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Bearded dragons in captivity rely on you to help them get the calcium they need to maintain healthy bones and overall health. Choosing between powdered calcium, liquid calcium and sprayer options may seem daunting, but once you have made the choice that works best for you and your dragon, you will find you have a happy and healthy beardie on your hands.
All bearded dragons need calcium in their diets. Those in the wild eat a much wider variety of greens and insects, but in captivity their selection is limited and therefore you need to supplement their diet to ensure their overall health.
It is very important when supplementing your bearded dragon's diet that you take their living conditions, current diet and overall health into consideration to help you determine if you need a supplement which includes Vitamin D3 or not.
The Zoo Med Reptile Calcium is a highly recommended calcium supplement used with bearded dragons. This good smelling calcium comes in a range of sizes and you choose whether you want it with or without Vitamin D3. Being phosphorus free, makes this a leading choice with many beardie owners.
What we like
The Miner-All Calcium Indoor supplement is a highly recommended supplement for bearded dragons. This supplement ticks most of the important boxes for bearded dragon owners, ensuring the best health for your reptile moving forward. This supplement smells pleasing, which reduces the risk of even the fussiest of beardie's not eating. It comes with Vitamin D3 and is phosphorus free, making it the perfect all round calcium solution for your dragon.
What we like
This is an all in one calcium and multivitamin from Repashy. This calcium supplement enables you to reduce how many supplements you give to your dragon, ensuring their overall health needs are met. The powder has been carefully formulated to ensure that it sticks effectively to insects and greens with ease.
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The Fluker liquid calcium has proven an effective liquid solution when your dragon refuses to eat dusted foods. Being in liquid form, it's important you read the instructions in detail to ensure you don't over or under dose your dragon. This should only be used if your dragon refuses to eat calcium in another form.
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The calcium spray can be useful when spraying greens, but please note that this is not effective for bearded dragons and should only be used as a last resort, when your dragon refuses to eat powdered calcium. The spray does ensure fast absorption.
What we like
Before you take a closer look at the different calcium supplements and identify which one is the best choice for you and your beardie, you need to have a better understanding of your dragon and their dietary needs.
In the wild, a bearded dragon will get calcium from their choice of insects and greens. They eat a much wider variety of foods in the wild than they do in captivity. In addition to this, bearded dragons are known to eat small animals from time to time, getting all the calcium that they need.
In captivity, you will be recommended to give your bearded dragon two supplements, which is calcium and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is essential as it helps your bearded dragon absorb the calcium effectively. In your vivarium you will have a UV light. UVB is essential in providing the needed Vitamin D3 for your dragon. If you don't have a full spectrum UV light in your enclosure, then it is worthwhile considering a Vitamin D3 supplement as well.
Younger bearded dragons often suffer metabolic bone disease due to a lack of vitamin D3 and calcium. They often have pathological fractures, deformities and seizures. Adult bearded dragons also need calcium, though they don't require as much as younger dragons, as their growth has slowed.
There are a few options when it comes to calcium supplements for your bearded dragon, eat one has a different way in which it is used, these include:
How to dust Calcium powder with crickets
How Often Should Bearded Dragon Have Calcium
The amount of UV exposure your dragon has will determine how often you give your beardie calcium and Vitamin D3 supplements. Those that are kept indoors all of the time will require more supplements than those that are allowed to play outdoors in a secure enclosure for a period of time.
The good news is that you don't have to give your dragon calcium supplements every day. How often you give your beardie calcium is determined by a number of factors:
You are probably already wondering if its possible to give your bearded dragon too much calcium supplement, and the answer is yes. Remember that your dragon needs Vitamin D3 in order to absorb calcium. Without Vitamin D3, any calcium you give your dragon is pointless. Too much Vitamin D3 mixed with too much calcium can be a very dangerous combination.
Too much calcium in the blood is called hypercalcemia and this can occur within your beardie. Too much calcium can result in a sick beardie. In extreme cases it can be fatal. Overdosing on calcium will reduce how much fat your bearded dragon uses, along with how much protein, minerals and other vitamins it stops using. Muscles start to calcify and muscle hardening will occur. This is often seen in bearded dragons that have been exposed to too much UVB light in conjunction with supplements of calcium and Vitamin D3.
If you provide your dragon with a good full spectrum UVB light, then you may not have to supplement Vitamin D3, which can reduce the risk of overdosing on calcium.
Calcium Overdose Signs and Symptoms
There are a number of causes why your dragon may be suffering with calcium deficiency and these include anything from dietary issues to poor UVB lighting and heating. Calcium deficiency is also experienced in dragons that are going through a biological stage, such as a growing young dragon, for example.
Often a bearded dragon owner will find their beardie suffering from calcium deficiency even though they are giving them dusted insects. This could be that the amount of coating on the insect isn't enough or the calcium isn't sticking to the food. The other possible option is the calcium to phosphorus ratio. The calcium to phosphorus ration should be 2 to 1.
Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency
Calcium is essential to the growth of your dragon. The same as in humans, calcium is needed to grow strong bones and maintain the strength. Dragons that are suffering from calcium deficiency will have weak bones, which is often picked up by having a number of fractures on a regular basis.
There are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to choosing the right calcium supplement for your bearded dragon. The three main things to focus on when making your final selection should include:
Bearded dragon Calcium sand
Since we are discussing about Calcium, people may ask about Calcium sand. Calcium sand is a type of sand that has Calcium particles in it. Be careful when using Calcium sand as a substrate for your bearded dragon because it can cause impaction. Learn more about best substrate for bearded dragons here.
As a bearded dragon owner, you want to ensure the best care for your reptile and this includes choosing the best calcium supplements. Having a firm understanding on why your dragon needs calcium and the various options available, you can now make an informed decision on what is best for you and your beardie.Overall the majority of bearded dragon owners will choose a powdered calcium, due to its ease of use and proven reputation for working with dragons. The Zoo Med Reptile Calcium comes highly recommended and you can choose based on your dragon whether to buy it with or without Vitamin D3, which is a great benefit that helps reduce the risk of overdosing on calcium in the future.