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10 Best Greens for Bearded Dragons & Ingredients To Avoid
Bearded dragons are popular pets, and most people know that they eat a wide variety of insects and small animals, but they can also eat several different plants, including a large selection of greens. However, it can be difficult to choose which to feed if you are a beginner because some are high in oxalic acid that can harm your pet. We’ve created a list of fresh greens that you can safely give your pet. We’ll show you a picture of what they look like and tell you a little about each one so you can supply your bearded dragon with a healthy and varied diet. Keep reading while we look at several greens you can feed your pet, as well as a few you should avoid.
10 Greens That You Should Feed Your Bearded Dragon
Alfalfa is one of the good greens that you can feed your bearded dragon to provide your pet with high-quality nutrients. It contains plenty of fiber and vitamins A and C, which will help boost the immune system and help develop eyesight. The sprouts contain a little more phosphorus than most experts like, so it’s better to feed them this part every few weeks as a treat. However, you can feed the other parts of the plant as part of a regular diet.
2. Collard Greens
Collard greens are an excellent food to give to your bearded dragon. It has a good balance of calcium to phosphorus so it will help your pet maintain a strong, healthy body. It also provides your beardie with plenty of fiber, vitamin A, C, E, and K, while remaining low in sugar and calories. Most experts recommend making collard greens a part of your pet’s staple diet.
3. Dandelion Greens
You are likely to find that dandelions will quickly become one of your bearded dragon’s favorite foods, and it will often choose them over crickets and other insects. It has plenty of calcium and very little phosphorus, so it will help keep your pet healthy and its bones strong. There are also plenty of vitamins found in dandelion greens, including vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and K, so your dragon will be able to ward off disease and reach old age. Like collard greens, you can make dandelions a daily part of your pet’s diet.
4. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are another excellent source of nutrients that contains a high level of calcium and a low level of phosphorus that will help prevent the onset of metabolic bone disease (MBD). This life-threatening condition softens the bones of pets that don’t get enough calcium or have too much phosphorus in their diet. Mustard greens also provide plenty of vitamins and fiber to help keep your pet healthy.
5. Prickly Pear Cacti
The prickly pear is an American ornamental plant that produces edible fruit. Your dragon can eat both the fruit and the pad as part of a healthy diet. You will need to remove the spines before feeding or purchase them without the spines.
There is a wide variety of winter and summer squashes that you will find depending on where you live and what you grow in the garden, including yellow squash, zucchini, buttercup, and spaghetti. All types are safe for your bearded dragon to eat. Remove the rind and feed your pet only the flesh. Softer varieties will be easier to eat, and your pet will enjoy them more.
7. Turnip Greens
Turnip greens are another great food to feed your bearded dragon with acceptable calcium to phosphorus ratio. It also provides plenty of vitamins and fiber to help keep your pet healthy and its digestive system regulated. These greens are fine as a standard part of the diet, and they are soft and tasty, so your pet will enjoy eating them.
Greens That You Should Provide As An Occasional Treat
8. Aloe Vera
Your bearded dragon can eat aloe, but it has almost no nutritional value, so it’s best reserved as a treat if it’s something your pet enjoys. Eating too much of it can also cause diarrhea, so most experts recommend avoiding it entirely.
Broccoli is healthy food for humans because it contains plenty of helpful vitamins and minerals. However, this food also has many oxalates that can be harmful to your pet, so most experts recommend limiting it to a treat that you provide on occasion.
Kale is another leafy green that your bearded dragon can eat, but only as a treat. Kale has the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio, but it contains a lot of water, which can cause diarrhea in some pets. It’s also high in vitamin A, which can cause problems if you also give your pet a supplement containing this nutrient.
What Ingredients You Should Avoid
It would be best if you avoided greens high in oxalates. Foods like spinach, parsley, and rhubarb contain dangerous levels of oxalates that can lead to kidney stones.
Many bearded dragons suffer from MBD, a condition that softens the bones of bearded dragons and other reptiles and could render them unable to move. It’s a life-threatening illness that occurs when your pet doesn’t get enough calcium in its diet. We can help your pet by adding calcium supplements to the diet, but we also need to watch how much phosphorus they eat because phosphorus can bind with the calcium preventing the body from absorbing it. Most experts recommend keeping the ratio to 1:1 or better, with calcium being the higher number. For instance, mustard greens have 115 mg calcium and 58 mg of phosphorus, so the ratio is almost 2:1 favoring calcium.
Some leafy greens, especially many types of lettuce, can contain plenty of water. While these foods can help hydrate your pet if it hasn’t been drinking, they can also cause uncomfortable diarrhea. We recommend providing these foods only as treats or hydrating your pet when prescribed by a veterinarian.
While we usually think of fruit when talking about sugar, several vegetables can be too sweet for your bearded dragons. Peas, squash, carrots, potatoes, and rutabagas can all add weight to your pet if you make them part of their regular diet. We recommend only including these foods in small amounts as part of a salad to enhance flavor.
Adding greens to your bearded dragon’s diet can be a great way to help them get the nutrients they need. Your pet will still need to eat plenty of crickets to get the protein it needs, but greens can add essential nutrients like calcium that are difficult to obtain elsewhere. Dandelion and collard greens are your best bet, but there are several options listed here that you can use to provide your pet with a varied diet. Our pet enjoys them so much it goes out of its way to get the greens, often leaving the crickets for later.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and got some ideas for new and healthy foods to feed your pet. If we have helped you create more nutritious meals, please share this guide to the best greens for bearded dragons on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- 10 Greens That You Should Feed Your Bearded Dragon
- Greens That You Should Provide As An Occasional Treat
- What Ingredients You Should Avoid