As a passionate leopard gecko owner, I understand the importance of providing our little scaly friends with the best care possible.
One essential aspect of keeping them healthy and happy is giving them the right vitamins and supplements.
In this article, we’ll explore essential nutrients for your leopard gecko, highlighting best practices for their optimal well-being.
We’ll explore the benefits of calcium, multivitamins, and other essential supplements that promote strong bones, beautiful coloration, and overall well-being.
By understanding the dietary needs of your leopard gecko, you can create a nourishing environment where your reptilian companion can flourish.
So, let’s get started on this informative journey to ensure a long and healthy life for your cherished leopard gecko!
Essential Vitamins and Supplements for Your Leopard Gecko
As anyone who has ever had a leopard gecko will tell you, calcium is one of the most important supplements for leopard geckos.
It helps them with bone development and isn’t available in sufficient quantities in their diets.
This is particularly an issue because captive leopard geckos tend to grow faster than those in the wild and need more calcium.
They can suffer from Metabolic bone disease (MBD) when they don’t get the calcium they need.
This affects your leopard gecko’s skeletal structure, causing symptoms like leg deformities and jawbone softening. This disease can also cause lethargy, appetite loss, and limping.
Regularly offer your leopard gecko calcium to treat or prevent it altogether. You can do this in three main ways:
This is the most common way that calcium is administered. It involves applying calcium powder on feeder insects before serving them to your gecko. This should be done regularly a few minutes before feeding time.
All you have to do is place the calcium in a plastic bag, toss the insects inside it, and then shake the bag before getting them out and serving.
Remember not to use too much calcium and be gentle when shaking the bag. The former will make the insects unappealing to your gecko, while the latter can kill them.
- Gut-load with calcium supplements
If you gut-load feeder insects with calcium supplements, they will get into your leopard gecko’s body during feeding.
Just ensure that you offer the supplements to the insects at least 24 hours before feeding your leopard gecko.
- Free licks
Another way to get calcium into your leopard gecko’s system is to put it in a dish and place it in your pet’s tank.
This allows your pet to lick the calcium at will. If you offer calcium this way, it’s best to choose a supplement that doesn’t contain vitamin D3.
Whichever way you choose to provide calcium to your pet, though, keep in that the calcium to phosphorus ratio should be high.
This is because phosphorus hinders calcium absorption, yet it’s abundant in the insects that leopard geckos eat. A good ratio to start with is 2:1.
Vitamin D3 helps your leopard gecko synthesize calcium and phosphorus. This vitamin also helps boost your gecko’s immunity.
Without it, your reptile will develop bone, muscle, and reproductive issues.
Fortunately, it’s usually included in many calcium supplements so you don’t have to buy or administer it separately.
But if you still want to, you can. Ensure you don’t offer too much vitamin D3 and make your leopard gecko overdose.
Symptoms of vitamin D3 overdose include dehydration, lethargy, appetite loss, and constipation.
If left untreated, this situation can even lead to kidney failure. As such, you should take your leopard gecko to the vet immediately if you suspect they have a vitamin D3 overdose.
This vitamin helps the proper development of your leopard gecko’s skin. It also helps with eye health.
The problem is that insects have little vitamin A, yet this is a leopard gecko’s primary food. This vitamin is more prevalent in fruits and vegetables.
That’s why it’s important to regularly gut-load the insects you feed your gecko.
If you don’t, your reptile can soon develop vitamin A deficiency. This creates symptoms like:
- Abnormal shedding: this is when your leopard gecko struggles to shed its skin or even grow a new one.
- Lethargy: since vitamin A helps with your leopard gecko’s energy levels, a lack of it can make your reptile lethargic.
- Eye problems can include cloudy eyes, eyelid swelling, and dead skin near the eyes. These symptoms can make it difficult for your gecko to open its eyes.
- Fertility problems: this can make a male leopard gecko slow during breeding. It can also make a female leopard gecko produce defective eggs.
- Breathing issues: these can present as wheezing and congestion
- Weight loss
- Growth problems
- Nasal discharge
- Hemipenal swelling
You can usually reverse these symptoms by providing your Leo more vitamin A.
Try offering your feeder insects vegetables and fruits full of vitamin A. These include spinach, oranges, collard greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, apples, and ground legumes.
Another thing you can do is opt for feeder insects that have a higher amount of vitamin A.
Crickets have substantially more Vitamin A than other insects.
If this doesn’t work or you want to take things further, you can dust your gecko’s food with vitamin A supplements twice a month.
After all, this supplement is readily available in local pet stores.
Be careful when administering vitamin A though.
Doing it frequently will lead to hypervitaminosis A (an overdose). This can also happen if you administer vitamin A through an injection.
Symptoms of hypervitaminosis A include dehydration, dry skin, ulceration, and neck/leg swelling.
While vitamin E isn’t a must-have in your leopard gecko’s diet, it’s useful for those who only eat crickets.
