In the wild or captivity, the bearded dragons require a certain amount of nutrients in their diet. They need to have these nutrients provided in the diet and UVB lights when they are in captivity. However, it’s not unusual for a bearded dragon to have a deficiency of the essential vitamins, whether the beardie is in captivity or the wild.
Now, in captivity, the bearded dragons must be provided with essential nutrients; in case of deficiency, you can use the supplements to fulfill the needs of the bearded dragon. These vitamins are available in the market easily; however, the question is which supplement is best for your bearded dragon.
Below you’ll find the detail of why vitamins are essential for your beardie and which supplements are best for your bearded dragon.
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Best vitamins bearded dragon owners need to provide
The bearded dragons in the wild have access to unlimited resources, which they can use to get all the required nutrients. However, the bearded dragons in captivity will sometimes face the deficiency of certain vitamins, which the owners fulfill by providing supplements. The nutrients that a bearded dragon requires are Vitamin D3, Calcium, Vitamin A, and other multivitamins.
If you’re curious or in a hurry
The most popular multivitamins that you can provide your bearded dragon are Zilla reptile health supplies vitamins, Herptivite multivitamins reptiles, Nature zone bearded dragon vitamins, and prebiotics.
You can easily find these multivitamins on amazon by clicking here.
Bearded dragons in captivity
As mentioned earlier, in the wild, bearded dragons do not need additional supplements. They can have a handful of vitamins and other multivitamins by having a wide range of food and a consistent approach to sunlight which makes them strong and healthy.
In captivity, they do not have the liberty to roam around, find a wide variety of food, and approach natural sunlight. Therefore, captive bearded dragons thus need to get the right amount of nutrients to bridge this nutrition gap.
What supplements do bearded dragons need?
Bearded dragons need three essential supplements to grow and stay healthy while they are in captivity. These three supplements are Calcium, Vitamin D, and Multivitamins. You can get these supplements easily from online stores or pet stores, and they are inexpensive too.
A part of these supplements is provided through a good diet, and supplements are used for the rest.
Why do bearded dragons need these supplements?
Calcium is essential for the growth of the bearded dragon, and calcium deficiency can result in metabolic bone disease. This disease weakens the bearded dragon’s bones, which results in broken bones, limbs, and toes. This vitamin is provided through diet and calcium supplements. However, there is a trick to this; calcium cannot be absorbed in a bearded dragon’s body in the absence of vitamin D.
Suppose you’re providing enough calcium to your bearded dragon, but the amount of vitamin D is not enough. In that case, the beardie will still be prone to metabolic bone disease, as the body is not absorbing the calcium being provided to it.
How do bearded dragons get calcium in the wild?
Bearded dragons eat a wide variety of food items in the wild, including greens, vegetables, and bugs. These bugs have been gut-loaded naturally, as they eat a wide variety of food too, which passes down the required nutrients to the beardie. It doesn’t imply that all the wild bearded dragons are healthy; there can be health complications in the wild bearded dragons.
Bearded dragon vitamin-A deficiency symptoms
Vitamin A deficiency develops different health complications, including cloudy eyes, swollen eyes, and dry eyes. Furthermore, this can even result in respiratory issues in the bearded dragon. However, it is recommended to have your bearded dragon checked by a vet or get his blood tested to ensure the problem. As too much vitamin A can be toxic for the bearded dragon.
Bearded dragon vitamin-D deficiency symptoms
The deficiency of vitamin D3 is directly proportional to the lack of Calcium in the bearded dragon’s body. Vitamin D3 is the calcium absorbent for the bearded dragon, a deficiency of this vitamin will lead to calcium deficiency and metabolic bone disease. The symptoms of lack of this vitamin are loss of appetite, lethargic behavior, soft bones, and shaking.
Why do bearded dragons need calcium? Bearded dragon Calcium supplement
This mineral is crucial for the healthy growth of the bearded dragon; it helps build strong bones, and during reproduction, it helps in the formation of the eggshell. The deficiency of calcium results in metabolic bone diseases, as the body takes the calcium from bones for performing different functions, which softens the bones and causes other health issues.
Reduce the amount of oxalate in the bearded dragon’s body and raise calcium by providing rich calcium food. Oxalate is harmful to the body as it binds the calcium, stopping it from reaching the body.
