Is Calcium Sand Bad For Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons are a popular pet, and many of their owners have questions about the best type of food to feed them. One important ingredient in a bearded dragon’s diet is calcium, which can be found naturally in certain foods or added as an additive.
Many people wonder if calcium sand – a substrate used for enclosures – is safe for beardies. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of calcium sand and how it affects bearded dragons. We will also look at alternative substrates that may provide better nutrition without risking your pet’s health.
What is Calcium Sand?
Calcium sand is a substrate used to line the bottom of reptile enclosures. It’s made up of small particles that are mostly calcium carbonate, which can be found in eggshells and other natural sources. The idea behind using calcium sand as a substrate for bearded dragons is that it provides them with an additional source of calcium, as well as providing a natural-looking environment.
Pros Of Calcium Sand For Bearded Dragons
- The main advantage of using calcium sand is that it provides your bearded dragon with an extra source of dietary calcium.
- It also adds texture and color to their enclosure, making it more aesthetically pleasing.
- Calcium sand can help keep humidity levels stable in the enclosure, which helps protect against respiratory infections.
Cons Of Calcium Sand For Bearded Dragons
- If not monitored closely, some bearded dragons may ingest too much calcium from the sand, leading to health problems like metabolic bone disease.
- The small size of the particles makes it easy for your pet to accidentally swallow or inhale them, which can lead to impaction or respiratory issues.
Alternatives To Calcium Sand As A Substrate
If you’re worried about the risks associated with using calcium sand for your beardie’s enclosure, there are several alternatives available:
- “Reptile Carpet”, which consists of synthetic fibers woven together into a soft mat material; this type of substrate does not contain any added nutrients but is easier for reptiles to walk on than gravel or rocks.
- “Sand Blasted Grapevines”, which provide rough textures similar to those found in nature; these substrates will not add any nutrients but do give beardies something interesting to explore and scratch at.
- “Bark Chips”, made from tree bark; they offer excellent drainage while still providing traction and aesthetic appeal.
Why Is Calcium Sand Bad For Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons are a species of pet lizard that require special care and attention, including their diet. Calcium sand is not healthy for bearded dragons and can cause serious health issues if ingested.
Calcium sand is made from ground up limestone or marble which contains high amounts of calcium carbonate. This type of substrate (the material used to line the bottom of a terrarium) can be dangerous when ingested by your dragon as it can get stuck in the digestive tract causing blockage leading to impaction.
Impaction occurs when an animal becomes dehydrated because they cannot pass food properly through their gut due to blockages caused by non-digestible items such as small stones, twigs, and in this case, pieces of calcium sand.
In addition to impaction, calcium sand has been known to cause respiratory irritation due to its fine particles getting into the air when disturbed by your dragon’s movement or even touched with a hand during cleaning. In the worst cases these tiny grains of sand will make its way into your beardie’s lungs causing severe problems including pneumonia.
For these reasons it’s best to avoid using calcium sand as substrate for bearded dragons as there are plenty of other alternatives available that are much safer for them such as paper towels, reptile carpets and newspaper which don’t have any potential negative effects on your pet’s health.
Why Is Calcium Sand Bad For Reptiles?
Calcium sand is bad for reptiles because of the risk it poses to their health. This type of substrate, which is made from ground calcium carbonate, can cause impaction and other medical problems if ingested.
Impaction occurs when a reptile’s digestive tract becomes blocked due to the presence of something that cannot be digested or passed through their intestines. Ingesting even small amounts of calcium sand can lead to blockages in their digestive system, causing serious illness and potentially death if not treated promptly.
In addition, calcium sand may contain metal particles that can leach into your pet’s water dish and create an imbalance in the pH level. Reptiles require specific levels of acidity in order to stay healthy; this could severely disrupt their internal chemistry leading to adverse effects on their overall health.
Also, the tiny grains that make up calcium sand are sharp and abrasive which can damage delicate tissues in your pet’s mouth and throat as they attempt to feed or drink from a dish containing this type of substrate. It is important to note that these risks increase with increasing particle size; larger pieces of calcium sand are more likely than smaller ones to lead to dangerous complications such as choking or impaction if ingested by your reptile friend.
