Just like human beings, bearded dragons need certain vitamins and minerals in order to maintain good health and productive lives.
They do have different vitamin and mineral needs than humans, though. It is important to get these vitamins and minerals in the correct amounts in order to keep them healthy and promote robust growth.
Let’s go over the requirements of vitamins and minerals for a bearded dragon.
Vitamin D3 and Calcium
Vitamin D3 and calcium are probably the most important vitamins and minerals you need to supply your bearded dragon. They are essential for proper development of bones and very critical for gravid females.
Both calcium and vitamin D3 need to be given simultaneously since bearded dragons cannot metabolize calcium if they do not have proper intake of vitamin D3.
How much calcium and vitamin D3 you give them depends greatly on how much natural sunlight it receives and its age.
Bearded dragons in the wild receive vitamin D3 naturally from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. In captivity, a full-spectrum light is needed in order to mimic those ultraviolet rays so they can absorb the vitamins and minerals.
Baby bearded dragons need a daily dose of calcium and vitamin D3 to ensure proper growth and good bone development.
Juveniles should be given supplements of calcium and vitamin D3 at least three to four meals per week, and adults should receive supplements at least once per week.
If you keep an adult bearded dragon outdoors, where it will receive some natural light from the sun, you can reduce the calcium and vitamin D3 dosage to once every two weeks.
When searching for a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement, use one that has a calcium to phosphorus ratio of at least 2:1, while 3:1 would be even better. You don’t want to give it too much phosphorus.
While a bearded dragon does need some vitamin A, it is very important not to give too much. If they are given too much vitamin A it can lead to vitamin A toxicity.
They can retain vitamin A within the body and organs and can become toxic if levels become too high.
Use a supplement that contains beta carotene as an alternative to vitamin A.
Iron is mostly needed with baby bearded dragons. Again, iron is one of those supplements that should be given very sporadically. Too much iron intake can cause long term health issues so it should be given with caution.
The best way to supply safe levels of iron is in leafy green such as collards or kale in small amounts.
One of the best ways to cover all of a bearded dragon’s vitamin and mineral needs is to supply a multivitamin supplement specifically designed for lizards. These contain a broad range of essential vitamins and minerals specifically designed for reptiles.
Many of these can be founds at pet stores, or through a reptile veterinarian.
Multivitamin supplements should be given to babies no more than twice a week, and no more than once per week to juveniles and adults.
Multivitamin supplements do not replace calcium and vitamin D3 supplements. The vitamin D3 and calcium will still need to be offered regardless of the multivitamins.
More On Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
One of the best ways to provide vitamins and minerals is by gut loading feeder insects before offering them to your bearded dragon. Gut loading is the process of offering the feeder insect foods that are high in vitamins and minerals so they are then passed on to the bearded dragon.
As the saying goes, “You are what you eat”. The same goes for bearded dragons.
Most vitamin and mineral supplements come in a powder form that is that dust onto insect feeders and vegetable food items.
Always read the labels on vitamin and mineral supplements to check the ingredients. Avoid buying any that do not have the ingredients listed. You want to make sure you know what you are giving your bearded dragon.
As you can see supplying the correct amount of vitamins and minerals is essential for good health and good growth development.