Bearded dragons require a healthy diet of greens and protein to grow strong and healthy. Protein builds your pet’s body mass, while the greens are responsible for cellular functions carried out in their little bodies. The plant-based food consists mainly of vegetables, flowers, and some fruits – which is our topic of discussion today. Bearded dragons do enjoy fruit and can benefit several nutrients from them. However, not all fruits are safe for beardies to consume. So, it’s only proper to wonder if apples are safe to feed your bearded dragon so that you don’t put your pet in trouble.
Bearded dragons can eat apples and yours may totally enjoy them! Even better, apples are safe fruits for beardies to consume. Still, they need to be fed to your pet occasionally else your pet could fall really sick.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but does it work for veterinary doctors? In this discussion, we’d be scrutinizing apples to determine how your beardie can eat them and the effects of the delicacy on its health. Let’s go!
Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon Apples?
Generally, bearded dragons can do without fruit. They can survive on vegetables alone as most of them do in the wild. However, bearded dragons in captivity live longer than those in the wild because of their robust advantage in rich vitamins and minerals and basically more delicious food.
So, since apples are safe-range fruits (meaning you can feed them to beardies occasionally) and they are beneficial to your dragon’s health, you should consider feeding some to your dragon the correct way so that your pet doesn’t fall ill.
The Nutritional Value Of Apples For Bearded Dragons
Every fruit will vary based on the vitamins and minerals they dominantly possess. Some fruits are quite similar to others and thus will provide your beardie with similar benefits.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one medium-sized apple (182 grams) contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 95
- Carbohydrates: 25 grams
- Sugars: 10.4 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.3 grams
- Vitamin C: 8.4 milligrams
- Potassium: 195 milligrams
- Vitamin K: 5.5 micrograms
To interpret this list of values, you have to understand the roles that vitamins and minerals play and how it concerns your little dragon.
6 Reasons Why Apples Are Great For Beardies
Apples are great choices for bulking your beardie’s diet with extra nutrients if fed correctly. It is good for your pet to eat apples because of the quality they can add to its health.
1. Apples Can Keep Your Dragon Active
Do you suspect that your dragon is a little slower than usual? Perhaps it moves around with less vigor than it usually does? This could be a symptom of many problems and a determinant of lethargy. Your immediate response should be a visit to the vet, but apples contain a secret ingredient called quercetin that has been proven to manage fatigue. So, whilst your dragon is undergoing careful analysis, you can help the condition by safely feeding your beardie some apples. Plus, a few treats can lighten the mood. It’s a win-win situation.
2. Apples Are Energy Fuels For Bearded Dragons
When you think of carbohydrates, you immediately consider them as energy-giving foods and you’re correct! Carbs provide raw fuel that your beardie, as well as you, can convert to energy through several biochemical processes. Apples are great carbohydrate sources that will provide your beardie with the energy fuel it needs to run around its tank and play all day. Centralized with quercetin, your dragon will be fueled with energy through and through.
3. Apples Are Good For Your Beardie’s Heart
Apples contain a compound called pectin that actively participates in lowering the absorption of cholesterol during digestion. If your dragon eats too many fatty worms (which it shouldn’t be doing), the cholesterol levels will be threatening to its heart health. This is why vegetables and fruit are important; the pectin available in apples and other greens will help to regulate cholesterol and lower the risks of your beardie developing heart problems.
4. Apples Are Digestion Assistants
Everybody needs fiber to poop better, especially your pet bearded dragon that is exposed to a wider variety of food choices than its allies in the wild. Fiber isn’t digestible, so it works as a base upon which excrement is built. It also regulates the speed of digestion so that the nutrients are properly absorbed before the junk is let out. Without fiber, your dragon will suffer unnecessary nutrient loss and unhealthy frequent stools. Thankfully, apples are fibrous fruits and so, they’d make great additions to your pet’s diet.
5. Apples Are Anti-inflammatory & Antioxidant Agents
Apples contain flavonoids that help to regulate the inflammation in bearded dragons. This inflammation may occur from an injury or an infection, which could cascade into more problems if your pet cannot regulate it. In the absence of flavonoids, inflammation could steer to gangrene and longer more painful healing periods that will cause your beardie to be stressed and malnourished. It’s important to have flavonoids in your dragon’s diet to help them combat dangerous inflammation and its triggers.
6. Apples Can Protect Your BeardieFrom Cancer
Antioxidants are organic compounds that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. These free radicals are a result of toxicity from environmental factors like chemical toxins and radiation which we are exposed to day by day. They trigger abnormal cell growth that can develop into tumors or cancer. Apples are rich in antioxidants that can safeguard your bearded dragon from the possibility of cancer keeping it healthy and sound.
