If you recently got a new pet, we know that you must be excited to take care of it and feed it the right things. Your first instinct would be to select fruits and vegetables that are easily available and you like. Can bearded dragons eat pumpkins? Yes, they can, but it is best if you feed this vegetable in small amounts as an occasional treat.
There are many vegetables and fruits that can be a daily part of your bearded dragon’s diet. You can feed them a mix of fruits, veggies, and insects to offer a complete diet with all the essential nutrients that will contribute to their well-being. If you are considering adding pumpkin to your pet’s palate, get to know what is in the pumpkin. Once you understand what pumpkins are rich in and whether it suits your pet or not, you will be able to decide if it is a no-go zone or if you can allow this colorful veggie.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Pumpkin? Complete Nutrition Guide
Bearded dragons can eat pumpkins in small amounts, and that too on occasion. The various nutrients in pumpkin can be toxic for the dragons, and they may develop some serious issues if you feed them this veggie on a daily basis! Pumpkin does not have a lot to offer according to the needs of the bearded dragon, and therefore, it is better not to add this vegetable to their daily meal.
Bearded dragons are like the other reptilians as they do not require a lot of water. These creatures do not need many other nutrients that humans require. If you take a look at the nutrients in pumpkins, you will be able to understand what to feed your bearded dragon for better health. You can also check out Can Bearded Dragons Eat Blueberries.
Nutrition In Pumpkins For Bearded Dragons
Pumpkins can be a good snack occasionally, and the main reason for that is fiber. Here is a list of the other nutrients in this vegetable:
Vitamins: Pumpkins have vitamins A, and C, which help strengthen the immune system. This is why, when fed rarely, this vegetable can be good for your pet dragon. Vitamin A is good for eyesight but for bearded dragons, it must be available in moderation. Vitamin C makes the immune system stronger. Vitamin C helps build immunity against infections that these reptilians are prone to. Apart from these vitamins, there is vitamin K, E, and B6 in pumpkin as well. All these vitamins maintain heart and skin health.
Water Content: Pumpkins have high water content, and that can be a good addition to the occasional snacking ideas also. However, bearded dragons do not require a lot of water but pumpkins have a moderate amount that can suit bearded dragons.
Fiber: The reason why pumpkin is not suitable for bearded dragons is the high amount of fiber. This causes diarrhea and other irregularities in the digestive system.
Oxalates: Here is another nutrient that you can avoid for bearded dragons. Oxalates bind calcium and hinder the absorption of this mineral. If there is not enough calcium in the body, bearded dragons get weaker bones which eventually become soft and they develop Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
Phosphorus: Another risky component of pumpkin is phosphorus. This mineral also hinders the absorption of calcium in the bones. If fed in excess, your bearded dragon pet can get MBD, which leads to immobility and anxiety in bearded dragons. This disease can make bearded dragons lose their appetite as they stop moving. Moreover, they might become depressed and the situation can worsen to cause paralysis and death.
During the shedding period, hydration is an excellent idea and pumpkins can be an occasional good treat during this period. However, if fed daily, the same vitamins, fiber, and water can become a problem.
Benefits Of Pumpkins
Bearded dragons have a slow metabolism, and therefore, they do not require a lot of nutrients as their slow digestive system does not have the capability to work on these nutrients daily. Bearded dragons require a high amount of calcium and protein, and while the latter can be consumed by the treats of insects and crawlers like worms, calcium is fulfilled with vegetables.
Pumpkin cannot fulfill the daily calcium requirement, but it can be a good source of hydration and vitamins only. Also, look into Can Bearded Dragons Eat Peaches.
Too Much Pumpkin Can Be Bad For Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons have a sensitive system. Their metabolism is slow, and they are pretty picky when it comes to various vegetables. Younger bearded dragons require high amounts of calcium, and that can be fulfilled by feeding these young reptilians liquids containing vegetables. You can stick with the same routine of occasional pumpkin snacks.
Firstly, the calcium to phosphorus ratio of all the allowed foods. With pumpkins, this ratio is quite the opposite. A cup of cooked pumpkins contains around 73 grams of phosphorus, while calcium is only one-third of this amount! The high amount of phosphorus can be an issue as it reduces calcium absorption. We mentioned earlier that calcium is one of the main essential components that bearded dragons require throughout their life. Since pumpkins are very low in calcium, there is no need to make them frequent food.
In case the bearded dragon consumes high amounts of pumpkin, or you feed it to them daily without knowing what is in it, the impact can be quite harmful. The earliest symptoms of an overdose of any undesirable vegetable like pumpkins can be stress, sluggishness, and of course, softer jawbones and swollen joints.
These symptoms indicate that the calcium intake is extremely low, and the bearded dragon is getting ill and might develop metabolic bone disease. This disease can lead to extreme adversities such as paralysis and immobility due to bad joints.
What If The Dragon Eats Pumpkin Regularly
The first step to correcting an overdose of unfavorable vegetables is to take your bearded dragon to a vet. The immediate care would involve a hydration routine that will involve a drip.
The best way to get pumpkin out of the system is to increase hydration and give the dragon a laxative or something that will aid the rapid excretion of the food.
How Can I Feed Pumpkin To My Bearded Dragon
Pumpkin is a hard vegetable, and it is best to steam it slightly. Feed your bearded dragon only one small piece of pumpkin and chop it into smaller cubes. Feed raw pumpkin only, and make sure that the cubes are so small that the bearded dragon can swallow them. We all know that dragons cannot chew fully, so the vegetables must be cut so small that they can simply bite them a few times and swallow without causing choking.
Another issue with pumpkin chunks being big is that even if the bearded dragon swallows, it can cause impaction of the intestine. To avoid this, you must feed tiny chunks that are smaller than the distance between the dragon’s eyes. When you feed pumpkin once a week, stick to raw vegetables only and do not resort to pureed or canned pumpkins as they have preservatives, which can be bad for the bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons can eat pumpkins, but they cannot be an everyday meal and must be consumed occasionally. The high moisture and fiber can be good for bearded dragons, but too much consumption can be harmful as there is too much phosphorus in this vegetable. Bearded dragons need high calcium, and phosphorus may restrict absorption significantly. If you want to know more good fruits for your dragon pet, look at Can Bearded Dragons Eat Grapes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I feed pumpkin seeds to my bearded dragon?
Pumpkin seeds are hard, and cannot be consumed by bearded dragons. You must remove seeds from the vegetable when you are feeding them the vegetable. These seeds can cause a choking hazard and must be avoided. Similarly, keep pumpkin leaves and peel them off the plate at all times.
What to do if the dragon eats pumpkin regularly?
Once the dragon is active and healthy, be sure to mark the daily vegetables after consulting a diet specialist. We know that seeing your pet dragon in distress can be stressful for you too, therefore, it is best to design their daily diet according to their requirements. As for pumpkins, by now you know that they are not an everyday meal, but they can be a rare snack, especially when they are shedding!
Can I mix pumpkin with any other vegetable?
For occasional snacking, you can add pumpkin to any of the regular vegetables that your dragon pet can consume on a daily basis.
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!