Are Bearded Dragon Pellets Good?

If you’re even remotely a fan of reptiles, you probably love the Australian bearded dragon! It is moderately-sized, pretty easy to care for, and makes a great pet – aside from the fetching and coming …

Bearded Dragon Pellets

If you’re even remotely a fan of reptiles, you probably love the Australian bearded dragon! It is moderately-sized, pretty easy to care for, and makes a great pet – aside from the fetching and coming when you call it stuff.

As with any pet, feeding them properly is the most important thing. They need certain nutrients and shouldn’t eat too much of anyone’s food (else they’re going without something else).

We’ll break all of this down for you, and answer that question reptile shop and pet store attendants are always asked: are bearded dragon pellets good?

Table of Contents

Bearded Dragon Feeding Basics

A domesticated bearded dragon has a bit of a feeding sequence you have to get into, just as how dogs should only be fed twice a day (no matter what they tell you!), and how most cats will eat when they need to if you just keep food in their bowl. For your adult bearded dragon: once a day, please!

A lizard’s internal system is more vulnerable to eating the wrong things than is that of our more common pets. If a bearded dragon doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, and if that goes on for very long, it could get sick or even die, so it’s important that we understand exactly what they really need.

As it turns out, the kinds of foods and nutrients a bearded dragon needs changes over the course of their lifetime.

For instance, when a bearded dragon is living in the wild (and we must always do our best to help them approximate their natural habitat and behaviours whenever we can), they are more carnivorous when they are young than they are as adults.

And this will be true of the young bearded dragon growing up in your bedroom, too! That means: the baby needs MEAT!

When any kind of animal (even a human) needs meat, it really means their system needs protein. Since young bearded dragons need more meat in their diet, we know one of their main nutritional needs must be protein!

Also Read: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Arugula?

The Bearded Dragon’s Diet

Bearded dragons are actually omnivorous, which means they eat both meat and plants. And as your dragon ages, it will need less meat and will be able to live more on vegetables and even fruits!

So, you could feed him a sweet potato, a slice of watermelon, a spinach leaf, or a big, squirmy worm! They like green peppers and crickets and berries, and you can always experiment to see what your Beardy likes or what he’s in the mood for … but only from the approved bearded dragon food list.

In the wild, a bearded dragon will just sort of follow its nose to get all the right mix of nutrients. When it is in need of protein, all it will really know or think is that a cricket or worm would taste really good right about then! And when it needs some good vitamins, it will simply be hungry for some berries or a certain kind of grass.

And finally, yes, bearded dragons do eat pellets, and they are made with certain nutrients to help supplement your dragon’s diet. However, pellets do not contain a wide enough variety of nutrients for your dragon to eat just pellets.

It will still need a source of live food and vegetables and fruits. But as its regular diet, these foods will not always provide enough calcium and some of the other nutrients a dragon needs, so the pellets are an important supplement.

You might want to get a book about raising this kind of lizard so that you know what they need at each age or stage of their life (or just bookmark this article!), because if they’re in captivity instead of out in their natural habitat, they’ll be counting on you to lead them to what they need instead of their nose!

What is the Best Food for Bearded Dragons? The Food Types

Your pet Beardy has a wide and varied diet. But there is a lot to keep track of, including: how often they should be fed, depending on their age; what percentage of each food type they should be eating at each stage of their lives; the best food sources for what they need within each of those food types; and finally, what foods they should never be fed.

Again, what you’re aiming for is a variety of food sources, so your bearded dragon gets everything it needs – proteins, minerals, vitamins – all the nutrients provided by the flesh and shells of the worms and insects and all the other good stuff found in vegetables, greens, and fruits.

Live Insects & Squirmy Mealworms

As mentioned, bearded dragons need more proteins and fats when they’re young, and these are found in live insects and worms.

Always do proper research before feeding your dragon any live food to ensure that it is safe for them to eat. Here are some of the live foods on the SAFE list:

  • Black soldier fly larvae,
  • Butter worms,
  • Cockroaches,
  • Crickets,
  • Dubia roaches,
  • Earthworms,
  • Locusts,
  • Mealworms,
  • Phoenix worms.


