Bearded dragons are omnivores but do they eat all plants? Can bearded dragons eat Broccoli? This article is part of a series where we answer questions related to the bearded dragon as a pet you can adopt. We will focus on Broccoli and if it is a good idea to feed your bearded dragon this type of vegetable.
I have tried feeding my beardie several green leaves as I was aware that they grow to like plants more but was really caught unaware of whether Broccoli would cause them any harm.
What is Broccoli?
Broccoli is a vegetable with many nutritional benefits. It is low in carbs and calories but high in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C.
However, there are some risks involved when feeding broccoli to your bearded dragon as it can cause digestive problems and even increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
Some of the nutrients in Broccoli include;
- Vitamins A and C are important for a bearded dragon’s immune system, skin, and eyesight.
- Potassium, magnesium, and calcium are all essential for a beardie’s health.
- Vitamin K1 is important for blood clotting.
- Fiber aids indigestion.
- Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin.
- Manganese is important for bone growth and development.
- Folate is important for cell growth.
While broccoli does have all of these nutrients, it is important to note that bearded dragons can get them from other sources as well. For example, vitamin A can be found in carrots and sweet potatoes while vitamin C is found in bell peppers.
Additionally, it is important to note that broccoli contains goitrogens which are compounds that can interfere with the thyroid gland. This is something to be aware of if your bearded dragon has a history of thyroid problems.
Unwanted nutrients in Broccoli:
- High levels of calcium: Too much calcium can lead to health problems such as kidney stones and other urinary tract issues.
- Oxalates: These are compounds that can bind to calcium and make it unavailable to the body. This can lead to deficiencies in calcium which can then lead to health problems.
- Goitrogens: As mentioned before, goitrogens can interfere with the thyroid gland and cause problems such as goiter, thyroiditis, and other health issues.
So, while broccoli is a healthy option to add to your bearded dragon’s diet, you should be careful not to feed it too often or in high quantities as this could lead to some health concerns.
Broccoli is high in calcium and low in Phosphorous and vitamin A. For the healthy growth of your bearded dragon, the ratio of phosphorus to calcium is crucial, and a 1:1 ratio is preferred. You should avoid giving your bearded dragon too much broccoli as it might affect the calcium to phosphorus ratio and cause problems.
Most plants have high levels of phosphorus and low levels of calcium and bearded dragons need high levels of calcium and low levels of phosporus.
The use of phosphorus:
– it helps in the formation of bones and teeth
– it helps to build tissues and soft tissues
– it aids neurotransmission and energy metabolism
The use of calcium:
– it supports bone growth, repair, and maintenance
– it helps blood clotting
When cooked, Broccoli contains Vitamin C which is an antioxidant that can help protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals.
While Broccoli is a healthy option to feed your bearded dragon, it should be given in moderation and not too often as this could lead to health problems. It is also important to check whether your beardie has any dietary restrictions or allergies before adding broccoli to their diet.
Additionally, it is important to chop the broccoli into small pieces and remove the stem as this can be difficult for them to digest.
If you do decide to feed broccoli to your bearded dragon, cook it first to reduce the goitrogen content and make it easier for them to digest.
Should You Feed Your Bearded Dragon Broccoli?
While broccoli does have some nutritional benefits, there are also some risks involved in feeding it to your bearded dragon.
These risks include;
- Indigestion – due to the high fiber content in broccoli, it can cause digestive problems such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
- Kidney Stones – the oxalates in broccoli can increase the risk of kidney stones, especially if your beardie is already predisposed to them.
- Thyroid problems – as mentioned before, the goitrogens in broccoli can interfere with the thyroid gland, causing problems such as weight gain or loss, lethargy, and even depression.
Symptoms that your bearded dragon is reacting negatively to Broccoli;
If you notice any of the following symptoms, it is best to stop feeding broccoli to your bearded dragon and consult with a veterinarian.
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
Some of these symptoms could also be indicative of other health problems.
So, what does this mean for bearded dragons?
Although there are some risks associated with feeding broccoli to bearded dragons, it is generally considered safe as long as you feed it in moderation. Be sure to only give your dragon small amounts of broccoli at a time and avoid giving it any if you notice any signs of digestive problems or other health issues.
The scientific name of Broccoli is Brassica oleracea and it is part of the mustard family. Broccoli is a cool-weather crop that can be grown year-round in many Beardie habitats. When feeding broccoli to your dragon, it is important to remember that they are not able to digest all of the nutrients in the vegetable.
How to feed bearded dragon Broccoli:
The best way to feed broccoli to your bearded dragon is to chop it into small pieces and mix it with other vegetables or fruits in their food. This will help to ensure that they are getting all of the nutrients they need without overloading their digestive system with broccoli.
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Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org