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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Parsley? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Bearded Dragons are popular pets with a varied diet. Parsley is a common herb and is found in many homes, often growing on the window or in the garden. It’s common to wonder if it’s ok to give your pet dragon one of these nutritious herbs. The answer is yes, your bearded dragon can eat parsley, but there are concerns about giving them too much, so join us while we look at the pros and cons of feeding your pet parsley

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Is parsley bad for my bearded dragon?

While most experts consider parsley a suitable food for the bearded dragon, there is one main ingredient that you need to watch out for, and that ingredient is oxalates.

Oxalates

You can find oxalates in many foods, especially greens, and it is one of the plant’s defense mechanisms that it uses to protect itself as it grows. However, these oxalates can bind with calcium and prevent it from being absorbed.

As you can see from consulting oxalate.org, parsley contains more oxalates than many other foods people commonly give to bearded dragons:

Food Oxalates per 100 gram
Parsley 1700 mg
Spinach 970 mg
Asparagus 130 mg
Rhubarb 400 mg

Feeding your bearded dragon a diet with too much parsley can greatly limit the calcium they can absorb, leading to brittle bones and a condition called Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). You often see MBD in bearded dragons because they have a hard time getting enough calcium in their diet. It causes their body to pull the calcium from its bones, causing them to become weak, and their bones deteriorate. Most experts suggest sprinkling calcium powder over their food to help them get enough of this important nutrient, so it would be counterproductive to feed them something that worsens the situation.

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Is parsley good for my bearded dragon?

There are some helpful ingredients in parsley that can be beneficial if you feed it in small amounts.

bearded dragon basking
Image Credit: Gerhard G., Pixabay

Vitamin A and C

Vitamin A and C are helpful nutrients that can help boost the immune system and rid the body of free radicals. However, Vitamin A can also be toxic if fed in large amounts, so you will need to restrict it if they are getting too much, and you should never provide a multivitamin containing Vitamin A to your pet.

Calcium

Parsley is high in calcium, and a 100-gram serving contains 138 mg. This high amount of calcium will help offset the high number of oxalates and make it a little safer to eat. Calcium is essential to strong bones and other biological functions and adding it to your bearded dragon’s diet is the best way to prevent the onset of MBD.

Parsley also contains phosphorus, which can bind to calcium and prevent it from being absorbed. Still, at only 58 mg per 100 grams, it follows the 2:1 ratio guideline recommended by most experts.

Protein

Parsley contains a bit of protein, an important nutrient for any bearded dragon. It’s needed in higher amounts by baby dragons to help them grow faster, but pets of all ages will benefit from a healthy supply each day.

Fiber

Parsley also contains plenty of fiber at 3.3 g per 100 grams, and it can help stabilize the digestive tract of your pet. Fiber helps prevent constipation and diarrhea by regulating the water in the intestines and prevents colon cancer by expelling toxic waste faster.

Vitamin K

Parsley is high in Vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting and bone growth. Vitamin K is another nutrient that can help prevent the onset of MBD by assisting the calcium in finding its way to the bone.

No Sugar

One of the best things about parsley is that it is low in sugar and will not contribute to weight gain. Too much sugar in your bearded dragon’s diet can lead to a condition called Fatty Liver Disease. Fatty Liver Disease prevents the liver from effectively filtering the blood, which will lead to other health complications.

How can I feed my bearded dragon parsley?

  • The best way to feed parsley to your bearded dragon is to use fresh parsley that is either grown in your home or purchased organically.
  • Wash the parsley extremely well, even if you grew it in your home to remove any contaminants.
  • Chop fine
  • Add into a salad of other greens and fruit
  • Serve no more than once every two weeks
Parsley on wooden board
Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay

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Summary

If your bearded dragon got into your fresh parsley and started eating it, it’s going to be fine. If you grew a bunch of parsley that you are particularly proud of and want to share some with your dragon, that would be fine. However, unless you have another special reason, we recommend avoiding this herb due to the high oxalate content. There are plenty of other great foods your pet can eat that you can feel better about, including worms, maple leaves, carnation petals, several vegetables, and more.

We hope we have helped you understand your pet better and eased your worries if your pet accidentally ate some parsley when you weren’t looking. If you think it could help someone else, please share this guide to feeding your bearded dragon parsley on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image: restyledliving, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

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.