Can bearded dragons eat canned vegetables?
We all know that these reptiles need to eat vegetables to make up a balanced diet.
We also know that fresh is always best, but what if you’re in a pinch and canned is all you have?
Keep reading to learn if they’re safe for your bearded pal!
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Can Bearded dragons eat canned vegetables?
Yes, it’s okay to feed your beardie canned vegetables, but only occasionally.
Canned vegetables may contain too much salt and preservatives which may be harmful to bearded dragons. If possible, always stick to fresh vegetables.
Let’s face it. Not every one of us owning a bearded dragon has the privilege of having a kitchen garden where we can pluck greens to meet our pet’s vegetable needs.
Most of us are in urban areas where we do not have any gardens to call our own.
It could also be that you do not know how to plant the vegetables.
So, what do we do? We shop all our groceries from the local store. But it gets hard to sometimes find some veggies, even in your neighborhood grocery store.
The only alternative in such a case is to get canned or frozen vegetables to meet your pet’s dietary needs.
But then comes the question, are canned vegetables healthy for your bearded dragon?
Some people will say that if a vegetable is not fresh, then there is no point in eating it.
They argue that non-fresh greens lack vitamins and the necessary mineral ions.
So, they are just roughage that would aid in digestion but not provide any nutritional benefit.
What Scientists say about canned vegetables
WebMD calls rubbish on such arguments with a report that says that canned or even frozen vegetables are equally healthy.
For one, they will give you a supply of your leafy greens all year round, be it in the winter or during summer.
At the same time, they have said that canned greens have all the nutrients intact.
Some vitamins will be lost during the canning process, but all the other nutrients and essential mineral ions are retained in their true amount.
A report by the Pennsylvania State University indicates that the flavor and most of the food nutrients are retained during canning.
The report states that the only thing you will have to do before using your canned greens is to rinse them since they contain lots of sodium.
While looking at food canning, Healthline points out the three main stages: food processing, sealing, and heating.
When all this is happening, the vegetables are reduced into small sizes that your bearded dragon can swallow with ease.
Eating large morsels of food is not good for your pet as it can cause fecal impaction and exert pressure on the backbone.
During heating, all harmful bacteria are killed, making the foods safer for your pet.
How Often Should Feed Your Beardy canned vegetables?
You should feed your beardy canned vegetables only as a treat. This is because most canned products nowadays have lots of salt, sugar, and preservatives.
You also need to check the ingredients in the can.
Remember, not all vegetables are safe for beardies. If it’s a canned mix, make sure it doesn’t contain the following vegetables;
- Spinach – Spinach contains too many oxalates, which inhibit calcium intake into the pet’s body. Parsley and broccoli are other vegetables that contain a higher amount of oxalic acid.
- Lettuce – Lettuce lacks the necessary nutritional value required for beardies. It also has a higher water content level which may cause diarrhea and other digestive complications.
- Onions and garlic – These two vegetables are too acidic for your reptile friends, and they may even be toxic.
What foods to feed your bearded dragon?
Your bearded dragon will comfortably feed on canned fruits and a variety of veggies, including peas, mustard greens, green beans, alfalfa hay, collard greens, turnip greens, swiss chard, and Choy.
Baby bearded dragons need more insects than veggies. You can feed them with crickets, king worms, bait worms, earthworms, wax worms, and other feeder insects.
Adult bearded reptiles need more vegetables than they eat insects. Avoid worms or insects with too much fat to prevent a rapid weight-gain which could lead to obesity.
Here is a comprehensive article on the insects to feed your bearded dragon and insects to avoid.
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What are the benefits of canned vegetables?
Canned vegetables are affordable, easily available, and do not spoil easily.
Though a few nutrients might be lost during canning, most of them are retained and are in high quantities since the vegetable was canned when the nutrients were at their peak.
Canning kills harmful bacteria that you would really not want to get into contact with your bearded friend.
And this forms the main benefit of canning food as compared to giving fresh food to your pets.
Considerations to make when buying canned vegetables for your bearded dragon.
While it is okay to provide your dragon with canned vegetables, you need to look out for the following:
1. Avoid giving canned veggies that have sugar or sodium added to them
2. Ensure that the lining over the canned vegetables are BPA-free
3. Ensure that there are no artificial preservatives in the canned vegetables that you are buying.
What if my dragon completely refuses to eat canned vegetables?
It might happen that your bearded dragon completely refuses to eat your canned variety of vegetables.
What should you do in such a case? Well, there is one trick that you could try.
You could chop up the vegetable into small bits, mix it with your dead insects and feed this to your dragon.
At the same time, you could feed your live insects with the canned greens and then throw these live insects to your dragon.
The bearded dragon will still gain the vitamins and calcium he would have gained after eating the vegetables.
Wrap up on whether bearded dragons can eat canned vegetables
Bearded dragons can eat canned vegetables as treats or as a last resort.
While they present a better alternative since they are readily available, they may have some health risks due to the preservatives.
Besides, when it’s in season, fresh vegetables aren’t that expensive either.
Other than canned leafy greens, dragons can also eat canned insects. All these foods need to be enriched with supplements such as calcium powder and iodine.
Can bearded dragons eat canned vegetables? What are your thoughts about it? share below!
Barry Stingmore is a British content writer living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats and has a passion for writing about animals big and small.
Barry loves finding answers to your animal-related questions, the more research involved the better! You can rely on him to find the facts.