Are grapes a safe food for bearded dragons?
Are there better fruit options when it comes to nutrition?
Understanding which foods are safe and unsafe for your bearded dragon is an essential part of pet ownership.
Due to the way their body processes vitamins and minerals, bearded dragons have specific dietary requirements.
Keeping these requirements met ensures healthy growth for your beardie and helps prevent certain diseases, such as metabolic bone disease.
Metabolic bone disease does not have a cure, as once damage to the bones has been done, MBD cannot reverse it.
In this article, we will explore whether or not grapes are safe for bearded dragons, as well as safe food options and foods you should avoid.
Table of Contents
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Grapes?
Yes, grapes are a safe food for bearded dragons to eat when they are prepared properly. Bearded dragons can digest grapes both with and without the skin, but they should never eat the seeds. Grapes are high in oxalates, so they should only be fed as an occasional treat.
Oxalates bind to calcium and prevent a bearded dragon’s body from absorbing it.
Over time, the dragon’s body will become calcium deficient, and it will compensate by leeching calcium from its bones.
If too many grapes are fed over a long period, a bearded dragon will develop metabolic bone disease due to a lack of calcium.
This severe disease causes bone deformities, and there is no cure for the effects.
Symptoms of metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons include softening of the jaw, bowed legs, tremors, and the inability to walk or hold the body up from the floor.
To avoid these issues, you should not give your bearded dragon more than one grape per week.
How Should You Prepare the Grapes for Your Bearded Dragon?
Even if you purchase seedless grapes, you should still check to make sure there are no seeds.
If a bearded dragon ingests grape seeds, it may become impacted because it cannot digest them properly.
Impaction will become a very serious, sometimes fatal, illness if it is left untreated.
Bearded dragons enjoy grapes both with and without the skin with no digestive issues; be sure you thoroughly rinse the grapes in water and buy organic grapes whenever possible to avoid pesticide contamination.
Once you have washed the grape and made sure there were no seeds present, you will need to cut the grape into four smaller pieces.
These smaller pieces are much easier for your beardie to chew and digest and lowers the choking risk.
You may also cut a grape in half and rub the inside of it on your bearded dragon’s greens to encourage it to eat them.
Placing the smaller grape pieces in among your beardie’s greens is another way to get them to eat their vegetables.
Your bearded dragon will accidentally eat the greens when getting to the grape.
Just remember to offer this treat no more than one grape per week.
Does the Kind of Grape You Feed to Your Bearded Dragon Matter?
Bearded dragons like to eat any color of the grape, whether they are red, purple, or green.
You may notice your beardie preferring one color of grape over another due to the slight differences in taste.
No matter the color, all grapes have the same nutritional value and are high in fiber and calcium.
However, they also contain high amounts of oxalates, sugar, and water, which is why you should only feed them in a small amount occasionally.
Just be sure any seeds are removed before feeding a grape to your beardie, and always slice the grape into tiny, bite-sized pieces.
A good rule of thumb is never to feed your bearded dragon any piece of food bigger than the space between its eyes.
In addition to the grapes themselves, grape leaves are also a healthy food option for bearded dragons.
You may feed grape leaves to your bearded dragon more frequently than the grapes themselves, and they are high in calcium and protein.
The leaves also have low amounts of phosphorus, making them an excellent food choice for your beardie.
Are Other Fruits Good Sources Of Nutrients For Your Bearded Dragon?
While fruits are an essential source of vitamins and other nutrients not available in other foods, they are also very high in sugars, which is bad for your bearded dragon.
For this reason, fruit should not make up more than 10%-15% of your bearded dragon’s diet.
Much like humans, bearded dragons are susceptible to fatty liver disease and diabetes.
These conditions will become fatal if steps aren’t taken to improve an ill beardie’s diet.
The healthiest fruits for your bearded dragon include figs, peeled apples, mango, papaya, and dates.
These fruits are full of fiber and essential minerals such as iron and magnesium, all of which are important to the functioning of a bearded dragon’s body.
What Other Foods Should You Feed To Your Bearded Dragon?
Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning their diet consists of both plant and animal matter.
A well-rounded beardie’s diet should include live, gut-loaded insects, vegetables, leafy greens, and fruit.
