If feeder insects are a part of your pet’s diet, what’s inside those insects matters. You can amplify their nutritional value with ease through a process called gut loading. 

Gut loading feeder insects is an incredibly important strategy for keeping your pet reptile or amphibian happy, healthy, and thriving. When it comes to gut loading, you’ll want to understand not just how to do it properly, but which insects are best for gut loading and why. 

In this blog, we are going to discuss:

  • What is gut loading?
  • The benefits of gut loading feeder insects
  • Why dubia roaches are an ideal feeder insect for gut loading
  • Gut loading dubia vs cricket
  • How to gut load dubia roaches

If you’re ready to learn how to get the most beneficial results from gut loading feeder insects—read on!

What Is Gut Loading Feeder Insects?

Gut loading is the practice of feeding super nutritious food to your insects shortly before feeding them to your pet. Basically, gut loading feeder insects is a way of optimizing your reptile or amphibian’s food source for maximum nourishment.

Here’s how it works: 

When your reptile eats and insect, it gets nutrient both from the insect itself and from the food the insect has eaten.

So you want to be aware of your reptile’s nutritional needs and give your feeder insects food that is high in whichever nutrients you want your reptile or amphibian to load up on. This way, your pet will end up extracting more nutritional value from their food.

For example, if you want to add extra calcium to your lizard’s diet, you could bulk your feeder insects up with a high-calcium food like collard greens. 

The Benefits of Gut Loading Feeder Insects:

Why is gut loading so important? Check out these benefits to your pet: 

  • Enhanced nutritional value: By feeding your feeder insects a nutritious diet, you can improve the nutritional value of your pet’s food.
  • Increased vitality and energy: Gut loading provides your pet with more energy, promoting overall health and vitality.
  • Promotes healthy growth: Proper gut loading can support healthy growth and development in reptiles and amphibians.
  • Boosts immune system: Nutrient-rich gut-loaded insects can strengthen your pet’s immune system, making them more resistant to disease.
  • Balanced diet: Gut loading ensures your pet receives a well-rounded diet, preventing nutritional deficiencies.

3 Reasons Dubia Roaches are the Ideal Feeder Insect for Gut Loading:

Dubia roaches have several characteristics that make them outshine many other insects such as crickets for gut loading. Here are 3 top reasons to choose dubia vs. crickets for gut loading feeder insects:

  1. Large digestive system 

Dubias have a digestive system that can hold up to 2-3 times their body weight,allowing them to consume and retain a significant amount of nutrition.

  1. Extended digestion period 

These roaches can keep food in their belly for up to three days, which allows for a gradual release of nutrients during digestion.

  1. Specialized gut bacteria

Dubias have specialized bacteria in their guts that can digest plant matter other feeder insects can’t, resulting in the release of valuable nutrients for your pet.

How to Gut Load Your Dubia Roaches

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Gut loading dubias is a simple process that involves feeding them nutritious fruits and vegetables. Here are some tips to ensure effective gut loading:

Choose nutrient-dense produce

Provide your dubia roaches with fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables that are rich in essential nutrients.

Preferred foods for gut loading feeder insects include: Alfalfa sprouts, apples, beets, bananas, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, grapes, mustard greens, pears, peas,and romaine lettuce. 

You can also buy commercial gut loading flakes which are formulated to provide an excellent nutritional boost for your pet reptile. 

Quality matters

When choosing produce for gut loading, get the freshest fruits and veggies you can buy. Avoid gut loading feeder insects with shriveled, rotten, or moldy produce.

It’s also good to pay attention to how the produce was grown. Choose organic if possible: according to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that organically grown food is higher in nutrients and lower in toxic chemical residue.

A great place to look for really fresh, nutritious fruits and veggies is your local farmers market. Support your local farmers and give your pets the best!

Avoid certain foods: 

Some foods can be harmful to both the insects and your pets. Do not gut load your dubia roaches with the following foods: 

  • Beans
  • Citrus fruits
  • Rhubarb
  • Allium family vegetables (onions, garlic, leeks, etc.) 
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocados
  • Meat
  • Dog food
  • Any food that may have been exposed to toxic pesticides or herbicides

To learn why you don’t want to load your dubias up with foods high in protein (such as dog or cat food), read our article on bearded dragon gout.

Gut Loading Vs. Dusting

Dusting, the practice of sprinkling feeder insects with calcium or vitamin powders, is often used in reptile and amphibian care. However, it’s important to note that dusting is different from gut loading.

While dusting provides additional nutritional supplements for your pet, gut loading focuses on maximizing the nutritional value of the feeder insects themselves. 

Long story short: it’s great to do both! 

Dusting should be used as a supplement alongside gut loading feeder insects to ensure your pet receives a well-rounded diet.

Gut Loading FAQ’s:

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How often should I gut load my feeder insects?
Answer: It is recommended to gut load feeder insects 24-48 hours before feeding them to your pets.

Can I use supplements in addition to gut loading?
Answer: Yes, you can supplement your pet’s diet with calcium or vitamin powders, but it should be in addition to gut loading, not a substitute for it.

Can I gut load other feeder insects apart from dubia roaches?
Answer: Yes, many other feeder insects like crickets, superworms, and hissing cockroaches can be gut loaded for enhanced nutrition.

How long can dubia roaches retain nutrients after gut loading?
Answer: Dubia roaches can retain nutrients for up to three days after gut loading, making them an excellent choice for sustained nutrition.

Are gut-loaded insects more expensive than regular feeder insects?
Answer: While gut-loaded insects may be slightly more expensive, their nutritional benefits make them worth the investment for your pet’s health.

Can I gut load feeder insects if they are not the staple diet of my pet?

Answer: Yes, gut loading can still provide additional nutrients even if the feeder insects are not the main part of your pet’s diet. It ensures they receive optimal nutrition whenever they are consumed

Start Gut Loading Today

Gut loading feeder insects such as dubia roaches is a crucial step in providing a balanced and nutritious diet for your pet reptiles or amphibians. By optimizing the nutritional value of the insects they consume, you can enhance your animals’ well-being, vitality, and overall health. 

Start gut loading your feeder insects today and witness the positive impact it has on your beloved pets!

If you’re ready to provide your reptile or amphibian with a nutrient-dense diet, consider utilizing gut-loadable dubia roaches. Choosing dubia roaches as the ideal feeder insect for gut loading ensures that your pets receive the maximum nutritional benefits.

Ordering dubia roaches from reputable suppliers (such as yours truly) ensures the health and quality of the insects you offer to your pets. 

Get 10% off your next order of dubia roaches for gut loading. Just sign up for our newsletter and check your email for your coupon right away!