The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Owning bearded dragons can be a lot of fun. These interesting reptiles are loved by so many people.
If you bought a baby beardie a little while back, you might be hoping to see it grow. When the bearded dragon doesn’t seem to be growing much at all, you could be worried.
When you make mistakes as an owner, is it possible for the growth of the reptile to be stunted? What factors can cause bearded dragons to stop growing?
Keep reading to learn about the reasons why bearded dragons stop growing. This should give you a better idea of what you need to do to turn things around.
1 – You’re Not Feeding It Enough
The most common reason why bearded dragons won’t grow much involves food. It could be that you’re not feeding the beardie nearly enough food.
Typically, baby beardies and juvenile beardies grow at a fast pace. To keep growing, the beardies are going to need to eat a lot of food.
You should be feeding your bearded dragons insects and veggies that will allow them to grow strong. It might be that you need to start feeding them more so they can grow normally.
When feeding a baby bearded dragon, it’s recommended to give it as many crickets as it can eat in ten minutes. You do this as many times per day as they need depending on how old they are.
As the beardie continues to get old, it’ll need a different balance of insects and veggies. You might need to work with a vet if you’re unclear about what you should be feeding the bearded dragon.
Look up information based on the age of your beardie. Feed the bearded dragon recommended foods while ensuring that you’re feeding it enough times per day.
If you’re putting the effort in, the bearded dragon should eat enough that it will grow. Otherwise, something else might be wrong.
2 – Problems with Feeding the Bearded Dragon a Balanced Diet
Sometimes, owners have a difficult time feeding bearded dragons a balanced diet. Feeding the beardie the right amount of food is imperative, but it’s also important to feed them the right things.
Feeding the beardie too much of one food and not enough of another might throw things off. It might wind up being the case that the bearded dragon lacks certain essential nutrients.
Ideally, you should be feeding the bearded dragon seventy percent insect proteins and thirty percent veggies when it’s young. This applies to both baby bearded dragons and juvenile bearded dragons.
Adult bearded dragons need to flip things the other way around. You’ll be feeding adult beardies thirty percent insect proteins and seventy percent veggies.
If the balance isn’t right, the bearded dragon might not grow as well as it should. Bearded dragons truly do need to eat the right mix of foods to be able to thrive.
Ensure that you’re portioning the food out properly. If you’re not, it’s likely that this is what’s causing the issues with growth that you’re noticing.
It should be easy enough to turn things around. Simply do a better job of planning out what you’re feeding your bearded dragon moving forward.
3 – Are You Giving Your Bearded Dragon Calcium Supplements?
Feeding a baby bearded dragon properly is just part of what you need to do. Did you know that you also need to give your beardie calcium supplements?
Bearded dragons truly do need calcium supplements to be able to grow and thrive. You should ensure that you buy the best calcium supplement that you can.
When you fail to give bearded dragons calcium supplements, it creates health risks for them. It makes it a lot more likely that they will suffer from illnesses such as metabolic bone disease (MBD).
MBD is a serious problem that you want to avoid at all costs. Calcium supplements help to support both muscle and bone growth in bearded dragons.
Why is this necessary for bearded dragons to grow and stay healthy? Simply put, the UVB that they get in captivity isn’t sufficient.
The calcium supplement is a way to make up for this. If you give your beardie a good calcium supplement, it’ll ensure that it has the best chance of growing strong.
4 – Your UVB Setup Is Wrong
You learned how important calcium is to the growth of bearded dragons. UVB is also going to be a crucial part of the growth process.
If you’re new to caring for bearded dragons, you might not have set up the UVB properly. Your bearded dragons need UVB rays for many different reasons.
The UVB rays contain vitamin D which is necessary for the health of your beardie. The vitamin D in the UVB rays help them to absorb the calcium that they get from the supplements.
Without UVB rays, they won’t be able to use the calcium that they receive. An insufficient amount of vitamin D will present many problems for bearded dragons.
When bearded dragons don’t have a good UVB setup, it causes them to have underdeveloped bones. They can also have severe muscle problems.
It’s far more likely that they will get MBD, too. Be sure to set up the UVB exactly how you’re supposed to.
Buy all of the equipment that you need and follow the instructions to a tee. You should get good results so long as you take it slow and do things right.
5 – Problems with the Tank Temperature
The temperature in the tank can play a role, too. You might not know this, but the temperature of the tank impacts how well your beardie can digest food.
Bearded dragons need to have a basking spot and a cool spot in the tank. These reptiles need to spend a certain amount of time basking each day for digestive purposes.
The basking spot in the tank is supposed to have a temperature between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Then there’s supposed to be a cool area of the tank where the temperature is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
At night, the temperature should be between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to get everything set up right in the tank for the bearded dragon.
