All of you must have used fruits like apples, bananas, and grapes as a treat for your beardies at some point. But have you ever thought of feeding them dragon fruits?
Can bearded dragons eat dragon fruits? Yes, they can, but only in a limited proportion. Dragon fruits are healthy for bearded dragons when fed in moderation, but when fed in excess, these fruits can also be detrimental to their health. While you need to remove the skin of dragon fruits before feeding them to your pets, their seeds are completely safe for them.
In this article, we’ll learn when to feed it to your dragon and what to watch out for. This article is mainly aimed at those already familiar with the bearded dragon diet and who want to know more about this specific food source.
Are Dragon Fruits Healthy For Beardies?
This question is most essential whenever you are about to make a new addition to your pet’s diet. So, can dragon fruits contribute anything to your pet’s health? In order to find that out, you will first have to learn about the nutritional content of these fruits.
To make it more convenient for you, we have curated the table of dragon fruit’s nutritional value below. Check it out:
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.05 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.15 mg|
|Vitamin C||20.6 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||22.6 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||8.6 mg|
|Iron, Fe||1.8 mg|
|Dietary fibers||3 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
While these fruits are not as nutrient-dense as apples, oranges, or bananas, they still contain a considerable amount of nutrients. Are you wondering how many of these nutrients can be useful to your pets? Let’s find out:
- Dragon fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which is essential for the strong immune health of all animals, including your beardies.
- They also contain minerals like Calcium and Phosphorus, which are essential for strengthening your pet’s bones.
- Dragon fruits are rich in Fibers, which means that they can help your pet in digesting everything they eat with ease.
- These fruits have almost negligible fat content, so your pet is not at the risk of becoming overweight by eating them.
- They also have a high water content to keep your pet hydrated for longer periods.
Risks Involved With Feeding Too Many Dragon Fruits To Beardies
Now that you’re all caught up with the advantages of dragon fruits for your pet’s health, it’s time for you to take the risks involved into consideration as well.
While dragon fruits are indeed healthy, there are three issues your beardies can face if they eat too many of these fruits:
Too much acid
Many of you might not know this, but the small, black seeds present inside the dragon fruits are rich in fatty acids, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid.
While these acids are healthy when fed in moderation, if your pet beardie is eating too many of these fruits on a regular basis, the acids can irritate their stomach lining and might also lead to heartburn and indigestion eventually.
Improper Ca:P ratio
As you can see in the nutritional table of dragon fruits above, the quantity of phosphorus in these fruits is much more than calcium (roughly 22 grams phosphorus and only 8 grams calcium in 100 grams of dragon fruits).
This creates a Ca:P ratio of 1:2, which is improper for the beardies, that need the Ca:P ratio in their food to range between 1:1 and 2:1 ideally. This is because the phosphorus in their body binds with calcium, preventing them from using it.
Therefore, feeding them too many dragon fruits will cause a deficiency of calcium in their body, ultimately leading to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). Some common MBD symptoms in your beardies that you should look out for are:
- Involuntary shaking or tremor in their body (particularly the limbs)
- Softened or swollen lower jaw
- Weakness and lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Fragile bones
- Limb paralysis
- Stunted growth
High sugar content
As with every other fruit, dragon fruits contain sugar as well. However, the sugar in these fruits is a combination of both glucose and fructose.
While glucose is not so troublesome for your pets, it’s fructose that is the main problem; reptiles like beardies are unable to digest fructose, which is why too much of it in their diet can lead to a number of digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation.
While the risks involved with feeding dragon fruits to beardies mentioned above might sound too severe, don’t let it terrify you.
These health issues are indeed dangerous, but they will only trouble your pets when you’re being careless with their diet and feeding them too many dragon fruits.
As long as you practice moderation with these fruits, you have no reason to worry. We would recommend you to feed them 4-5 grams of dragon fruits once in two weeks.
Is It Safe For Beardies To Eat Dragon Fruit Along With Its Seeds?
Whenever we are about to feed our pet beardie any new fruit, its seeds are always a prime concern for us. This is because we know how certain seeds (apple and orange seeds) contain toxins that can degrade their health and even affect their longevity.
In the case of dragon fruit seeds, do we have reasons to worry? No. The seeds of dragon fruits contain no compound or chemical that can have a negative impact on your pet’s health and are, therefore, completely harmless for them.
Moreover, these seeds are also rich in fibers and contain many fatty acids (including omega 3 fatty acids), making them a healthy choice for your beardies.
Another common issue with fruit seeds is their size; if the seeds of the fruit are too big, they could pose a choking hazard for your pet, and their hulls might also block the beardie’s digestive tracts, leading to the painful condition of impaction.
Luckily, dragon fruit seeds are far too small to trouble your pet with both problems. Therefore, we can conclude by saying these seeds are safe for your pet and needn’t be removed while feeding dragon fruits to them.
Can Beardies Eat The Skin Of Dragon Fruits?
Different people have different opinions about the skin of dragon fruits. Some claim that they’re poisonous, while others believe that they are great for mood upliftment. Recent research has shown that dragon fruit skin is rich in antioxidants, fibers, and a number of vitamins.
So, does this mean that we can eat them? While we can, the whole process will be difficult and tiresome for us, because their outer skin is quite tough.
But what about our pet friends? Can they eat the skin of dragon fruits? No, unfortunately not. If the skin can be difficult for us to break down, imagine how challenging it would be for your little reptiles to digest them.
Apart from the problem of digestibility, there’s another issue with feeding dragon fruit skin to beardies: the threat of pesticides. As we already know, most commercially-grown fruits and vegetables are sprayed with chemicals that can be toxic for your pets.
And while most of these chemicals can be washed away, there are some that are persistent and can get into your pet’s body, making them sick. Therefore, it would be best not to try feeding beardies the skin of dragon fruits at all.
How To Feed Dragon Fruits To Beardies?
If you’ve never fed dragon fruits to your pet before and are confused about it, don’t worry. The process is very straightforward, and we’re here to guide you through it.
The first step of the process involves purchasing dragon fruits. Make sure that the fruits you buy for your pet are fresh, and if possible, purchase organic ones for them. When you bring these fruits home, you’d want to wash them first; if you’ve bought commercially-grown dragon fruits, you need to be thorough while washing them.
We’d recommend you soak the fruits in lukewarm water for about 5 minutes, to get rid of all the chemicals or bacteria that might be present on the surface.
Once your dragon fruit is clean, you can begin to prep them for your beardies. There are two simple ways you can go about it: either peel off the whole skin of the fruit or simply cut it into two halves and scoop out the inner flesh (the latter alternative takes less effort).
Now, if you’ve scooped out the flesh of the fruit, you can serve a tablespoon of it to your beardie. In case you’ve peeled the skin off, cut the fruit inside into small, bite-sized pieces and offer them to your beardie.
Conclusion: Can Beardies Eat Dragon Fruits?
To conclude, bearded dragons can eat dragon fruits safely in moderation. The seeds of these fruits are safe for their consumption as well. However, if you want your pet to remain healthy, avoid feeding them too many of these fruits.