Bearded dragons are great pets, but if you’re new to keeping and breeding bearded dragons you might have questions about what to feed them. Some people assume that bearded dragons eat blueberries and that they can eat as many as they like. Let’s find out if this assumption is correct, and if not, which fruits are safe for your bearded dragon.
Can bearded dragons eat blueberries? Bearded dragons love the sweet taste of fresh blueberries, especially when they’re healthy and organically grown. The nutritional value of blueberries is impressive for bearded dragons because they contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and magnesium, an essential mineral that bearded dragons need to stay healthy.
Beardies, being a sucker for sweet treats that they are, will never turn down these berries when offered. Moreover, the nutritiousness of blueberries makes them both healthy and tasty treats for beardies. The seeds present inside these berries are also safe for their consumption. However, if you want your pets to benefit from eating blueberries, it would be best to limit their blueberry intake to once a week.
Are you wondering about the advantages of feeding these berries to your pets? Or are you confused about how to best feed them to your beardies? Whatever your queries are, this article holds an answer to them all. Stay with us till the end to learn everything you should know before adding blueberries to your beardie’s diet.
Are blueberries healthy for bearded dragons?
As you must already know, beardies are omnivores, with 80% of their diet consisting of plant-based matter (in adulthood). However, fresh, leafy vegetables make a large part of their plant-based diet, with fruits consisting only 5-10% of it.
Before you add blueberries to your beardie’s diet, it is essential to learn how they can contribute to your pet’s health. That’s what we are going to talk about in this section.
The table below contains information about the nutritional composition of blueberries. Take a look:
|Vitamin A||59 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.037 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.041 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.418 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.124 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.052 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||6 mcg|
|Vitamin C||9.7 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.57 mg|
|Vitamin K||19.3 mcg|
|Iron, Fe||0.28 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.24 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||8.88 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||12 mg|
|Selenium, Se||0.1 mcg|
|Magnesium, Mg||8.88 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.057 mg|
|Potassium, K||77 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.336 mg|
|Dietary fibers||4.2 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
Despite their small size, blueberries are loaded with nutrients, as you can witness in the table above. Let’s look at some of the health benefits of these berries for your beardies:
- Blueberries have a chock full of antioxidants, which is excellent news for your pets. These antioxidants fight the free radicals in your pet’s body and protect their cells from oxidative damage.
- They’re also rich in vitamin C, which is responsible for strengthening your pet’s immune health and protecting from diseases and infections.
- Vitamin K, which plays a vital role in the blood coagulation mechanism of your pets, is also present in blueberries.
- Blueberries have a moderate amount of calcium, which is necessary for strengthening your pet’s bones, muscles, and teeth. If your beardies don’t consume enough oxygen, they could suffer from Metabolic Bone Disease.
- They also contain iron, which is responsible for the transportation of oxygen into your pet’s blood. The deficiency of this mineral leads to Anemia in beardies.
- Blueberries are fiber-rich fruits. Their high fiber content can help regulate the bowel movements in your pets and improve their overall digestive health.
- The abundance of carbs in these berries can provide your beardies with all the energy they need throughout the day.
The downsides of feeding blueberries to bearded dragons
So far, we’ve learned that blueberries are delicious little treats for your beardies that can also contribute to their health. However, feeding these berries to them is only a good idea as long as you do it in moderation. Once you go overboard with these treats, they can also create health problems for your pets.
Blueberries, being berries, contain a large amount of sugar, as shown in the table above. Unfortunately, sugar doesn’t sit well with the digestive health of your beardies. Although they manage to digest small amounts of it when fed in moderation, if you’re feeding them too many blueberries, the excess sugar can lead to digestive problems like diarrhea. Sugar is also known to be detrimental to the beardie’s oral health, just as it is to ours. Feed them too many sweet treats like blueberries, and you will soon start noticing signs of tooth decay.
