Is it safe to feed apples to a bearded dragon?
What kind of nutritional value do apples have?
Are there healthier food options you should offer to your bearded dragon instead?
It is essential to understand your bearded dragon’s dietary needs because proper nutrition is vital to prevent diseases and encourage healthy growth.
In this article, we will discover if apples are a safe food for bearded dragons, as well as which foods you should include in your beardie’s diet and which ones to avoid.
Table of Contents
Can A Bearded Dragon Eat Apples?
Bearded dragons will happily eat an apple, and they may do so every week. Apples are one of the safest fruits to include in a bearded dragon’s diet regularly.
Bearded dragons should not eat apples every day, however.
An adult beardie’s diet should consist of 20% insects and 80% plant matter, with only 10%-20% of those plants being fruit.
Fruits contain high amounts of sugar, which is very unhealthy for bearded dragons.
Too much sugar in a bearded dragon’s diet will lead to possible tooth decay, obesity, liver disease, and diabetes.
If your beardie is fed sugar over a long period, it may suffer from heart failure and die.
Always be sure to peel an apple before feeding any of it to your bearded dragon.
The thick apple peel is not only difficult for your beardie to chew, but it also poses a choking hazard.
What is the Nutritional Value of Apples?
Apples offer many nutritional benefits to your bearded dragon.
They contain essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C, fiber, potassium, iron, and carbohydrates.
Vitamins A and C boost your bearded dragon’s immune system along with its vision, reproduction, and growth.
Your beardie needs the fiber to help regulate its digestive system and prevent constipation.
Potassium regulates blood pressure, aids in muscle function, and prevents kidney problems, while iron helps the blood get sufficient oxygen.
Apples also offer a substantial water content to keep your beardie hydrated.
Red and green apples are safe for your bearded dragon, but green apples contain more fiber, potassium, protein, and iron.
How Do You Feed Apples To A Bearded Dragon?
To feed an apple to your bearded dragon, you must first peel the apple and cut it into tiny pieces.
You should also remove the stem, seeds, and pieces of the core because a bearded dragon cannot digest these parts of the apple, and they may cause impaction.
Impaction is a condition where the digestive tract becomes blocked with indigestible material, and the bearded dragon cannot defecate.
If impaction is not treated, it may cause death.
The best way to avoid the seeds and core is simply to cut the peeled apple’s outermost flesh.
This outer flesh is softer and easier for your bearded dragon to eat than the harder apple pieces close to the core.
You should observe your bearded dragon the first few times you feed it apples to make sure it is not struggling to swallow the pieces.
If your beardie makes coughing noises or struggles to eat the apple pieces, these are signs the pieces were cut too large.
Keep in mind you should not feed your bearded dragon apples or any other fruit more than once per week as a snack.
The high amounts of sugar in apples and other fruits will cause serious health problems in bearded dragons if they are not fed in moderation.
What Are Some Other Healthy Food Options for Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning their diet should include a variety of insects as well as plant foods.
Some excellent live feeder insect choices are crickets, waxworms, cockroaches, and small locusts.
For optimal nutrition, these insects should be gut-loaded 12-24 hours before feeding them to your bearded dragon.
This period allows the insects to properly digest the nutrients from their food, passing to the bearded gecko.
Insects do not offer all of the necessary nutrients, and many are high in phosphorus.
A high amount of phosphorus will inhibit a bearded dragon’s ability to metabolize calcium and other trace minerals.
A calcium supplement should be added to counteract the high amount of phosphorus and provide the bearded dragon with essential nutrition.
This is done by gently sprinkling the calcium powder onto your bearded dragon’s food up to three times per week.
Due to high sugar content, fruit should only make up around 10% of your bearded dragon’s diet.
In addition to apples, the healthiest fruit options are figs, mango, papaya, and dates.
These fruits should all be cut into tiny pieces and only given once during the week as a snack.
Since vegetables and leafy greens make up most of a bearded dragon’s diet, it is best to choose foods containing the most nutrition.
The healthiest vegetable options are peas, green beans, zucchini, squash, sweet potato, and bell pepper.
We have a post on feeding zucchini to bearded dragons if you’d like to learn more.
Some excellent choices of leafy greens include kale, collard greens, parsley, clover, dandelion greens, Romaine lettuce, and turnip greens.
In addition to a balanced diet, you should always provide your bearded dragon with clean freshwater every day.
You may need to change the water and clean the water dish more than once a day since bearded dragons are known to defecate in the water.
What Foods Should You Avoid Feeding to Your Bearded Dragon?
Even though leafy greens and vegetables should make up the largest portion of your bearded dragon’s diet, there are certain plants you should never feed to your pet.
Rhubarb is incredibly toxic to bearded dragons, and if accidentally ingested by your beardie, you should seek veterinary care immediately.
Although not toxic, iceberg lettuce is another food to avoid because it lacks any nutritional value, and it may cause diarrhea due to its high fiber and water content.
Avocadoes, beet greens, and spinach should not be given to your bearded dragon because of the high amounts of oxalates and other chemicals they contain.
Oxalic acid affects the absorption of calcium and increases the chance of metabolic bone disease.
There is no cure for metabolic bone disease, and it is often fatal for bearded dragons.
You should never allow your bearded dragon to eat a firefly or any other insect which lights up, as they are highly toxic to bearded dragons and may even cause death.
There are also several highly toxic wild plants, and bearded dragons should never ingest them.
These plants include amaryllis, daffodils, lilies, ivy, and philodendrons.
The following table illustrates which foods are safe and unsafe for bearded dragons to eat, so you will have a quick reference available.
|Type of Food||Safe for Bearded Dragons||Unsafe for Bearded Dragons|
|Insects||Crickets, waxworms, cockroaches, and small locusts||Fireflies, lightning bugs|
|Fruit||Apples, figs, mango, papaya, and dates||Avocadoes|
|Vegetables||Peas, green beans, zucchini, squash, sweet potato, and bell pepper||Onions, garlic|
|Leafy Greens||Kale, collard greens, parsley, clover, dandelion greens, and turnip greens, Romaine lettuce||Iceberg lettuce, rhubarb, beet greens, and spinach|
|Wild Plants||Aloe, parsley, basil, oregano, and mulberry||Amaryllis, daffodils, lilies, ivy, and philodendrons|
There are many safe food options for bearded dragons, but you should be aware of which foods are toxic.
While apples offer many nutritional benefits to bearded dragons, they should only be fed once a week as a snack.
Fruits contain high amounts of sugar and should only make up around 10% of your beardie’s diet.
The outermost flesh is the safest part of the apple for a bearded dragon to eat.
The apple peel, stem, seeds, and core pieces should not be eaten because they may cause impaction in bearded dragons.
Providing your beardie with the proper selection of nutritious foods is essential for maintaining healthy growth and long life.