In the first article of this bearded dragon diet mini series I talked about deadly mistakes most bearded dragon owners make when it comes to the diet of their little dragons. If you did not read it yet, do so now: click here for the deadly mistakes!
So, now in this article I want to show you how you feed your bearded dragon the right way. However I do not want to tell you this stuff in a boring way, since this can be pretty dry and I am sure that you know basically how to feed your dragon.
Because of that I decided to give you 5 diet tips that will definitely increase the health of your bearded dragon.
Feed Smaller Insects
Most reptile owners feed their reptiles huge insects as soon as their reptile got bigger. While you definitely should not feed day flies or micro crickets anymore, there is no reason to feed your reptile huge locusts that do not even really fit into their mouths.
Your bearded dragon can be hurt while eating a big insect. For example they can hurt their mouths. Such injuries can become infected and cause mouth rot or other diseases that can become serious problems. Further, who wants to have a high vet bill without any reason?
This is not the only reason why you should feed smaller insects though. Another reason is the intake of vitamins and minerals. You should powder the feeding insects every single time with calcium and you should also gutload the feeding insects every single time.
However not all insects are gutloaded the same. Some of the feeding insects may have not eaten the vegetables you offered. And some of the feeding insects do not have a lot of calcium powder on them. So the chance to feed your bearded dragon in a healthy way is higher if you feed 5 to 6 crickets that are smaller in size instead of 2 or 3 huge crickets.
Another reason is that reptiles often times do not even digest huge insects completely. Have you ever seen a full grown locust coming out of your bearded dragon in poop shape? I have! Nasty? Absolutely!!!! Healthy? Not at all! It means that your bearded dragon has already trouble with digestion.
Sepia Bones Are Your Best Friend
In the previous article I told you the story of Vanessa who had a bearded dragon with calcium deficiency. If you follow my advice here, there is no way your bearded dragon will suffer from calcium deficiency.
As I said above, you should powder the feeding insects with calcium every single time. If you don´t have a calcium supplement, get this immediately.
Besides powdering the insects you should also offer sepia bones to your bearded dragon. You might not know it, but bearded dragons know exactly if they need to balance their minerals and if you break the sepia bone and offer small pieces of it in a bowl in your tank, your bearded dragon will eat it very often to balance it´s minerals.
If you don´t do that, your bearded dragon will eat the substrate (most probably sand) get impacted and die if left untreated. If you don´t have substrate and use newspapers as substrate, your bearded dragon will end up with calcium deficiency.
This will result in a high vet bill or in the death of your beloved beardie and I know you don´t want either of that.
So simply get this sepia bone here, (the name says it´s for turtles, but you can use it for beardies as well) break it, offer small pieces in a bowl and have a happy beardie!
Are You Still Feeding Mealworms?
I know, don´t shout at me, my beardies love them too. But the truth is, feeding your bearded dragon mealworms is like going to McDonalds with your kids. They love it, you love it as well, but all you eat is garbage …poisonous garbage.
Seriously, if your bearded dragon has a good weight, eats well, is not sick, there is no reason to feed it mealworms or super worms. Your bearded dragon will become fat and those worms do not have a high nutritious value. Further the hard bodies of those worms can hurt your bearded dragon´s stomach.
So if you want your bearded dragon to stay healthy, try to feed healthy insects as often as you can and avoid feeding unhealthy insects like super worms and mealworms.
One Of The Best Feeding Insects Is…
…the dubia roach! I know that most people buy crickets. When I was a beginner I never tried dubia roaches. I got used to crickets and dubias looked weird and I didn´t want them in my home. Weird reason to not feed them, right? Thank god I´ve changed, lol.
Dubias are one of the most healthy foods you can offer your bearded dragon. They have soft bodies which is good for reptiles, they have a lot of meat, are high in protein and in calcium and much more. The nutrition is simply amazing.
If you think those roaches are disgusting and you don´t want to have them inside your house, here are some facts for you: Dubia roaches do not smell, they do not carry diseases, they don´t make noises, they can´t climb glass, they don´t bite and they can´t fly. Further, they won´t infest your house if some escape. Dubias need constant high humidity and high temperature to breed. Won´t happen in your house.
Less Is More
At least when it comes to adult bearded dragons. While baby bearded dragons eat a lot and should eat a lot every day, adult bearded dragons should only eat meat 3 times a week. You can offer salad, vegetables and herbs 6 days a week.
Your bearded dragon schould fast one day a week.
You might think that I am joking now, that you can´t let your little baby starve, but believe me, they do not get as much food in the wild as they get in captivity.
Do you know that a lot of bearded dragons die from fatty liver-disease? This is caused by overfeeding and too little exercise (too little exercise happens automatically since your bearded dragon is full all the time – most bearded dragons do not even move away from their basking spot because they are overfed).
If you offer your bearded dragon food, it will always eat more than it should. That´s a natural behavior. In the wild they have to do that in case they won´t find anything for the next days. However in captivity, this can be deadly as you know now.
So I hope this article helped you to create a healthier meal plan for your bearded dragon. Don´t forget to read about the deadly mistakes when it comes to bearded dragon diet if you did not read it yet!