There are several healthy greens that can be included in a bearded dragon’s diet. Some of the best greens for bearded dragons include dandelions, arugula, beet greens, parsley, and alfalfa.
Bearded dragons that are 12 months of age and older should be fed greens every day. Greens should make up 25% of a baby bearded dragon’s food and half of an adult’s.
The best greens for bearded dragons can be eaten on a daily basis, while others can be eaten weekly or every other week, depending on what else is on the dragon’s feeding schedule
Why bearded dragons need leafy greens?
Bearded dragons need leafy greens in their diet for several important reasons:
Balanced nutrition: Leafy greens are a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These nutrients contribute to a bearded dragon’s overall health and well-being, supporting their immune system, bone health, and digestion.
Hydration: Bearded dragons get a significant amount of their hydration from the food they consume. Leafy greens have high water content, which helps keep your pet hydrated and supports proper kidney function.
Calcium-to-phosphorus ratio: Many leafy greens have an optimal calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, which is crucial for bearded dragons. Calcium is essential for healthy bone development, while phosphorus is necessary for energy production. However, an imbalance in these minerals can lead to health issues such as metabolic bone disease. Feeding leafy greens with a proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio helps maintain a healthy balance in your bearded dragon’s diet.
Digestive health: The fiber content in leafy greens aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut in bearded dragons. This is essential for proper nutrient absorption and preventing digestive issues.
Variety: Offering a variety of leafy greens keeps your bearded dragon’s diet interesting and encourages them to eat. It also ensures they receive a range of different nutrients, which promotes overall health.
List of overall vitamins and nutrients a bearded dragon can get from these greens
Bearded dragons can obtain various essential vitamins and nutrients from leafy greens, which contribute to their overall health and well-being. Here’s a list of some key vitamins and nutrients and their impact on bearded dragons:
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin, vision, and immune function. It also supports cell growth and differentiation.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage, promotes wound healing, and supports a healthy immune system. It also aids in the absorption of iron.
- Vitamin K: Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone health. It helps in the synthesis of proteins required for healthy bone formation and maintenance.
- Calcium: Calcium is vital for strong bones and teeth, nerve function, and muscle contraction. A balanced calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is necessary to prevent metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons.
- Phosphorus: Phosphorus is an essential mineral for energy production, bone and teeth health, and cell repair. However, a proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is crucial to maintain overall health.
- Fiber: Fiber aids in digestion, helps maintain a healthy gut, and ensures proper nutrient absorption in bearded dragons.
- Iron: Iron is necessary for hemoglobin production, which transports oxygen throughout the body. It also supports a healthy immune system.
- Potassium: Potassium is an essential mineral that helps maintain fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contraction.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is vital for energy production, nerve function, and muscle health. It also supports bone health and aids in calcium absorption.
- Zinc: Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system, wound healing, and cell growth. It also plays a role in metabolism and enzyme function.
Top Greens for Bearded Dragons: Daily Staple
- Collard Greens: Collard greens are an excellent choice for bearded dragons due to their high calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. They are also rich in vitamins A, C, and K, which promote healthy skin, eyes, and bones.
- Mustard Greens: Mustard greens offer a similar nutritional profile to collard greens, providing essential vitamins and minerals for bearded dragons. They also have a slightly peppery taste, adding variety to your pet’s diet.
- Dandelion Greens: Often found in your backyard, dandelion greens are a great option for bearded dragons. These greens are high in calcium, vitamins A, C, and K, and provide various trace minerals.
- Turnip Greens: Turnip greens are another nutrient-dense option for bearded dragons. They contain high levels of calcium, vitamin A, and other essential nutrients.
- Kale: Although not as ideal as the previous options, kale can still be a valuable addition to your bearded dragon’s diet. It is rich in vitamins A and C and provides a moderate amount of calcium.
10 Best Greens Bearded Dragons Can Eat: Occasional Staples
While bearded dragons can enjoy a variety of greens, some are best offered occasionally to ensure a well-rounded and balanced diet. Here are 10 leafy greens that can be provided as occasional staples:
Bok Choy: This Asian green is a good source of vitamins A and C, calcium, and other minerals. However, it should be fed sparingly due to its high oxalate content, which can interfere with calcium absorption.
