Now that you have purchased a new cuddly bearded dragon pet, you can finally start making a bond with it. Before you start socializing with your new pet you should see whether it is skinny or not. If you notice that your bearded dragon appears too thin, then there might be an underlying issue. In this article, you will learn about how to make bearded dragon gain weight.
If you own a young bearded dragon, then it would likely be slanky during the initial growth years. Rather than growing in width, your juvenile bearded dragon would grow vertically. This would make them look highly skinny during the initial 18 months of their life. Despite this weight gain factor, there might still be some health issues that are affecting your pet’s health.
From lack of appetite to digestive tract issues, there might be various reasons your beardie isn’t gaining weight. Your underweight bearded dragon might also be going through a hormonal phase. You might want to review the husbandry and make changes in the tank.
As a caring pet owner, you might be worried about the current state of your pet. You might be looking for ways to help it put on more weight so that it can appear healthier. Before increasing their food intake, you should inspect the reason that is causing them to become malnourished. Don’t force-feed your pet, as that can upset their stomach. You should first be fully aware of the situation before making changes in the diet.
How to Tell If a Bearded Dragon is Too Thin?
There is no general rule when it comes to defining the standard weight of an adult bearded dragon. The bodyweight can depend on various factors such as age, gender, and species.
If your beardie is full-grown, then he or she should weigh approximately 15 ounces. The exact measurement of the weight of your dragon can vary depending upon its morph and species.
You should also keep in mind that it is quite difficult to increase the weight of babies and juveniles. Whatever young beardies eat, most of it is consumed for body growth.
You can tell a lot about an adult bearded dragon’s health just by looking at it from a distance. If you notice that it is thin from the sides and has a flat belly, then this isn’t a good sign. You might also notice that your emaciated beardie’s head is bigger in proportion to the rest of its body.
The hip bone of your weak pet might also be visible if he or she is too thin. Just like in cats and dogs, visible hip tells that the animal is weak to a great extent. The skin of a malnourished reptile is also likely to become saggy and loose. Now that it doesn’t have proper body mass, its skin would slowly start loosening up from different parts.
The condition of the fat pads can also reveal about the current health of your exotic pet. Bearded dragons usually store excess fat in these pads, which they utilize during hibernation. If the fat pads of your bearded dragon are no longer visible, then it tells about its malnourishment.
How to Fatten Up a Bearded Dragon?
If you want to bulk up your malnourished pet dragon, then there are various things you can do. From husbandry improvements to daily veterinarian visits, you would actively have to do some things. You should also first see whether your pet is actually thin or not. If its hip bones aren’t visible, then you shouldn’t be too concerned about the weight.
In order to fatten up your cuddly pet, you can try out the following strategies:
Investigate any underlying health issue
Before you start the bulking phase of your beardie, you would have to first take them to the vet. A fecal examination would help you identify whether your poor pet is suffering from a parasitic infection. Intestinal worms can greatly reduce the body weight of their hosts. Once they start sucking up the blood from the body, the host would have difficulty absorbing nutrients. This is the reason you would have to perform a stool test to ensure that it is not a victim of a parasite infestation.
Increase the food intake
Once you are able to identify the root cause of the problem you can finally pay attention to the diet. By increasing the food intake of your bearded dragon, you would be able to give him or her a better chance of gaining weight. If it is still a baby, then you can feed them a large number of bugs in a day. You can allow your baby beardie to eat as many bugs as it can within a 15-minutes time window. You would also have to add different varieties of worms in their diet to provide better nutrition. You can add bugs like crickets, dubia roaches, and larvae.
Offer fatty meals to your adult beardie
You would likely be feeding worms to your adult bearded dragon about 3 times a week. This means that you would have to add fatty insects in their diet to maximize their nutrient absorption. The deliciousness of fatty worms can make it highly addictive to your pet dragon. This can cause him to become uninterested in other boring food items. To keep things interesting, you would have to add leafy greens and veggies in their diet as well. Some of the high-fat worms include mealworms, superworms, and butterworms. You can also feed pinky mice to your adult bearded dragon to give them a better opportunity at gaining weight.
Reevaluate the lighting and heating system
You would also have to review the heating fixtures and UVB bulbs installed in the terrarium to ensure its health. The immunity and physical wellbeing of your pet can be at risk if the cage doesn’t have proper lighting. Not only would your beardie not able to digest food but it would also be more likely to become sick.
You have to ensure that all the lights are installed in overhead fixtures. This would ensure that your beardie is able to absorb the heat all over its body. The placement of the bulbs can impact the radiation of UVB rays it can absorb. Make sure that you purchase UVB tubes that are specifically designed for reptiles.
What Can I Feed My Bearded Dragon to Gain Weight?
You would have to introduce high-fat and nutritious meals to help your beardie put on more weight. You might not be able to do that just by increasing the meal size. You would actively have to add a versatile variety of food items to help them absorb more nutrients.
You can add fatty insects such as waxworms and mealworms. The high-fat content of these feeder insects would help replenish the fat reserves of your beardie. To make the meal more delicious, you can gut-load the feeder insects before feeding them to your pet. Make sure to dust the insects with calcium supplements to provide a healthy meal to your dragon.
You can also treat your beardie with a hopper or pinky mice. You would have to defrost these mice after bringing them from the pet store.
You can also nutritious vegetables in your beardie’s diet such as carrots, parsley, and collard greens. This would enhance the digestion function by increasing fiber content in your beardie’s meal.