When it comes to supplements for bearded dragons, there are a ton. Standing in front of dozens of different supplements in a pet shop is a really confusing experience. You might ask yourself, okay, what do I really need here?
If you go and get a pet shop seller to help you, you probably end up with 4 to 5 different things since you were told that you need it or to get it “just in case”. I don´t mean to bash pet shop sellers here, they are only doing their jobs, however this is not a website for pet shop sellers.
This is a website for you. I want to help you to take care of your bearded dragon. I want to help you to save some money, that´s my job here. So in this article you are going to learn, why you most probably do not need 95% of all the bearded dragon supplements.
The Only Supplement You Should Really Get
The only supplement you really need is a calcium supplement. I know that there are tons of different supplements that look good and seem to be good, but the truth is that you will most probably only waste your money. Further most other supplements do more harm than good. I will come to this later in this article.
There Are Two Different Calcium Supplements To Get
When it comes to calcium you probably have seen that there are different calcium supplements on the market. Some calcium supplements are with vitamin D3 and others are without vitamin D3. So what is so special about vitamin D3?
I explain it really simple. Bearded Dragons need vitamin D3 to stay healthy. Vitamin D3 is needed to process the calcium which is needed for their bones to stay solid and healthy. Without vitamin D3 and without calcium, your bearded dragon´s bones will get soft. After a while your bearded dragon will be completely deformed, it won´t be able to move normally and it won´t be able to eat anymore.
This horrible disease is called metablic bone disease. I wrote an entire article on that disease here.
So Which Bearded Dragon Calcium Should You Get?
So given the fact that bearded dragons need calcium and vitamin D3 to stay healthy, calcium plus vitamin D3 seems to be the best choice, right? Actually that´s not the case.
If you have proper UVB lighting installed in your bearded dragon tank, you don´t need any further vitamin D3. (Need a lighting guide?) Your bearded dragon is able to produce enough vitamin D3 to stay healthy and to process the calcium properly. I recommend to get this lighting bulb, since it is the very best on the market. Get your calcium supplement without vitamin D3 here!
However there are cases where bearded dragon need more vitamin D3. That might be if you don´t have a proper UVB light or if your bearded dragon is sick and your vet recommends it. In this case, get a calcium supplement with vitamin D3 here!
How To Use Those Supplements
That´s actually pretty easy. Whenever you feed your bearded dragon with feeder insects, dust those insects with the supplement. You should definitely do this everytime you feed your bearded dragon, in order to make sure that your bearded dragon gets enough minerals.
Why You Should Get Sepia As Well
This is what most people don´t do and that can be a big mistake. Your bearded dragon should have access to a calcium source all the time. If you break or cut off some small sepia pieces and offer it in a food bowl, your bearded dragon will eat some of it from time to time.
Your bearded dragon knows exactly when it needs to balance it´s minerals. If you don´t do that, your bearded dragon might start to eat substrate (if you use any). If your bearded dragon eats too much substrate it might get impacted. This could end pretty badly. So get some Sepia here!
Why You Most Probably Don´t Need Bearded Dragon Vitamins
If you feed your bearded dragon the right way, you should not need any vitamin supplements. To make sure that your bearded dragon gets enough vitamins, you have to make sure that the feeder insects get enough vitamins and you have to feed the right insects of course.
If you feed meal worms all the time, your bearded dragon won´t get enough vitamins as meal worms are just fast food and not meaty at all. Your bearded dragon loves them, but all they do is making it fat, lazy and sick (if fed too often). Instead feed some crickets, or way better, dubia roaches.
Dubia roaches are probably one of the best feeder insects you can feed your bearded dragon.
However, those feeder insects need to get some vitamins before you feed them. So you should gut load them. This means you should feed them healthy stuff before sacrificing them to your mighty dragon. Here is the best way to do that:
How To Gut Load
Get a cricket keeper like this. Your feeder insects will stay healthy in this box. They won´t start to attack each other because of too little space and none of them will die. Feed the feeder insects with bananas, carrots, apples or other fruits or vegetables. Do not let those vegetables rot in the box together with the insects. Leave them in for a day and then put new veggies or fruits in it.
This way your feeder insects will stay alive and they will be gut loaded. Simply them with the calcium powder and your bearded dragon gets a healthy meal. If you need more diet tips, check this article!
If Your Bearded Dragon Needs More Vitamins
There are situations in which your bearded dragon needs some additional vitamins. Maybe you just rescued your bearded dragon and it was treated very badly, or something similar. It is very important to visit a vet in such a situation. If you need a multivitamin powder, I recommend to get this one. Rule of thumb is to give your bearded dragon a little bit of it once a week. (Take a little bit of the powder and just sprinkle the feeder insects with it.)
You see, there is no need to buy tons of different supplements or dry food or whatever you can get out there. Making sure that your bearded dragon gets enough vitamins is easy. Using vitamin supplements in addition to that could be toxic for your bearded dragon. Many bearded dragons die, because owners used those supplements in a wrong way.
Feed your bearded dragon like you read above and be attentive, you will know if something isn´t right. If you feel that there is something wrong with your bearded dragon, do not hesitate to take it to a vet in order to make sure that your husbandry is on point.
Have fun with your beardie!