Bearded dragons are enjoyable pets, but they come with a strict diet. Because of this, it’s important as a pet owner to ensure your bearded dragon stays healthy with their meals.
While bearded dragons can eat a variety of different types of food, a handful, like broccoli, fireflies, and avocados, need to be avoided.
This article will explore some food options you should never give your bearded dragon. To find out what they are as well as some other helpful feeding information, you’ll want to keep reading.
What do Bearded Dragons Need to Eat?
Bearded dragons need to eat meals that are high in protein, vegetables, and fruits. Their body requires certain amounts of vitamins and minerals which they can only get from these food items.
Vitamin D3 helps produce calcium in your pet’s body while also aiding their digestive system. It works to prevent common bone disorders in bearded dragons, like Metabolic Bone Disease. While it can be given to them in a powder form, bearded dragons can also get Vitamin D3 naturally through food and sunlight.
Calcium is another vital thing to make sure your bearded dragon’s diet consists of. Just as with Vitamin D3, calcium helps to prevent bone disorders as well as any aches and pains that might occur in them. This is especially important for female bearded dragons to have if they are pregnant.
Iron is necessary for all bearded dragons, but especially younger ones to help them grow. It also works to keep its blood circulation healthy. However, you need to be careful with iron as too much of it can lead to problems.
Vitamin A helps keep all vital organs healthy as well as the immune system. Because of this, it’s important to make sure your bearded dragon gets enough of it. However, as with most vitamins and minerals, too much of it can be very harmful. So, you’ll want to give them food high in this vitamin in moderation to prevent possible problems.
Things to Consider Before Feeding Your Bearded Dragon
Before you give your bearded dragons any form of food, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.
You want to make sure to consider your bearded dragon’s age. While adult bearded dragons might be able to eat a
The Needed Ratios of Protein, Vegetables, and Fruits
Bearded dragons need a certain amount of protein, vegetables, and fruits in order to stay healthy. About 80% of a bearded dragons diet needs to consist of some form of protein, which is usually in the form of insects. On the other hand, they only need about 20% of vegetables and fruits for their diet.
Keep in mind that while fruits are important to give your bearded dragon, they can be very sugary. Because of this, it’s best to give your bearded dragon them in moderation to ensure their digestive system doesn’t malfunction.
Food to Keep Away from Bearded Dragons
Despite bearded dragons being able to eat many different types of food, there is a handful you need to make sure they don’t consume. Below are some food items you’ll want to make sure to keep away from your pet.
Iceberg lettuce is not necessarily poisonous to bearded dragons, but it contains high levels of water. This could cause your bearded dragon to have diarrhea if they eat too much. It’s also not very nutritious as it contains no vitamins or minerals that can keep them healthy. Because of this, it’s best to give your pet leafy greens like Swiss chard, watercress, bok choy, turnip greens, and parsley.
Because of their high levels of oxalic acid, avocados should be avoided at all costs. Oxalic acid binds calcium and phosphorus which can cause a dangerous imbalance of these nutrients in your pet’s body. While a small touch of avocado accidentally on their food won’t usually be deadly (it might make them sick though) large doses of it can be fatal.
Fireflies are incredibly toxic to bearded dragons due to their body’s chemical composition. The chemicals that create the beautiful flashing lights contain toxins in them called lucibufagins which can cause horrible side effects in bearded dragons, such as seizures, darkening of their skin, and difficulty breathing. If you find your bearded dragon has eaten even just one of these insects, it’s important to take them to your vet immediately.
While beets can be given to your bearded dragon in small amounts, if given to them too much, it can be very toxic. Beets contain helpful nutrients, like potassium and iron, and can be given to your bearded dragon once or twice a month. However, if you give it to them often, it could cause their body to have too much of a certain vitamin or mineral which can make them very sick. It might also cause problems with their body’s calcium levels which could lead to Metabolic Bone Disease.
Rhubarb is yet another item you definitely don’t want to give your bearded dragon. This is because this vegetable has high amounts of oxalates which can be toxic to your pet. Unlike avocados which can be deadly, but not cause fatality if given a very minute amount accidentally, any amount of rhubarb can be fatal.
Spinach can occasionally be given to your bearded dragon, although it’s best to do so every so often. Just as with beets, spinach contains calcium-binding properties which could cause your bearded dragon to get Metabolic Bone Disease if they eat too much of it. Because of this, it’s best to only give very small amounts of spinach to your pet once a month, or play it safe and not give them any at all.
While sometimes pet stores might sell food-stimulating sprays for reptiles that have garlic in them, it’s best not to give them this. Not much is known about the toxicity of garlic for bearded dragons, but some studies have shown that it could be harmful to them. Because of this, it’s best to not give your pet this vegetable.
Mushrooms can be extremely toxic to bearded dragons. Because of the many different types, safe mushrooms can sometimes be a guessing game. Due to this, it’s a good idea to forget giving them any form of mushroom in their meals.
Broccoli is another vegetable to be cautious of giving your pet. This is because it contains high levels of oxalic acid which could lead to hypocalcemia which is a lack of calcium in the body. It can also be a bit difficult for them to digest and could create gas in their body which can be very painful for them.
Believe it or not, some bearded dragon owners think that houseplants can be safe for bearded dragons. This is because they resemble vegetables they often eat. However, this is not true. Houseplants can be very toxic to your pet as they might have a dangerous chemical composition or could feature pesticides which could be damaging to your pet’s health.
These are yet another vegetable you need to avoid giving your bearded dragon. Eggplants tend to be very acidic which can hurt your pet’s digestive system. If they happen to nibble on a small piece of one, don’t worry. You need to be concerned though if they have eaten a large portion of this vegetable as it could hurt their stomach and cause severe pain.
While bearded dragons can eat mangos, it’s often recommended that they don’t. This is because this tropical fruit has high levels of phosphorus compared to calcium. While they do need phosphorus in their diet, too much of it can be a problem. Mangos are also very sugary and acidic which can cause other health problems if they eat too much of it. If you want to give your bearded dragon mango, it’s ideal to give it to them as a rare treat. Otherwise, it’s best to skip it and feed them something else.
Many bearded dragon owners believe that because their pet needs protein, they can feed them meat, like chicken. However, this isn’t the case. While it is high in calcium, it can be very high in phosphorus as well. Chicken also could have harmful bacteria if not cooked well which can cause your bearded dragon to be infected with salmonella.
Bearded dragons can be great pets, but their meals need to be carefully created. While there are many different food items your pet can eat, there are a few that need to be avoided. Because of this, it’s important to keep the information mentioned above in mind to ensure your bearded dragon stays healthy and doesn’t accidentally eat something that could be harmful.