You can provide calcium to your bearded dragon by dusting their food with a calcium supplement or gut loading the feeder insects with calcium-rich food items. Maintaining a proper UVB light is essential, as it is a source of vitamin D3, which helps absorb the calcium in the body.
Can’t bearded dragons get everything in their diet?
The bearded dragons are very picky eaters and eat only those food items which they like. This makes it hard for most of the owners to feed something which has all the required nutrients. Yes, food contains all the necessary nutrients; however, it’s very unlikely of your beardie to eat anything you’re offering them. This is why they have to take supplements for the required nutrients.
Which type of calcium, Vitamin D, and multivitamins are the best?
As mentioned already, bearded dragons may get some calcium from their diet; however, the rest of the calcium is provided by dusting their food with supplements or gut-loading the feeder insects. Now, it’s important to know which calcium is best for the bearded dragon.
While providing a calcium supplement to your bearded dragon, make sure that it doesn’t contain phosphorus. The calcium to phosphorus ratio for the bearded dragon is 5:1.
After a number of researches and vet consultations, the following have been selected as the most popular calcium supplements.
Phosphorus and D3 free calcium supplement by repti calcium
A cuttlebone can also be provided to fulfill your bearded dragon’s calcium needs. These bones are rich in calcium and could be served after fine grounding.
Bearded dragon Calcium with or without D3?
Even if you’re getting the calcium powder without D3 for your bearded dragon, it doesn’t matter. You must check for the UVB light to provide all the required D3. Using a strong mercury vapor bulb will help to provide the required amount of Vitamin D3.
There are different opinions between owners and vets about providing a calcium supplement that has vitamin D3 in it. At the same time, some say that the D3 can be obtained by exposure to proper UVB light. In the wild, the sun and heat serve as the source of vitamin D3; however, the UVB light serves this purpose in captivity.
For these reasons, the first thing you need to provide vitamin D3 is the UVB light, which is good enough to give the required amount of D3, which can be bought here. If you want to opt for providing the D3 supplement through UVB light, you can use a mercury vapor bulb along with the UVB light such as Reptisun T5 10.0.
This an essential nutrient too; however, the nutrient must be provided
Apart from Calcium and Vitamin D3, the bearded dragon requires many other vitamins for its growth, including amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Now to provide these, you may use multivitamin supplements for your bearded dragon. However, you should check the ingredients of the multivitamins that you’re feeding your beardie, as some can be very toxic for them.
Multivitamins with vitamin A can be toxic for the beardie; they should instead have beta carotene, which is converted by the bearded dragon into Vitamin A naturally. The best multivitamin for bearded dragons is Herptivite By RapCal. This multivitamin includes Beta Carotene instead of Vitamin A, which is very effective for beardie’s health.
Can my bearded dragon overdose on calcium?
Your bearded dragon can have an overdose on anything which is provided in excess. If provide in excessive amounts, the beardie will get an overdose of calcium, which is as risky as the deficiency of this vitamin. This will calcify the bones of your bearded dragon and weaken its organs.
The bearded dragons who overdose on calcium can suffer from Hypercalcemia, which weakens the bones and organs, causing a hurdle in movement. This can even lead to death if not treated on time.
To avoid this, a strict schedule must be followed to provide enough calcium to the bearded dragon.
Bearded dragon Supplements schedule
The schedule of supplements will help you provide the right amount of vitamins to the bearded dragon by eliminating the factor of excess or deficiency of the vitamins. The schedule includes the right amount by keeping the bearded dragon’s age in mind, as the amount of vitamins depends on the age of your bearded dragon.
Bearded dragon Hatchling calcium schedule
The hatchlings are the age of growth, and hence they need more calcium than the adult beardies. Their food must be dusted once every five days a week.
Juvenile bearded dragon calcium schedule
They are no different than a hatchling, for still being at a growing age; their food must be dusted 4 to 5 times every week. With no more than one dusting per day.
Sub Adult and Adult bearded dragon calcium schedule
The adult bearded dragons do not need much calcium compared to hatchling and juvenile; however, their requirement can be fulfilled by dusting their feeders 3 times a week with no more than once a day. The number of days can be reduced to 2 when the beardie reaches sexual maturity.
