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Can Bearded Dragons Safely Eat Broccoli?

Can bearded dragons eat broccoli?

Short answer, yes…but it’s not as simple as just throwing it in their salad and calling it a day.

As always there are a few things to consider before adding it to your beardie’s diet.

Keep reading to learn more!

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli?

a cute bearded dragon crawling on a branch of tree

Again, short answer, yes, bearded dragons CAN eat broccoli. The better question, though, is WILL they?

Just like humans, broccoli is an acquired taste for your reptilian pal.

So don’t be surprised if your beardie doesn’t appear excited about you serving broccoli.

We’ll talk more about how to make it more appealing in a few moments.

First, let’s dig deeper into the benefits and drawbacks of this cruciferous veggie.

Why is Broccoli Safe For Bearded Dragons?

several pieces of fresh broccoli: can bearded dragons eat broccoli?

Broccoli contains a range of nutrients that are important for your pet.

For example, it’s loaded with, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, folate, high water content, manganese, iron, and fiber, amongst other nutrients.

Let’s take a closer look at how those nutrients help keep your beardie healthy.

  • Vitamin A and C helps keep your beardie’s eyes healthy, aids in growth, and boosts the immune system.
  • Vitamin K supports your dragon’s bone health and helps with proper blood clotting.
  • Potassium plays a vital role in heart health and muscle function.
  • Folate is important for overall cell health.
  • Iron keeps the blood oxygenated.
  • Fiber, on the other hand, is essential for digestion.
  • Manganese aids body metabolism and prevents inflammation.

On and on goes the list. 

Unlike many other fruits or veggies bearded dragons can eat, broccoli has low sugar content. The sugar level in whatever you feed your pet is extremely important to avoid health issues.

Check out this video:

Why is Broccoli Not Absolutely Safe For Beardies ?

In light of all those beneficial nutrients mentioned above, there’s no doubt that broccoli is good for your dragon. However, as with all good things, there are drawbacks.

Broccoli has healthy amounts of calcium but a disproportionate ratio of calcium to phosphorus. From the nutritional profile, we can see more phosphorus to calcium ratio, and this spells doom.

Vets recommend a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of at least 1:1 or higher calcium ratios than phosphorus.

When there’s more phosphorus than calcium, there’s less calcium intake (a key nutrient) in your beardie’s body.

This puts your pet at risk of developing metabolic bone disease (MBD) because of calcium depletion.

MBD leads to a frail, physically inactive beardie with weak bones, deformed skeletal structure, and even possible paralysis.

Broccoli also contains oxalic acid. Calcium binds to oxalic acid and hinders calcium absorption when it partakes in biochemical reactions in the body.

Knowing when and how to serve broccoli to a bearded dragon is key, so let’s discuss that in a bit more detail.

How Do I Serve Broccoli to Bearded Dragons?

First, remember that broccoli is great as an occasional treat, not as a sole source of nutrition. I like to think of it in terms of a TV show. Broccoli is that “special guest appearance,” not a series regular or star of the show.

As for the broccoli itself, stick with organic veggies only. They cost a bit more, yes, but you’re only buying enough for an occasional treat. So the extra few pennies are worth it.

Before serving, wash thoroughly. That goes for every fruit and veggie that goes into your beardie’s salad.

Washing is important to get rid of pesticides, herbicides, and other contaminants that negatively affect your beardie.

After thoroughly cleaning, cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces for your beardie. Don’t just toss in whole pieces, as your pet can choke on them.

Toss the pieces into your beardie’s salad and serve. Easy, peasy!

Wondering what other veggies to put in that salad? For example, can bearded dragons eat cabbage?

Purchase our new e-book for a complete feeding guide:

Bearded Dragons Feeding Guide
  • Hartley, Alina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 132 Pages - 07/14/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli, too?

Broccoli has so many beneficial benefits for your pet, so you’d think it would be perfect for baby beardies, right?

baby bearded dragons in their dig box substrate

Wrong. The answer is a big fat “no,” because your baby beardie doesn’t necessarily require all of those nutrients just yet.

As a rule of thumb, a baby bearded dragon diet should be 80% insects and 20% plants (adult dragons are the reverse).

Factoring in the drawbacks and considering that your baby beardie only needs 20% plants ,it isn’t worth the risk to feed broccoli.

Also, broccoli is pretty tough for your baby beardie; they could choke from consuming it.

Find healthier and less risky plants to feed your baby beardie.

Frozen Or Cooked Broccoli, Which is Best?

Neither frozen nor cooked broccoli is best for your beardie. The truth is fresh vegetables or raw broccoli are always the best for your pet.

Frozen broccoli has lost a good part of the nutrients that should have been beneficial for this reptile.

Nevertheless, if you have to feed them frozen broccoli, make sure you thaw it to room temperature and mix them with fresh veggies before feeding them to your pet.

Cooked broccoli has also lost a good portion of the beneficial nutrients your beardie needs. Contrary to frozen foods, you should never feed your pet cooked foods.

Imagine this reptile in its natural habitat. Do they get to cook their meals? That’s enough reason never to feed them cooked food. Cooked food could irritate the digestive system or have worse effects on your pet.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli Sprouts?

broccoli sprouts on a bowl: can bearded dragons eat sprouts?

No. Broccoli Sprouts have high contents of oxalic acids and goitrogens. Both of these nutrients are bad for your beardie.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli Stems?

bearded dragon stems; can bearded dragons eat stems?

Yes. In fact, Broccoli stems and leaves contain more beneficial protein nutrients than you think. However, you MUST chop them up first. Otherwise, they pose a choking hazard.

FYI, the same answer applies to “Can bearded dragons eat broccoli leaves?” too.

Also, in both cases, don’t overdo it. The high water content in stems and leaves can cause diarrhea.

FAQs

Can beardies eat broccoli?

beardie on top of a glass table

Yes. Nevertheless, beardie owners must feed them in small portions and rarely because they contain oxalic acid and high phosphorus content that inhibits the absorption of calcium. 

How often can bearded dragons eat broccoli?

1-2 times monthly is just good enough. Suppose you feed them frequently or in abundant quantities. Your beardie is at risk of developing metabolic bone disease.

Can I feed my beardies, broccoli sprouts, stems or leaves?

Do not feed them sprouts as they contain nutrients toxic to your beard. You can feed them very a very small piece of broccoli as long as you chop/shred them.

Conclusion

You can feed your beardies broccoli in moderation as long as you stick to the instructions in this guide. Good luck with caring for your pet!

References

  • “Bearded Dragons – Diseases.” 2021. Vca_corporate. 2021. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-diseases.
  • “Broccoli.” 2021. SNAP Education Connection. 2021. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide/broccoli.
  • Gardiner, John. 2019. “Bearded Dragon Care.” Animal Health Topics / School of Veterinary Medicine. April 12, 2019. https://healthtopics.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/health-topics/exotics/bearded-dragon-care.
  • “Lizard with Metabolic Bone Disease – Reptiles Magazine.” 2011. Reptiles Magazine. December 2011. https://www.reptilesmagazine.com/lizard-with-metabolic-bone-disease/.
bearded dragon with open mouth

Do bearded dragons like broccoli? How about your beardies? Please share your experiences below!

Alina Hartley
Alina Hartley

Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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