Bearded dragons are not discriminating eaters. Their jaws can munch anything you give them—from insects to fruits. For this reason, it is crucial to be thorough about what you feed your bearded dragon.
To answer the question, yes, your lizard friend can eat potatoes, but occasionally. Potatoes aren’t poisonous for your beardie, but the truth is they have little nutritional value necessary for your pet. They lack vital nutrients and—meaning; they are nearly empty foods and can’t help your beardy grow bigger or stronger.
Nutritional Content of Potatoes
High Starch and Carbohydrates
Starch and carbs are the main nutritional components of a potato. These foods are also good energy sources. Though vital, these components aren’t crucial for your lizard friend, especially if it isn’t physically active.
It would be best if you only feed your bearded dragon potatoes as occasional treats. These foods will only feel the beardie’s small stomach for nothing substantial.
And if you feed your beardy with potatoes, help it to be physically active to burn the ingested calories. Potatoes are the highest in calories.
High Phosphorous Content
Bearded dragon needs phosphorous that works with calcium for skeletal development, tissue and cell repair, and waste filtering. However, excess phosphorous is harmful, and calcium should always be more than phosphorous.
Unfortunately, potatoes are high in phosphorous but low in calcium. This composition works against the recommended high calcium ratio to the phosphorous ratio (2:1).
Although it might not be harmful there-and-then, phosphorous intake in large doses can lead to fatalities. It happens when phosphorous binds with calcium in the body, preventing sufficient calcium absorption. On the other hand, low calcium levels cause bone weakening, leading to fatal Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) or death.
High in Sugar
The reason why potatoes should be rare side snacks is because of their high sugar content. Sugar does not offer much help other than boost energy. Your pet’s gut can find processing and digesting such amounts a problem.
The short-term effect of high sugars in your pet will be diarrhea and dehydration. Sadly, your lizard friend can become overweight or damage their teeth.
Even though potatoes are not high-fiber foods, they can be a decent source for your bearded dragon. The fibers will boost your pet’s digestive system. However, overfeeding potatoes to your beardie can bring discomfort and constipation because of the excess fibers.
Excellent Sources of Hydration
Bearded dragons should have as much water as possible for hydration as continued dehydration causes long term health concerns. And since they find it hard to drink by themselves using their mouths, you should use high-water foods like potatoes to keep them hydrated.
No doubt, potato’s high-water content makes them seem like good food. But the nutrient amount compared to the water is not ideal for your beardie’s overall development. If you should feed your bearded dragon with potatoes, do so once in a while and a small amount.
How Often Can You Feed Potatoes to Your Bearded Dragon?
Always cook and slice your potatoes before giving them to your beardy. The golden rule of thumb is that the slices should be smaller than the space between your pet’s eyes to prevent choking.
Offer your lizard friend small cooked potatoes on rare occasions, maybe once a month or less. Plus, make it rare because cooked foods do not interest beardies.
It will help if you feed it sweet potato if you must. The good thing is, you can cook or grate and serve sweet potatoes raw.
The tuber has lesser starch, phosphorous, carbs, and calories than a white potato. And, it is rich in Vitamin A that’s good for your lizard friend. But still, excess Vitamin A can be toxic to your pet, meaning you should serve it as a rare side-snack.
Potatoes are not fit for beardies. Although they might not harm if eaten occasionally, they shouldn’t be your bearded dragon’s staple foods because they lack the vital nutrients for your pet’s well-being.
It would help if you understood that a beardie’s nutritional requirements differ from humans and other pets. They need calcium more than phosphorous to prevent diseases and require less sugary foods to prevent tooth decay and obesity.
Therefore, check for a food’s macro and micronutrients to help you choose what’s best. It would also be best to stick to a diet plan you understand or recommend by a vet.
Featured Image: Andrey Metelev, Unsplash