand helps no end.

An example would be the likes of two of my goto supplements. Arcadia Earthpro-A. And, Repashy Calcium Plus LoD.
Both are the All-in-one type of supplement. So no separate Calcium and multivitamins needed.
I like to switch between these two every 6 months. The Repashy tastes and smells very fruity. While the Arcadia, has the likes of Bee Pollen within. Thus, both of these keep tastes fresh and less “bland” for the Dragon.

You should change supplements every 6 months regardless. As once opened, they will start to deteriorate.
I rotate between 2 brands now. Repashy Calcium plus LoD. And, Arcadia Earthpro-A. Before I have used many brands on testing. ZooMed Repcal is good. Sticky tongue farm, Pro-rep Herptivite.
But I’ve used Repashy for many years. And will continue to do so.

The Arcadia is fairly new. Out last year. But I was that impressed, that’s now my settled of the 2 brands I use.
Of course, what you choose is up to you. But I definitely recommend changing them for another brand after 6 months.
This keeps the taste different to the Reptile. And keeps interest due to flavour change.

You may think…but calcium is calcium. And you’d be correct. But, these supplements have other things added. Not only that, that consistency differs due to the actual amounts of crude calcium etc. Our Dragons tastes are so very sensitive due to the Jacobson organ (do you a own research). So these little changes in ingredients. In powder density. All matter.

Of course. The above are just a few reasons that our Dragons can go off food.

First and foremost. You know your own dragon. So an exotic vet visit is always the best course of action if you are worried.

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