Bearded dragons are very gentle, docile, and easy-to-handle reptiles. There are always a variety of options for you to feed your pet. Along with insects and fruits, there is a list of vegetables that you can treat your dragon with. But can bearded dragons eat broccoli? Broccoli is from the cabbage family and has numerous benefits for human beings. It is considered one of the most healthy vegetables due to its benefits for us but are these benefits the same for bearded dragons?
To begin with, yes, beardies can eat broccoli safely. It can be a part of your pet’s balanced diet. However, you must know all the potential benefits, downsides, and nutritional facts about broccoli before feeding it to your beardie. We will enlighten you with all the necessary details you need to know about feeding broccoli to your pet lizard starting with the nutritional fact file.
Nutrient Values Of Broccoli
A responsible caretaker must analyze the nutrients and their respective values in the meals he/she is giving the dragon. The number of nutrients shows a crystal clear image of the health consequences of the food. Below is a nutritional chart with confirmed and authentic values from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
|Total lipid (fat)||0.37||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
Why Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli?
There are multiple reasons that keep broccoli on the green list for beardies. It has many benefits for these creatures if it’s fed in limited amounts and not too often.
1. Vitamin K
Broccoli contains a decent amount of the essential vitamin K. This vitamin plays a key role in bone metabolism and keeps bones healthy. Vitamin K also improves blood clotting and regulates the blood calcium levels in the body.
2. Vitamin A
Like most veggies, broccoli also contains a good amount of vitamin A. It strengthens the eyesight of both humans and reptiles and also prevents night blindness.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins as it plays many roles in the physiology of a creature. It fortifies the immune system and helps in the growth, maintenance, and repair of tissues. Plus, it is also beneficial for the development of bones, teeth, and cartilages. Vitamin c also aids wound healing and boosts the process of healing.
Importantly, broccoli also contains potassium which greatly helps in regulating blood pressure. It also helps with muscle contractions and prevents any kidney diseases.
5. Low Sugar
Like most vegetables, broccoli is also very low in sugars. The low amount of sugar helps to prevent obesity and many other issues related to it. It prevents high blood pressure, kidney diseases, and liver issues too. A low sugar diet is always a healthy one for pet beardies as they are enclosed in their shelters and have little activity.
Interestingly, broccoli is high in protein content. Usually, beardies depend on insects for their protein needs, however, broccoli meets their protein needs too. Protein helps in the growth of muscles, tissues, and bones.
Downsides Of Eating Broccoli
Although broccoli has many beneficial nutrients, it can still prove to be harmful due to some of its properties. Therefore, broccoli should be fed only in controlled amounts.
Firstly, this green contains more phosphorus than calcium and so has poor calcium to phosphorus ratio for the health of beardies. Excessive phosphorus prevents the absorption of calcium in the blood and makes the body calcium deficient. The lack of calcium can then cause many issues in the body such as metabolic bone disease, dental issues, and weaker bones.
Moreover, there also exists a considerable amount of oxalates in broccoli. The oxalates are another cause of calcium deficiency as they bind to the calcium molecules to form a compound that prevents calcium absorption in the blood. An excessive amount of oxalic acid may also cause kidney stones in the body.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli?
Considering both the pros and cons of eating broccoli, you must not feed broccoli regularly to your pet. You can only feed a small portion of broccoli once or twice a month, depending on the age of your dragon. Remember that broccoli has a high rate of phosphorus and oxalates and feeding this vegetable too often can make it sick and result in fatal conditions.
Yes, bearded dragons cat feed on broccoli and gain all its benefits such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It also helps to increase muscle health and blood regulation with potassium and prevents obesity with its low sugar characteristic. Moreover, it contains proteins for the growth and development of a young dragon.
However, broccoli is high in phosphorus and oxalates, both of which inhibit the absorption of calcium in the blood and cause calcium deficiency. Low calcium results in metabolic bone disease, dental problems, and weaker bone development. Therefore, a caretaker must only feed broccoli once or twice to his beardie to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to feed broccoli to bearded dragons?
Firstly wash the broccoli thoroughly, and get rid of all the dirt. Then put the broccoli in a bowl of cold water for a better standard of cleaning and softening the broccoli. Once the broccoli is free from all dirt and chemicals, chop the vegetables into smaller pieces of florets and leaves. Cut the stalk out and feed a small portion of broccoli to your pet.
Can bearded dragons eat broccoli stems?
Broccoli stem does not contain any harmful compounds but it is very tough to chew and digest. It can easily choke the beardie due to its hard structure. Therefore, do not feed the stalk to your pet. Always chop it out before feeding it.
What other vegetables can I feed my bearded dragon besides broccoli?
There is a list of safe vegetables that are healthier than broccoli and can always be an option for your beardie. These vegetables include bell peppers, collard greens, bok choy, mustard greens, turnip greens, squash, carrots, Swiss chard, beet greens, watercress, cilantro, parsley, kale, dandelion leaves, prickly pear, escarole, etc.
Emma is a pet enthusiast, and her way with words makes her an expressive writer. Her interests lie in healthcare and planning nutrition for various pets. She has two girls, and she’s passing her passion to them through occasional volunteer projects in the small neighborhood zoo. Emma joined our team as an enthusiast and has added more years to her experience by researching more about various creatures!