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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bok Choy? What You Need to Know!

Kristin Hitchcock

Bok choy is surprisingly nutritious for bearded dragons. It provides a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as having a decently low water content. However, that doesn’t mean you should give your bearded dragon Bok Choy all the time.

Bearded dragons need to eat a variety of veggies to stay healthy. They should be provided with a variety of vegetables to maximize their nutrient intake. A varied diet ensures that they get a variety of different vitamins and minerals. However, they can’t just eat any vegetables.

Some veggies are better than others. While there aren’t many that are blatantly bad or toxic for bearded dragons, some are best only given in tiny amounts.

What about Bok Choy? Bok Choy, also known as Chinese cabbage, is safe for bearded dragons, in moderation. It isn’t widespread in the states, but it is usually pretty easy to find if you know where to look. In this article, we’ll look at why you may want to feed Bok Choy to your bearded dragon, as well as the appropriate way to do so.

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What is in Bok Choy?

Bok Choy is relatively high in a few different nutrients. Most greens are generally considered a crucial part of most bearded dragon’s diets, as they provide a large variety of necessary nutrients. Bok Choy is no different and includes what you’d expect to find in a green, leafy veggie.

In particular, Bok Choy is exceptionally high in vitamin A. This is a necessary vitamin for bearded dragons, as well as people. It is essential for a variety of body functions. However, vitamin A is fat-soluble. This means that extras are kept in your bearded dragon’s fat cells, not passed out of the body like some other vitamins. Excessive amounts can build up and cause problems, which we will further discuss in this article.

bok choy in a strainer
Image Credit: allisonwiseman, Pixabay

Bok Choy also contains a relatively high amount of calcium. This is pretty rare for a leafy green. Bearded dragons need quite a bit of calcium. It is usually recommended to provide your bearded dragon with a calcium supplement since most do not get enough in their diet.

Bok Choy also has a balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio. Phosphorus is necessary for bearded dragons to use the calcium they consume. If the ratio is off, they may not be able to use the calcium they eat. Bok Choy has a balanced ratio, which means the bearded dragons will be able to use the calcium it contains.

It also is high in potassium, which is another vitamin bearded dragons need in their diet. It has moderate amounts of vitamins C like most veggies as well. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant, which helps your bearded dragon’s immune system work properly and prevent diseases.

Beneficial Vitamins & Minerals

We’ll take a look at each of these beneficial vitamins and minerals to understand their benefits fully:

Calcium

Calcium is essential for the bone development and strength of your bearded dragon. Calcium is a vital part of a bearded dragon’s diet to prevent metabolic bone diseases.

This severe illness is a result of not consuming enough calcium. It can also be caused by a lack of UVB light exposure, which beardies need to utilize the calcium they consume fully. The bones do not get all the calcium they need.

In small, growing dragons, this leads to deformities that can often not be reversed. This can lead to life-long debilitations and pain. Sometimes, it is best to put the dragon down, as the odds of them living a pain-free life are extremely low.

In older dragons, the bones usually become brittle. Breaks might become common. In extreme cases, the legs will become bowed, and the dragon will have difficulty walking. They may not be able to lift their body off the ground through the use of their legs.

Bok Choy contains about 105 mg per 100g. That is quite a bit, making this the right choice for dragons and an extra buffer against MBD.

Phosphorus

Furthermore, this veggie includes enough phosphorus for the beardie to use all the calcium it contains properly. This is essential since an off-ratio can render the calcium useless and unable to be used.

Bearded dragons need phosphorus to use calcium. However, too much can render the calcium ineffective as well. The right ratio is necessary. Ideally, the ratio should be two parts calcium to one part phosphorus, though a one-to-one ratio is sometimes okay as well.

Bok Choy only includes about 37 mg of phosphorus per 100 g, which is almost exactly where it needs to be.

bok choy on a wooden table
Image Credit: jules, Flickr

Vitamin C

With a high amount of vitamin C, this bok choy can also help your lizard repair tissues and support the functioning of their immune system. This is a necessary vitamin, with more typically being better. There is a minimum amount your dragon needs, but higher amounts are often best for a fully functioning immune system.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential for bone health, which every bearded dragon needs. It is also essential for the functioning of a healthy immune system. However, too much vitamin A isn’t necessarily a good thing. As we previously stated, this is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is only dissolvable in fat, in other words. Therefore, it can’t be passed out in waste. Instead, it sits in fat cells and is used as necessary.

Over time, it can build up, though. Too much vitamin A can cause toxicity. In the veterinarian community, this is called hypervitaminosis A. This is a relatively common disease for reptiles, likely because many eat bok choy and other greens containing a lot of vitamin A.

When your dragon consumes too much vitamin A, it can cause lethargy and pain. Usually, it can only be diagnosed with a blood test, which will detect the elevated vitamin A levels.

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Bok Choy and Goitrogens

Another downside to feeding your bearded dragon Boy Choy is the high level of Goitrogens present. These compounds are found in a variety of different plants. If they are overeaten, they can heavily affect the thyroid gland, which can be potentially deadly.

Bok choy is relatively high in goitrogens. If you’re feeding it as a staple green, this can turn into a problem. However, if bok choy is a part of a varied diet, it usually isn’t a problem. Instead, it mostly becomes a problem when your dragon overeats. Therefore, bok choy shouldn’t be the primary green your lizard is eating, though being part of a regular rotational shouldn’t cause any problems.

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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bok Choy?

Generally speaking, overeating anything can be a problem. The same thing can be said for bok choy. It is okay to feed in moderation but shouldn’t be the only veggie your bearded dragon eats.

Furthermore, you should aim to balance their diet. Do not feed your bearded dragon only bok choy and similar veggies. Look for veggies that are low in vitamin A and do not contain high amounts of goitrogens. This will prevent your lizard from developing any problems.

Bok choy can be a good part of a varied diet. But that diet should be varied.


Featured Image: Yuchi Yang, Pixabay

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!