How long can I safely withhold food?

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How long can I safely withhold food?

Postby Dogstar5988 » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:58 am

Hello, my guy is both very lazy and very stubborn about his food. He is 7 months old and has never more than nibbled his salads. I have heard that I could take a "tough love" kind of stance and withhold bugs to get him into eating his salads. My questions is how long should I hold out before I cave and feed him insects? He has a small water dish not that I have ever seen him drink. We are so far in the middle of day 2 and I am already feeling pretty guilty. He has come down from basking and ate all of 1 leaf bit so far of collards. He started eating another one and actually spit it out!
I gave him 2 salad options today, one with mustard greens and the other with collards to see if he has a preference. Tomorrow I will try endive and continue the mustards option.
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Re: How long can I safely withhold food?

Postby Claudiusx » Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:08 am

He looks quite chunky and large for only 7 months. You can withhold insects for quite awhile. He knows there is salad there. He knows he can eat it. But it sounds like he's had 7 months of getting his way and that's what he's used to.

You've got to commit to it though, otherwise he learns he can just hold out for a couple days and get his bugs. I wouldn't do it unless your willing to do it for at least a week. If he eats his salad before that, feel free to give him some bugs as a reward.

I've had people do it for 2-3 weeks before they finally caved.

Remember, he has access to food at all times. A normal healthy dragon won't let themselves starve.

-Brandon
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Re: How long can I safely withhold food?

Postby Dogstar5988 » Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:43 am

Thank you, yes he is quite chunky. The vet said borderline overweight so he could use a diet anyway. My main concerns are lack of calcium and dehydration while he's not eating. But I will continue to offer his salads and I periodically spray them with water so maybe that will help entice him as well.

Thanks again.
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Re: How long can I safely withhold food?

Postby Claudiusx » Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:02 pm

They go much longer in the wild in between meals i'm sure you can imagine :)

You can always give him some water via dropper if he drinks that way. I've used this method myself on my dragons and all of my dragons are massive salad eaters.

Good luck, keep us updated.

-Brandon
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Re: How long can I safely withhold food?

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:12 pm

Keep offering the salads, keep them fresh. Rotate what you are offering a bit and try hand feeding to create a bit of movement. As mentioned, dripping water on their noses to lick up for hydration will help. The salad is there if he gets hungry so he is likely to dig in when he is hungry enough.
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Re: How long can I safely withhold food?

Postby MrSpectrum » Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:01 pm

Try some fresh cilantro ( a.k.a. coriander). That did the trick for my picky eater.
Another trick that worked is cutting the salad up into mouthful-sized pieces, and put the bugs on top.
The bugs will naturally hide underneath, but as they move around, the salad moves around, and that may stimulate your guy to "hunt" it. Mine has spit some things out too, but with some greens, once its in the mouth, it goes down. He also doesn't like me to see him eating greens; he'll leave them alone, then when I leave and come back later, half of them will be gone (and/or strewn around the enclosure). :roll:

The imposed fast works too. :wink:
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