It is essential to provide enough calcium to your bearded dragon, as it has a critical role in the dragon’s health and well-being. Lack of calcium will cost the health and life of your bearded dragon. However, just as the lack of something is not suitable for the body, the excess of something can also be poisonous to the body of any living thing.
It is essential to provide a diet to your bearded dragon as an owner rich in calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients. The number of nutrients varies from one stage of the bearded dragon to the other one. A young or juvenile bearded dragon needs to have at least 70 percent protein and 30 percent veggies and greens. At the same time, a fully grown-up beardie needs 80 percent veggies and 20 percent of proteins.
Here in this article, we’ll discuss a few reasons why protein is essential for the beardie’s health and what protein should be provided to keep it healthy.
Table of Contents
Calcium with or without Vitamin D3.
The UVB light is essential for the absorption of calcium, as this light provides vitamin D3, which works to absorb calcium in the body of a bearded dragon. The type of light that you’re using affects the bearded dragon’s health and decides whether you need to add additional D3 in the diet of your beardie or not.
In the case of using Mercury vapor Bulb, you don’t need to add D3 in the calcium powder that you’re dusting on the dragon’s food. However, in UVB, it is essential to use D3 with calcium for better absorption in a bearded dragon’s body.
Should I Give my Bearded Dragon D3?
Yes, it is essential to provide D3 vitamin (cholecalciferol) to your dragon. If you’re providing enough calcium to your bearded dragon without enough vitamin D3, this will result in a deficiency of calcium. Vitamin D3 mentioned above is suitable for the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D3 is most effective when given in the form of sunlight or UVB light without anything to stop the light from approaching the dragon.
The diet of bearded dragons containing calcium can be presented with or without Vitamin D3. If you’re providing enough UVB light, then there is no need to add a powdered form of the D3, or the amount of D3 can be reduced or stopped all at once. Overdosing of D3 can result in the mineralization of tissues and renal diseases.
Vitamin D3 Oral Supplementation is a Poor Substitute for UVB
It is best to provide Vitamin D3 through UVB light, as giving the vitamin D3 in the diet has been proven to be very ineffective. So you must avoid providing it in the form of supplements; instead, use good UVB lighting to do the deed.
Which Calcium Powder Should be bought for Bearded Dragons?
The recommended powder for providing calcium and D3 is cholecalciferol. Very low levels of cholecalciferol are suitable for the health of bearded dragons when supplied through diet. Purchasing calcium powder both with and without cholecalciferol will give choices to substitute dusting. Avoid buying any calcium powder that has phosphorus in it. Calcium supplements recommended for humans can also be utilized.
The Importance of Multivitamins
It should be kept in mind that besides calcium, the bearded dragon should be given a good multi-nutrient a few times a week, according to their age. Try to avoid Vitamins with Vitamin A as they can cause high toxicity to your bearded dragon and even die if provided with an excess of this vitamin.
The vitamins that contain beta-carotene are suitable for the health of the bearded dragons, which benefits the bearded dragon’s body by absorbing only the essential and valuable section of vitamin A. In contrast, the unwanted portion of this vitamin is passed out without any trouble.
It is essential to provide your dragon with multivitamins when you think the UVB light is not enough or when the dragon doesn’t get the right amount of calcium.
Why your bearded dragon needs calcium:
There are a few reasons why your beardie needs to have enough calcium to stay healthy. Besides different minerals like phosphorus, calcium isn’t something your bearded dragon will get enough from their eating routine.
This is nothing compared to the grounds that calcium (and nutrient D3) is quite the most important and fundamental minerals these creatures can get. It is essential for the ability of the dragon to grow and for good bone health. However, the exciting part is the inability of the bearded dragons to use and absorb calcium without nutrient D3. They need both to work!
While they can get a good portion of D3 from the UVB lighting, it’s typically insufficient (99.9% of the time). This implies the need to enhance these for your bearded dragon in the form of supplements to stay sound.
What Happens If They Don’t Get Enough?
The lack of calcium inside the body of a dragon can cause various health issues. Among which some issues are worse as compared to the others. Some apparent symptoms of the bearded dragon are lower energy level, less movement. The calcium deficiency can cause the metabolism to slow down, for which you’ll see the dragon twitching their tails or acting skittish.
Worse conditions are acting lethargic and getting weak, as the bearded dragon is a victim of calcium deficiency. These issues are very potential health risks and must be adhered to at the earliest. Furthermore, calcium deficiency affects the bones and can cause deformities in the bearded dragon’s body. The situation may worsen, causing the tail of the dragon to rot.
Providing enough calcium to the bearded dragon will make him strong against bone fractures and other diseases.
What Happens If You Give Them Too Much
The excess of calcium, just like calcium deficiency, is not good for the health of bearded dragons. Many new owners of the bearded dragons make the mistake of providing the calcium more than what’s typically required by the bearded dragon. This can cause health issues in the bearded dragon, which can worsen if not taken care of on time.