Swiss Chard: Swiss chard is rich in vitamins A and C, but it also has a high oxalate content. Feeding it in moderation will help maintain a healthy calcium balance.
Endive: Endive offers a good source of vitamin A and fiber, but it should be fed in moderation as it is slightly lower in calcium than other greens.
Romaine Lettuce: While romaine lettuce has lower nutritional value compared to other leafy greens, it can still be offered occasionally to add variety to your bearded dragon’s diet.
Escarole: Escarole provides a decent source of vitamins and minerals, but its calcium content is lower than other greens. It can be included occasionally to add variety.
Cabbage: Cabbage is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, but it should be fed sparingly due to its goitrogen content, which can interfere with thyroid function if consumed in large amounts.
Spinach: Although spinach is nutrient-dense and high in vitamins A, C, and K, it should be fed sparingly due to its high oxalate content.
Arugula: Arugula is a good source of calcium, vitamins A and C, and other minerals, but its strong flavor may not be appealing to all bearded dragons. Offer it occasionally for variety.
Watercress: Watercress is high in vitamins A and C and provides some calcium, but it should be fed in moderation due to its moderately high oxalate content.
Parsley: Parsley is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, but it should be fed in moderation as it contains moderately high levels of oxalates.
Feeding Guidelines: How to Properly Serve Greens to Your Bearded Dragon
To ensure that your bearded dragon receives the full nutritional benefits of these greens, follow these guidelines:
- Chop the greens: Finely chop the greens to make them easier for your bearded dragon to eat and digest. Be sure to remove any tough stems.
- Rotate the greens: Provide a variety of greens to prevent boredom and ensure a well-rounded diet. Rotate between the different types of greens mentioned in this article.
- Wash the greens: Always wash the greens thoroughly to remove any pesticides or contaminants that may be present.
- Serve fresh: Feed your bearded dragon fresh greens daily to maintain their nutritional value.
What To Do If Your Bearded Dragon Won’t Eat Greens?
If your bearded dragon is not eating greens, it’s essential to address the issue to ensure they receive a balanced diet. Here are some tips to encourage your bearded dragon to eat greens:
- Gradual introduction: If your bearded dragon is new to eating greens, introduce them slowly. Start by mixing a small amount of greens with their preferred food (such as insects) and gradually increase the proportion of greens over time.
- Variety: Offer a variety of greens to find out which ones your bearded dragon prefers. Rotating the types of greens can also keep their diet interesting and encourage them to eat.
- Chop and mix: Finely chop the greens and mix them with insects to make it more appealing to your bearded dragon. This can encourage them to eat greens along with their favorite insects.
- Presentation: Experiment with different ways of presenting the greens, such as arranging them in a shallow dish or scattering them on the floor of their enclosure. Bearded dragons may be more inclined to eat greens if they are presented in a visually appealing manner.
- Freshness: Ensure that the greens are fresh and crisp, as bearded dragons may be more likely to eat greens that are in good condition.
- Hand feeding: Try hand-feeding your bearded dragon greens to build trust and encourage them to eat. Be patient and gentle during the process, as it may take some time for your bearded dragon to feel comfortable eating from your hand.
- Adjust feeding times: Experiment with different feeding times to determine when your bearded dragon is most likely to eat greens. Some bearded dragons may prefer eating greens in the morning, while others may be more inclined to eat in the evening.
- Check for health issues: If your bearded dragon consistently refuses to eat greens, consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues that may be affecting their appetite.
- Monitor temperature and lighting: Ensure that your bearded dragon’s enclosure has the appropriate temperature gradient and UVB lighting. Proper environmental conditions are crucial for maintaining a healthy appetite and promoting digestion.
- Be patient: It may take time for your bearded dragon to develop a taste for greens, especially if they are used to eating insects. Remain patient and persistent, and continue offering a variety of greens regularly.