As bearded dragons grow and age, their needs change from proteins and fats to the nutrients in vegetables. We’ll discuss frequencies momentarily, but vegetables will need to be a daily food source.

Always wash the vegetables before serving them, and only serve raw vegetables. Here are some vegetables on your bearded’s SAFE list:

  • Broccoli,
  • Cabbage,
  • Carrots,
  • Collard greens,
  • Kale,
  • Pumpkin,
  • Sweet potatoes,
  • Tomatoes,
  • Zucchini.


Fruits also provide many needed minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that might be lacking in the rest of your bearded dragon’s diet, but it will not need this food type as regularly as the others.

Please note that oranges and citrus fruits like limes and lemons are too acidic for dragons and can cause gastrointestinal difficulties. Here’s a list of some SAFE fruits you can feed to your Beardy:

  • Apples,
  • Bananas,
  • Blueberries,
  • Grapes,
  • Raspberries,
  • Strawberries,
  • Watermelon.

Packaged Processed Foods

Believe it or not, there are some really great packaged (commercially processed) foods on the market for bearded dragons, too.

They are purposely processed with many of the minerals and vitamins that lizards like yours should be consuming but might not be getting enough of. There are even some made for young bearded dragons with rich, high-protein formulas for their specific nutritional needs.

Coincidentally, the bearded dragon pellets we mentioned before fall into the category of a “packaged processed food.” There are a lot of options produced by dozens of manufacturers.

If you want the best pelleted blend – a packaged pellet food made of a scientifically formulated combination of freeze-dried crickets and mealworms in vitamin-fortified pellets – this is my top recommendation (though it is a little expensive):

Zilla Reptile Munchies

Higher in price than some other pellet foods, this premium treat is certain to be healthy and safe for your Beardy. These dehydrated munchies (consisting of natural ingredients, including crickets, mealworms, peas, carrots, bananas, and more) need a little water before serving them to your dragon.

This blend’s special bonus is a punch of extra calcium! It is also specially designed to combat calcium deficiency, which is a common illness in bearded dragons.

What Should You Not Feed to Bearded Dragons?

Bearded dragons cannot eat just anything. In fact, there are several foods, including some live squirmies that might seem like great food for Beardy, that you should definitely be keeping out of his reach!

Some of these can be toxic to a lizard, some are too acidic, some might be too difficult for it to digest, and some will just make him too fat.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of NOT SAFE foods that can cause various health issues for a bearded dragon:

  • Avocado,
  • Beef,
  • Bread,
  • Chicken,
  • Eggplant,
  • Fireflies,
  • Fish,
  • Garlic/onion,
  • Iceberg lettuce,
  • Oranges/lemons
  • Spiders/ticks.

The Schedule and Menu of Feeding a Beardy, by Age

Here comes the fun part – we have tables and everything! OK, so we know that babies need more meat (which means that adults need less) and that adults only need to eat once a day. 

Seriously, if that’s all the information we left you with, I would fear for your dear bearded dragon’s life! Now, let’s get specific.

We consider a bearded dragon to have reached adulthood at 18 months. As an adult, your Beardy will need 75% non-meat (namely, vegetables, greens and fruit: “veggies”) and 25% meat (insects and worms: “bugs”). And at this age, he should be fed once a day.

From 3-18 months, the veggies to bugs ratio will be 50%:50%. His number of feedings per day during that period do evolve, however. From 12-18 months, feed him twice per day; from 6-12 months, feed him three times; from 3-6 months, feed him four times per day.

And the baby age is next, of course. From 0-3 months, Beardy will need about 80% bugs and 20% veggies, and he’ll require 5 feedings per day.

Here is a feeding chart for you by age:

AgeFood RatioTimes to feed per day
1-3 monthsAs many crickets as they’ll eat in 5-10 minutes + 20% veggies.5 times
3-6 months50% veggies and 50% insects.4 times
6-12 months50% veggies and 50% insects.3 times
12-18 months50% veggies and 50% insects.Twice
Adults (18+ months)75% veggies, and 25% insects.Once

Now we know all the foods that bearded dragons eat and the ratios to feed these foods to them, based on their age. But a ratio isn’t a quantity, so how much should we give them?

The most commonly accepted best practice for determining how much food to let them eat (and this seems to remain uniform throughout their life) is to give them as much as they’ll eat in 10 minutes’ time for each category of food (both bugs and veggies).

