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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbage Safely?

Can bearded dragons eat cabbage safely?

If so, which types and how often?

We’ll answer all your questions about cabbage for your pet below!

Let’s get started!

READ MORE: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kale?

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbage? 

fresh whole and chopped cabbage: can bearded dragons eat cabbage?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat moderate amounts of cabbage. These reptiles are omnivores so they are required to eat both protein and veggies.

However, while cabbage can benefit the bearded dragon as it is high in minerals and vitamins, feeding too much cabbage can be detrimental to its health.

RECOMMENDED: Is Arugula Good for Bearded Dragons?

Health Benefits of Feeding Cabbage

  1. Green and red cabbage have a lot of vitamin C which can help absorb acid and boosts the immune system of the dragon while also helping with growth and reproduction.
  2. Cabbage has a calcium to phosphorus ratio of between 1:0.7 to 1.02. The ideal ratio is between 1.5 to 2:1. Either way having more calcium is good, because phosphorus prevents the absorption of calcium and this causes major health issues. 
  3. Cabbage is not particularly high in oxalic acid and this is good because the beardie will be better able to absorb calcium. However, this needs to be taken into account with the amount of oxalates in the rest of their food.
  4. Cabbage varieties are rich in nutrients and is a good treat to be added to the beardie’s diet to can help keep the heart and bones.
  5. It also is high in dietary fiber, which is good for the gut, although too much can lead to diarrhea.

Risks of Feeding Bearded Dragons Cabbage

  • There are different variations of cabbage and some are healthier for bearded dragons than others, so you have to be careful.
  • Savoy is a particularly risky type of cabbage, as it is fairly acidic, which can lead to digestive issues. Savoy also contains high levels of phosphorus, which prevents the absorption of calcium.
  • Cabbage is moderate in oxalate levels, with 10mg of oxalic acid per 100 grams of cabbage. Beardies’ bodies are known to naturally flush out oxalates but high levels of the compound binds with calcium and prevents calcium absorption, just like high phosphorus levels.
  • This can lead to hypercalcemia or metabolic bone disease.  So, if you are feeding other vegetables with moderate-to-high levels of oxalates, you need to keep in mind the oxalate content of cabbage as well.
  • Cabbage contains goitrogens that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iodine. This can can cause problems with the thyroid gland. However, some varieties of cabbage have higher levels of goitrogens than others. 

READ MORE: Bearded Dragons Staple Greens

How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbage?

a lady chopping a fresh cabbage using a sharp knife

In general, bearded dragons can eat cabbage once a week or once every second week if you are also feeding other goitrogenic foods such as kale. It can be added a topper to their salad mix.

Wash the cabbage to remove pesticides and remove the outer leaves.  Feed no more than a small handful of the fresh inner cabbage leaves. Although, this depends on which types of cabbage you are feeding.

Related: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli?

What Types of Cabbage Should My Bearded Dragon Eat?

Green Cabbage

Green cabbage is an excellent choice to occasionally feed your bearded dragon. It is packed with vitamin C which can help with the absorption of acid.

It is relatively low in oxalates and has the ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1. However, it does contain goitrogens so it should not be fed too often.

Red Cabbage or Purple Cabbage

Can bearded dragons eat red cabbage? Red or purple cabbage is considered the best for bearded dragons as it is a good source of vitamin K and antioxidants.

It also has great calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1.5:1. In general, it has higher levels of nutrients than green cabbage. Red cabbage is the best choice for bearded dragons and is fed a couple of times per week. 

Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage

Bok choy is rich in nutrients and offers several vitamins which can help with the health and growth of the bearded dragon. It has a Ca: Phos ratio of 1:0.7, which is good and it is low in oxalic acid with only 1 mg per 100 g. 

But, it is still goitrogenic and has a high moisture content (up to 96%), so like lettuce, it can lead to loose stools. Thus, it is better avoided.

Brussels Sprouts

It is not recommended to add brussels sprouts to the beardie’s diet.

Brussels Sprouts contain more phosphorus than calcium and they have higher levels of oxalates than other cabbage types. They are also highly goitrogenic.

Savoy Cabbage

The savoy cabbage is the worst cabbage you can feed to a bearded dragon  It is highly acidic, which interferes with digestion, and is also high in oxalates. It is best to avoid Savoy cabbage altogether.

To learn more about feeding your bearded dragon, check out our new e-book!

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

FAQs

What vegetables can bearded dragons not eat?

fresh butter lettuces. can guinea pigs eat butter lettuce?

Bearded dragons should not eat vegetables that are high in oxalates and phosphorus such as spinach, potatoes, rhubarb, and leeks. This can prevent the absorption of calcium and further lead to metabolic bone disease. They should never eat alliums such as garlic or onions. Watery vegetables such as lettuce or bok choy should also be avoided.

Can baby bearded dragons eat cabbage?

curious baby bearded dragons

Red Cabbage is a good treat for juvenile beardies, so long as it is fed once a week or every second week.   Cabbage can help with bone density, growth, and overall immune health. Most of their diet should come from a variety of insects, but they should always have high-calcium, leafy greens on hand. Although most of these shouldn’t be goitrogenic.

Conclusion

Cabbage is a good treat to give adult and baby dragons and can help with the overall immune support, bone health, and growth of the beardies.

It is, however, advised you see a veterinarian before deciding on the amount of cabbage you want to add to the diet of your bearded dragon.

At most, an adult bearded dragon should get a healthy type of cabbage, such as red cabbage once or twice a week, mixed in with their other greens and just a bit of fruit. 

References

  • “A List of Low-Oxalate Foods.” 2012. Healthy Eating | SF Gate. 2012. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/list-lowoxalate-foods-5398.html.
  • “Bearded Dragons – Feeding.” 2021. Vca_corporate. 2021. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-feeding.
  • Ness, Robert. n.d. “CALCIUM & PHOSPHORUS CONTENT of SELECTED FOODS 1.” http://nessexotic.com/docs/Calcium.pdf.
  • “Pet Care Veterinary Hospital.” 2021. Petcarevb.com. 2021. https://www.petcarevb.com/pet-health-care/bearded-dragon-vet.php.
yellow bearded dragon with an open mouth

Can bearded dragons eat cabbage? Please share your thoughts on this topic 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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