Bearded dragon is among the most popular reptile pets because of its unique appearance and docile nature. However, many new owners may need to learn what to feed their bearded dragons, and a proper diet is essential for their health and longevity.
An omnivore, a bearded dragon eats both animals and plants. Their diet should consist of various vegetables, fruits, and insects. It is important to provide a balanced diet for them to receive all the nutrients they require. Overfeeding and eating the wrong foods can lead to health problems like obesity and malnutrition.
Nutritional Needs of Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are omnivores, requiring a balanced diet of plant matter and animal protein. A well-balanced diet is essential to maintain their health and prevent nutritional deficiencies. Here are the key nutritional needs of bearded dragons:
Protein is essential for the growth and maintenance of muscles and other tissues. Protein is a key component of a bearded dragon’s diet. Crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches are excellent protein sources for bearded dragons. They also enjoy eating small mammals such as pinky mice. Bearded dragons should be fed insects smaller than the distance between their eyes in order to avoid choking.
Bearded dragons require a variety of vegetables in their diet to meet their nutritional needs. Dark leafy greens like collard greens, kale and mustard greens are great sources of calcium, which is essential for bone health. Other vegetables such as carrots, squash, and sweet potato are also great sources of vitamins and minerals. In addition, bearded dragons should be fed various vegetables to ensure a balanced diet.
Fruits should be fed to bearded dragons in moderation as they contain high sugar levels. However, they are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Bearded dragons enjoy eating fruits such as apples, berries, and melons. Fruits should be offered as a treat and not as a staple in their diet.
Insects should make up a significant portion of a bearded dragon’s diet. They are an excellent source of protein and other essential nutrients. Feeder insects such as mealworms, crickets and dubia roaches should be gut-loaded before feeding to bearded dragons. It means feeding the insects a nutritious diet before feeding them to the bearded dragon so they receive all the nutrients they need.
In conclusion, a well-balanced diet is essential for the health and well-being of bearded dragons. It is important for bearded dragons to consume high-protein diets, and includes a variety of vegetables and insects. Fruits should be fed in moderation. By providing a balanced diet, bearded dragons can live a long and healthy life.
Commercial Bearded Dragon Foods
Bearded dragons can be fed various commercial foods specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs. These foods are available in pellets or canned food and are a convenient option for pet owners who need more time or resources to prepare fresh food for their pets.
When selecting commercial food for bearded dragons, choosing a product that is high in protein and low in fat is important. The food should also contain a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus and other essential vitamins and minerals.
Some of the best commercial foods for bearded dragons include:
· Rep-Cal Bearded Dragon Adult Formula: This food is designed for adult dragons and contains natural ingredients, including mealworms, vegetables, and fruits. It is high in protein, low in fat, and contains a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus.
· Zoo Med Natural Adult Bearded Dragon Food: This food is made with real chicken and vegetables and is designed to provide a complete and balanced diet for adult bearded dragons. It is high in protein and contains a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus.
· Fluker’s Buffet Blend Adult Bearded Dragon Formula: This food is a blend of mealworms, crickets, and vegetables designed to provide a complete and balanced diet for adult bearded dragons. It is high in protein and contains a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus.
· Nature Zone Bites for Bearded Dragons: These soft, moist bites are made with real chicken and vegetables and are designed to be a complete diet for bearded dragons. They are high in protein and contain a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus.
It is important to note that commercial foods should not be the only source of nutrition for bearded dragons. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and insects should also be included in their diet to provide variety and ensure they get all the nutrients they need.
In conclusion, commercial foods can be a convenient and nutritious option for bearded dragons. When selecting a product, it is important to choose one that is high in protein, low in fat, and contains a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus. However, fresh food should also be included in their diet to provide variety and ensure they get all the nutrients they need.
Bearded dragons require supplements to receive all the nutrients for optimal health. The three primary supplements that should be included in a bearded dragon’s diet are calcium, vitamin D3, and multivitamins.
Calcium is essential for strong bones, muscle function, and overall health. Bearded dragons require calcium in their diet, and calcium powder is recommended for their food. If calcium levels are low, metabolic bone disease can develop, which is fatal. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the calcium powder used is pure calcium carbonate.
