How important is dusting?

sengiro40k

New Member
I know dusting vital for a cham's health but from what ive read, it seems that it's more of an owner concern than a cham necessity. I read this article where the guy actually did NOT recommend dusting prey. He said that it is easier to give your cham an excess of calcium which could be just as dangerous as a lack there of. Also, wild chameleons do not eat dusted insects but insects with natural and eaten vitamins and protein. Thoughts?
 

gegeland

Member
I read this article where the guy actually did NOT recommend dusting prey. He said that it is easier to give your cham an excess of calcium which could be just as dangerous as a lack there of. Also, wild chameleons do not eat dusted insects but insects with natural and eaten vitamins and protein. Thoughts?
What article was this?
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Also, wild chameleons do not eat dusted insects but insects with natural and eaten vitamins and protein. Thoughts?
Yes, wild insects have access to lots of vitamins and minerals in the wild that we do can not give them since we keep our feeders in boxes all their lives. So it would be naive to assume that captive insects given a very limited diet would have the same nutrient content. Also wild chameleons have access to sunlight and other natural conditions that captive lizards 9 times out of ten do not get. We dust feeders because even though you try to replicate their natural conditions, you're not mother nature and you can't provide EVERYthing a wild cham (or any reptile) has access to.

Whoever said dusting is not needed was just plain wrong! Metabolic bone disease results from imbalanced calcium and phosphorus usually combined with a lack of UVB rays. Google it to see what you'd end up with if you followed that one article's advice. Remember that ANYone can post stuff on the internet, that by no means makes them correct. Don't discount many, many articles about the necessity of dusting (search for them) because one person says differently. That's why forums are so great; you get the combined experience and opinions of many people. With a general consensus among enthusiasts with great success you can be pretty sure it is correct information. At least as correct as we can be trying to replicate nature.

Not properly gutloading and dusting your feeders will lead to severe health problems and ultimately death. It's not convenience and it's not something you can cut corners on. Sorry!
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Also I don't think you can overdose a lizard on calcium, the toxicity issues usually arise from other substances in the 'dust' mixture like D3 or Vit A. That's why you have to be careful about which dusts you use. I use Calcium (not w/D3) almost every feeding and Calcium+D3 every 3 weeks and multivitamin every 2 weeks. Dusting schedules vary because we don't know quite everything so we don't know the perfect ratio. But we do know dusting is a necessity!
 
Dusting the feeders is important, yes. But gutloading is more important. The chams nutrition should be coming from its food,
not relying on dusting to provide the necessary calcium and vitamins. Check out the link in my signature, it has tons of links including some very beneficial ones to Sandrachameleon's blog on gutloading and supplementation.
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi
I think there is some merit in concerns about over supplementing. I've seen more than one case of severe over-doing it.

That said, I believe some supplementing with calcium is critical if you are using crickets and other insects with the wrong calcium to phosphorous ratio. In nature, the wide range of bugs a chameleon would catch undoubtedly provides the balance of nutrients needed. In captivity, we're are providing a very limited number of bugs that are (in most cases) not what would be their native prey. In order to compensate for the inadequacy of our feeder insects, we supplement. And of course we gutload.

I dont dust every bug I give to my chameleons. For example, i never dust butterworms with calicum since they are naturally adequate in that regard. But I do lightly dust calcium on crickets, since even with gutloading they're just not up to snuff. Even though I offer at least 6 (and up to 14) different types of bugs in a given month, even though I gutload in the best way I know how, I still use a vitamin supplement now and then.

I dont doubt there's other ways, maybe better ways. But what Im doing seems to work for me / my chams. So I'm going to stick with my program.
 

Elizadolots

New Member
Based on what I've read here, I think it depends on a) the type of chameleon you have and b) how well you gut load and maintain your feeders.

My favorite advice I've read here is from Brad Ramsey. It's to dust 2 of the crickets you are giving the chameleon.

That way, there will be vitamin supplements, but there's not really an issue of over supplementation.
 
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