bearded dragon handbook

Get our pet owner's guide for bearded dragons and help your special friend live its best life.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cat Food?

Are foods for other pets also good for bearded dragons?

What should be the staple parts of a beardie’s diet?

One of a keeper’s primary responsibilities is feeding their beardie a healthful and balanced diet. 

It’s essential to understand your pet’s best options and understand why your beardie needs to diet it should have. 

After all, pets rely on people to keep them healthy and strong. 

This article will discuss whether beardies can safely eat food for cats, which nutrients are most necessary in a dragon’s diet, and what a balanced diet entails.

can bearded dragons eat cat food

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cat Food?

Dragons should not eat food made for cats, regardless of whether it’s wet or dry. This food is too high in protein, phosphorus, and fat, all good for cats but bad for beardies.

On a very occasional basis (for example, when you run out of regular food and must give your dragon an emergency meal), a little bit of cat food might do the trick. 

But it should be a very rare meal and certainly never a staple food in your beardie’s diet.

What About Dog Food?

Dry dog food is a slightly better choice for feeding dragons, but it is still not at all ideal for everyday meals. 

Dogs require much less phosphorus and much more calcium than cats, which aligns them with reptile nutritional requirements. 

If dragons are fed dog food, be sure to use premium dry kibble. 

Soften it before feeding it to your beardie.

Since you need to spend the cash on food for your dragons anyway, you might as well get the most bang for your buck. 

We’ll discover much better choices below, like crickets, worms, roaches, and salads.

Nutritional Concerns Of Cat Food For Bearded Dragons

There are many excellent reasons why people shouldn’t feed their dragons cat food. 

High levels of protein and fat and calcium depletion, are the two most serious considerations.

High Protein And Fat Content

Dragons require protein in their diets, but they must receive it through insects like crickets, roaches, and worms. 

You must feed animal products like beef, pork, chicken, and even chicken eggs sparingly because of high fat and cholesterol contents.

Dragons’ digestive systems are not designed for processing large amounts of fats and protein. 

A steady diet of high-fat foods could very well lead to dangerous weight gain and kidney and liver diseases.

Calcium Depletion Through High Phosphorus Levels

Calcium is not as essential for cats as it is for reptiles like dragons. 

Your beardie must receive daily doses of calcium through healthy salads and dark leafy greens, as well as through dusted calcium supplements.

The relationship between phosphorus and calcium is an important one to be aware of. 

Phosphorus binds to calcium and renders it inactive, making it impossible for dragons to glean the mineral’s benefits.  

If dragons ingest too much phosphorus, it doesn’t matter how much calcium they consume.

Because of this, dragons require a proper calcium-to-phosphorus of at least 1:1.5.

An even-better ratio would be 1:2 or 1:3. 

Ensuring each food item has around twice as much calcium as it does phosphorus, owners provide their dragons with sufficient calcium intake.

What Kinds Of Foods Should Bearded Dragons Eat?

Beardies require a mix of insects, vegetation, salads, and fruits in their diet. 

The proportion of each depends on the age of the dragon. 

This table shows a good guideline:

Age of DragonsPercentage of InsectsPercentage of VegetationPercentage of Fruits
Baby (0 to 5 months)80%20%None/minimal
Juvenile (5 to 17 months)50%50%10% of vegetation (5% of total diet)
Adult (17+)20%80%10% to 20% of vegetation (8% to 16% of total diet)

The older dragons get the fewer insects and the more salads they need to eat. 

Fruits should always be considered an occasional treat with some (but not many) nutritional benefits.

What Are Staple Foods For Bearded Dragons?

Dragons can eat hundreds of different foods. 

However, a select few are truly healthy foods and should be considered part of their staple diet.

Insects For Dragons

People should serve their dragons these bugs as staple food items:

  • Butterworms
  • Cockroaches
  • Crickets
  • Dubia roaches
  • Earthworms
  • Kingworms
  • Lobster roaches
  • Locusts
  • Orange head roaches
  • Phoenix worms
  • Silkworms
  • Waxworms

Roaches are good choices as long as they aren’t too large and their exoskeletons aren’t too hard.

Young dragons require more insects in their diet and more frequent feedings. 

Expect babies to eat two or three times each day. 

Dragons moving into adulthood will eat less frequently, eventually only requiring an insect feeding every day or two.

Vegetation For Dragons

Dark leafy greens must make up a large majority of dragons’ diets. 

These are by far the healthiest options for your beardie. 

Check out these staple veggies:

  • Arugula
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Hibiscus
  • Mulberry leaves
  • Mustard greens
  • Nopales (cactus)

Have mixed salads with these items available to your beardie every day.

Fruits For Dragons 

The healthiest fruits are those with lower levels of citric acid and sugar. 

No fruit should ever be a consistent part of dragons’ diets, but they are useful as an occasional treat or to sweeten up salads if your beardie is reluctant to eat.

Here are the healthiest fruits available to dragons:

  • Apples (without the peel)
  • Apricot
  • Blackberry
  • Blueberries
  • Cherry (no pits)
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Dragonfruits
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry

These fruits, and other treats like pumpkin and squash baby food, are possible solutions for constipation, as well.

Final Thoughts

Cats have very different nutritional requirements than dragons, so it’s not a great idea to feed your beardie cat food.

Dragons require high calcium, low phosphorus, and low fat. 

It is necessary to feed them insects like roaches, crickets, and worms for their protein source. 

And equally necessary to feed them salads of dark, leafy-green vegetation and occasional fruits.

Stick to this diet, and you’ll have a happy and healthy dragon who will be a fantastic companion for years to come!

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