If milk is high in calcium, can bearded dragons drink milk?
Are you curious about ways to give your bearded dragon the calcium it needs?
Knowing what food is healthy for your dragon is an essential part of good pet ownership.
Milk contains the essential mineral calcium, which is very important for good beardie health.
But you should never feed your pet something unless you know it’s safe.
We’re here to help in this article as we dig into milk, bearded dragons, and how to get them enough calcium.
Table of Contents
Can Bearded Dragons Drink Milk?
Bearded dragons cannot drink milk nor any other dairy products. Bearded dragons aren’t able to digest dairy, so milk is one of the worst things to feed them. There are serious health consequences for giving bearded dragon milk.
Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Drink Milk?
Bearded Dragons’ digestive systems aren’t able to process dairy products.
Only mammals produce and digest milk.
Because beardies are reptiles, they are lactose intolerant.
This means they lack the enzymes required to break down milk and dairy.
What Does Milk Do To Bearded Dragons?
Milk has many health benefits for humans, including bone health and tooth health.
However, many health issues can arise in beardies who drink milk, including:
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Digestive tract injuries
- Kidney failure
There are no health advantages for bearded dragons who drink milk.
They can’t absorb any of the nutrients from it.
Plus, the health conditions listed above can cause serious discomfort, injury, and even death.
What To Do If A Beardie Drinks Milk
If your bearded dragon consumes milk products, immediately call a vet.
Monitor your pet closely for allergic reactions or abnormal behaviors while you wait for the appointment.
Be proactive when treating your dragon for dairy consumption.
Health issues can get harder to fix the worse they get.
Can Bearded Dragons Consume Any Dairy Products?
Other dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream are just as bad as milk.
All dairy products contain lactose and high levels of fat, which are both very bad for your beardie.
Vegan alternatives like soy milk, almond milk, and cashew milk are also important to avoid.
What Should Bearded Dragons Drink?
Clean drinking water should always be available to keep your beardie hydrated.
Keep a water dish for your bearded dragon in its enclosure and change the water regularly.
These reptiles only hydrate through their mouth so it’s important to do this.
Mist their food with a spray bottle when they eat to maintain healthy hydration levels.
What Should Bearded Dragons Eat?
Beardies require many of the same essential nutrients as humans, including protein and calcium.
Gut-loaded insects are the primary source of protein for bearded dragons.
To “gut load” insects, feed them healthy, lizard-friendly foods before feeding them to your beardie.
This way, your bearded dragon will receive a well-balanced diet, including a variety of essential micronutrients in addition to protein.
The best gut-loaded insects are dubia roaches and crickets.
Vegetation is the other central part of a bearded dragon’s diet.
Feed your beardie dark, leafy greens every day.
These are your beardie’s primary source of calcium.
The vegetation with the highest levels of calcium are:
- Dandelion leaves
- Mustard greens
If your beardie needs a boost in calcium, these greens are by far the best things to feed them.
Milk is not an option for bearded dragons under any circumstances, including when they need higher calcium absorption.
Spinach is an exception to this guideline, despite it being a dark and leafy green.
What Portions Of Insects And Vegetation Do Bearded Dragons Need?
Young bearded dragons have a high protein requirement.
As they grow older, they require more vegetation and less protein.
Baby beardies require a diet consisting of 80% insects, but adult beardies only need 20% insects.
Refer to this table to see what a well-balanced bearded dragon diet looks like.
Note: there is no indication of milk or even sweet or fatty foods.
Bearded dragons do not consume dairy nor fruit as parts of their natural diet.
How Do Bearded Dragons Get Their Calcium?
In addition to vegetation, it’s vital to use calcium dusting in frequent but small quantities.
A daily light sprinkle of mineral supplements on a bearded dragon’s meal goes a long way in preventing calcium deficiency.
Some calcium supplements also include vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 plays a crucial role in calcium absorption.
It allows the body to absorb and process calcium in the first place.
UV lighting allows many reptiles to produce vitamin D.
Therefore, they also play a key role in calcium absorption.
Make sure your beardie has proper UV lamps in its enclosure.
It should be exposed to 12 hours of UV rays each day.
While it’s important for beardies to get enough calcium, too much calcium may also cause bone health issues.
What Other Foods Should Bearded Dragons Avoid?
Because of their toxicity, high-phosphorus levels, or oxalic acid content, these foods should also be avoided when feeding bearded dragons:
- Beets (especially beet tops)
- Citrus fruits like lemons and limes
There are some foods, like less-acidic fruits, beardies can eat as an occasional treat.
However, the foods listed above should all be avoided at all costs.
They could cause serious harm to your beardie.
Reptiles are lactose intolerant and, therefore, unable to consume milk.
Dairy is not a natural part of bearded dragons’ diets.
Their digestive systems don’t create the enzymes needed to process it.
The best foods for your beardie are protein-rich, gut-loaded insects and dark, leafy vegetation.
It is irresponsible to feed milk, dairy products, and alternatives to dairy to your beardie.
Calcium should be sourced from beardie-friendly foods, mineral supplements, and proper quantities of UV lighting.
Following these husbandry guidelines and avoiding milk products will keep your bearded dragon a happy camper!