When it comes to feeding vegetables to our pets, the names that come to our minds are the ones that we usually eat. And when it’s about feeding a unique pet like a bearded dragon, most of the owners think of vegetables like spinach. But can these reptiles actually eat spinach?
Bearded Dragons can eat spinach. But we don’t recommend feeding it to them too much and too often. As the vegetable comes with high-dose of oxalates, it can be fatal to the reptile and can cause major health issues like MDB. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give it to them on a risk-free proportion with certain intervals.
Now the question is, how much should you feed the reptile, and how often? And even if you mistakenly mess with the feeding proportion, what can be the consequences? Well, for that, we’ll have to dig a bit deeper. So, why wait? Let’s get started!
4 Benefits of Feeding Spinach to Bearded Dragons
There’s no way to deny that bearded dragons can get some of the nutrients they need from spinach. But that doesn’t mean it should make up the bulk of their diet. That’s because giving them too much of it might cause a bunch of health problems. However, spinach, when included in a balanced diet, can bring in the following benefits.
1. Nutrient Source
It’s possible to get your bearded dragon a large amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron from spinach. As vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, it can aid in the immune system function of the reptile.
And vitamin A is necessary for the beardie’s good eyesight and skin. Plus, spinach is a good source of iron. We guess you already know how much your beardie needs iron to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen across its body.
2. Variety in Diet
Giving your bearded dragon a wide selection of veggies is a great way to keep them from becoming bored. Plus, it makes sure they get the nutrients they need. While diversity in the veggies offered is key, keep in mind that not all vegetables are appropriate for bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons shouldn’t eat iceberg lettuce or rhubarb, two foods that are poisonous to them. But Spinach, on the other hand, is a perfect choice if provided in a balanced proportion.
3. Fiber Content
Thanks to its high fiber content, spinach is beneficial for digestive health. In case you didn’t know, bearded dragons need a high-fiber diet to maintain good digestion and avoid constipation.
4. Good Calcium-Phosphorus Ratio
If there’s anything you’re looking for in spinach to call perfect, then go for its calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. You probably already know that phosphorus can inhibit calcium absorption.
But for that, the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio has to be at least 1:1 and ideally 2:1. And guess what? That’s the category spinach falls into. The thing is, being a member of the 2:1 ratio bracket, spinach is an excellent choice for this supplementary calcium.
Why You Shouldn’t Feed Spinach to Bearded Dragons Daily?
We probably know what you’re thinking. If spinach is so good and not toxic for beardies, then what’s wrong with giving them a daily dose of the vegetable, right? Well, there are some problems that spinach can trigger, and we bet you don’t want them for your reptile.
1. Kidney Damage
Spinach is literally filled with Oxalates. But that’s not the worst part – it’s the oxalates found in spinach that can cause the formation of harmful calcium oxalate stones in the body. These stones can build up in the urinary system and kidneys over time, which doesn’t only cause kidney injury but other complications as well.
2. Nutritional Deficiencies
It’s quite obvious that a single vegetable can’t bring in all the nutrients a bearded dragon needs. So, when given in excess, spinach can cause nutritional deficits in beardies because it displaces other essential foods. Needless to say, spinach, while healthy, is not a sufficient diet on its own and should be supplemented with other greens and meat.
Overfeeding spinach to a beardie can cause gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea. The reason is quite simple. Spinach is high in fiber content, and not even bearded dragons can digest that kind of fiber at once if given in an excessive proportion.
This might sound a bit unbelievable, but bearded dragons can become dehydrated from eating too much spinach. Guess who’s the culprit here once again? Yes, the oxalates. Actually, oxalates are abundant in spinach, bond to calcium, and block the body’s intake of water, which ultimately leads to dehydration.
How Much Spinach Should You Feed a Bearded Dragon?
It’s quite clear that spinach is a healthy supplement to a bearded dragon’s diet. But we can’t recommend feeding it except in small amounts. That’s because its high oxalate content can cause kidney stones, and clearly, that’s bad for any reptile. So, bearded dragons shouldn’t have more than ten percent of their food come from spinach.
And if you’re asking for the frequency, spinach should be offered no more than once or twice weekly in an amount no larger than their head. In case you’re too much into spinach, you can mix it up with other vegetables to make a balanced but varied diet. But make sure you’re not using too much of it.
By the way, if you’re expecting that all the bearded dragons love spinach, then sorry to say, but you’re wrong. Some of the beardies may not respond well to spinach, and others might simply hate the flavor or texture of the vegetable. And yes, bearded dragons can have adverse reactions to any greens as well. So, keep an eye on how they do on that diet.
Before We Go…..
Well, that goes for only one vegetable. But what about the others? We know there are questions in your mind about those too. If so, then let us make it easier for you to get your answers. Check out our blog on – What Fruits Can Bearded Dragons Eat? and clear up all the confusions you’ve got about your reptile’s diet.