Force feeding

Force Feeding – A “Solution” Thrown Around All To Often

The popular ‘Flukers’ Booster provision
*This is based on a post of mine in Bearded Dragon Network.
Baby food. Carnivore Care. Critical care fluid(CCF). Liquid calcium. Syringe feeding.
Self medicating.
If you are using ANY of the above, without exotic Veterinarian input or guidance. Stop!.
All of these are methods/substances are designed for one main reason, and one reason only – a recovering Reptile.
Using the likes of these without Vet intervention, can have adverse effects.
NOT to be used “because your dragon won’t eat”.
These are made available to Reptile keepers far to easy. Surly this is encouraging ‘home medication’ method?. Anyway, the likes of Carnivore care, Flukers, and CCF for example, are all used for getting vital nutrition and a calorie count into animals that have been through post surgery, Illness, Treatment.
NOT to be used “because your dragon won’t eat”.
The effect of such can be a total reliance on this feeding method – thus, the habit of their natural instinct to hunt fresh and nutritional​ insects, gets broken, and it can be a nightmare trying to break such a ‘reliance’.
Same with baby food and syringe feeding.
If someone in tells you to do this, please don’t do it unless under Vet guidance.
Go to your Vet first, explaining the situation, and then, there are methods available to encourage normal eating – and yes, these can include the above.
But my point here being…….doing this unless absolutely necessary can lead to far more problems.
This so-called “Solution” is thrown around almost as much as the line “give it a bath” in Reptile groups and forums – and to a keeper desperate for advice, it’s readily taken to heart.
That keeper then ends up with a very stressed animal. I’ve even seen animals suffer from aspiration issues due to such ‘treatment’.
Medication can cause blood pressure issues. Heart, liver, kidney issues/failure. Nausea. Lethargy. Loss of appetite. All making things a hell of a lot worse.
Another popular choice, but is it worth it?
If you have issues regarding appetite, advice can be given in my groups. But we will also always advise a Vet for official diagnosis.
Anything said in groups, due to not physically examining the Reptile, is purely speculation, albeit, from many experienced keepers.
Experience is irrelevant unless that reptile has been checked over by an actual Exotic Vet. Even if the information IS correct.
Also, please don’t get me started on those that self-medicate. It’s very irresponsible.
Medication has a varied effect, on a variety of reptile species. Even the common issues such as parasites.
Medication can cause blood pressure issues. Heart, liver, kidney issues/failure. Nausea. Lethargy. Loss of appetite. All making things a hell of a lot worse.
But doing such under Vet guidance where it’s all logged and you can contact them regarding any possible side effects or issue, that IS the safer option for the Reptile.
So if I see anyone advising the above methods within my groups as opposed to seeing a vet first, your comments will be removed.
I won’t have members putting their reptile safety at risk, via poor advice.
– Pete
Pete Hawkins

Award winning Published author of Herpetoculture.
Featuring articles on many species within,

Practical Reptile Keeping magazine (some linked on site as .pdf files)
Canadian Hobbyist magazine
Reptiles magazine

Also, Reptile/Amphibian blog article writer and reptile specialist for;

Exotic Direct (links on this site)
Reptile Apartment

Public talker at Reptile meetings, for various organisations.

Founder of several huge Reptile and Amphibian related Facebook groups (links on this site)

Reptile Reports - "Lizard Personality of the year" 2016 & 2017


  1. Pete, thanks for this. We have had a problem with our bearded dragon who is about 3.5 months old right now.
    Right after we got her, she got a respiratory infection, and parasites. She stopped eating on her own, and when she got down to a super low weight (27g), the vet suggested syringe feeding. This got her healthy again, but she never got back to eating on her own. I can tell that she is hungry but almost seems to have forgotten how to eat. We have tried not feeding her for up to 5 days or so, and nothing. We have tried just about every type of food and treat imaginable, nothing. Other than eating, she seems to be doing OK, but simply will not eat on her own.
    Our local vet has not been very helpful, and we are wondering if this means that there might be something else wrong (Adenovirus maybe?) , or if this is just what happens.
    If there is any chance of getting her to eat on her own again, we would like to formulate a new strategy because ours is not working.
    Husbandry is good (proper 12% UV tube inside terrarium, heat 105 at basking spot, 70 on cool side.
    Any help, ideas or advice you could give would be super appreciated, and I’m happy to pay for your time.

    1. Catch me on Facebook, or in my Bearded Dragon group . I’ll be happy to assist.


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