This kind of diet puts your reptile at risk for selenium toxicity, and vitamin E can help combat this.
Either way, vitamin E is usually sold in oil and capsule form.
Most times, giving your leopard gecko a capsule or a few drops of vitamin E per week is enough.
However, it’s best to consult your vet before getting your gecko on vitamin E.
Vitamin K helps your leopard gecko with blood clotting. But you don’t usually need this vitamin in your gecko’s diet because its gut bacteria naturally produce it.
Leopard geckos need both fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. The former is stored in your leopard gecko’s fat reservoirs and used when required.
As such, you don’t need to feed your reptile fat-soluble vitamins daily. These include vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Water-soluble vitamins can’t be stored in the body and must be supplied through food when needed.
These include vitamins B and C.
The former helps your gecko’s digestion, while the latter helps prevent mouth disease and other illnesses.
What are multivitamin supplements?
Multivitamin supplements are products that contain more than one vitamin.
These are usually in powder form to make dusting easy for you. When choosing a multivitamin supplement for your pet, choose one specifically designed for leopard geckos or reptiles.
Also, you can make things easier for yourself by choosing a supplement containing both calcium and vitamin D3.
After all, these are the supplements that leopard geckos need the most.
So if you buy a multivitamin product without them, you’ll still need to get them separately.
Top Vitamin and Supplement Products
Zoo Med Reptivite with D3 Reptile Vitamin
This is one of the most popular leopard gecko supplement products out there. It contains vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, D3, E, and K.
It also contains potassium, iron, and magnesium.
Remember that this product also has a version that doesn’t contain vitamin D3; it’s up to you to choose which version best suits your pet.
Either way, using Reptivite is easy. Dust your feeder insects with it.
After all, it sticks well on crickets, even without using any water. Another advantage of using this product is that it doesn’t contain fillers like yeast and soy.
You only need to use it once or twice a week. Beyond that, this product doesn’t have an off-putting smell.
But it doesn’t contain all the essential vitamins leopard geckos need and doesn’t stick well on mealworms.
The latter is because mealworms have tough exoskeletons, making it easy for the powder to slip off.
Fluker’s Repta Vitamin Reptile Supplement
While it’s more pricey than many of its counterparts, this product is rich in amino acids, essential vitamins (A, B12, D3), and beta-carotene.
You only have to sprinkle a little on your feeder insects before serving them to your gecko.
Keep in mind that beta-carotene is an antioxidant that is present in plants. It’s what gives them their color.
As such, it can intensify your leopard gecko’s color with every shed.
Fluker’s Repta is a vitamin A precursor. And since it’s not fat soluble, it quickly passes through your leopard gecko’s system.
This makes it difficult to overdose on beta-carotene, especially when compared to vitamin A.
That’s why it’s a better alternative for your reptile. When you feed it to your pet, its body will convert and use the amount of vitamin A needed to eliminate the rest of the beta-carotene.
This is yet another popular reptile multivitamin product. It is a fine powder containing vitamins A, E, D, K, B1, B2, B5, B6, and B12.
It also contains beta-carotene. While it doesn’t have calcium, other products from this brand contain calcium.
Whatever the case, you can use Repashy SuperVite as a standalone product or in collaboration with a calcium powder.
Either way, using this product is easy.
You can dust your feeder insects using a plastic bag as usual. But if you’re adding it to the fruits/vegetables you’re using to gut-load, just mix a teaspoon of the product with a pound of the fruits/vegetables.
Zoo-Med Repti Calcium
This is a calcium supplement that contains calcium carbonate. It’s available in a version with vitamin D3 and one without it.
Either way, it has no toxic substances and is excellent for your gecko’s digestive system. It also helps that this supplement comes in two size options.
How does reptile age affect how often you need to offer supplements?
Generally, the frequency with which you offer your leopard gecko a specific product depends on the number of vitamins or supplements it has.
Beyond that, it will depend on the leopard gecko’s age.
When your leopard gecko is a baby, you must give it a combination of calcium and vitamin D3 three times a week.
But you will only have to offer multivitamins once a week.
When it comes to juveniles, though, you only need to offer a vitamin D3 and calcium combination twice a week. Again, you will need to offer multivitamins once a week.
You can also offer calcium alone and vitamin D3 twice a week each. But adults need much less. They will be okay with getting multivitamins once a month and a combination of calcium and vitamin D3 weekly.
You can also gut-load feeder insects and dust them with pure calcium powder once a week.
But things are different for breeding female leopard geckos. These need more calcium.
You will have to offer them high-quality calcium powder with every meal.
So you need to dust their insects for every feeding and even provide calcium powder in a bowl throughout the tank.
When you first get a leopard gecko, figuring out which supplements to provide and how to do it can be overwhelming. You may even need to write down a schedule to keep track of everything.
However, you will get used to it with time and learn how to tweak what you’re offering, depending on how your gecko responds.
Just remember to consult your vet whenever you notice something alarming.