Bringing a bearded dragon home as a pet is more or less the same as adopting a child. You need to tend to each of its needs to ensure the health and safety of this reptile. Since they are on their own for taking care of themselves in the wild, and with plenty of resources, the bearded dragons can survive good and well. However, in captivity, the resources are limited, making you responsible for each of their needs.
The bearded dragons need a good supply of nutrients to maintain their health, and one of the essential nutrients they need is calcium. Calcium must be provided through calcium-rich food items; however, sometimes, your beardie may get reluctant to eat a particular food, which may cause a deficiency of calcium in his body. In this case, the bearded dragon must be given additional calcium supplements.
When you look for calcium supplements, you may come across multiple options that may confuse you. Here, we’ll provide you with a list of the most to least suitable calcium supplements and the importance of this nutrient for the beardie in detail.
If you are in a hurry, here is the list of best calciums for bearded dragons.
Best Calcium for Bearded Dragon with Vitamin D3
|Phillips Feed & Pet Supply||Rep-cal Calcium with vitamin D3||5|
|Repashy Ventures Inc.||Repashy calcium plus||4.6|
|Zoo Med Laboratories||Zoo Med Repti Calcium with D3||4.3|
|Fluker Labs||Fluker’s Repta Calcium with vitamin D3||4.2|
Best Calcium for Bearded Dragon without Vitamin D3
|Zoo Med Laboratories||Zoo Med Repti Calcium without D3||5|
|Phillips Feed & Pet Supply||Rep-cal Calcium without vitamin D3||4.7|
|Central Garden & Pet||Zilla calcium supplement reptile food spray||4.5|
|Fluker Labs||Fluker’s calcium without vitamin D3||4.3|
Table of Contents
Why do bearded dragons need calcium powder?
A question that might arise here is why do bearded dragons not need calcium in the wild? Well, to put it in easy words, there are innumerable food items that bearded dragons consume daily while they are in the wild. They eat worms, cockroaches, crickets, leafy greens, termites, grubs, beetles, fruits, and a lot more daily, which provides them with all the essential nutrients required for good health.
In comparison to this, in captivity, the food that you provide your beardie can give only a small portion of the required amount of nutrients. This is why supplements are used to overcome or prevent calcium deficiency in a bearded dragon’s body.
What happens if they don’t get enough calcium?
Your beardie will go through mild to serious health issues in case of calcium deficiency. These health complications will shorten the lifespan of your beardie if not resolved on time. In addition, the calcium deficiency in the bearded dragon’s body will make him lethargic, and you’ll see a change in his daily activities and behavior.
In addition to this, in severe cases, this deficiency will result in metabolic bone disease, which weakens the bones and results in deformities in the body structure of the beardie. For example, they might end up having tail rot and brittle bones, which may get fractured easily.
What happens if they get too much calcium?
“Too much of anything is not good..” Can’t stress this statement enough!
Being a newbie (if you’re one), you might end up overdosing on calcium on your bearded dragon, which may bring your beardie down to some health complications as a repercussion of excess calcium in the body.
The excess of bones will make the bones softer and weaker; consequently, they will start calcifying. However, there’s one twist to this problem, feeding excess calcium to your bearded dragon won’t be a problem in the absence of too much vitamin D3. This vitamin is essential for the beardie to absorb calcium; in the absence of vitamin D3, beardie won’t absorb calcium.
In any case, if your beardie has received an overdose of both of these nutrients, then it might experience soft bones, weakness, constipation, lethargic behavior, stiffened muscles, and soft tissues. Excess consumption of Calcium continuously can even result in the death of your bearded dragon.
The influence of cage setup and UVB
You might have provided your beardie with the best cage setup and UVB without any hiding spot to take a break from the heat. However, this might result in the overdose of calcium in the body of your pet reptile. Since UVB provides essential D3 for absorbing calcium inside the body of beardie, you might overdose on the beardie without even knowing it.
Similarly, a less efficient UVB light will stop your beardie from absorbing the required amount of calcium in the body, resulting in metabolic bone disease. So, it’s essential to check your beardie’s cage parameters to avoid any health complications caused by the lack or excess of calcium.
What to consider in the best calcium powder for the bearded dragons?
While looking for the best calcium powder for your bearded dragon, you might wonder about the standards you can check while finding the best calcium powder. A checklist has been provided below to help you decide the best for your reptile.
