Food Stuck in Bearded Dragon’s Throat – What Can I Do?

Sometimes beardies may appear with a swollen lower throat while gasping for air, this could be because they just had more than their normal measure of food, this could also be the response to a critical situation: choking.

Once food gets stuck in your beardie’s throat, you usually have a short time to remove the food item saving your beardie from choking. But the time depends on how life-threatening the choke is.

However, as a responsible pet owner, you can do a few things to avoid such gruesome near-death experiences. Here’s an article that discusses what you can do when food gets stuck in your bearded dragon’s throat.

Read on to find out.

How Can I Help My Pet Get the Food Out?

The first thing to do in situations like this is to assess how much danger your bearded dragon is in. You want to check if your pet is still breathing and whether it is breathing partially or fully.

If your pet finds breathing extremely difficult, it would be best to visit the vet immediately. But if it can breathe well, then the situation is not a life-threatening emergency. You can do a few things to help free your pet.

First, you want to open your dragon’s mouth. Your goal will be to see if you can extract the piece from its mouth. You’ll need a flashlight to see inside its mouth, a pair of tweezers, and a rubber spatula to keep its mouth open.

After securing it, you want to hold your beardies’ head up with your index finger and thumb. Open its mouth with the rubber spatula, twisting it gently until you can force its mouth open.

Have someone shine the flashlight into your pet’s mouth so that you can find the stuck food item.

Ordinarily, the food should be in the airway. But you want to be careful here. If the piece of food causing the clog is deep in your pet’s throat such that you cannot see it well or are unsure if you will not hurt the pet by attempting to remove it, then it would be best to take the pet to the vet.

This is important because if you risk it, you might end up pushing the food item further into the airway, causing complete obstruction of your pet’s airway.

But if the food is stuck around the base of your bearded dragon’s tongue, and you believe you can remove it without hurting your pet, you can remove it.

After removing the food, if you notice that your pet is still having difficulty breathing, it would be best to visit a vet immediately to check if there is another health issue to be addressed.

What Else Can I Do to Help My Pet?

There are many other things you can do to prevent this ugly situation. Some include the following:

Feed the right size

Feeding the right size of any food item is the best way to prevent food from getting stuck in your pet’s throat. How do you determine the right size of the food item you are feeding your pet?

Compare the size of the insect or the vegetable to the gap between your beardie’s eyes. If the food is bigger or wider than the gap between the eyes of your bearded dragon, there is a likelihood your pet will find it difficult to swallow the food.

Sometimes, this will lead to the food being stuck in your beardie’s throat.

If you are feeding vegetables, you want them to cut them to swallowable sizes, i.e., smaller than the gap between your beardie’s eyes.

If you cannot find insects that size and you have to feed insects, perhaps it would be best to cut up the insect into swallowable bits.

Although your pet might not find it enticing because you have taken away the thrill, the danger of choking or having food get stuck in your pet’s throat is removed.

Monitor Your Bearded Dragon

Feeding is only part of the job; you need to feed your pet right and monitor it. The time between choking and death is usually very short.

So, if you do not pay attention to your pet, there is a great chance you could lose all that precious time when the food gets stuck in your bearded dragon’s throat. This is especially the case when the food item is so big that your beardie finds it difficult to breathe.

Do Not Leave Extra Food in the Enclosure Without Supervision

One of the major causes of choking is overfeeding, especially when the food item is your pet’s favorite.

Many pet owners make the mistake of leaving the leftovers in the bearded dragon’s enclosure. The problem with leaving food in the bearded dragon’s enclosure is that if your pet cannot resist itself, it might eat more than it can swallow.

When this happens, the chances of choking increase. You may come back to find your pet’s mouth wide open with its lower throat swollen. For some bearded dragons, all they need is a sip of water to ease the passage of the food into their stomach.

But for others, this can become life-threatening, especially when the stuck food item obstructs breathing.

By all means, you want to remove uneaten food from your bearded dragon’s enclosure after feeding time. Leaving your pet with food unsupervised can be fatal in the worst cases. It would be best to avoid such a mistake.

Should I Force My Pet’s Mouth Open?

When you find your bearded dragon gasping for air with its lower throat swollen, perhaps the first thing to do is to find out whether your pet is having difficulty breathing instead of forcing your pet’s mouth open.

This is the most crucial factor to its survival.

If your pet has difficulty breathing, it would be best to visit the vet immediately for emergency services. But if your pet is not having difficulty breathing, you can attempt to remove the food item causing the problem.

However, forcing your beardie’s mouth open may not be the best of options. The right approach would be to gently open your pet’s mouth to see if you can remove the food item causing the problem.

It would be best to follow the steps outlined above. Under no condition should you apply force to open the bearded dragon’s mouth. Using force may cause an injury.

Final Thoughts

There is not much you can do in an extreme case of your pet choking, especially if you failed to notice in time. So, the old proverbial saying that prevention is better than cure is perhaps the best thing you can do for your pet.

You can prevent the possibility of your pet having food stuck in its throat by ensuring that leftovers are removed from its enclosure. You also want to pay attention to your pet as it feeds.

You also want to ensure that you do not feed food items bigger than the gap between your bearded dragon’s eyes. That is the safe measure of determining how big a food item should be.

In the case of a real choke, do not panic. Assess how critical the case is and decide whether to use the tips above or to visit a veterinary doctor immediately.