3 Dangers Of Feeding Too Many Apples To Your Beardie
Everything in excess is bad, and the same thing goes for your beardie’s delicious and nutritious apples. There are consequences of feeding your pet too many apples than they need, so it’s important to be aware of your limits.
Remember the carbs we mentioned earlier? Apples are high-carb fruits, and even if they may be significant to you, they’re dangerous to your beardie if fed frequently. Too many apples over time will cause your pet to put on unhealthy weight, which can weaken their immune system and cause heart and liver problems.
Stomach And Digestive Problems
Another thing to worry about is the stomach ulcers and diarrhea that too much sugar and acidity brings. Beardies can only handle a percent of what our bodies can handle, and so, too many apples can cause your dragon to fall sick. It’s not a natural requirement for dragons to eat fruit, and too much of it is bad for their stomachs.
Metabolic Bone Disease
The phosphorus and calcium ratio plays a huge part in determining how safe a plant is for your beardie to consume. Ideally, the calcium should be twice the amount of phosphorus. This is because phosphorus is essential for vitamin D metabolism, but it also clings to calcium preventing your dragon from utilizing any and causing a calcium deficiency.
Apples contain 11 mg of phosphorus and 6 mg of calcium, which means your beardie is at a loss. If this continues, it will develop a metabolic bone disease that can be fatal depending on the severity.
The Best And Safest Way To Feed Apples To Beardies – Know The Limits
I cannot emphasize how important it is to feed fruit to your beardie correctly. As we’ve discussed, the detriments of feeding excess fruit to your beardie are ugly. It’s crucial to feed the apples to your pet well-prepared and accordingly so that it doesn’t fall sick from them.
Preparing Apples For Your Beardie
- First and foremost, the apple must be ripe. Unripe apples possess dangerous amounts of acidity that can be fatal to bearded dragons, especially younger beardies.
- Afterward, you’d have to wash the apple properly with clean water to get the herbicides and pesticides off. Chemicals are not safe for beardies and they do not have the proper mechanism to excrete them as you would.
- The apple should be peeled to prevent choking or indigestion. If you noticed, the apple’s skin is a little leathery and would require extra chewing before it’s crushed properly, and beardies simply don’t have that time.
- After peeling, remember to take out the core of the apple. It contains seeds that are indigestible to beardies and should be avoided at all costs.
- The final preparatory step will include cutting up the apple for your dragon to eat safely. The pieces must be small enough to fit between your dragon’s eyes so that it doesn’t cause a choking hazard.
Feeding The Apple To Your Beardie – Rations & Frequency
The rations and frequency are highly important when you’re feeding your beardie fruit. Remember that fruit is only a treat and should be fed sparingly. Beardies should eat apples once a week and nothing more. Any more than this and there’d be trouble looming in the corner.
Out of an average-sized apple, an adult dragon can eat 3 slices the width of your pinky finger. To put this into a clearer perspective, the apple must be 20% of your dragon’s entire salad. Depending on the age of your bearded dragon, you can analyze the amount of salad it eats in a day and replace 20% of the salad with apples.
The table below will match your beardie to the quantity of salad it needs based on its age.
|0 – 2 (Baby stage)
|30% greens, 70% grubs
|3 – 6 (Juvenile stage)
|30% greens, 70% grubs
|6 – 9 (Subadult stage)
|40% greens, 60% grubs
|9 – 18+ (Adult stage)
|70% greens, 30% grubs
Tippity Tip: Adult beardies can maximize an average palm-full of salad in a day. Baby and juvenile dragons can make do with half the amount. For each of these, the amount of salad is 100%. So you can now figure out how much of the diced apples your dragon should eat.
Can My Beardie Eat Cooked, Raw, Or Processed Apples?
I call a hard pass on cooked or processed apples! Bearded dragons need all the nutrients they can get in the purest form possible. Not a watered-down cooked apple or apples marinated in preservatives. Ensure the apples are fresh and healthy for the safety of your pet.
Green Or Red Apples? Does It Matter To My Beardie?
The nutritional value of green and red apples is highly similar. However, red apples contain a higher count of flavonoids due to the red pigmentation of the fruit. They’re also sweeter than green apples which wouldn’t be a problem if you feed them to your pet with care. Green apples are firmer and more acidic which isn’t worth any value to beardies. So, red apples win this round!
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apple Leaves?
Beardies cannot and should not eat apple leaves! This is because they contain tremendous amounts of phosphorus and oxalic acid which are the key components of calcium depletion and metabolic bone disease. They can also lead to impaction and kidney problems due to the inability of dragons to digest them properly. Please, keep your beardie far, far away from apple leaves.