Calcium absorption requires vitamin D3. Bearded dragons require vitamin D3 in their diet to ensure they can absorb the calcium they consume. Vitamin D3 can be obtained through exposure to UVB lighting or by dusting their food with vitamin D3 powder. Therefore, ensuring that the vitamin D3 powder used is D3 cholecalciferol is important.
Multivitamins are essential for bearded dragons to receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals. A high-quality multivitamin powder should be used and dusted on their food several times weekly. Therefore, ensuring that the multivitamin powder used is specifically formulated for bearded dragons and contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals is important.
In conclusion, supplements are essential to a bearded dragon’s diet to ensure that they receive all the necessary nutrients for optimal health. Calcium, vitamin D3, and multivitamins should be included in their diet to prevent deficiencies and ensure their overall health. Therefore, it is important to use high-quality supplements and follow the recommended dosages to avoid potential health issues.
Bearded dragons love treats just like humans do. However, it is essential to remember that treats should not make up more than 10% of a bearded dragon’s diet. Treats should be given in moderation and only occasionally. Here are some treats that bearded dragons can enjoy:
· Sweet Potato
· Green Beans
· Artichoke Hearts
· Phoenix Worms
It is important to note that insects should not be the primary source of a bearded dragon’s diet. Instead, insects should only be given as treats and be gut-loaded before feeding to ensure they provide the necessary nutrients for the bearded dragon.
When feeding treats, it is essential to remember to cut them into small, bite-sized pieces to prevent choking. Treats should also be moderated to prevent obesity and other health issues.
Treats can be an enjoyable addition to a bearded dragon’s diet but should only make up a portion of it.
It is essential that bearded dragons consume a variety of live insects and plants on a regular basis. Feeding them the right amount at the right time is important to maintain their health and well-being. Here are some guidelines for a feeding schedule based on the age of the bearded dragon:
Baby Bearded Dragons (0-3 months)
Compared to adults, baby bearded dragons require more frequent feedings. They should be fed 3-5 times daily, with a mix of insects and finely chopped greens. Their diet should consist of 80% protein and 20% vegetables.
Juvenile Bearded Dragons (3-6 months)
Juvenile bearded dragons should be fed 2-3 times a day. Their diet should consist of 60% protein and 40% vegetables. In addition, they can eat larger insects and a wider variety of vegetables than baby bearded dragons.
Sub-Adult Bearded Dragons (6-18 months)
Sub-adult bearded dragons should be fed once a day. Their diet should consist of 40% protein and 60% vegetables. In addition, they can eat larger insects and a wider variety of vegetables than juvenile bearded dragons.
Adult Bearded Dragons (18 months and older)
Adult bearded dragons should be fed once every 2-3 days. Their diet should consist of 20% protein and 80% vegetables. In addition, they can eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, but their protein intake should be limited to prevent obesity.
The feeding schedule may vary depending on the individual bearded dragon’s appetite and activity level. In addition, owners should monitor their bearded dragon’s weight and adjust the feeding schedule accordingly.
In addition to a balanced diet, bearded dragons also require access to fresh water. They may also benefit from occasional calcium and vitamin supplements, especially if they need to get more from their diet. In addition, owners should consult with a veterinarian to determine the best supplements for their bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons are omnivorous reptiles that require a balanced diet of protein, vegetables, and fruits. A young bearded dragon requires more protein than an adult, and insects such as mealworms, crickets, and dubia roaches are excellent protein sources. However, adult bearded dragons should consume more vegetables than protein, with a ratio of 80% vegetables and 20% protein.
It is essential to provide a variety of vegetables to ensure that bearded dragons receive all the necessary nutrients. Dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens and mustard greens are excellent sources of calcium and vitamins A and C. Other vegetables, such as squash, bell peppers, and carrots, provide additional vitamins and minerals.
Fruits should be in moderation, as they are less nutritionally dense than vegetables. Fruits such as berries, melons, and papaya can be given as occasional treats. Therefore, washing all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before feeding them to bearded dragons to remove any pesticides or bacteria is important.
It is also essential that bearded dragons have access to clean water at all times in addition to a balanced diet. Therefore, a shallow dish of water should be provided, and it should be changed daily to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Overall, providing a balanced diet of protein, vegetables, and fruits and access to clean water will help ensure that bearded dragons remain healthy and thrive in captivity.