A large portion of a bearded dragon’s diet is composed of vegetables and greens. However, not all vegetables are healthy for these reptiles. While some veggies are beneficial for your pet, some can prove to be harmful to their health too. Amongst the common vegetables, is the delicious cauliflower. We all know how beneficial this veggie is for humans but can bearded dragons eat cauliflower too?
To answer your query right away, the answer is yes, beardies can eat cauliflower as it does serve some benefits to the lizards, however, it is not of many benefits to beardies as compared to other vegetables. Moreover, excess consumption of cauliflower can lead to adverse health effects for your loved pet. To know more about the nutrient values, health benefits, and adverse downsides of cauliflower, you can read the article below.
NUTRITIONAL VALUES OF CAULIFLOWER
As a responsible caretaker, you must know the nutrients of the meals you are feeding your pet dragon, this knowledge will help you in understanding the effects of cauliflower better. The table below will enlighten you so that you can analyze the authenticity of our statements too. The values below are as per 100 g of cauliflower.
|Calcium: Phosphorus Ratio||1:2|
|Vitamin A||155 IU|
|Vitamin C||88 mg|
4 HEALTH BENEFITS OF CAULIFLOWER
Although cauliflower can be harmful when fed in excess, it has its health benefits when it’s given in a controlled amount. These are the benefits it imparts:
1. Low Fat And Sugar
Vegetables are best known for their low fats, cholesterol, and sugars. And just like all the other vegetables, cauliflower is also known for this. You can feed this nutritious vegetable to your beardie if you want him to remain active. The low fat in cauliflower will not only prevent obesity but also keep your pet safe from heart diseases, kidney problems, and liver diseases. While the low sugars keep your beardie’s teeth safe from dental decay and other teeth issues.
Furthermore, this healthy vegetable also contains a fine amount of fiber. Fiber keeps the digestive tract clean and helps in the smooth digestion of food. It is efficient in preventing diarrhea and other stomach problems too.
3. Vitamins And Minerals
Cauliflower contains Vitamin C, which is great for strengthening the immune system of the reptile and maintaining other body functions. It also contains potassium, which is of great importance to the teeth and bones of your pet.
4. Low Oxalic Acid
Vegetables are usually high in oxalates or oxalic acid. This chemical absorbs calcium and results in calcium deficiency. However, cauliflower contains very low traces of oxalic acid.
ADVERSE EFFECTS OF CAULIFLOWER
It will not be wrong if we conclude that cauliflower has more harmful effects than benefits. The benefits it imparts are subtle and minimal and can be received from any other vegetable. However, its two downsides are far greater and cannot be ignored.
1. Poor Calcium To Phosphorus Ratio
The calcium to phosphorus ratio is very essential for bearded dragons and caretakers should therefore check this nutritional information of every meal they are feeding. Ideally, this ratio should be 2:1, or 3:1, it can even be as much as 4:1 for young and juvenile beardies who need more calcium for their growing bones. Unfortunately, cauliflower has a ratio of 1:2. That means 100 g of cauliflower has 22 mg of calcium and 44 mg of phosphorus.
When phosphorus is greater than calcium, as in the case of cauliflower, it absorbs the calcium in the body leading to serious or fatal disorders. Low calcium in the body can cause a lethal metabolic bone disorder, and teeth problems too.
2. A High Amount Of Goitrogens
Goitrogens in the body can result in many disorders in a reptile’s body. These chemicals cause thyroid imbalances by hindering the production of thyroid hormones. Therefore, goitrogens can cause painful conditions like goiters in beardies. Unfortunately, cauliflower is high in goitrogens and hence this is another important reason why cauliflower should be fed not so often. Also, read Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelion Flowers.
HOW OFTEN CAN BEARDED DRAGONS EAT CAULIFLOWER
According to health experts, bearded dragons should only be fed cauliflower 2-3 times a month. The amount given should also be controlled as it is only safe for beardies when they consume only 6-10 grams of cauliflower in a month. Remember, excess cauliflower will become extremely harmful to your pet’s diet. You can surely feed your pet other vegetables as a completely balanced diet should be given. There are many other meal options such as worms, insects, greens, beans, fruits, and other veggies.
In the end, we can conclude that bearded dragons can eat cauliflower. However, this vegetable has more downsides than benefits due to the high amount of goitrogens and poor calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. Therefore, it should be only fed sparingly, that is 2-3 times per month, and that too in small quantities. There are many other vegetables that are high in beneficial minerals, vitamins, and calcium and low in goitrogens.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can bearded dragons eat cauliflower leaves?
Yes! As a matter of fact, cauliflower leaves are healthier than cauliflower itself. Interestingly, the cauliflower leaves contain a good amount of iron and calcium that is higher than the cauliflower. Although they contain goitrogens too, you can feed the leaves a few times a week without any harmful effects.
Can bearded dragons eat cooked cauliflower?
You can feed the cooked cauliflower but it is of no nutritional importance. The effort is useless as there are no benefits but disadvantages to feeding cooked cauliflower. The process of cooking eliminates the nutrients in the veggies and lowers their nutritional benefits. Therefore, it is recommended to feed only raw cauliflower to your pet.
How to feed cauliflower to bearded dragons?
Firstly, wash the cauliflower and its leaves thoroughly, to make sure there is no remaining dirt. Next, chop off the stalk and cut the remaining cauliflower into small pieces. The size of the cauliflower should be equal to the distance between the eyes of your dragon. Then, add the cauliflower to the salad in small amounts. Remember, cauliflower is not a staple food, so it’s best to give it with other meals as a salad topper. You can also feed it separately but only as a treat.
What other vegetables can a bearded dragon eat?
There is a list of other veggies that your pet can eat safely and are more beneficial than cauliflower, these include collard greens, Bok choy, cilantro, parsley, mustard greens, savory, broccoli, kale, watercress, turnip greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, bell peppers, 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!