Bearded dragon multi-vitamin feeding schedule + recommendations
As mentioned earlier, there are a bunch of multivitamins that your bearded dragon requires for healthy living. Multivitamins are a solution to this problem, as they contain multiple vitamins and nutrients for the bearded dragon. It is recommended to provide multivitamins to beardies of all ages to ensure the bearded dragon’s good health.
In addition to this, the amount of multivitamins that you’re providing your bearded dragon depends on the age of the beardie. Some best-bearded dragon multivitamins are listed below.
Best Bearded dragon Multivitamins
Zilla Vitamin Supplement with Beta Carotene, this supplement is best for the bearded dragon as it contains beta carotene, which the bearded dragon consumes to convert into Vitamin A naturally.
Another Multivitamin that contains Beta Carotene is Herpititive multivitamins for reptiles and amphibians.
Finally, the last one on the list that is the best multivitamin for the bearded dragon is Nature Zone bearded dragon Vitamins and Probiotics.
Bearded dragon Hatchling Vitamin Schedule
Hatchlings need to be given the multi-vitamins twice a week for being in a crucial stage of life. However, make sure not to provide the multivitamins on the same day when you’re giving calcium and not more than once a day.
Juvenile bearded dragons vitamin schedule
Juveniles should also be provided multivitamins in a way similar to hatchling, i.e., twice a week, with not more than one time a day, and on days when you’re not giving them calcium.
Sub Adult and Adult bearded dragon vitamin schedule
They should be provided multivitamins on the day when they are not getting calcium, and just once a week would do the needful.
Bearded dragon Vitamin-A feeding schedule
Vitamin A is quite toxic for the bearded dragon, and hence its amount should be monitored strictly not to provide an excess of it. Beta Carotene can be provided instead of Vitamin A; this nutrient is converted naturally into Vitamin A inside the bearded dragon’s body.
Excess of vitamin A can cause osteoporosis, which weakens the bones and causes bumps in the body.
To provide vitamin A, you can use vegetables and fruits, as they have beta-carotene, covering beta-carotene deficiency. Furthermore, carrots must be provided occasionally only as they are dangerous for the beardie because of their high oxalate content.
All of the above can be summed up as mentioned in the table below.
|Age||Calcium with or without D3||Multivitamin|
|Hatchling 0-4 months||6-7 days a week||2 days a week|
|Juvenile 4-12 months||5 days a week||Twice a week|
|Above 12 months||4 days a week||Once a week|
|2 years||3 days a week||Once a week|
|A sick beardie of any age||6 days a week||Up to 4 days a week, depending on the severity|
|Gravid female||6 days a week||2 days a week|
|In the case of feeding bugs with high calcium content||3 days a week for a bearded dragon of age two years 2 days a week for beardie above two years||Once a week|
How to Give supplements to your bearded dragon
The first way of providing these supplements is dusting the food of the bearded dragon with essential vitamins and calcium. You can dust the insects as well as the veggies that you’re planning to present your bearded dragon. This will have the bearded dragon consume all multivitamins without even knowing.
Dusting the supplements on the insects is the best way to pass down the nutrients, as the bearded dragons love to eat insects. Dusting the veggies might not be very effective, as they are wet, and the powder might wash off or clump up.
Furthermore, you must not put supplements in water, as they can stimulate the growth of bacteria in the water, which can be harmful to the bearded dragon’s health. The bearded dragons do not drink enough water for the whole day, so there are strong chances of the supplement getting wasted.
You can dust the insects by putting them in the shaker, adding a pinch of supplements, and then shaking the bottle gently to dust the insects evenly.
Gut-loading bearded dragon’s insects-crickets and other bugs
Another way to provide the aforementioned vitamins to your bearded dragon is gut-loading, which works by the famous saying, “You’re what you eat.” In this, the feeder insects are fed all the nutrients and veggies that you want to pass down to your bearded dragon. As the bearded dragon consumes the gut-loaded insects, he is munching down all the nutrients.
Bearded dragon Gut-load rules
Do not feed insects or feeders to your bearded dragon, which you have just bought, as they might not be gut-loaded or loaded inefficiently.