Give them a bunch of whatever they’re supposed to eat more of first, see how much they’ve eaten after 10 minutes (collecting whatever is uneaten), and throw in the correct amount of the other food type to make up the correct proportion to maintain the ratio from the table above.

For example, if a 2-month-old eats 8 crickets in 10 minutes, then throw in enough veggies to equal about 2 crickets, to maintain the 80%:20% ratio.

Are Bearded Dragon Pellets Good? A Few Final Notes

Bearded dragons, like other animals, need water to stay hydrated. So place a dish of water in their habitat. If they are not interested in drinking from the water bowl, you can mist their vegetables and fruits with fresh water.

These dragons require a certain amount of calories each day to maintain their vitality and health, so if you do find yourself feeding them only pellets for a temporary period, you might wonder how many pellets they should eat. You can let adult beardies eat 22 pellets a day, while youngsters should only receive 8-12 per day.

If you can’t find or don’t have access to the full healthy blend of food this article suggests, you can feed your dragon pellet food (a great blend was recommended earlier).

Choosing the right bearded dragon pellet food is essential – natural ingredients and essential nutrients – but even the best will not suffice as a full-time diet.

Are bearded dragon pellets good? Absolutely, but they can never replace the real thing: live bugs and fresh veggies!

Common Feeding Mistakes

New bearded dragon owners tend to make three feeding mistakes that can lead to serious health issues.


Follow our guides above and limit Beardy to no more than 20 insects a day.

Feeding Mealworms to Juveniles

Only adult bearded dragons can digest the mealworm’s outer shell.

Failing to Gut Load the Insects

Let the insects you’ll feed to Beardy eat veg and fruits prior to being eaten themselves. That way, they’ll be more nutritious!

Why may Your Bearded Dragon Stop Eating?

Your bearded dragon may refuse to eat for many reasons. One of the primary reasons is stress. They may be stressed and refuse to eat if you have recently changed the habitat of your dragons, such as the environment, lighting, or setup.

Bearded dragons may also refuse to eat when they shed. You can tell they are shedding if the scales look dull and the tip of the tail turns slightly gray.

Another reason for a dragon to stop eating is that they are unwell. You should contact a vet if that is the case.

Temperature can also cause your bearded dragon to stop eating. For example, they may refuse to eat if it’s too cold, hot, or humid.

What is the Best Thing to Put on the Bottom of a Bearded Dragons Tank?

If you are a new bearded dragon owner, you must find setting up their living space difficult. One of the first challenges is choosing the best substrate for the bottom of their tank.

There are several different types of subtracted for the bottom of a bearded dragon’s tank:

  • Reptile carpet, fake grass, Lino, or Astroturf
  • Newspaper or paper towels
  • Ceramic tiles or slate
  • Rubber, shelf liner
  • Wood chips
  • Sand
  • Alfalfa pellets

Alfalfa Pellets

We would recommend Alfalfa pellets as the best loose substrate for your dragon. Generally, this substrate works as food for horses or rabbits. However, you can layer this as a substrate for pet reptiles, including bearded dragons.

Alfalfa pellets are safe for your dragons. It should not be a problem if your bearded dragon eat this substrate as it is easy to digest.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pelleted Blend for Bearded Dragons?

Pelleted blend is a combination of freeze-dried insects and vitamin-fortified pellets. It contains a mixture of proteins, calcium, and other nutrients necessary for your bearded dragon to be healthy.

How many Pellets should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?

If you want to feed your bearded dragon pellets, you can add them as a part of their diet. You can let adult bearded dragons eat 22 pellets a day, while you should feed young Beardy dragons only 8-12 ammunition per day.

Summing Up

Feeding your bearded dragon is pretty simple once you understand the process, but you need to provide them with a properly varied diet of insects, greens, vegetables, and fruits.

To answer your question – are bearded dragon pellets good? The answer is – only some. They should not be given only pellets throughout the day. You have to provide them with a blend of live foods along with pellets. Remember, the diet for bearded dragons will vary as they age.

Young dragons need more protein compared to adults. Also, juvenile beardies need feeding more often than adult dragons, who require feeding only once a day.

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