The first thing you should do before adopting a new pet is to get your finances in order. The pet may not cost an arm and a leg, but there are maintenance costs involved.
One such cost is the cost of feeding your pet. And since this is a recurring cost, you need all the relevant information to know how to budget for it.
If you are thinking of getting a bearded dragon, then you ought to know that their feeding costs may be nothing compared to those of cats.
So, how much does it cost to feed a beardie per month? I answer your question in this post and give tips to cut down on your pet’s feeding costs.
Keep reading to learn these and more.
How Much Does it Cost to Feed a Bearded Dragon Per Month?
The cost of feeding a bearded dragon varies depending on the size and age of the beardie.
Besides, someone who grows vegetables or breeds live food can’t spend the same as someone who gets everything from the store. Therefore, feeding costs are not a constant expense for all beardie parents.
But generally, assuming you get everything from the store, you will spend an average of $50 to $100 per month. This also varies depending on location and the availability of food items.
Your bearded dragon’s diet should include vegetables, insects, fruits, and, of course, water. You might also decide to add supplements to boost their nutrient needs. If you look at the things I’ve mentioned, you’ll realize nothing breaks the bank.
These food items are mostly available, meaning they aren’t expensive. Besides, you can’t compare a bearded dragon’s feeding needs to those of other pets like cats or dogs. To start with, these two pets eat special packed food found in stores.
Keeping all things constant, bearded dragons cost less to feed than pets like cats.
Food Expenditure Per Month
Feeding a bearded dragon may not be overwhelming, but since it’s an expense, you need to include it in your budget as you account for your finances.
To help with that, below is a cost breakdown of a bearded dragon’s diet elements.
Supplements & Vitamins
Beardies in captivity will need supplements no matter how balanced their diet is. Supplements come in different forms, but the most common is a powder that you sprinkle on your pet’s food, and he eats it with the food.
There’s also the option of “gut loading,” where you feed supplements to live insects, and the nutrients are passed to your bearded dragon once they eat live food.
There are vitamin-rich supplements and other nutrient-based supplements to boost your pet’s nutrient content. Depending on age, you can spend $10 to $20 a month on your bearded dragon’s supplements. But this is an estimate, so it may be more or less.
Vegetables make up 25% of a young bearded dragon’s diet and 50% of an adult’s. This means you’ll spend more on vegetables for an adult bearded dragon compared to a young one.
Bearded dragons eat vegetables like kale, watercress, and mustard greens. Most of these vegetables are what we eat, so you can easily get them. They’re also quite affordable unless you go for exotic ones like cactus or dandelion.
Depending on the quantity of vegetables your beardie eats, you may spend an average of $5 to $20 a month. This cost may be reduced to zero if you grow your own vegetables.
Fruits take only 10% of your bearded dragon’s diet, so you may spend $10 per month on average. The cost may be reduced or increased depending on the availability of fruits, the types of fruits you buy, and where you get your fruits.
Bearded dragons like eating insects such as crickets and worms. These live foods are available in pet stores, particularly reptile food stores. They offer protein, calcium, and other minerals to bearded dragons.
If you’re buying crickets, you will spend more when your beardie is young, as bearded dragons tend to eat more live food at a young age. Conversely, adults prefer vegetables, so they will eat fewer live animals.
Depending on your beardie’s age, you may spend $20 to $40 a month on live food.
Things that Affect Cost of Feeding a Bearded Dragon
The cost of feeding a bearded dragon varies depending on several things. The common ones include:
Size of the beardie
The bigger the beardie, the more it eats, hence more expenditure. Size may vary according to the type of beardie. Some breeds may be big, while others are generally small.
Age of the bearded dragon
As I said, age greatly affects the amount you spend on your bearded dragon’s food. Young ones eat more live food than adults, while adults eat more vegetables than young beardies.
Live food costs more than vegetables, so your pet’s feeding costs will be higher at a young age. As he grows, he switches to vegetables and weeds, so the cost of feeding may go down.
Your beardie’s diet
There are instances where bearded dragons switch to special diets, for example, if they’re sick. In such instances, you’ll spend more as special diets are often expensive. Your vet may also prescribe specific supplements to boost your pet’s nutritional content. You’ll incur an extra cost to get these supplements.
Where you live
The location also affects the cost of feeding bearded dragons. If you live in an urban area, you’ll have to buy everything from the store. Sometimes, buying from the store costs more compared to buying from a local grocery store.
Besides, the cost of living in urban areas is higher than in rural areas, so things will cost more. Availability also affects the price of goods, so if you live in a place experiencing a scarcity of certain items, you’ll spend more to get them.
Tips to Reduce Cost of Feeding your Bearded Dragon
Every rational person wishes to spend less without compromising on quality. You can also save some money when it comes to bearded dragons’ food.
Here are some of the ways to cut costs.
Buy food items in bulk
When you buy things in bulk, the price per unit reduces, so you end up spending less. For example, an ounce of meat may cost $10, but you find that 10 ounces cost $75. If you do the math, you save $25 by getting ten ounces.
