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Why Isn’t My Bearded Dragon Growing?

Bearded dragons require a specific environment, a balanced, nutrient-rich diet, and UVB from the sun or a UVB bulb that helps them grow, develop, and thrive in your home. When your bearded dragon remains small and doesn’t appear to be growing, there are a few reasons for this slow development. It’s essential to consider the various reasons for the delay in your bearded dragon and to visit a veterinarian if there’s no improvement.


Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank Is Too Small


If the tank for your reptile is too small, it can slow its ability to move and grow normally. It’s like a fish in a small aquarium that needs more space to grow as it develops. Bearded dragons require enough space to grow, and it’s ideal to invest in a large terrarium while providing enough time for your dragon to explore outside their tank. When you expand your dragon’s space, this will improve their mobility and physical fitness.


Sharing a Space with Another Bearded Dragon


When you have more than one bearded dragon, it’s essential to provide enough space for them to thrive. They are territorial pets and prefer not to share their personal space. If you provide a large tank and a comfortable environment, you can safely add more than one bearded dragon to your terrarium. If you’re considering adding another type of reptile, it’s best to check with a veterinarian to make sure the reptiles are compatible.


Digestion Issues and Parasites


If your bearded dragon has parasites, this will impact its digestive system and reduce the nutrients. While your pet may be receiving sufficient vitamins and minerals, they may suffer from malnourishment due to the parasites. Fortunately, a veterinarian can provide an easy fix to improve your dragon’s health quickly so that they can get the most out of their healthy diet.


Insufficient Nutrients in the Diet


If your bearded dragon doesn’t eat enough food or isn’t getting sufficient nutrients to grow and develop, it can become malnourished and suffer from deficiencies. It’s essential to feed them often, between three and five times a day, to ensure they grow correctly and with all the required nutrients. It’s also essential to ensure that your dragon maintains a healthy appetite and to call your veterinarian if your pet refuses to eat, doesn’t appear hungry, and is noticeably getting thinner.


UV Lighting Levels


Bearded dragons originate from the deserts in Australia, which means they require the same level of heat and sun in these regions to develop appropriately, especially in captivity. Your reptile receives crucial nutrients from UVB light, which should be on for at least twelve hours each day. Keep the UVB lights on during the night when the temperature is typically cooler and turn them off in the morning. You can install a switch timer to help regulate the UV rays and ensure your dragon receives enough to help them develop and grow.


Your Bearded Dragon Isn’t Getting Enough Nutrients


While your bearded dragon may eat regularly and appear to be getting all the nutrients they need, any vitamin or mineral deficiency can delay growth and cause your pet to remain small. If you have a baby bearded dragon, they especially need a lot of greens, lots of protein, and calcium. Your veterinarian can provide suggestions on the best quality formula for your reptile and ensure they receive a balanced diet.


When a bearded dragon lives in captivity, it may not get all the nutrient levels usually found in the wild. For this reason, it’s vital to provide a diet that’s rich in calcium, which you can provide with live insects and greens. You can also coat live crickets, dubia roaches, or other feeder insects with a supplement powder to boost the calcium and vitamin content in your dragon’s feed to avoid conditions like metabolic bone disease or stuck shed.


Gut loading is a process where you feed your dragon’s live insects with highly nutritious food one day before enhancing the nutrient level for your pet’s feed. It’s especially crucial to provide all the required vitamins and minerals when you have a young bearded dragon to promote growth as they grow into an adult dragon.


The Type of Bearded Dragon Species


Every species of bearded dragon, from pogona minor to pogona vitticeps to central bearded dragon, grows differently, and some may not grow as quickly or as large as other reptiles. If you adopt or buy a pet dragon from a pet store, they may offer a lesser-known species and may not develop the same way as other dragons.


Different species are known as morphs, and it’s essential to understand the type of coloring, patterns, and shape to understand the species and their unique needs. A professional breeder can offer detailed information to a bearded dragon owner on the type of diet it needs, and you’ll find that some species are naturally smaller in size, like a dwarf bearded dragon.


Summary


There are various ways to determine why your bearded dragon may not grow as quickly or develop as expected. It’s essential to provide all the required nutrients, UV light, and space for your baby bearded dragon to thrive and enjoy a healthy life as they grow into adulthood. If your efforts to improve your dragon’s diet and environment don’t appear to make an impact, your veterinarian can assess your pet's health and provide suggestions to improve bearded dragon care and help them grow.

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