Offering your bearded dragon the best foods possible is very important for maintaining proper health. Not only should you offer wholesome foods, but you should also vary the diet often.
Imagine if you ate the very same foods three times a day every day. That would get very boring pretty quick, wouldn’t it? You would also deprive yourself of the nutrients offered from a large variety.
If you ate nothing but hamburgers every day for months, you would most likely increase many health risks, and your general health would likely decrease. This is why most doctors advise us to eat a varied diet.
The same could be said for bearded dragons!
If you feed your bearded dragon nothing but crickets for months and months, he may begin to develop a deficiency in many of the needed vitamins and minerals not contained in crickets.
If you begin to introduce dubia roaches, horn worms, wax worms (as seldom treats), butter worms, and Phoenix worms as part of a balanced mixture of insects and include the proper mixture of fruits and vegetables, your bearded dragon’s overall nutrient intake will vastly improve.
It is also very important to add supplements to any food offered, and to gut load any insects before feeding.
One of the most frequently asked questions by bearded dragon owners is, “What are the best foods to feed my bearded dragon?”. Well, here is an easy list of the best foods for a bearded dragon.
The Best Foods for a Bearded Dragon
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Green Beans
- Snap Peas
- Sweet Potato
- Yellow Squash
- Bok Choy
- Carrot Tops
- Celery Leaves
- Cucumber (peeled)
- Kohlrabi Leaves
- Swiss Chard
- Bell Peppers
- Celery Stalks
- Green Peas
Greens and Vegetables to Feed Rarely or Never
- Beet Greens
Avocados, beet greens, and spinach are high in oxalic acid (oxalates), which is a calcium-binding agent that limits the absorption of calcium. Feeding these foods regularly can increase the risk of Metabolic Bone Disease and other issues. They should be feed very seldom, if at all. It’s best to avoid them all together just to be safe.
Lettuce should not be fed to a bearded dragon (or any other reptile, really) because it lacks any real nutritional value. Lettuce is made up of mostly water, and feed it to bearded dragons can lead to diarrhea.
Small amounts of lettuce can be fed if the bearded dragon is suffering from dehydration, but be careful how much you feed. Feeding too much lettuce can lead to diarrhea which in turn, worsens dehydration. Peeled cucumber is a better option in this scenario.
Tomatoes can be fed to bearded dragons every now and then (like once every six months or so). Tomatoes are very acidic and can be difficult on their digestive system.
- Prickly Pear (Cactus Leaves)
- Honeydew Melon
Fruits to Feed Seldom or Never
- Any Citric Fruits
Citric fruits are high in citric acid and can be difficult on a bearded dragon’s digestive system, especially with babies. It’s best to avoid feeding any citric fruits.
- Roaches (ex. dubia roaches
- Horn Worms (or Goliath Worms)
- Butter worms
- Earthworms (rinsed)
- Phoenix worms
- Wax worms
Insects to Never Feed
- Fireflies (lightning bugs)
- Boxelder Bugs
- Wild-caught Insects
Fireflies and Boxelder bugs are very toxic to bearded dragons and should never be feed to them. Wild-caught insects could be hazardous if they have been in contact with chemicals. It’s advised to avoid feeding your bearded dragon any wild-caught insects.
The staple insects should make up the largest portion of the insect offerings. The occasional insects can be added in as a supplementary portion, or offered as the seldom treat, of the insect diet. Remember that plant matter and insects should be offered daily. The percentage of plant matter to insects will vary depending on the age of the bearded dragon.
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If you are interested in more detail information on bearded dragon diet and nutrition, we welcome you to check out our Bearded Dragon Care Sheet.