If you can, always buy your bearded dragon’s food in bulk. You will need more money to buy in bulk, but it will save you a great deal. However, bulk buying comes with other responsibilities, and if you don’t follow these, you might end up spending more.
To start with, the things you buy must be stored well, so they don’t go bad before you use them. There’s no use buying in bulk if everything will go bad before your beardie can eat it.
Another thing is to use things sparingly. You might be tempted to serve more vegetables because you have a lot, and since your pet can’t eat all of them, most of them end up in the trash.
Buying in bulk saves you money only if you observe these two rules. Otherwise, you may end up wasting instead of saving money.
Take advantage of discounts
Some stores, especially supermarkets, will have a sale once in a while where their items will be sold at a discount. Some online shops also offer discounts through coupon codes.
Thanks to technology, you can get almost anything from an online shop. Make use of these discounts whenever retail and online stores are running a sale. This way, you buy your bearded dragon’s food at a lower price.
You can sign up for your favorite reptile shop’s newsletter to get an email when they’re offering discounts.
Make use of your leftovers
I assume you know you can share some of your food items with your beardie. This mostly applies to vegetables and fruits.
Although vegetables make up 25 to 50 percent of your beardie’s diet, the amount of vegetables bearded dragons eat is insignificant to us. It’s not like your beardie will eat a whole cabbage at a go; a few leaves do the work.
If you have leftover fruits or vegetables from your meal prep, feed them to your beardie instead of throwing them away. Families with toddlers will have more leftover fruit when kids refuse to eat or eat a few pieces.
Make use of these leftovers by feeding them to your pet or live insects; if you breed, the nutrients will be passed to your bearded dragon when they eat them.
This also applies if you bought a lot of vegetables and fruits for your pet and he’s not eating well. You can also eat some of these food items provided you store them well and they’re good for human consumption.
Grow weed and veggies if you have a garden
If you own a garden, you can grow your vegetables and reduce the amount you spend on your pet’s food. Growing is cheaper than buying, but you must be careful with the chemicals used in the garden.
If you can, grow organic vegetables as they’re always safe. There are weeds suitable for bearded dragons, so grow them together with the vegetables.
You’ll be surprised to find you can also have some of the vegetables you grow in the garden, and they’re not just for your pet.
Breed extra feeders
Bearded dragons eat worms like wax worms and mealworms. You can breed some of these worms instead of buying them; this way, you spend less. Though I should say this, worms also need food to grow, so you’ll have to buy whatever they eat.
However, if you do the math, breeding may be cheaper than buying because you’ll breed more and your pet will enjoy them for a long time. Besides, you can feed some of your leftovers to growing worms and reduce the amount you spend on their food.
Store vegetables well
An adult bearded dragon’s diet is 50% vegetables. This means veggies take half the money you spend on your pet’s diet.
And if they carry such weight, you need to take care of them so they don’t go bad before they’re eaten. Refrigerate your vegetables or store them in a cool, dry place to last longer.
If you keep them anywhere in the house, they’ll go bad quickly, forcing you to buy more. Spoilt veggies can’t be fed to beardies, so your only option is to throw them away. That’s a waste of precious food and money.
Consider “not so fresh vegetables”
Most grocery stores or supermarkets offer these vegetables at a lower price. When I say “not so fresh,” I don’t mean stale or rotten veggies. These are vegetables that may not be aesthetically pleasing to the eyes but are still in good enough condition to be eaten.
And not just by animals, but by humans as well. What happens is most people pick the best, particularly what appeals to the eyes, because everyone wants value for money. So if there’s a “wonky” vegetable on the shelf, nobody will pick it up.
The store reduces the price to attract customers to get rid of such vegetables. Your beardie doesn’t care about aesthetics and will comfortably enjoy these veggies. You can always consider such vegetables provided they are still in good shape to be eaten.
Is Feeding a Bearded Dragon Costly?
Not really. Bearded dragons are cheaper to feed compared to other pets. This is because their diet is vegetables, supplements, fruits, live food, and water. All these items are readily available, except for supplements.
And if you feed quality, nutrient-dense food, you need fewer supplements and can reduce your spending on supplements. Besides, you can grow vegetables, weeds, and fruits in your garden, so you don’t buy anything at all.
Growing is often cheaper than buying these food items. Besides, when ready, picking vegetables from your garden is more convenient than getting them from the store. Your pet also enjoys quality fresh veggies straight from the garden.
Away from veggies, you can breed live food at home and spend less on insects and worms. You’ll only struggle at first, but you’re good to go when things pick up.
So imagine if you grew your veggies and bred live food. You’ll only spend money on supplements, which means less money out of your pocket. The cost of growing and breeding is a one-time cost, so you only spend when starting.
Looking at it, I would say feeding a beardie is not costly, especially if you apply the above tips.
So, now you know. Feeding a bearded dragon costs $50 to $100, depending on several things. However, don’t forget that the above cost breakdown is only an estimate.
Some bearded dragon owners spend more or less, so do more research specific to where you live for better planning. Also, be sure to save whenever you can to spend less.
Now that you have an estimate to work with, plan, but most importantly, get quality food for your pet.