Vegetables are a big part of a bearded dragon’s diet, but which veggies are safe to feed them?
Is broccoli one of those vegetables?
We want our pet lizards to stay safe and healthy, so we need to learn more about what acceptable vegetables are for beardie foods.
So how about those little green trees we call broccoli?
Are they suitable vegetables for our bearded dragons?
Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
Can Bearded Dragon Eat Broccoli?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat broccoli—but only broccoli in moderation. Too much broccoli is bad for your bearded dragon, as it contains substances such as oxalic acid, which is harmful to their health.
Everything in moderation is a good rule all around, too—you should never forget to feed your pet lizard a varied diet with many types of plants, fruits, and protein.
To better understand the health benefits and health complications of broccoli when it comes to bearded dragon diets, we’ll need to consider what’s going on inside these veggies.
What properties of broccoli make it a safe food for these creatures, and what properties are keeping it on the list of foods to feed them rarely?
Let’s take a look at the nutritional profile of broccoli in the table below.
Don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you afterward!
Nutrition Facts For 100g of Broccoli
|Nutrient||Amount (per 100g)|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||1403µg|
|Ca:P (Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio)||1:1.4|
What Do We Like About Broccoli For Bearded Dragons?
While the story of broccoli for our pet lizards isn’t all good, there are plenty of nutritional benefits making this veggie one of the safe and even positive treats for your reptile friend.
- Potassium supports muscle function, prevents kidney problems, lowers water retention, and regulates blood pressure.
- Dietary fiber encourages a well-functioning digestive process (aka preventing constipation).
- Vitamin C fortifies the immune system and aids the growth and reproduction processes.
- Vitamin A is good for vision.
- Vitamin K regulates blood clotting and leads to better bone health.
- The high water content (about 90%) makes broccoli a hydrating vegetable.
Broccoli also contains antioxidants which prevent inflammation, as well as compounds (like iron) keeping the blood properly oxygenated.
And at 2.82 grams of protein per 100 grams, broccoli is relatively high in plant food protein.
While most of your pet’s protein will come from insects like roaches, worms, and crickets, it only helps to be giving them more through plant material.
All in all, there’s a reason we’re encouraged to eat broccoli as humans—this piece of produce has a lot to offer, and this goes for our beardies as well.
Cons For Broccoli And Bearded Dragons
Despite all the pros of this veggie, we can’t forget there are reasons why it’s not meant to be one of the staple foods in our beardies diet.
So what’s the problem?
Like cucumbers—another vegetable to feed your bearded dragon only on occasion—there’s a story behind the Ca:P (Calcium to Phosphorus) Ratio (see the last entry in the nutrition table above).
While broccoli has a decent amount of calcium at 47 mg, it has higher phosphorus levels than it does calcium (this is why the ratio is 1:1.4, bigger on the phosphorus side).
This calcium ratio is a red flag because when phosphorus and calcium interact, the phosphorus prevents the calcium from entering the bloodstream.
This block to calcium absorption can lead to a deficiency of this mineral and, at extreme levels, can lead to severe health conditions such as metabolic bone disease.
Unfortunately, broccoli’s other dark secret is the oxalic acids it carries.
Like phosphorus, oxalic acids bind to calcium and hinder the necessary calcium intake your bearded dragon needs. Too much in the way of oxalic acids leads to kidney stones.
Other vegetables high in oxalic acid to avoid overfeeding are spinach, swiss chard, kale, and beet greens.
How Often Can I Feed My Bearded Dragon Broccoli?
Knowing the risks may outweigh the benefits here, it’s best to keep the presence of broccoli to a minimum in your beardie’s balanced diet.
While it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian, we recommend limiting feedings of broccoli to your bearded dragon to once time per month; maybe twice is plenty.
This veggie is undoubtedly a nutritious food and won’t harm your pet dragons outright, but as a rule of thumb, broccoli should only make a cameo in your beardie’s salad bowl every once in a while.
And consider adding a calcium supplement to your bearded dragon’s diets if you’re worried they’re not getting the right amounts of calcium!
When I Do Serve Broccoli, How Should I Prepare It?
When the moment does arise, how should you present the broccoli to your bearded dragon?
Here are some preparation steps to keep in mind:
- It’s vital to wash all veggies you plan to serve your pet lizards. Often pesticides remain on the outside or harmful bacteria from being handled along the way.
- Offer it raw, as raw broccoli has a more robust amount of nutrients than the cooked version.
- The darker green, flowery heads are best since broccoli stalks are harder to chew.
- Cut the florets and outer leaves into tiny pieces before serving to prevent your bearded dragon from choking.
Other Thoughts On Broccoli And Bearded Dragons
Another thing to note is broccoli is more suited for adult dragons than baby bearded dragons.
When bearded dragons are young, they have a more carnivorous diet and should consume more protein from a wide variety of insects.
Adult beardies require more fresh veggies.
With room for many types of vegetables in a more veggie-rich diet, an adult bearded dragon can handle and even benefit from a bit of broccoli now and then.
Other baby-safe veggies to serve are yellow squash, bell pepper, butternut squash, pumpkin, and green vegetables like mustard greens, collard greens, and dandelion greens.
Here’s our post on feeding bearded dragon collard greens if you want more information.
Technically, yes. Broccoli is one of the acceptable vegetables for bearded dragons, and the benefit of broccoli comes from its range of nutrients.
However, this veggie should not be a preferred food item—you should only feed it to your beardie once every 2-4 weeks.
As far as suitable vegetables go, this one isn’t top of the list.
Due to oxalic acids and phosphorus ratio to calcium, too much broccoli can cause a lack of calcium and other health problems.
You’re better off keeping this food as a special treat and favoring a mix of vegetables for your reptile’s salad bowl instead.
The bottom line is: a variety of food is key to your bearded dragon’s diet, and other food items should take precedence.