Another issue with blueberries is their Ca:P ratio, which is improper for your pets. You see, beardies need a large amount of calcium in their diet. And since phosphorus binds with calcium, preventing its absorption, eating foods with more phosphorus than calcium can make them calcium-deficit. Calcium deficiency is a significant problem among the beardies (and most other reptiles) and often leads to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
If you think your beardies might be suffering from Metabolic Bone Disease, these are the signs you should look out for:
- a sudden lack of appetite
- constant limping
- bowed legs
- formation of hard lumps in their legs, jaws, or spinal column
- softened lower jaw
- difficulty in movement; raising their body off the ground
If you have been witnessing any of these symptoms in your pets recently, you needn’t worry too much. Beardies that are in the initial stages of MBD can easily recover if you make the following improvements in their diet:
- Stop feeding them foods with an improper Ca:P ratio or a high level of oxalates.
- Add more calcium-rich foods to their diet.
- Feed them supplements of calcium and vitamin D if required.
Are blueberry seeds safe for beardies to eat?
Blueberries are so tiny themselves that it is hard to believe that they’d have seeds inside. But these berries contain several tiny pips buried in their flesh and are quite difficult to separate. It is true that we have been eating blueberries along with their pips since forever without any side effects. But what about your pet reptiles? Are these seeds equally safe for them?
Most beardie owners have been feeding seeded blueberries to their pets for years without any severe consequences, which would mean that these seeds pose no threat to your pet’s health. They’re also far too small to create a choking issue or impaction problem for the beardies. However, if you want to take extra precautions for your little pets, mashing the blueberries is an efficient way to removing their pips.
Blueberry leaves for beardies: safe or not?
It might come as a surprise to some, but blueberries are not the only parts of their plants with a rich nutritional value. The leaves of these plants also happen to be an excellent source of nutrients, such as vitamins C and K, manganese, potassium, and fibers. In fact, these leaves are popularly used in teas and not just because of their fragrance. Studies have shown that drinking blueberry tea can improve your brain functioning, strengthen your immune system, and prevent heart diseases.
All the health benefits of blueberry seeds might make you wonder if these could be just as good for your beardies. Since these leaves contain nothing that could be outright lethal to the beardies, it would not be a problem if your little pets munch on a couple of them. However, since there is a lack of scientific evidence about whether these leaves should be fed to beardies or not(or reptiles in general), it would be best not to make it a habit.
Can you feed frozen blueberries to beardies?
The topic of feeding frozen blueberries to the beardies is quite controversial, with different people having different opinions about it. Some pet owners believe that frozen blueberries have little to offer to their pets nutritionally and might contain pesticides. Others wouldn’t mind treating their pets with frozen blueberries.
If you have a choice between feeding your beardies commercially grown (non-organic) fresh and frozen blueberries, going with the frozen ones would be wise. It is because after going through the processing and storage procedures, frozen blueberries are likely to have a lesser pesticide residue than fresh ones.
From a health perspective, both frozen and fresh blueberries have more or less the same nutritional value. However, if you’re feeding the organic blueberries, you can pick whatever seems convenient for you.
Feeding blueberries to bearded dragons: things to keep in mind
Although we’ve covered all aspects of feeding blueberries to beardies, you might still need help preparing them for your pets. Following are some pointers that might help you in the process:
- When picking out blueberries for your beardies, always go with the fresh ones. Eating blueberries that are rotting or on the verge of it can upset your pet’s stomach.
- If you can find organic blueberries, purchase them for your pets. These are much safer for your pet’s health than the commercially grown ones.
- When you feed frozen blueberries to your beardies, make sure to leave them at room temperature for half an hour, giving them enough time to thaw.
- Whether you feed your beardies fresh or frozen, organic or non-organic blueberries, washing them thoroughly is necessary.
- Although beardies can easily eat blueberries whole, slicing them into half would be a good idea if you want to be extra cautious.
- You should only feed 2-3 blueberries to your pets at a time.
- It is also a good idea to throw in chopped veggies like kale or spinach with blueberries, serving them a salad of sorts. For your pets, it will mean more variety as well as more nutrients.
Conclusion: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Blueberries?
Bearded dragons, well known for their playful nature and fondness for blueberries, can actually eat a surprising amount of the fruit. Blueberries are incredibly nutrient-dense and contain many vitamins and minerals that can be extremely beneficial to your dragons.
Thanks for reading our blog post. We really appreciate it. Hopefully, this article answers all your questions about this topic, and make sure to check out other articles on bearded dragons as well.
For more information on feeding and caring for your beardie, keep reading!