The calcium powder that you’re getting for your bearded dragon must be phosphorus-free as they have enough phosphorus in their diet. The amount of phosphorus for bearded dragons varies according to their age. The table below will shed light on the amount of phosphorus required by bearded dragons of different ages.
|Nutrients||Hatchling-juvenile bearded dragons||Adult bearded dragon||Gravid Female|
|Calcium||1-1.5% (dry matter)|
|Calcium: Phosphorus||2:1||1.5:1||Up to 10:1|
Vitamin D is essential for the beardie to absorb calcium in its body; without this nutrient, your beardie won’t digest its calcium. The ideal way to provide Vitamin D3 is through UVB lights; however, if you’re beardie is not getting enough of it, you may use supplements with D3 in it. Moreover, the inclusion of Vitamin D3 in the beardie diet depends on the bearded dragon’s age and health conditions.
Free of harmful impurity
While searching for the best calcium powder, you must ensure to get free of harmful impurities such as metal toxic. These impurities will affect the health of your bearded dragon gravely, even resulting in a shorter lifespan.
The food that smells nice is always a pleasure to eat, and beardie’s being a living thing, enjoy the same rule for eating. Also, ensure buying a calcium supplement whose smell doesn’t offend your beardie. Otherwise, your pet will not get close to the food that you’re presenting him.
When to use calcium powder with D3
Without vitamin D3 your beardie will go through different health complications, which include metabolic bone disease. You can determine when to use calcium supplement with D3 only by looking at the efficiency of the light that you have set up for your bearded dragon. If your light does not provide enough vitamin D3, you may use the calcium supplement with D3.
In the other case, if you have installed a mercury vapor bulb, then that alone is enough for providing D3, and you don’t have to give a calcium supplement with vitamin D3.
Best calcium for bearded dragons with D3
The calcium powder that you’re using for your bearded dragon may or may not have vitamin D3. Vitamin D3, as mentioned earlier, is essential for a bearded dragon to absorb calcium in its body. However, the required vitamin D3 is obtained from the UVB light, and hence its presence in the supplement is mainly not needed.
The calcium supplement comes at times with vitamin D3, which raises the question of whether or not you should provide calcium supplements with vitamin D3. Below is a quick review of how and when you should use D3 in supplements.
1. Rep-cal Calcium with vitamin D3
Rep-cal is the most popular calcium supplement for your bearded dragon. It has been recommended by many bearded dragon owners and breeders. It is a finely ground calcium supplement that is easy to use and almost seamless for your bearded dragon.
Whenever you’re looking for a calcium supplement, the first thing that you want to look at is whether the supplement is phosphorus-free or not. Rep-Calc is a supplement made naturally by oysters and is entirely free of phosphorus, with no sugar, starch additives.
- Excellent Source Of Calcium For All Reptiles And Amphibians
- Scientifically Formulated From 100-Percent Natural Oyster Shell
- Phosphorous-Free Calcium Carbonate With Vitamin D3
- Available In 3. 3-Ounce Size
2. Repashy calcium plus
This is also an excellent option for a calcium supplement with D3 and some other nutrients which will keep your beardie healthy and happy. You should give this supplement to your beardie only once a week, as it contains many other nutrients, including vitamin A, which can be harmful to your beardie’s health.
So, although Repashy calcium plus is a great recommendation, yet it should be provided just once a week to your beardie. Whereas on other days, you may give him a simple calcium powder to fulfill the requirement.
3. Zoo Med Repti Calcium with D3
Zoo Med Repti calcium is an incredible option for your beardie, as this calcium supplement contains no impurities at all. As it’s formed of calcium carbonate only with no involvement of oyster shell, this calcium is very different from others. Even though oyster shells are made of calcium carbonate, some people prefer calcium in the purest form, which can be found in this supplement.
It also uses cholecalciferol, a nutritious form of calcium and very safe and healthy for your bearded dragon.
4. Fluker’s Repta Calcium with vitamin D3
This calcium supplement is not heavy on your pocket and provides you the standard mill calcium powder. Fluker’s Repta calcium is a pure calcium powder for those who are looking for one. However, the packaging might sometimes be a little messy, but it doesn’t affect the quality of the product that you’re getting.
Best Calcium for bearded dragons without D3
These recommendations are for those who think their UVB light is very efficient in providing the required amount of Vitamin D3. A list of recommendations is given below.
1. Zoo Med Repti Calcium without D3
This calcium powder by Zoo Med, as evident from the name, has no D3 supplement in it. Instead, it is made of pure calcium carbonate and is very popular among those who like to have a pure form of calcium carbonate. This supplement doesn’t contain any additional vitamins or nutrients, so you need to add extra supplements separately in the bearded dragon’s diet.
