My Bearded Dragon is Too skinny, Dehydrated and did not Eat Much Lately, What should I Do?

If a bearded dragon has not eaten in some time or it is suspected that the dragon was not fed much previously, solid food and protein should not be given!

Force feeding solid food and insects are stressful, even for a healthy beardie, doing it so a sick one, will stress it out too much and might cause more harm than good.


Bearded dragon malnourished

When bearded dragons did not eat for a long time or they are severely malnourished, the kidney and liver function will slow down or in some instance even stop working. A sudden introduction of protein can cause liver and kidney failure since they did not work properly for some time. By feeding special food, the kidneys and liver will slowly start working again without any strain.

How Will I Know if my Dragon is starved or Malnourished?

  • Sunken fat pads

Bearded dragon too skinny

Bearded dragon fat pads

  • Sunken eyes (not always the case)
  • Too skinny, ribs showin.
  • Very loose skin even after being hydrated.
  • No energy

Bearded dragon fat pads

  • Watery poop
  • Brown/yellowish urinate.

What should I Give My Bearded Dragon to Eat?

Offer a nutritional slurry orally via a baby spoon or syringe. Organic baby food makes a great base for a slurry and both calcium and vitamins can be added to it. (Do not add protein to a slurry in the beginning)

ONLY use baby foods like Purity and ones without flavorings and add inns (butternut and sweet potato purity is the purist and best to use). All foods should be plain and natural.

food for sick bearded dragons

There are formulas on the market, made especially for bearded dragons that needs a special diet to recover from starvation or any type of serious illness. Critical care is an example of such a product and works very well since it contains all the vitamins and nutrients to get them healthy. Critical care should be given 3 times a day for 3 days and then 5 times a day for at least a week.

food for sick bearded dragons
Once the urine is a healthy white color, it will indicate that the liver and kidneys are working well. Depends on the severity of malnutrition or starvation, but usually protein can be slowly introduced after 7 days or 3 days after a white urine has been spotted. Before introducing protein (live feeders), you dragon should first eat his/her veggies and greens to kick start the digestive system.

bearded dragon poop

Once a beardie is on protein again, urinates should be monitored every day. If it changes color to brown or a yellow, the protein should be taken away.

A dragon that was starved or not eating well should also be kept hydrated at all times. A bath twice a day will do wonders and water can also be dripped on the nose, they will usually lap it up.

Be sure to keep the enclosure at the required temperature to help him/her digest the food. Food that digests properly will help with kidney and liver function as well. Night time temps should not be dropped too much like with a normal healthy dragon. The enclosure should be heated with a heat emitter or heat source that does not use bright light.

Veterinary care should be an option if your dragon suffers from malnutrition or starvation. A vet will weigh the bearded dragon, listen to the heart beat and give more accurate advice on how to care for him/her.

the bearded dragon guide


  1. Hi how much ml of baby food should I give per day?

    1. Hi. When mixing the baby food with the critical care it will be one part critical care to one part baby food, with this mixture you want to give about 1ml every 3 hours. Pure baby food can be used but it best to mix with critical care, for pure baby food it will be 2ml every 2 hours.

  2. How much and how often for a tiny baby dragon?

  3. not too much. only a few ml per feeding session, and I'd say once a day, since they need to grow.