Vegetables are important for bearded dragons to grow healthy and strong. Without the proper minerals or vitamins, beardies will have a pretty tough time staying away from illnesses. Well, tomatoes are not exactly vegetables as you already know– they’re classified as a fruit. A juicy vitamin-packed fruit we throw into our salads, burgers and whole meals thanks to the health benefits and savory taste. However, fruit and bearded dragons carry quite a different story than you would expect. Since tomatoes are nutritious fruits, can you feed them to your beardie?
Tomatoes can be fed to bearded dragons, but only in minimal amounts. Although they’re nutrient-packed, they contain phosphorus that is toxic to beardies, especially at the hatchling and juvenile stages. So, even though bearded dragons CAN eat tomatoes, it should be a treat that you feed to your pet once in a while. Not as a daily salad item.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing what tomatoes hold for your bearded dragon and how you can navigate feeding them to your pet in the safest way possible. Let’s get into it.
4 Great Ways Beardies Can Benefit From Eating Tomatoes
As a home pet/ bearded dragon in captivity, they have unlimited access to nutrients that come rather rarely in the wild. Here are some nutrients that can come from tomatoes that your beardie can utilize:
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is recommended for bearded dragons to heighten their chances of fighting diseases and staying healthy. Little amounts of vitamin C goes a long way in reinforcing your bearded dragon’s immunity and keeping them safe from day-to-day bacteria whether ingested or accumulated through cuts. 28% – 30% of one tomato is filled with vitamin C, making it a pretty good source of vitamin C for your beardie.
2. Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9 is also known as folate. This vitamin is the essential vitamin needed to regulate and encourage cell formation. Precisely, it provides a helping hand to hormones that instigate cell formation. Your female bearded dragon can benefit from tomatoes once in a while before and during pregnancy.
3. Vitamin K1
Vitamin K, also known as phylloquinone, is responsible for developing platelets in the blood and clotting. It also contributes to building up the bone marrow and bone mass in the little amounts that are consumed.
4. Vitamin A
Vitamin A improves the eyesight and skin of your bearded dragon. It is usually found in many food items, but also in tomatoes that happen to be notorious. At least your beardie gets “eyesight-encouraging” vitamins as they eat the tomatoes.
The Best And Only Way To Feed Bearded Dragons Tomatoes
Tomatoes need a little bit of preparation before your beardie can consume them. They need to be thoroughly washed to erase the prints of fertilizers and pesticides, skinned, and the seeds need to be removed. Now, you’ll also want to find a ripe tomato. It shouldn’t be green or too squishy. The tomato should be firm and red. If you grow tomatoes in your home, then that tomato is the best you can get as it would be free of the major chemicals used to plump the fruit and keep the bugs away.
In essence, you only need the inner skin of the tomato; the part covering the inside where all the seeds reside. You’ll find that this part packs more of the crunch factor in comparison to other parts of the tomato, and that is exactly what you need.
Before you feed it to your beardie, the tomato needs to be diced into pieces just big enough to fit between your bearded dragon’s eyes so that they can eat the fruit easily without getting choked or bloated.
To reduce the risks of your beardie falling into the trap of metabolic bone disease, you’ll need to incorporate calcium supplements (view on Amazon) into your dragon’s tomato salad. (More about MBD down below.)
How Much Of The Tomato Does My Beardie Really Need?
Your bearded dragon needs only half of an average-sized tomato and nothing more. If you feed your dragon any more than this, it will probably vomit the tomato or end up with diarrhea.
How Frequently Should I Feed My Beardie Tomatoes?
Once or twice a month is just fine for beardies. It truly doesn’t take that much fruit for problems to occur, so you’d have to be careful with how your dragon ingests tomatoes. To be on the safest side possible, go for once a month. After all, your beardie might not even care for tomatoes that much seeing as there are other options.
2 Good Reasons Why Beardies Should Not Eat Tomatoes Daily
Tomatoes are not so healthy for beardies to consume. They carry a chemical that will pass as a toxin if your pet consumes them. Here are the reasons why tomatoes may be a bad choice for your beardie:
High Phosphorus Content
When you’re feeding your bearded dragon fruit, you have to be cautious of the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. Calcium has to supersede phosphorus for the fruit to be safe for your pet. In the case of tomatoes, phosphorus is three times greater than calcium. Phosphorus is a calcium binder that attaches itself to calcium rendering it useless for your beardie to utilize.
The more phosphorus there is, the less calcium your bearded dragon gets. This situation is potentially dangerous to baby beardies as they’re more at risk of contracting metabolic bone diseases than adult beardies are. MBD seriously affects the bone density, causing it to be brittle and weak. It is accompanied by deformities and the inability of the bones to recover from physical trauma.
Too Much Water Content
Another thing to consider when feeding your beardie fruit is just how much water is available. While watery fruits are good for you, they’re essentially dangerous to your beardie. Too much hydration can lead to diarrhea and then dehydration because their small bodies simply are not built to store water in high amounts. Remember, beardies are the rulers of deserts where water is minimal. Feeding your bearded dragon too much tomato is similar to you drinking warm milk for a whole day– you can imagine how that will go.
What Happens If My Beardie Accidentally Eats Too Many Tomatoes?
Despite the toxins, the most that can happen immediately is a stomach upset followed by lethargy. Due to the high acidity of tomatoes, your bearded dragon will vomit the fruit, which honestly is a good thing. If your pet throws it out, then you have less to worry about. If this is not the case, the problem may manifest as diarrhea and stomach ulcers. This is also pretty dangerous but is not immediately lethal.
The possibilities of metabolic bone diseases are also there, but your beardie has to eat tomatoes frequently over time for this to occur. Or at least, eat too many tomatoes while they’re still hatchlings turning into adults.
What Can I Do About This?
The best thing you can do if your beardie eats too many tomatoes is to visit the vet. Your veterinary doctor will inspect the situation and decipher the gravity of the problem with a corresponding solution. Diagnosis and medication will be administered if there’s a need, and your beardie will be fine in no time.
At home, you can prepare baths for your bearded dragon to help them poop and rehydrate the proper way. Soak your beardie in shallow water for 15 to 20 minutes and watch their demeanor improve.
Can I Feed My Bearded Dragon Canned Tomatoes?
Certainly not! Canned or processed foods are terrible for beardies. They do not need the extra chemicals that come with processed foods, and surely do not have the proper means to digest them.
Are There Any Alternatives For Tomatoes For My Beardie?
If tomatoes are way over the top for your liking (rightly so), you can seek better alternatives like bell peppers that can be fed daily and strawberries that can be fed weekly. They’re much safer and easier to prepare for your beardie, too.
The Rating – ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ Or Not?
Concluding, tomatoes are truly not all that. The care and process you need to carry out before you feed them to your beardie are not worth feeding them just once a month. For this, I rate tomatoes for bearded dragons 4.5/10!
However, beardies enjoy what they enjoy. So, if your pet likes tomatoes, you just might feed them a treat for being a good boy or girl. After this article, you should be able to make good choices and know what to expect in every step like a pro. Good luck!