My grandma always said, what goes in has to come out eventually. This also goes for bearded dragons, but what if that is not the case? What if my bearded dragon is not able to defecate? Why is my bearded dragon not pooping? Here is the answer!
Bearded dragons are omnivores which means that they eat everything. It can happen that bearded dragons eat things they shouldn´t and get impacted (constipated). The defecation frequency also depends on the bearded dragon´s diet.
So does that mean that your bearded dragon has swallowed a lego brick or something? Not necessarily. Continue to read to learn why your beardie is not pooping and what you can do to help it.
How Often Should Bearded Dragons Poop?
Adult bearded dragons should defecate at least once a week. This highly depends on the diet and the amount of food it gets. A bearded dragon that eats mostly meat on a daily base will defecate almost every day, whereas bearded dragons that eat mostly greens won´t have a bowel movement that often.
How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go Without Pooping?
Bearded dragons should have a bowel movement at least once per week, but impacted bearded dragons can go without defecating for several weeks. This is very painful for a bearded dragon and can result in the death of the animal.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Not Pooping? The Reasons
As I said, there are several reasons why your bearded dragon is not pooping and it doesn´t have to be a dangerous reason.
I will also tell you what you can do to help your bearded dragon defecating, but you need to understand first why your bearded dragon is not pooping in order to not make the same mistakes over and over again.
So here are the reasons why your bearded dragon might not be defecating.
Your Bearded Dragon Ate Substrate
That´s a classic and that´s why I have to talk about this first. If you use reptile carpet, newspaper or paper towel, do not stop reading here. This also concerns you – especially you, because you can and should use loose substrate. However, let´s talk about the problem first.
A bearded dragon eating substrate is one of the biggest fears in bearded dragon owners, since bearded dragon can get impacted from that and die. This already happened to a lot of bearded dragon owners.
For most people, loose substrate is the devil and a lot of so-called loving bearded dragon owners are bashing other bearded dragon owners who use loose substrate.
Don´t get me wrong here, if you don´t use loose substrate out of fear your beardie could get hurt, I don´t blame you. I just can´t stand those people that are not willing to do any real research, but bash other people for not keeping their bearded dragons like they do.
The substrate can be a problem if your bearded dragon eats it, that is correct. However, your bearded dragon only eats the substrate if it feels that it has to balance its minerals. Otherwise bearded dragons do not do that.
What you can do to prevent your bearded dragon from doing that is offering calcium at all times in a little food bowl. This way your bearded dragon will not eat the substrate, it will eat the calcium. If you want to know how to offer calcium in the best way possible and which calcium supplement you should use, click here.
In Germany, everybody keeps their bearded dragons on soil, a sand mix or a clay mix and impaction in beardies is not very common here, because of the advice I just gave you.
It can sometimes happen that baby bearded dragons eat substrate accidentally when they eat their food hastily. So you can use newspaper, kitchen roll or reptile carpet for babys, but not for adult bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons are diggers and you should give them the opportunity to do that. If you want to know what the best substrate for bearded dragons is, click here to read my article on bearded dragon substrate.
A Warm Bath Can Help
It always depends on how much substrate your bearded dragon has eaten, but very often, warm baths and rubbing your bearded dragon´s belly help to clear impaction quickly.
The video below is not the way I recommend to give bearded dragons a bath, but it shows what effect a warm bath has on a beardie´s body. Warning: A little bit disgusting, lol.
I will talk about that later in this article, let´s talk about the other reasons first.
You Are Not Feeding Your Bearded Dragon Right
Feeding a bearded dragon is a very complicated topic. As I said above, bearded dragons are omnivores, they eat literally everything. However, that does not mean that they should eat everything.
A bearded dragon´s diet is so important. It depends a lot on the diet if your bearded dragon is healthy or unhealthy, active or inactive and even alive or dead.
So the first mistake you can make is feeding way too much.
It does not happen too often, but bearded dragons can get impacted from too many insects. Their digestive system can be irritated from too many insects and this can lead to impaction and also diarrhea.
What is more common is that bearded dragons get impacted from feeder insects that were just too big for them. A lot of people think that big feeder insects are no problem for a bearded dragon. That might be right if it is just one single huge insect. That would be an exception and your bearded dragon can deal with that.