Baby bearded dragons require more meat in their diet to provide them with enough protein for healthy growth.
A typical baby beardie’s diet should consist of 80% insects and 20% plants.
After 5 months, when they grow into juveniles, their diet ratio should be 50% insects and 50% plants.
Once a bearded reaches adulthood after 18 months, their diet should include 20% insects and 80% plants.
Adult bearded dragons are not growing rapidly anymore, so to avoid becoming overweight from insects’ fat content, they are gradually reduced in their diet.
In the following 3 sections, we will go over the best insects and vegetables for a bearded dragon to eat and provide information about vitamin and mineral supplements.
The Best Insects to Feed Your Bearded Dragon
- Dubia Roaches
These are all excellent choices to feed your bearded dragon.
It is also safe for bearded dragons to eat waxworms, silkworms, super worms, and mealworms, but they should only be fed as a snack because of their high-fat content.
It is also wise to lightly dust your beardie’s feeder insects with a calcium or vitamin supplement just before mealtime.
To dust insects, put a small amount of the supplement powder into a plastic container or bag, add the insects, close the container, and shake very gently to coat.
You may also very lightly mist the insects with water right before dusting to ensure the supplements stick to them.
Insects should also be gut-loaded with a healthy diet of vegetables at least 12-24 hours before feeding them to your bearded dragon to ensure they provide optimal nutrition.
The Best Vegetables and Leafy Greens to Feed Your Bearded Dragon
- Green Beans
- Snap Peas
- Sweet Potato
These are all excellent vegetable staples to include in your bearded dragon’s diet.
Leafy greens such as these are among the most nutritious greens to offer your beardie, and they are rich in calcium and fiber.
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Turnip Greens
Since vegetables and leafy greens make up such a large portion of an adult bearded dragon’s diet, it is vital to give your pet a variety of options.
Offering your bearded dragon vegetables and leafy greens when they are young encourages them to become less picky eater when they grow into adults.
Calcium and Multivitamin Supplements
Calcium is a necessary nutrient for a bearded dragon’s health, and there is often not enough calcium in even the most stringent of bearded dragon diets.
A calcium supplement powder should be dusted onto feeder insects and plant foods before every feeding of your bearded dragon.
If your bearded dragon does not get an adequate amount of UVB light every day, you may wish to add a vitamin D3 supplement, as well.
Calcium supplements are formulated both with and without D3, but it is best to use a separate D3 supplement so you are able to control the dosage per week based on the amount of UVB rays your beardie receives.
Calcium and vitamin supplements are especially vital to baby bearded dragons’ health because they are rapidly growing.
You may also wish to add a multivitamin supplement to your bearded dragon’s diet once per week to ensure they are getting a complete nutrient profile.
It is crucial to choose a supplement with beta carotene as its source of vitamin A.
Artificial vitamin A, which is found in some multivitamin supplements, is not easily absorbed by bearded dragons.
Too much will lead to vitamin A toxicity, which is dangerous for your beardie.
What Foods Should You Avoid Feeding Your Bearded Dragon?
Never allow your bearded dragon to eat fireflies or any other glowing bugs because they are toxic, along with boxelder bugs.
You should also avoid feeding your bearded dragon any venomous insects such as bees, scorpions, or wasps.
Never purchase your feeder insects from a bait shop or catch them in the wild.
Wild-caught insects are often infested with parasites, which are very dangerous to a bearded dragon.
Do not feed your beardie spinach or beet greens because they contain high amounts of oxalates, which prevent the absorption of calcium in its body.
You should never feed avocado and rhubarb to your bearded dragon because they are highly toxic and may be deadly even in small amounts.
Iceberg lettuce is not a suitable food due to its lack of nutritional content, as it is made mainly of water.
Avoid feeding your bearded dragon any citrus fruit because the citric acids will cause digestive upset.
While grapes are safe for a bearded dragon to eat, they should be fed sparingly due to their high amount of oxalates.
Always be sure to remove any grape seeds because they may cause impaction if they are ingested.
The leaves of a grape plant are an excellent source of calcium and protein, and they may be fed to a bearded dragon more often than the grapes.
Understanding the foods suitable for your bearded dragon’s diet is a sure recipe to ensuring your pet lives a healthy and happy life.