Do you remember when you got your beardie and you were super excited? Bringing your new little baby home was the greatest feeling ever and it was probably pretty hard for you to not sit in front of the tank and stare at your wingless dragon all day long.
However there is always another feeling, an uneasy whisper inside your head: "Are you sure you are doing everything right? Is the tank setup okay? Are you feeding your bearded dragon correctly? Wait! What is that on his tail? The beginning of tail rot??"
Such thoughts probably go through your head from time to time, even if you are very experienced, right?
The following mistake is made by probably 80% of bearded dragon keepers without even knowing. I am talking about
Think about that, keeping reptiles is a complex topic, you have to know a lot of stuff, you have to do a lot of research to keep your reptile healthy - and supplementation is one of the most complex topics when it comes to keeping reptiles.
As I said in the headline, wrong supplementation can be deadly. If you think now: "Okay, I don´t use supplements at all, so I can´t do anything wrong, right?" Beeeeeeeeeeeep - WRONG!
In fact, no supplementation at all can kill your bearded dragon as well. You don´t believe me? Shame on you! Just kidding, let me prove my point with a very simple example.
Not Using This Supplement Will Kill Your Dragon
I am talking about using calcium. No, no, I know what you might think now: "Pierre, come on, I know that I have to use it!"
First of all, it is good that you know that, but do you actually know how much your bearded dragon needs? Let me tell you the story of Vanessa, one of my customers.
Vanessa had a female bearded dragon, that showed a very weird behavior. We talked about it and to me it sounded like her bearded dragon had metabolic bone disease. A horrible disease which leads to soft bones in reptiles, a deadly disease if untreated.
There are two things that can lead to metabolic bone disease. Lack of vitamin D or calcium deficiency. If you are not a beginner anymore you probably know that already. However here is the thing: Vanessa used a calcium supplement for her bearded dragon. She also used one of the best UVB bulbs you can get, since we set up her cage together through my Bearded Dragon Tank Setup Service.
I told her to visit a vet and the vet told her that her bearded dragon had calcium deficiency. So even though she used the calcium supplement every time she fed her bearded dragon, the beardie still didn´t get enough calcium.
Do You Know The Real Cause For Impaction?
One of the worst thing that can happen to a bearded dragon owner is that their bearded dragon gets impacted. Because most beardie owner fear that, they unfortunately use newspaper as a substrate for their bearded dragon. In my opinion, bearded dragons need a real substrate like this, but that´s another subject.
Why do they fear that? In case you don´t know, bearded dragons are known for eating sand, if used as substrate. A little bit sand is okay, but they can´t digest sand and if they eat too much of it they get impacted.
However, why do they eat sand anyway? There are a couple of reasons why bearded dragons ingest sand.
First is, they hunt pretty wild, especially when they are young or hungry. It can happen that they jump on a cricket and get sand into their mouth while devouring the cricket like a real dragon.
Second, young bearded dragons lick on everything. It is a way of exploring, a way of making sure that something is safe. The amount of sand they swallow through that is pretty small.
Here is the real reason why your bearded dragon gets impacted: You do not use a calcium supplement!
Bearded dragon feel if they need minerals. In the wild they eat dirt to balance their minerals (among other things). In your tank they eat sand to balance their minerals. They eat and eat and eat, but it doesn´t get better. Until they ate so much sand that they are close to bursting. Deadly in most cases.
Vitamins Can Be Deadly
As you see, not using supplements correctly, or not using supplements at all, can be deadly for your pet. On the other side, using supplements too often, can be dangerous as well. In fact it can be deadly.
This goes for vitamins. Most people do not really know how much their bearded dragon needs and what kind of vitamins they need. Simply buying a vitamin supplement and using it once in a while doesn´t get the job done. It happens easily that you end up with a sick or dead bearded dragon because you gave too much of those vitamins or too less.
Why do you think so many bearded dragons have diseases like tail rot, mouth rot and all the other common diseases? A big part of it is a weak immune system due to wrong feeding, wrong supplementation.
I don´t want to scare you though. Supplementation can be made easy. I am going to explain you how to do that in the next article.