Supplementing Bearded Dragons
How To Properly Supplement Bearded Dragons
Diet Compound - Supplementation
Bearded dragons require a 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus (Ca:P). .This simply means that their intake of calcium and phosphorus should equal out to approximately 2 parts Calcium to 1 part Phosphorus.
So when planning your diet, use the rule of 2CA:1PH, but be sure that they are getting their vitamins and minerals as well.
Calcium and vitamins should be supplemented as follows for the different age groups. This can be achieved by dusting the veggies or insect being fed.
Babies: hatchling to 5 months (every feeding)
Juveniles and Sub Adults: 6 months to 17 months (every other feeding)
Adults: 18 months and up (every third feeding)
Breeding females: (every other feeding)
Calcium is critical to a bearded dragons bone growth. If a bearded dragon receives an inadequate amount of calcium within his/her diet, functions are interrupted and problems incur. Since calcium helps to balance out phosphorus levels, it is suggested that calcium intake be double the phosphorus intake. When a bearded dragon is not receiving the appropriate amount of calcium that it requires, it must begin pulling calcium from other resources throughout their bodies. Most often the bones and spinal cord are affected by the calcium inadequacies. By doing this, they are causing their bones to become frail. Breakage of the bones is imminent and possible nerve damage occurs when the pulling is coming from the spine. Twisted and deformed limbs are immediate signs that your bearded dragon has contracted Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
More information on Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) can be found here:
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
Vitamin D is required for a variety of functions including the formation of strong bones by aiding the absorption of dietary calcium. Basking bearded dragons can make vitamin D3 with unfiltered sun light. The ultraviolet radiation from the sun acts like a catalyst, which converts a substance known as pro-vitamin D3 into pre-vitamin D3. In turn, this pre-vitamin D3 is converted into vitamin D3, which binds to a blood protein and then can be transferred to the liver via the bloodstream. This activated form of D3, then can be utilized to influence the metabolism of dietary calcium and phosphorus.
So how can you supply this crucial vitamin to your bearded dragon? You can supply vitamin D3 by purchasing the correct light. There are many "so called" reptile lights on the market. Many of them only produce a spectrum of light known as UVA rays. Although UVA rays are good for increasing appetite, improving general fitness, and inducing reproductive behavior, they do not produce the necessary vitamin D3. That can only be found in light rays referred to as UVB. One of the best UVB-producing lights on the market today (by opinion) is the MegaRay by Reptile UV. A good quality UVB-producing light should be considered a necessity when configuring your dragons dietary needs.
Author: Marsha Vacek & Richard Brooks