2. Rep-cal Calcium without vitamin D3
Just like its other form containing D3, this Rep-cal calcium without D3 is a finely milled calcium powder without vitamin D3 in it. The fine consistency of this powder makes it easy for the owners to spread the supplement on the beardie’s food evenly.
3. Zilla calcium supplement reptile food spray
Your beardie sometimes may give you a hard time by denying the dusted food that you’re presenting him. In that case, this one can be a great and unique choice. This liquid calcium mixes well with the salads you’re giving your beardie, and even 2-3 drops will do the needful. In case of emergency, this can come handy and boost your bearded dragon and keep him healthy.
4. Fluker’s calcium without vitamin D3
Fluker’s Calcium powder without D3 is made of pure calcium carbonate and is economical if you’re searching for an affordable option. However, the packaging has often been reported as a little messed up by the customers, so you should keep this thing in mind while ordering.
Worst bearded dragon calcium powder
While you’re choosing the best calcium powder for your beardie, you must also know the worst one to avoid at all costs. First, ensure to select a calcium powder that is finely milled and has no phosphorus element in it, as it can be toxic for the beardie.
The calcium supplements that aren’t milled finely have a hard time sticking to the food, resulting in very little consumption by your bearded dragon.
How do I get my bearded dragon to eat calcium?
Calcium deficiency can be fatal for the bearded dragon’s health, as in the case of calcium shortage, beardie starts drawing the calcium from its bones, which makes them weak and hauls the overall growth and health. There are different ways that you can opt to feed the essential nutrients to your beardie.
The first and easiest way is dusting their meal and feeders with supplement powder. Coat the meal slightly with the calcium supplement before presenting it to the beardie; this will have your beardie munch down the nutrients without even noticing.
The difficulty of feeding the nutrients to your beardie may elevate with their increasing age, as they need more salads in their food; having them dusted can put your beardie off, making them reject the food. In this case, you can use a liquid calcium supplement to add essential nutrients to your beardie’s diet.
What foods have calcium for bearded dragons?
You can avoid the deficiency of calcium in bearded dragons by giving them calcium-rich food items. Some of the calcium-rich food items are listed below.
- Green leaves
- Romaine lettuce
You can use these food items by mixing a portion of each one of them.
The amount of UVB light you’re providing your bearded dragon also provides enough nutrients for the beardie’s body. So, you must take your time before buying any UVB light for your bearded dragon.
Amount of Calcium
The amount of calcium in the diet of a bearded dragon depends on the age and health conditions of the beardie. The amount of calcium can be reduced or increased according to the intensity of UVB light.
The frequency of giving calcium for bearded dragons
Again, this depends on multiple factors, including the UVB light intensity and efficiency, the age of beardie, health conditions, and diet intake. Following is a chart of calcium requirements of beardies of different ages.
|Stage of life||Frequency|
|Juvenile||3-4 times a week|
|Adult||One time a week|
|Gravid female||3-4 times a week|
|Adult receiving sunlight||Once every two weeks|
Does reptile calcium go bad?
If used in the purest form without any additives, the calcium powder can be stored for a long time by keeping it in an air-tight jar. However, other supplements that have additional nutrients in them must be checked vigilantly for their manufacturing and expiring date to avoid feeding expired calcium supplements to your beardie.
Commonly asked questions about best calcium for bearded dragons
Should I provide my bearded dragon calcium with D3?
As mentioned in the article, the decision to use a calcium powder with or without D3 depends entirely on the UVB light that you are using in your enclosure. For example, if you have a mercury vapor bulb installed in the enclosure, you don’t need a calcium supplement with Vitamin D3; otherwise, you must have vitamin D3 with the calcium supplement.
How to train my beardie to eat calcium powder?
The training starts from an early age, where you feed your hatchling or juvenile beardie dusted food. This procedure takes time and needs tolerance; however, you’ll have no problem feeding dusted food to your beardie once trained.
You can also hand-feed the dusted food to your beardie if your beardie is trained and comfortable handling it.
How long can my beardie stay without calcium?
The bearded dragon can go a maximum of two weeks without calcium. After this time, the beardie will start developing the metabolic bone disease with minor symptoms of the sickness.
After reading this article, you might just be able to find the best calcium powder for your beardie with or without vitamin D3, depending on the circumstances or the UVB light type. Furthermore, it is better to train your beardie to eat dusted calcium food from an early age; this will save you a lot of trouble later while feeding calcium food.
Finally, have patience, feed or train your beardie to eat calcium dusted food, or even find the best calcium powder can be a tiring process. So, take your time to make the best decision for the health and well-being of your bearded dragon.