However, you don´t buy one huge hopper, right? They only sell boxes with 10 to 100 to 1000 hoppers and so your bearded dragon gets a meal which is too huge over and over again.
I have seen reptiles that were not able to digest their food anymore and the insect came out undigested. That´s very unhealthy for the reptile and yes, it was disgusting as well.
Besides that, adult bearded dragons should eat more greens than live food. Greens are healthy and clean a beardie´s digestive system.
Learn How To Feed Your Bearded Dragon Properly
As I just told you, greens are healthy and you can also control your bearded dragon´s defecation frequency and its stool consistency with it.
For example, if you know that your bearded dragon has not pooped for a while, you can feed more cucumbers or shredded carrots. They will make your bearded dragon´s stool more watery and this way your bearded dragon will have an easier time do defecate.
If your bearded dragon is refusing to eat greens, there might be something wrong with your bearded dragon. Maybe it is fat or just currently overfed.
No matter what it is, you need to get your bearded dragon to eat greens to make sure that it stays healthy. If you need help with that I recommend to get my ebook on how to get your beardie to eat greens within 7 days here.
Your Lighting Is Not Sufficient
Setting up the right lighting for bearded dragons can be pretty hard. Especially for beginners, this topic is utterly confusing.
I remember that I was totally confused when I got my first reptile.
The problem is that there is so much misinformation on the internet, and pet shops do not educated their buyers correctly. They just want to sell a lot of expensive products.
Besides that, many reptile light bulbs on the market are garbage and not sufficient for most reptiles.
As you probably know, bearded dragons need UVB lights to produce vitamin D, but they also need a reliable heat bulb that produces enough heat. Otherwise your bearded dragon will not be able to get its body on temperature.
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded. They need an external heat source in order to function properly. If you do not have the right lights, the right temperature, your bearded dragon might not be able to get its body to the right temperature.
This also means that your bearded dragon is not able to digest properly. Some bearded dragons just need more days to defecate then. However, others are just not able to poop anymore.
Get The Right Lighting
We all started somewhere and we all have bought stuff for our bearded dragons that was totally useless.
I know that this can be really annoying, but as long as your bearded dragon is still okay, everything is fine. If you are not sure if you have the right lighting, I recommend to read my bearded dragon lighting guide here.
It will tell you what temperature zones you exactly need and which light bulbs are the best for bearded dragons.
Has Your Bearded Dragon Suffered From Parasites Recently?
Most bearded dragons suffer from internal parasites at least once. That doesn´t have to be your fault.
Sometimes the feeder insects contain those parasites and your bearded dragon gets them as soon as it eats the insects.
Bearded dragons that received parasite treatement sometimes need many days to defecate after the treatment. This can happen because all the internal parasites die and block your bearded dragon´s intestines on the way out.
You Just Got Your Bearded Dragon
If you just bought your bearded dragon and it has not had a bowel movement in a couple of days, don´t worry. Most bearded dragons need to get used to the new environment, but as soon as they feel more safe they will be able to defecate.
Are Warm Baths The Holy Grail?
When I am on Youtube or reading in reptile forums, I see so many bearded dragon owners who give their bearded dragons warm baths on a regular base to help them defecate.
This worries me a little bit, because it means that they do the same mistakes over and over again which then leads to impaction in their bearded dragons over and over again.
I think that warm baths are a short-term solution. You have to find the reason for your bearded dragon being not able to poop without any help. Otherwise this will happen all the time and this just cannot be healthy.
In my opinion, it is best to get your bearded dragon to a vet, tell them that your bearded dragon is impacted all the time and let them check your bearded dragon.
After that, check your tank setup, check your bearded dragon´s diet and check if you are supplementing properly.
I don´t recommend to bathe your bearded dragon too often. I explain why in this article on beardie baths. I highly recommend that you read it if you bathe your bearded dragon very often.
(Besides all that, if your bearded dragon has eaten plastic or other foreign bodies, a warm bath won´t help anymore most of the times. You need to visit a reptile vet.)
Bearded dragons are advertised as beginner reptiles, but as you see, there are a lot of things you have to know about these lovely creatures.
I hope that this article helped to answer your question, why is my bearded dragon not pooping. Don´t forget that taking your bearded dragon to a vet is never a bad idea.
Any questions? Leave them in the comment section below!