It should be kept in mind that providing too much calcium cannot cause any damage in the absence of an equal amount of D3 provided through UVB light. As the calcium won’t be absorbed in the body in the same amount as provided. However, consuming an excess of both the vitamins is alarming.
Excess of these nutrients can cause constipation, general weakness, and lethargic behavior of the bearded dragon. The lack of movement or lethargic behavior is a consequence of the stiffening of soft tissues in the body of the beardie, which happens because of the excess of calcium. Providing an excess of these nutrients without any gap can result in the death of the bearded dragon.
The influence of Cage setup and UVB:
Sometimes, you may provide excess calcium to your beardie without even knowing it. The most common way of this happening is a suboptimal light and habitat. Having a cage with proper UVB lighting is the first step for them to get the calcium naturally.
However, having a cage with less space and nowhere to hide to take a break from basking can give the dragon an overdose of the nutrients that are required for the well-being. To avoid this situation, make sure to have ample space inside the cage and a hiding spot for your bearded dragon to take a break whenever it wants. The beardie itself can be the best judge of when the vitamin is getting more than the required amount.
Should I feed my bearded dragon Calcium?
Feeding calcium to the bearded dragon is recommended husbandry practice, and it helps to prevent hypocalcemia. However, if you’re providing a commercial diet to your bearded dragon, it already contains the required supplement. Hence there’s no need to give supplements separately. Make sure you check the ingredients of the food that you’re providing your pet.
Calcium provides nutrients to perform body functions including, Skeleton formation, muscle contraction, mineralization of bones matrix, and blood clotting.
Does my Bearded dragon need Vitamin D:
The importance of vitamin D for a bearded dragon can’t be stressed enough, as this vitamin is essential for the absorption of calcium and other nutrients in the bearded dragon’s body. The body is unable to use the calcium if it doesn’t have enough Vitamin D.
This Vitamin is essential for many body functions such as the functioning of nerves and muscles, reproduction, cardiovascular health, and immune system of the bearded dragon body.
There are more ways to get Vitamin D3 Than Using a Supplement
There are different ways to supply vitamin D3 to your bearded dragon; the first is to provide UVB light that interacts with the epidermis of the beardie’s skin and absorbs all the required amount of D3.
Another way of providing D3 is through supplement through food and supplement.
The liver processes nutrient D2 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and nutrient D3 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. Together they are considered to be calcifediol.
Nutrient D2 (ergocalciferol) comes from plant sources, and nutrient D3 (cholecalciferol) from plant and creature sources. The nutrient D2, when provided in the food, doesn’t replace the requirement for nutrient D3.
Retained nutrient D can be stored in the body like the fat tissue, kidneys, and liver.
How much calcium do bearded baby dragons need?
As baby beardies are growing rapidly, they need to have their food flooded with calcium around 4-5 times each week, and once a day only.
Also, you will need to supply your baby bearded dragon with a multi-nutrient (as examined above) around 2-3 times each week, blended in with their calcium powder, and never more than one time each day.
How much calcium do Adult bearded dragons need?
As grown-ups, the bearded dragons don’t need calcium very frequently, given that they are done growing and have reached adulthood. It is recommended to dust the food of an adult bearded dragon at least three times a week.
The multivitamins that you’re providing your bearded dragon should be mixed with calcium just once a week.
What happens if My Bearded Dragon Gets Too Much Calcium?
As Calcium deficiency is far more typical than an abundance of calcium, some medical problems can emerge with the excess of calcium in the body of a bearded dragon.
When an excessive amount of D3 is consumed and significant amounts of calcium exist in the food that you’re offering, then the bearded dragon can encounter Hypercalcemia.
Hypercalcemia happens when there is an excessive amount of calcium in the blood and can affect the bearded dragon’s health, and in severe cases, it can cause your bearded dragon to die.
When bearded dragons are exposed to very high UVB lights, they get a very high amount of D3, which lets the dragon absorb all the calcium provided, which can harm its health. When they are given an excessive amount of calcium powder, their muscles would become weak and won’t be able to stretch easily.
So it’s important to adjust their diet and the UVB light to avoid any complications.
How Often do you Give a Bearded Dragon Calcium?
How frequently you give your bearded dragon calcium with D3 incredibly relies upon the measure of UV light exposure. Bearded dragons given time outside in direct daylight will require lower supplementation, unlike those kept indoors.
Providing calcium to a bearded dragon every day is not essential. The amount of calcium and vitamin D3 that different vets and herpetologists suggest is mentioned below:
|Young||3-4 times a week|
|Adults||At least once per week|
|Reproductively active Female||Three to four times a week|
|Adult receiving sunlight||Once every two weeks|
The best way to provide the bearded dragon with calcium
There are several ways to provide calcium to your bearded dragon. Some of them have been mentioned earlier in this article; however, we’ll explain this bit in detail. Remember not to use all of the mentioned methods on the dragon at once. They can be used alternatively or as per the need of the bearded dragon to attain the best possible results.