Load your insects and crickets with all the essential vitamins and minerals you want to pass down to your bearded dragon.
Start feeding nutritious food to your insects 24 hours before presenting them to your bearded dragon.
Do not provide water to the gut-loaded insects, as it can grow bacteria inside. Instead, you may give small pieces of oranges and apples as a water source.
How to gut load bearded dragon’s crickets and other insects?
Get a container to keep the crickets that you’re planning to gut load for your bearded dragon. Make sure to have a medium-sized container, as a bigger one will have more chances of escape for your insects.
You may use a cricket pen to store the crickets, which have a removable lid, dispensers, food and water bowl, and trap doors. You have to open the lid, fill the bowl with cricket gel water and food, put the crickets inside, and close the lid.
Keep the insects inside the cricket pen for 24 hours so they may eat and get enough nutrition. Finally, pull the side dispenser out to bring the crickets out of the cricket pen.
How long to gut-load your bearded dragon’s feeder bugs?
It’s a rule of thumb to gut-load the feeder insects 24 hours before presenting them to the bearded dragon.
Cricket care for Gut-loading
Crickets are easily available from any store; however, it is suggested to buy as many crickets as you need in a week. Otherwise, they can create noise, escape or smell unpleasantly. You may provide a hiding spot to your crickets, but it’s unnecessary, as it can sometimes make it harder for the owner to catch them.
The room temperature where you’re keeping the crickets should be below 20 degrees Celsius, and do not use any substrate for them. You can use commercial food and quenchers to gut-load the crickets.
Roach care while keeping them in pen for gut-loading
Roaches make an excellent choice for your bearded dragons, as they cannot climb the pen glass or escape it. Roaches must be kept in pen; however, do not feed them high protein foods as they contain high protein elements. Keep tropical roaches in warm rooms of 28-30 degrees celsius.
They also need dark hiding spots and ventilation of the place where they are kept.
Mealworm and King mealworm gut-loading
These insects are low maintenance and can be kept in a pen or other deep container. You may feed them the same food like crickets, including lettuce, fruits, commercial quenchers. The temperature of the room or container where you are keeping these worms must be 21-23 degrees celsius.
You may use substrates such as oatmeal, flour, bran flakes for the mealworms; as they may eat the substrate too, it has to be something edible, as mentioned earlier. The tank where you have kept these worms should be filled at least 40-50% with the substrate.
Mealworms, after some time, may turn into adult beetles, which can also be fed to the bearded dragon.
Tomato hornworm for Bearded dragon gut-loading
These bugs come with a cup of food, so you can keep them there for eating the food. Ensure their cleanliness before feeding them to your beardie. Keep the lid of the cup or container slightly open for ventilation.
Some general rules on the roach, cricket, and worm care
Clean the pen or aquarium once you have removed the insects from it. Remove the uneaten or leftover and dead insects. Clean the glass by wiping it; otherwise, new insects may catch bacteria which can be harmful if passed down to your bearded dragon.
Ventilation is important for the insects that you are storing for your bearded dragon. Place a lid on the aquarium or container where you have kept the bugs.
Dust the food with supplements that you’re providing your feeder insects.
How much powdered supplement do you need to use on food?
You can use a pinch of the powdered supplement on the insects that you’re presenting in front of your bearded dragon. You may dust greens if your beardie is reluctant to eat the insects.
Can I give calcium daily?
Yes, you may provide calcium to your beardie daily, as there are few chances of harm in it because of its low bioavailability. However, if your vet has given you special instructions about providing calcium, you must stick to those.
Can I give Multivitamins daily?
You may provide multivitamins daily, only if there is no Vitamin A in them. However, you must ensure not to overdo the number of multivitamins in the body of a bearded dragon.
Providing supplements to your bearded dragon is important as it cannot get them all on its own while being inside the cage. You may use the supplements, as mentioned earlier, that are proven to be the best by many beardie owners and vets.
Providing calcium, D3 and multivitamins are important, with the quantity of each one varying by the increasing or decreasing age of the bearded dragon.
Furthermore, how you provide these supplements to your beardie is important too. Make lunch time a little more interesting for them, having them munch down their essential nutrients without even noticing.