My family takes care of an old (at least 10 year old, probably more) bearded dragon, Spikey. The poor guy used to be a school pet before we got him, 8ish years ago. My mom was taking care of him pretty poorly until now, his cage has walnut bedding and was always gross and she never handled him or bathed him. She used to feed him veggies and fruits, but for the past few years he stopped eating them/she stopped feeding them. Now his diet is mostly dried crickets and pellets, with occasional live crickets. He has a heat lamp and regularly basks under it, but his UV bulb kicked out probably a year ago and she never replaced it.
I'm home from college and trying to re-vamp his care because he deserves better than that. Yesterday I gave him a warm bath and held him for a bit so I could clean out his cage. I'm a little worried about stressing him out though with all this, today he looks pretty grumpy and stressed (he is a lot darker colored.) He's an old guy and I don't want to harm his health more by stressing him out too much.
So far here are things I have identified to change:
Lighting - He needs a new UV bulb.
Substrate - I worry about impaction with what he has now. What bedding do you all recommend?
Diet - I want to get him eating fruits and veggies again, but he has turned down everything I have given so far. Today I mixed some watermelon (apparently that used to be his favorite) with his dried crickets and put some calcium powder on. We'll see if he takes that. Any recommendations for getting him to eat them again?
Are there other things I should be thinking about with him? I am pretty new to all this but I feel bad that he has been neglected so much throughout his life, and I want him to have as good a life from now on as possible.