Feeding bearded dragons can be hard, especially if you don’t know which foods are safe for them to eat. Take pineapple, for instance. Can they eat pineapples? If you don’t know the answer, then you’re in the right place (spoiler alert: yes, they can).
Of course, feeding your pet pineapples isn’t as simple as just dumping some fruit in their cage, so for more information on exactly how to share this treat with your lizard, read on.
Is Pineapple Safe for Bearded Dragons?
Pineapple is safe for bearded dragon to eat in that it’s not toxic for them. They won’t die if they have a few chunks of it.
However, that doesn’t mean that feeding it to them doesn’t pose any risks. For one thing, fruit is high in sugar, which can lead to obesity and a host of other health problems for lizards.
In addition, pineapples possess a calcium to phosphorus ratio of around 1:1, which is not desirable for bearded dragons. Most healthy, adult or juvenile bearded dragons require a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1 (calcium should be twice as abundant as phosphorus). Like other fruits, pineapples do contain sugar. The sugar in fruits may also be a contributing factor1 for dental disease in bearded dragons.
All this means is that you need to be careful about how often you give pineapple to your bearded dragon. Limit it to a few times a month, and definitely don’t make it an everyday treat.
Are There Any Benefits to Feeding a Bearded Dragon Pineapple?
Yes. Pineapple is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which will help your lizard stay healthy.
There’s a moderate amount of both calcium and phosphorus inside the fruit as well. The calcium will contribute to a strong skeletal system, and since it’s often difficult to get bearded dragons to consume enough calcium, any extra is welcome. However, there are diminishing returns involved, as they’ll also be ingesting phosphorus with all that calcium. Within the body, the two minerals bind together, and therefore, pineapples aren’t considered a fantastic source of calcium.
Pineapple is very rich in potassium. Potassium is helpful for regulating water levels in the body, so it will help your lizard maintain an osmotic balance.
Pineapple is generally full of water as well, making this a potent source of hydration (much like many other fruits).
What About Other Parts of the Pineapple?
Generally speaking, all you should ever give your dragon is the actual flesh of the pineapple. All the other parts of the fruit can be dangerous for your pet.
You might be tempted to let your lizard munch on pineapple leaves, since they’re leafy and green. However, they can be toxic to certain pets, and their coarse texture makes them difficult for lizards to digest properly.
Likewise, the skin of the pineapple is also rough and covered with thorns. If the thought of trying to pass a bunch of thorn-covered skin doesn’t really appeal to you, you can imagine how attractive it would be to your dragon.
The core of the pineapple is also extremely tough, and while your dragon might be able to digest it, it’s likely to cause problems. You shouldn’t risk it.
Does It Matter What Type of Pineapple You Feed Your Bearded Dragon?
Bearded dragons tend to do well with fresh, canned, and frozen pineapple, so it shouldn’t matter in that regard (provided that you thaw out the frozen pineapple ahead of time, of course).
However, you should always go for fresh fruit whenever possible. Frozen pineapple has been known to throw off the delicate balance of a bearded dragon’s digestive system, leading to diarrhea and other minor ailments. Canned fruit, on the other hand, often loses a little nutritional value and may include preservatives and other questionable additives.
You should be careful about feeding them dried pineapple of any kind. Dried pineapple tends to be even higher in sugar than regular pineapple, so don’t give it to your pet.
You should also avoid giving them pineapple juice, because while juices tend to retain the vitamin, minerals, and other compounds of the fruit, they lose the fiber in the juicing process. Fiber is beneficial for your bearded dragon. In addition, juices made with additives, preservatives, or from concentrate are not healthy for your pet.
Pineapples are safe for bearded dragons to eat in moderation. Save them as an occasional treat, as feeding pineapple to your lizard more than a few times a month could lead to severe health issues, like obesity or metabolic bone disease.
As long as you follow these simple guidelines, though, you can let your lizard enjoy fruit with a clear conscience.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay