Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbage? | Benefits & Downsides Explained
Having cabbages in your kitchen is a sign of good health for you and your family. But is it the same for your pet? Can bearded dragons eat cabbage too? Well to answer your question right away, yes! As a matter of fact, many experts claim it to be one of the best ingredients for a salad.
Cabbage is one healthy leafy vegetable with loads of health benefits for both humans and lizard reptiles. But of course, our body mechanisms differ from theirs and so bearded dragons have some concerns regarding the cabbage diet unlike us. For instance, the types of cabbage really matter to these small reptiles as the health benefits differ for each different type of cabbage. Primarily, there are five types. Let us introduce you to its various types and their respective nutritious characteristics.
5 Various Types Of Cabbage
The five types of cabbage differ greatly in nutrients and hence impart different effects on the beardies. These include Bok Choy, Napa, Red Cabbage, Green Cabbage, and Savoy. Each of the cabbage types has different nutrient values and henceforth different benefits.
First on the list is Bok Choy cabbage, this is because it is the best and most recommended of all cabbage types. The characteristic that marks it top on the list is its highest calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. A sufficient amount of calcium does not allow phosphorus to cause a calcium deficiency which it normally does due to its calcium-absorbing ability. It also contains fiber and other minerals and vitamins. Moreover, it is low in fats and sugars to form an overall healthy meal. Hence, it is the most ideal cabbage for a beardie.
Napa is the second on the list and is also known as the Chinese cabbage. It also contains a good amount of calcium compared to the rest of the cabbage types that are discussed below. Its leaves are similar to lettuce and it has a milder and sweeter flavor. In addition to this, it also contains Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin A. There are almost no fats in this veggie but a very high amount of fiber. However, Napa contains a high level of goitrogen and so it should not be given very often.
Red cabbage has a lower amount of fiber as compared to the others and more importantly, it has a lower level of calcium than Bok choy and Napa. Yet, it is considered one of the best options. It has all the nutrients including vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A aids in enhancing vision, Vitamin C improves the immune system, and Vitamin K helps in blood formation. Moreover, it contains magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
There aren’t many differences between red and green cabbage. They both have almost similar amounts of calcium and also have low fats and sugars like all the cabbage types. It is also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, green cabbage is known for containing the highest levels of goitrogens, therefore it’s only best if you feed this type of cabbage only sparingly unlike the other recommended types.
At last, we have Savoy! The reason why this cabbage type is listed in the end is that it is the least recommended. Savoy is an unpopular type of cabbage when it comes to the diet of a beardie. It does not have the ideal calcium-to-phosphorus ratio because of its higher phosphorus and lower calcium levels. As a result, regular intake of savoy may cause metabolic bone disorder due to increased calcium absorption by phosphorus.
Also, savoy has a high level of Vitamin A and might cause Vitamin A toxicity with other Vitamin A-rich foods. This type is also high in acid and low in Vitamin C and K; therefore, it is best to feed Savoy rarely or not at all. Furthermore, you may also like to read Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cauliflower.
Nutrition Chart For All Cabbage Types
We have described each type of cabbage for you to decide which one should be in your bearded dragon’s salad. Here are the actual figures for you to judge the authenticity of our recommendation. These values are for 100g of cabbage.
|Energy||13 Kcal||16 Kcal||15 Kcal||31 Kcal||27 Kcal|
|Water||95.32 g||94.39 g||94.3 g||90.39 g||91 g|
|Protein||1.5 g||1.2 g||1.1 g||1.4 g||2 g|
|Fat||0.2 g||0.2 g||0.5 g||0.16 g||0.1 g|
|Carbohydrate||2.18 g||3.3 g||2.4 g||7.37 g||6.1 g|
|Sugars||2.18 g||1.14 g||1.06 g||3.83 g||2.27 g|
|Fiber||1 g||1.2 g||1.6 g||2.1 g||1.2 g|
|Phosphorus||37 mg||29 mg||24 g||30 mg||42 mg|
|Calcium||105 mg||77 mg||33 mg||4g mg||35 mg|
Benefits & Downsides Of Cabbages
Overall, every type of cabbage has common benefits. Even Though one type may be healthier than the other, the overall benefits are commendable for a bearded dragon’s diet. Firstly, cabbage has the best calcium-to-phosphorus ratio as compared to other foods. It is a rich source of calcium and therefore strengthens the bones and teeth of young and adult beardies.
Secondly, these leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin C. It helps in strengthening the immune system, healing wounds, growth, and also the repair of body tissues. Thirdly, cabbage contains Vitamin A in good amounts, so beardies feeding on cabbage develop better eyesight and are protected from night blindness. In addition, Vitamin K is also present for the formation of red blood cells, regulation of calcium levels, and bone metabolism.
Furthermore, the high amount of fiber helps in better bowel movement and a healthier digestive tract. Lastly, the wonder vegetable is extremely low in fats, cholesterol, and sugars. Therefore, your beloved pet will never face obesity or any other related diseases such as heart problems, kidney issues, and liver disorders.
Keeping the numerous health benefits of cabbage in mind, the downsides of cabbage are almost non-existent. However, they must be known by the caretaker of the beardie.
Firstly, cabbage contains a lot of water. Its water-retaining characteristic can be dangerous for lizards. Too much water can disturb the stomach and the digestive system. Excess water causes diarrhea and other digestive disturbances. Next, cabbage should be washed very thoroughly as fresh cabbage may contain dirt. The dirt may contain harmful substances.
Lastly, the savoy type of cabbage causes Vitamin A toxicity and can prove to be too acidic for your pet. Also, the high amount of fiber in cabbages can be excessive and cause digestive problems too. While having all these disadvantages, cabbage is overall a healthy vegetable if it’s the right type and is fed in appropriate amounts.
How Often Should They Eat Cabbage
Fortunately, you can feed cabbages in more quantities to bearded dragons as compared to other meals, but how often can bearded dragons eat cabbage? As per most experts, you can feed your cabbage once a week to your dragon. It is healthy to feed cabbage every week and depending upon your beardie, you can even feed them twice a week.
Can They Eat Cabbage Leaves
It is often asked if beardies can eat the cabbage leaves, well yes! It is safe to gobble up cabbage leaves for these lizards. Make sure to wash the leaves thoroughly, as it contains the most dirt and soil. Also, chop the leaves into small pieces before feeding them to your pet. The leaves have a slippery smooth texture and so can easily choke the Beardie.
Conclusively, bearded dragons can eat cabbage safely and benefit greatly from calcium, vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients. Bok Choy, Napa, and red cabbage are highly recommended amongst all types of cabbage. Whereas green cabbage is fine too, Savoy should be avoided. Moreover, it contains a high water content and so should be fed once or twice a week. Make sure to wash the cabbage and chop the leaves before feeding it to your pet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can bearded dragons eat cabbage stalks?
No, cabbage stalks should not be fed to beardies. It is hard and difficult to chew and digest by young beardies and even most adult bearded dragons. Plus, the stalk can choke the throat too. It is best to feed the main part of the cabbage which has the most nutritional value.
Can bearded dragons eat Purple Cabbage?
Purple cabbage is the other name for red cabbage. It can be safely fed to all beardies. It has a fair calcium-to-phosphorus ratio and is rich in vitamin C. It also contains minerals and other nutrients in moderate amounts.
Can Bearded dragons eat cooked cabbage?
It is best to feed only raw cabbage to pets. Cooked cabbage retains water and so adds to the already high-water content. The high-water value can cause diarrhea and other stomach disturbances. Also, the process of cooking decreases the nutritional value of vegetables, so there’s no point in putting in more effort when it’s only leading to unhealthy outcomes.
What other vegetables can a bearded dragon eat besides cabbage?
There are some other healthy and nutritious leafy vegetables for beardies too. These include Watercress, Turnip Greens, Dandelion Greens, Collards, and Grape Leaves. All of these are high in nutrition and have little or no harmful effects.
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!