Sometimes animals stop eating, my frog did the same.
When it happens to your pet frog, you should assess what reasons it isn’t eating and how long it has been since its last meal.
Many factors could contribute to a pet frog’s inappetance including active infections, improper enclosure set up, stress from recent environmental changes, and poor diet.
Other factors could contribute to your frog not feeling well enough to eat.
As a vet assistant in an exotic veterinary clinic, I can help walk you through what to do if your pet frog stops eating.
I actually had a frog that suddenly stopped eating once.
He was a great eater up until that point, so once he refused food I knew I should be concerned.
I took him to a veterinarian that was comfortable treating frogs and he was diagnosed with a bacterial infection.
Shortly after our visit, he passed away.
Inappetence (lack of appetite or not eating) in any animal is concerning and should be taken seriously.
Let me explain why your frog may not be eating and what to do.
Why is my Frog Not Eating?
Any animal that suddenly refuses food usually has some underlying health concerns, though not always.
There could be a variety of reasons why a frog would stop eating.
Some of these reasons can be diagnosed, while others may remain a mystery.
Let’s have a look at a few reasons why your frog may no longer be eating.
Stress can be a large reason as to why frogs could stop eating.
If the frog is a new pet, the stress of transportation and a new environment may be affecting its outlook.
Sometimes even moving houses, rooms, or tanks can stress a frog out.
Incorrect or inadequate husbandry can also cause the frog not to eat.
Say the substrate is not ideal for the species, there is not enough coverage to hide, or the environment is not moist enough, or too moist.
Using untreated water could affect the frog’s respiration, thus making it feel not well enough to eat.
Lack of proper lighting and other environmental factors may contribute to your frog not eating.
Sometimes frogs are picky eaters.
I knew a Cane Toad that refused to eat mealworms, but loved pinky mice.
If this is the case, feed a variety of foods for your high-maintenance frog.
A variety is advised regardless to allow them to access an array of nutrients.
Be sure to feed your frog on a schedule.
Frogs typically do not need to eat everyday.
Most frogs are fed on an every other day schedule or on certain days of the week.
If you may be feeding your frog too much they simply may not be hungry.
They could have a build up of fat storages that is fueling their body.
Feed your frog a certain amount, ie: 3 mealworms every Monday, do not feed them until they stop eating.
Infection could be a large cause for inappetence as well.
Bacterial and fungal infections can occur on the skin and disrupt normal respiration.
Other infections could occur internally that affect different body systems.
Parasitic infections are an example of an internal infection.
These occur in the gastrointestinal tract and could consist of worms that take nutrients away from the frog.
Diagnosis of internal parasites would involve evaluating a fecal sample provided by the frog.
Deficiencies in calcium leading to metabolic bone disease (MBD).
MBD is a serious and potentially fatal disease of the bones resulting from poor diet and improper conditions.
It has the potential to stunt growth and be painful (yes, frogs can feel pain).
Sometimes, the frog may just be old and at the end of its life.
There are countless other reasons why a frog may not be eating and to tell you the truth, you may never really know which one it is.
What Should I Do About My Frog Not Eating?
The first bit of advice I have is to keep a feeding log, or a journal of when you feed your frog:
- When did you feed your frog?
- What did you feed your frog?
- What day did your frog last eat?
- How much did your frog actually eat?
- When did your frog last deficate?
Remember to include any days you offered food and it was not eaten.
Evaluate Your Frog’s Care
If your frog is consistently not eating you should first evaluate the food item you are feeding.
Are you offering a variety of food items that are appropriate for the species?
If your food items are appropriate and there is not a pattern in what your frog is refusing, next check your set up:
- When was the tank last cleaned?
- When was the water last changed with fresh treated water?
- Does your frog have access to plenty of dirt to burrow (toads)?
- Does your frog have access to plenty of branches to climb on?
If everything seems correct with your pet frog, or if you have had this frog and not changed anything and it suddenly refuses food, or if it is a new pet, it is time to take it to an exotic veterinarian.
Seek Guidance From a Veterinarian
Find an exotic veterinarian in your area that is comfortable treating frogs.
It is likely your frog needs a diagnosis and potentially medications to treat any ailments that may be found.
Many cat and dog vets do not see frogs, but several are starting to see more exotic animals.
Find a clinic in your area that is comfortable diagnosing frogs.
You will need to transport the frog to the clinic for an evaluation before a diagnosis.
Finding a veterinarian can be extremely difficult for exotic pets.
Make sure you research the species the doctors advertise treating, any experience they have, and reviews of the clinic.
How Long After My Frog Stops Eating Should I Be Worried?
Honestly, my level of concern starts with the age of the frog.
Juvenile frogs should be eating about every other day.
If it refuses even two meals in a row then it may be time to raise the red flags.
If an adult frog stops eating, you can wait a little longer.
They are stronger than young frogs and should have more fat storages in reserve.
I weighed my frog when it was a juvenile.
Once it started losing weight along with refusing meals, I knew it was time to be seen.
Weight loss is expected with a frog that stops eating.
However, adult frogs may not lose as much weight.
It is not a bad idea to have a gram scale on hand to take frequent weights to check our health status.
This article was written by Melissa M. who holds a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, and a Master Herpetologist certificate. The article was edited and published by Daniella, Master Herpetologist in the author profile below.