Can Bearded Dragons Eat Parsley? 5 Dangers Vs 5 Benefits!

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Deciding whether or not a delicacy is safe for our pets to eat is a common struggle. With the numerous food choices we have, you’re constantly wondering if your pet can have one thing or the other. Although bearded dragons eat some plants that you eat, they are built with a functionally distinct metabolism to yours so much so that what may be healthy for you, could be toxic for your pet. This brings us to whether or not parsley is good for your dragon.

Bearded dragons can eat parsley moderately. Parsley is delicious and nutritious, but it in large quantities does not favor your beardie’s metabolism. It contains components that are unsafe for your pet to eat regularly and doesn’t entirely provide your dragon with substantial nutritional value with the little it’s allowed to eat.

Several things could go wrong when you feed your bearded dragon occasionally fed plants. To prevent that from ever happening, this discussion highlights the benefits and dangers of parsley, including how to feed it to your pet. Let’s dive!

Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon Parsley? Nutritional Values Of Parsley

If a plant is safe for your bearded dragon to consume, you can certainly feed it to your pet as long as you follow the proper way of feeding. Bearded dragons have two classes of plants they can eat; the staples and the treats. Parsley, in this case, is classified as a treat and should be fed to your beardie occasionally.

The problem with feeding treats to bearded dragons daily is the health hazard it can cause. So, even if your pet does a cute dance every time it sees parsley, you must never feed the herb to it daily or frequently.

Depending on the treat (herb) in question, the frequency of feeding will vary. Some herbs should be fed once a month and others every other week meanwhile treats like some fruits can be fed weekly. We’ll discuss the frequency and methods of feeding parsley to your bearded dragon in a moment. For now, let’s look at the nutritional value.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 100 grams of raw parsley (about 2 cups) contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 36
  • Protein: 2.97 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 6.33 grams
  • Fiber: 3.3 grams
  • Fat: 0.79 grams
  • Vitamin A: 4213 IU
  • Vitamin C: 133 milligrams
  • Vitamin K: 1640 micrograms
  • Folate: 152 micrograms
  • Iron: 6.2 milligrams
  • Calcium: 138 milligrams
  • Magnesium: 50 milligrams
  • Potassium: 554 milligrams

How To Feed Your Dragon Parsley Without Causing It To Fall Sick

Treats like herbs should be fed to your pet carefully. They hold potential risks that could end very badly for your pet if misused. Here are the 3 major points to consider before you feed your beardie parsley:

1. Choosing And Preparing The Parsley

The parsley you feed to your bearded dragon should be fresh and chemical-free. You must wash it properly to get all the residue and dirt out so that it doesn’t interfere with your beardie’s digestion. After washing, you must cut the herb into smaller pieces for your pet to eat without choking or impaction.

A rule of thumb is to cut the parts into pieces small enough to fit between your dragon’s eyes. Both the leaf and stalk of the parsley are safe for beardies to consume, however, the leaf is more nutritious and the stalk is great for cleaning the teeth. Here are the steps listed:

  • Choose fresh parsley
  • Wash properly
  • Cut into tiny bits

2. Feeding Quantity and Frequency

Your bearded dragon should eat parsley every other week and nothing more. It should also be a complement to its staple diet and not a whole veggie diet on its own. Meaning, it is highly unsafe to replace the variation of its salad with parsley for the entire day. Parsley should be eaten with other staple veggies like squash and dandelion greens.

For the quantity, parsley must never exceed 20% of your bearded dragon’s vegetable quantity for its age. For every stage of your beardie’s life cycle, there is a standard requirement in the ratio of bugs and veggies for healthy growth and should be strictly adhered to.

If you’re not sure of your pet’s age and the relative percentage of veggies it needs, the table below will help you clarify:

Age (months)Percentage
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

For instance, adult bearded dragons can eat an average palm full of greens. With this perspective, 20% is comparable to replacing a quarter of a palmful of veggies with parsley.

3. Dust With Calcium Powder Before Feeding

Calcium supplements (view on Amazon) are every bearded dragon’s best friend. It helps your beardie regulate the wastage of calcium by compounds like phosphorus and oxalic acid, which are ever present in vegetables in different quantities.

Without calcium supplements, your beardie is much more exposed to a dangerous ailment called metabolic bone disease. (Further details about this illness are explained later in the article.) Calcium supplement powder is a small price to pay to ward off this likely havoc from affecting your bearded dragon!