When the temperature isn’t right in the tank, it’ll make digestion very difficult. It’ll make them stop eating as much as usual and this will impact the overall growth rate.
Improper tank temperatures can slow or stop bearded dragon growth. It’s imperative to take the time to set up the tank and get the temperatures right.
Use a thermometer to keep things right in the tank. It’s likely a good idea to have a handheld thermometer that you can use to check specific spots in the tank.
6 – Is the Tank Too Small?
The tank might be too small for the beardie. It’s common for bearded dragons to become depressed if they’re forced to live in a cramped environment.
They’ll also get depressed if they’re kept in empty tanks. To keep beardies happy, it’s necessary to give them access to plants, rocks, and other such things that help them to feel natural.
If you’re putting your bearded dragon in a very small tank, it might not have room for those things. It’s going to stop doing the things that it normally should do when it becomes depressed.
For example, depressed beardies will often stop basking. They will either bask infrequently or they might choose to hide instead of basking.
You know that basking is a crucial part of the digestive process of bearded dragons. Not basking is going to have an impact on the growth rate.
As your beardie grows, you might need to provide it with a larger tank. It isn’t recommended to put a baby beardie in a tank that is too large.
Thus, you’ll need to provide the bearded dragon with a larger environment as it grows. Keep an eye on this and take action as necessary.
7 – Could Your Bearded Dragon Have Parasites?
Sadly, bearded dragons can get sick. Sometimes these reptiles will have to deal with parasites.
When a bearded dragon has parasites it can wind up causing it to lose weight. Sometimes it’ll be so bad that it’ll keep the beardie from growing at all.
Parasites live inside the digestive systems of bearded dragons. They eat the food that the bearded dragon eats before it can be digested.
If there are a lot of parasites living inside of the bearded dragon, it’ll make it so that the beardie will only benefit from a small amount of the food that it consumes. As you’d expect, this can be a huge problem.
The big issue with parasites is that it can be difficult to detect them. Pinworms are some of the most common parasites that bearded dragons have to deal with.
If there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong in the tank or with the bearded dragon’s diet, it might be time to suspect parasites. You’ll need to take your beardie to see an exotic veterinarian to get the issue taken care of.
The vet can test the stool to see if your beardie has parasites. If it does, the vet will be able to get rid of the parasites with the right medical treatments.
8 – Living with Another Bearded Dragon
Are you keeping your bearded dragon in the same tank as another bearded dragon? This is likely not a great idea.
There are a lot of people that choose to do this, but it doesn’t usually go well. You see, bearded dragons do a lot better when kept by themselves.
When keeping two bearded dragons in the same tank, it’s going to cause one beardie to act as the dominant one. The stronger and more dominant beardie will monopolize the basking spot and intimidate the other beardie.
Bullying issues can keep the weaker beardie from getting enough food. It can also cause significant stress issues.
Overall, it’s not a good idea to keep more than one bearded dragon in a tank. It’s not even a good idea to keep two bearded dragons in separate tanks where they can see each other.
If you want to have two bearded dragons, keep them far away from each other. It only creates problems for them to be close to each other.
9 – Appetite Issues
Does your bearded dragon not have a good appetite? It could be that it isn’t eating due to stress.
Stressful situations in the house can keep the beardie from eating normally. Were you aware that loud noises scare bearded dragons?
All sorts of loud noises such as barking dogs and loud televisions can negatively impact beardies. You should keep the tank in a quiet room to avoid such problems.
Other issues can cause stress as well. Handling the beardie too much might make it feel too stressed to want to eat or bask.
Beardies can get intimidated by other pets in your home as well. Cats and dogs are seen as predators by the bearded dragon.
Even not giving the beardie enough hiding spots can have a negative impact. Give your beardie at least one good hiding spot where it can feel safe.
How Big Should the Bearded Dragon Be?
You might be wondering how big the bearded dragon should be. A one-month-old beardie should be between three and four inches long.
At two months, the beardie should be between five and nine inches long. At three months, it needs to be between eight and eleven inches long.
At four months old, the beardie should be somewhere between nine and twelve inches long. Five-month-old bearded dragons will be between eleven and sixteen inches long.
When it reaches six months old, it should be between eleven and eighteen inches long. It’ll be somewhere between thirteen and twenty inches long at eight months.
After a year, the beardie will be between sixteen and twenty-two inches long. Once the beardie is two years old, it’ll be between eighteen and twenty-four inches long.
So long as the beardie is somewhere in the right size range for its age, everything should be fine. If it’s significantly undersized, you’ll want to adjust what you’re doing.