Can bearded dragons eat broccoli? Vegetables are part of the recommended diet for bearded dragons. Broccoli is a source of essential minerals and vitamins. However, not all vegetables are good for your bearded dragon.
So, can bearded dragons eat broccoli? A simple answer is YES. A little broccoli won’t do harm to your beardie. However, you should only feed your beardie with small amounts of broccoli once in a while. That’s because broccoli contains high contents of oxalic acid which may cause kidney failure in reptiles.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli?
Broccoli provides a good source of calcium, protein, fibre and vitamins such as vitamin A, B1, C, E and K. But they also contain high levels of oxalic acid which makes it unsuitable for reptiles including bearded dragons.
Although bearded dragons can eat broccoli, they should be given very little of it. The high levels of oxalic acid in broccoli isn’t good for their kidney and bone health. Taking too much oxalic acid reduces the amount of calcium in their body. Oxalic acid reacts with calcium in the body of the reptile which leads to an imbalance in the calcium: phosphorous ratio.
As a result, the body of the reptile utilizes the calcium from the bones which leads to bone degeneration. Inappropriate combination of calcium also affects the functioning of the kidney. It leads to bladder stones which in turn affect the kidney due fluid retention.
Broccoli Ca:P Ratio: How it Affects Bearded Dragons
The ratio of calcium to phosphorous in a bearded dragon’s diet is of great importance. The ideal Ca:P ratio for bearded dragons and other reptiles is 2:1. That means for every unit of phosphorous there must be two units of calcium.
Ca:P ratio determines how effectively calcium is absorbed in the reptile’s body. Higher levels of phosphorous inhibits calcium absorption in their body which in turn causes Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
Equal parts of calcium and phosphorous result in a reaction which forms calcium phosphate. Since this is an insoluble salt, it won’t be absorbed in your beardie’s intestine. Also, excess calcium in the beardie’s body inhibits the absorption of phosphorous which helps in bone health and PH balance.
The 0.7:1 calcium to phosphorous ratio in broccoli isn’t good for your bearded dragon. Therefore broccoli should be given occasionally and in small quantities. A good balance of calcium and phosphorous can be achieved by mixing broccoli with a range of greens or vegetables. Alternatively, you add supplements to achieve the 2:1 ratio.
Broccoli for Bearded Dragon: What you need to know
As earlier said, you can give your bearded dragon small amounts of broccoli without any worries. If you resolve to give broccoli to your bearded dragon, remember these tips.
- Treat your bearded dragon with small amounts of broccoli.
- Broccoli should be given only occasionally as a means of adding variety to their vegetable diet.
- Serve only raw broccoli.
- Broccoli should be cut into very small pieces to allow easy chewing and prevent choking.
- Give only the floret because it’s softer for the beardie to chew and digest. Avoid the leaves and stalk.
- Do not give broccoli to baby beardie. Not only do they need less vegetable diet but it’s also hard for them to digest.
- In case your bearded develops complications after eating broccoli stop the feeding immediately. If possible consult your veterinarian.
Related: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?
How to Prepare Broccoli for Bearded Dragon
- Wash fresh broccoli with running water or in a bowl of clean water. Rub it with your fingers to remove dirt and any lodged insects. Wipe the broccoli with a tea towel to dry.
- Use a sharp knife to cut off the leaves from the stalk. Now part off the florets by cutting them out from the stalk.
- For each of the floret, remove the stem so that you’re only left with the flowering part.
- Finally cut the large florets into small pieces to make it easy for your bearded dragon to chew.
If you own a pet bearded dragon you must be prepared to give it the best care possible. Perhaps a bearded dragon’s diet is the most delicate part of its maintenance. While they thrive on a variety of diet, some foods can be dangerous to them.
Although bearded dragons eat broccoli, they should be given very small amounts once in a while. If you give too much broccoli, it will affect their health because it exhibits unbalanced Ca:P ratio.