Quick Facts For Feeding Parsley To Beardies

Feeding Parsley To Beardies The Right WayFeeding Parsley To Beardies The Wrong Way
Great for eyesightThe risk of a deadly bone disease
Has antibacterial propertiesCan lead to malnutrition
Aids blood clottingBeardie is at risk of diarrhea
Has anti-inflammatory propertiesLiver problems due to vitamin imbalance
Boosts immunityCan cause behavioral changes in beardie
benefits of feeding parsley to bearded dragons

The Benefits Of Feeding Parsley To Bearded Dragons

Parsley has been used as a medicinal herb for its immense nutritional value. It has appeared severally in traditional medicine and is still making headway in modern medicine, as well as our dishes around the world. That being said, here’s how parsley is good for your bearded dragon:

Helps To Sustain Beardie’s Eyesight

The vitamin A in parsley is tremendous. With the little your pet may munch out of the plant, it will be getting sustainable counts of vitamin A added to its daily value. Vitamin A plays a good role in ensuring your beardie’s eyes are healthy enough to pick on the faintest signals. Vitamin A works hand in hand with the retina to replicate signals to the brain. The lack of vitamin A thereof causes your dragon to wear out the retina which leads to blindness along the line. So, the more vitamin A, the better sight your pet has.

Parsley Can Protect Your Beardie From Bacteria

Bacteria are everywhere; the enclosure, the flooring, the itty-bitty furniture, everywhere! Your beardie even has salmonella thriving in and around it. While salmonella may not be harmful to your pet, other bacteria strains might be. Parsley contains organic oils and acids that help to thwart bacteria by breaking down their protective walls.

If your beardie has an upset stomach, it could be the duty of bad bacteria. A few bites of parsley may help to control the situation. However, ensure that you check in with your vet. Parsley is not a medication for your beardie!

Parsley May Help Heal Wounds

Parsley is rich in vitamin K which is associated with blood clotting. When your beardie nicks itself perhaps by scratching against a rough surface, several organic compounds come into play to stop the bleeding and seal the wound. Without vitamin K, your dragon will be deficient in the necessary proteins needed for this process. This means that it is a potential risk of internal bleeding, infection, and blood loss.

Parsley Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation is a common result of injuries, and bearded dragons are exposed to such one way or the other. Parsley contains phenolic compounds that have been studied and proven to reduce inflammation by restricting inflammatory enzymes. Thus, your beardie can experience a faster and painless recovery.

Parsley Helps To Boost Immunity To Diseases

Vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate play good roles in boosting immunity. They are all cofactors for enabling the production of antibodies and protecting the cell from dangerous antigens by maintaining the cell membranes. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that protects the cells from destructive molecules that can cause cell damage and abnormal cell growth. Overall, parsley can improve the immune system of your beardie.

The Dangers Of Feeding Too Much Parsley To Your Bearded Dragon

Even for us, parsley is mostly used as a seasoning and too much of it can overwhelm the meal. The same applies to your beardie, only that in this case, its health is terribly at risk.

Metabolic Bone Disease

Parsley contains high oxalic acid that can bind to calcium and cause a shortage for your bearded dragon leading to metabolic bone disease. In some cases, MBD can be fatal. It seriously deforms the skeletal structure of the sick dragon and can lead to organ failures. The following video displays an unfortunate case of MBD in beardies and is honestly one of the many severe cases of the disease.

Malnutrition

Feeding your dragon too much parsley, which is an occasional herb, simply means your dragon is eating less and less of its staples. This of course can and will lead to malnutrition. If your beardie is malnourished, it is exposed to falling sick with several diseases which is surely disastrous for its life, including your monetary savings.

Diarrhea

Parsley is a high water-content herb that is not the best for beardies. When your dragon eats watery foods, it disrupts its digestive system and tampers with the consistency and frequency of its stool. If this goes on for too long, your dragon will get malnourished.

Liver Problems

Vitamin A is great for your dragon, but too much of it can stress the liver, and this problem is fatal, to say the least. Feeding parsley frequently alongside your beardie’s staple diet which is already saturated with all the vitamins it needs will cause an overload of the vitamins that are already present in the herb.

Choosey Beardie Issues

Not only can bearded dragons eat parsley, but they can also grow to absolutely love it so much that they struggle to eat other vegetables. Feeding your pet parsley frequently may create difficulty in getting your dragon to eat the staples that will provide the safety and nutrition it needs. It’s a minor problem, but it can be quite frustrating to deal with.

Can I Feed My Bearded Dragons Cooked Parsley?

The quantity of parsley your dragon can safely eat is already too insignificant to get any substantial nutrition from it. Cooking the herb is just washing away the little nutrition your dragon would have gotten out of it. It also disrupts the texture and taste of the parsley so much that your dragon may refuse to eat it. Bearded dragons should eat fresh, uncooked, and unprocessed vegetables only.

Photo of author

Medi

EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Reptiles. He is a pet lover who loves to discuss about bearded dragons and share the knowledge he gained over time about pet reptiles.