Supplements and powder
one of the best approaches to rapidly build the calcium of your bearded dragon is through supplementation. This is most successfully done through powder. The calcium powder for bearded dragons is effortless and straightforward to use. It’s a powder containing concentrated calcium (and D3 relying upon which item you get) that you dust on the food items you’re presenting your beardie.
This process of sprinkling calcium on food is called “dusting.” So you can decide how many of the meals should be dusted with this calcium powder, depending on the needs of your bearded dragon pet.
UVB light is an effective source of providing D3, which helps absorb calcium in the bearded dragon’s body. The bearded dragons fulfill their need for calcium and vitamin D3 from basking in the sun in the wild. However, in captivity, they rely on UVB light and calcium supplements.
Providing your bearded dragon the food that is rich in calcium is one way to supply the nutrients to your pet. Reach out to get the rich in calcium; there are few greens and veggies that can provide the required amount of protein. Figs and blackberries are rich in protein and can be provided as treats.
Gut loading is the process of feeding the nutrients to the feeder insects, which eventually pass down the nutrients to the bearded dragon when they consume them. Feeding calcium-rich diets to the insects and then feeding those insects to beardies will maintain the level of calcium in the bearded dragon’s body.
Best Calcium powder for your bearded dragon
There is a wide variety of calcium powders you can use for your bearded dragon. Furthermore, by all accounts, they all appear to be identical.
Below are a few recommended to buy, as they have the right amount of calcium powder and Vitamin D3.
Repti Calcium D3 Supplement By Zoo Med
One of the best supplements you can find in the market is Repti Calcium D3 Supplement By Zoo Med. It has the best mixture of nutrients and has nothing that can harm the health of your bearded dragon. It has a trusted and right amount of calcium and D3, making it easier for your beardie to digest the supplement
Fluker’s Repta Calcium
It one of the renowned calcium powder for the bearded dragon. It has the vitamin D3, which is essential for calcium absorption in the body of beardie. However, it is suggested to grind the powder before feeding it to the bearded dragon. It will help the beardie to digest the calcium easily and reduces the risk of lumps. Get your fluker repta calcium
Fixing the Diet
There are few things that you can do to adjust the calcium consumption of your bearded dragon are listed below.
- Reverse the ratio of calcium and phosphorus by dusting and gut loading. As some feeders already contain a high amount of calcium than phosphorus.
- Keeping the bearded dragon well hydrated would keep the number of nutrients balanced in a bearded dragon’s body. Water helps in the digestion of nutrients and the elimination of waste products.
- Selecting food with improved calcium and phosphorus ratio and can be absorbed easily by the bearded dragon
15 Foods high in calcium
- Romaine Lettuce
- Turnip Green
- Mustard Green
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Mulberry leaves
Watch out for these Foods
There are specific food items high in Calcium and Vitamin D3 and should be used with care. Food with high content of phosphorus should be avoided. Some of the foods with high levels of these nutrients and must be avoided are given below.
- Muscle Meat
- Pinkie Mice
- Day-old Chick
- Squash and pumpkin seeds
- Muscles meat
- Pea sprouts
Foods high in oxalic or phytic acids
These types of foods can elevate the risk of excess calcium in the body of the bearded dragon. These two items block and bind the calcium in the body, making it unavailable for the bearded dragon’s body functions. A small amount of these nutrients can be added to the beardie’s diet, alternating with other food items.
There are few food items with high calcium, oxalate and goitrogen content that harms the health of bearded dragon and must be avoided.
- Bok Choy
Causes of Calcium deficiency
Different factors are involved in the deficiency of Calcium. These reasons are listed below.
- Poor Gut loading
- Calcium that sticks to the food
- Calcium phosphorus ratio
- Amount of Phosphorus levels that binds the calcium making it unavailable for the bearded dragon
Phosphorus rich diet can also cause Calcium Deficiency
Calcium to phosphorus proportion is essential to be considered when you are thinking about the diet of the bearded dragons. Both are contrarily related and adversely influence the level of one another.
This implies that when one is more in diet, the degree of other will be low and the other way around. Certain chemicals constrain this, like calcitonin, parathyroid chemical, and nutrient D3 (an adornment chemical).
Be careful over the degree of phosphorus in the eating routine. Phosphorus ought not to be fed more than its suggested limits to these reptiles. A significant amount of phosphorus can be harmful to the bearded dragon.
After reading this article, you must have a better idea of how much calcium should be provided to the bearded dragon, and with the help of this, it’s easy for you to decide which food and what amount of food should be fed to your dragon. You can improve the calcium intake of your beardie by adjusting UVB light and changing the diet of your bearded dragon.
If you find symptoms of Calcium deficiency, proceed with the suggestion provided above slowly. This will help in recovering your bearded dragon’s health. Remember, the right amount of light, gut loading, and calcium powder can solve this problem.