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Reptiles/Vitamins for Dragons


Hi Thea
I have two bearded dragons both are nine years old soon to be ten I worry about how much to give older dragons vitamin and calcium.  I use the rep-cal brand the the Herptivite and the Calcium with Vitamin D3.  I use the Calcium twice a week and Herptivite once a week.  Am I giving them enough or should I give them more supplements someone told me to cut back on the supplements because they are older.  How often should I use the Calcium per week and how often do I use the Herptivite.  Also I worry about not giving enough Vitamin B1 in their food I don't know if collard greens, carrots, and sweet potato has any.  I checked online and some sites say to go to a vitamin store and get a Vitamin B1 supplement and crush it up and give a tiny pinch, but I feel that doesn't seem right since those pills were made for humans, have you tried it before?  Do I need to worry about this or do you think the Herptivite has enough?  I tried looking up what foods has Vitamin B1 but it listed things that dragons don't eat.  His diet is Hornworms, Superworms, Waxworms, Collard Greens, Kale, Turnip, Apples, Sweet Potato, and Carrots.  

Thank you for your time.

Hi Thomas,

The supplement schedule and diet you have been using is obviously working which makes me hesitant to suggest any significant changes. I think your calcium schedule is fine at twice a week, that is also what I use for maintenance of adult animals. Even though they are no longer growing they still need to maintain blood calcium levels. I prefer to use Herptivite only a couple times a month but, again, why change now if everything is fine. Herptivite has plant based beta-carotene as a vitamin A source rather then animal-based (active) vitamin A. This is a safer form for beardeds and other reptiles that are sensitive to high levels of active vitamin A.

I think you are over worrying about the thiamin and the Herptivite plus the dietary sources are quite sufficient. Thiamin deficiency is not a common problem with omnivores. I am not a fan of using human vitamins. I just find it is too much guesswork in modifying the dosage.

Adding just a few green peas or kernals of sweet corn to his salad occasionally will boost his dietary thiamin intake, both are high in that vitamin. Collard, Kale and Turnip greens are all part of the Brassica family. Using this family exclusively can potentially cause thyroid problems due to the goitrogens they contain. Try to vary them with some non-Brassicas like Escarole or dandelion.

This site lists other sources of B1

This is the site for the US Department of Agricultures Nutrient Data base. You can use it to find the nutritional breakdown of virtually any food.  


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I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.


I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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