For these reasons, it is best avoided when selecting a substrate for your pet reptile enclosure. There are many other safe alternatives available on the market such as coconut husk fibers or paper towels which do not pose any threat to your pet’s health while providing them with a comfortable place to live out their lives happily and safely
Can Too Much Calcium Hurt A Bearded Dragon?
Yes, too much calcium can hurt a bearded dragon. Just like with humans, taking in too much of one nutrient can lead to health issues for your beardie. Too much calcium in the diet can lead to nutritional imbalances and cause hypercalcemia which is an excessive amount of calcium in the blood stream that can be life threatening.
The best way to ensure you are not giving your bearded dragon too much calcium is by following recommendations on supplementing their diet properly. You should only give them a light dusting when they eat live insects as well as offer them a variety of fresh vegetables so they get all of the vitamins and minerals they need without overdoing it on any one particular nutrient.
You may also want to consider using a multivitamin supplement designed specifically for reptiles once or twice per week. This will help ensure that your pet gets all necessary nutrients without exceeding the recommended daily amounts for any single nutrient, including calcium.
Do Bearded Dragons Need Calcium Dust?
Yes, bearded dragons need calcium dust. This is because it helps them to build strong bones and muscles, as well as providing essential nutrients for their overall health. Calcium dust also helps with the proper digestion of food in the stomach and intestines, which can be especially important for younger dragons who are still growing.
By regularly feeding your dragon appropriately-dusted insects or providing a dietary supplement such as calcium powder, you will be able to ensure they get adequate amounts of this vital nutrient. It’s important that your dragon gets enough calcium, as a deficiency can lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD).
Symptoms of MBD include softening/thinning of the beardie’s bones, twitching or paralysis in limbs, seizures, lethargy, difficulty eating and swallowing food properly, swollen limbs and joints due to inflammation caused by poor mineral absorption.
It is best to use a vitamin/mineral supplement specifically designed for reptiles like bearded dragons when dusting their food with calcium powder. If the ratio between vitamins A & D are not balanced correctly then it could have serious consequences on your reptile’s long-term health. Always make sure to read product labels carefully before purchasing any supplements for your pet’s diet!
What Kind Of Sand Is Best For Bearded Dragons?
The type of sand that is best for bearded dragons will depend on the individual needs of your pet. Sand can be a great substrate to provide enrichment and stimulation for your dragon, but it is important to understand what type of sand you should use in order to keep them safe and healthy.
When selecting a substrate for your bearded dragon, the most important factor is safety. Many types of sand contain impurities or dangerous levels of silica dust which can cause health problems if ingested. Therefore, it is essential to choose an appropriate substrate that does not contain these hazards.
The safest option would be to use reptile-safe play sand from a pet store as this has been specifically designed with reptiles in mind and contains no hazardous particles or chemicals. It has also been specifically graded so that any potential impurities have been filtered out, making it much safer than other types of sands such as beach or construction grade sands.
Additionally, play sand usually comes in neutral colors which are less likely to stress out your pet compared to brightly colored substrates.
Bearded dragons also need access to calcium carbonate-rich soils in order to maintain strong bones and muscles; therefore using calcium enriched substrates may be beneficial too. These options typically include soil mixes such as Eco Earth or Quikrete ReptiSand which both contain high amounts of calcium carbonate and are free from toxins and contaminants ensuring they’re safe for your pet’s enclosure.
Additionally, these substrates retain moisture better than regular play sand meaning that humidity levels can be regulated more easily within the enclosure; although depending on where you live this could still require additional misting throughout the day in order for humidity levels stay at optimal levels for your beardie’s health!
In conclusion, calcium sand is not recommended for bearded dragons as it can cause impaction and be difficult to digest. Instead, opt for paper towel or reptile carpet that are much safer substrates for your bearded dragon’s habitat. Furthermore, provide a variety of fresh vegetables and occasional insects to ensure adequate nutrition. With proper care and diet, your bearded dragon will stay healthy and active!
Alexander is the owner of AnimalQnA. He is a pet lover. He has created this blog to share some of his knowledge on different kinds of pets.