If you’re snacking on some popcorn, is it OK to share with your bearded dragon?
Are your human snacks appropriate to share with your reptile friend?
A great owner likes you wants to ensure your bearded dragon gets a proper diet filled with all the nutrients they need.
You might be worried about what might happen if a bearded dragon eats something which isn’t suitable for it.
This is a normal feeling among bearded dragon owners, especially since there are so many foods which bearded dragons should not eat under any circumstances.
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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Popcorn?
Popcorn is not safe for your bearded dragon to eat. In the worst cases, an unpopped kernel may expand in your pet’s digestive system, causing digestive impaction or choking.
A lot of popcorn also comes loaded with extra fat and seasonings.
This is especially true of movie theater and microwave popcorn, which also come laced with preservatives and chemicals, which may cause other issues.
In any case, a piece of popcorn does not have much nutritional value for a bearded dragon.
While plain popcorn you have popped from the kernel yourself may be a bit safer and do less potential damage, it may still cause digestive problems.
If your bearded dragon accidentally eats a piece of popcorn, pay attention to their poop and make sure it comes out.
Bearded dragons can usually digest popped popcorn without issues, but you still want to make sure it comes out.
An unpopped kernel may pose more of a problem.
If your bearded dragon starts acting strangely after eating the piece of popcorn, contact your veterinarian.
Strange behavior for a bearded dragon may include non-brumation inactivity, lack of energy, and loss of appetite.
Supervise any time your bearded dragon spends outside of its enclosure.
This will minimize the risk of your pet eating something off the floor.
Cleaning the space regularly will also help eliminate inappropriate food crumbs.
It might seem rude not to share your human snacks with your pet.
However, many human snacks contain either toxic or not good ingredients for your bearded dragon or are not good to eat regularly.
It is best to stick to foods you know are safe and healthy.
What About Sweet Corn?
Sweet corn, like you would find on the cob, is OK to feed your bearded dragon on a once-a-month basis.
Though it provides adequate amounts of essential nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin C, it is a vegetable with more phosphorous than calcium.
If a bearded dragon eats too much phosphorous, it will interfere with calcium absorption in the bloodstream and bones, causing calcium deficiencies.
If allowed to continue without treatment, a calcium deficiency may cause metabolic bone disease (MBD).
Other veggies, like bell pepper and carrot, have similar amounts of vitamins A and C, with less phosphorous and potassium.
Your bearded dragon can eat these vegetables more often for their benefits.
If your bearded dragon likes to occasionally munch on sweet corn, make sure it is raw, not canned, or cooked.
Cut off the bottoms of the corn kernels, which may cause internal damage.
What Snack Foods Are Unsafe For Bearded Dragons?
Yes, there are a few human snacks which are not good for your bearded dragon.
One is peanut butter.
Peanut butter is processed and usually contains added sugar.
Even if it doesn’t have any added sugar, peanut butter is far too high in protein and fat.
Don’t just consider safety when it comes to food; you also need to consider the nutrients.
Are there enough right nutrients to justify the food?
Although adult bearded dragons need some protein and fat, overeating could cause serious health issues like obesity and gout.
Stick with sources of protein and fat, which are guaranteed suitable for your bearded dragon, like mealworms, crickets, dubia roaches, and superworms.
Peanuts also contain goitrogens, substances which interfere with iodine absorption in the thyroid gland.
Besides peanuts, which contain more phosphorous than calcium, any vegetable, fruit, or legume, which is high in goitrogens, should only be fed to your bearded dragon on occasion.
Any meat prepared for human consumption is not appropriate for your bearded dragon.
All animal meats are higher in phosphorous than calcium.
Like with sweet corn, feeding your reptile pet lunchmeats, ground beef, or chicken may result in metabolic bone disease.
Meat is also loaded with additives, which may be toxic to your bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons eat insects in the wild for their protein needs, not rotisserie chicken or ground beef tacos.
Though grapes are a great choice for bearded dragons, raisins are not.
Raisins are higher in sugar than grapes and may cause kidney and liver damage.
Citrus fruits, like lemons, limes, and oranges, are far too acidic for a bearded dragon to eat.
Repeated acid consumption may result in digestive damage and issues.
It may seem smart to give them the extra Vitamin C, but the toxicity in the oranges and other fruits will only cause illnesses when provided to any large degree.
How Do I Make Sure I’m Giving My Bearded Dragon A Balanced Diet?
With all this information and the variety of foods you should avoid, you might be wondering if there is any way to guarantee proper nutrition and a balanced diet for your pet.
While we agree it takes some work to nourish and feed a bearded dragon properly, we recommend making it easier on yourself by drawing up weekly and monthly feeding schedules and keeping them close to your bearded dragon’s enclosure.
We also recommend keeping a list of fruits, vegetables, and insects your bearded dragon loves to eat.
Your bearded dragon’s feeding schedule and how many times they are fed insects during the week will change depending on their age and health condition.
Babies have higher protein and fat needs than adults and should be fed insects, fruits, and veggies multiple times a day while they are still growing.
As bearded dragons grow, they will need less animal protein and only need to be fed once a day.
Bearded dragons generally reach adulthood at around 18 months of age.
Transition to serving 75% greens, vegetables, and fruits and 25% insects.
Giving your bearded dragon a variety of fruits and veggies will provide them not only with complete nutrition but will also help with their mental enrichment.
Make sure to cut any fruits or veggies into properly-sized pieces before feeding.
A great rule of thumb is not to give your bearded dragon anything bigger than the space between their eyes.
Make sure only to feed foods which are high in oxalic acid sparingly.
Though they do not cause as much of a problem with calcium absorption as higher phosphorous foods, greens like kale and fruits like strawberries and blueberries should still be rotated with plant matter with fewer oxalates.
Foods with higher phosphorous ratios to calcium, like sweet corn and bananas, should also be fed less frequently.
Consult your veterinarian if your pet’s diet needs to change because of any diseases or health conditions.
Popcorn is not generally safe for your bearded dragon to eat.
If your pet accidentally eats a popped kernel, make sure it gets digested fully.
Contact your veterinarian if your beardie begins choking or acting strangely.
A feeding schedule and a list of their favorite foods may help you balance and effectively rotate what you feed your baby or adult bearded dragon.