Apples are cheap to buy, taste delicious and can store for ages when done correctly. They’re understandably a popular food among many pet keepers – but can they be fed safely to bearded dragons?
Bearded dragons can eat apples as part of a varied diet.
However they should form only a small part of the overall meal, rather than being fed on their own. This is due to the high sugar content, which has the potential to cause issues to your beardie over the long term.
Feeding apples to your bearded dragon is simple enough. The fruit shouldn’t be fed whole; instead it should be finely diced, sliced or chopped into small pieces that are easy for your bearded dragon to swallow. Furthermore, any apple pips should be removed to prevent choking.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples Everyday?
Bearded dragons should not eat apples everyday.
There is a simple reason for this: apples contain high amounts of sugar.
A high sugar diet is best avoided for bearded dragons as it can lead to health problems. As in humans, a high sugar diet may lead to your dragon putting on weight. This can shorten their lifespan and may even lead to obesity over time.
Apples also have a bad calcium:phosphorus ratio, which means they are less beneficial than other foods for building and maintaining a healthy skeleton.
Instead it is best to think of apples as a treat to be fed to your bearded dragon every so often. Fed as part of a varied and balanced diet, however, they are certainly a welcome addition that most bearded dragons absolutely love.
How Often to Feed Apples To a Bearded Dragon
While there is no clear-cut answer to this question, apples are probably best fed to your bearded dragon once or twice a week at most.
It should not be considered a “foundational foodstuff” rather a nice treat to add variety to your bearded dragon’s diet.
Even during these occasional feeds it is important to offer a varied and balanced diet to your bearded dragon. Apple can therefore be fed alongside other “beardie-safe” vegetables to balance out the high sugar content found in apples.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples Raw?
Bearded dragons can eat raw apples without problems.
Arguably apples are best fed raw because they contain the most nutrients before cooking. Furthermore, eating-type apples are typically far more available than cooking-type apples.
However should the desire take you, bearded dragons will also eat cooked (stewed) apples without problems. The benefit of cooking apples is that the stewing process softens the fruit, making it less of a choking risk for your lizard.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apple Skin?
Apple skin is perfectly safe for bearded dragons. Apple skin represents a rich source of fiber for your beardie’s diet.
At the same time, some keepers do choose to remove it, to make swallowing the apple easier for your lizard. Fortunately peeling an apple before feeding it to your bearded dragon is quick and simple, so either option works well.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apple Pips or Seeds?
No, it is best not to feed apple pips or seeds to your bearded dragon.
There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, apple pips are known to contain cyanide. Secondly, apple pips can represent a choking hazard for your pet, and can potentially result in intestinal blockages as they are so difficult to digest.
As a result, it is best to remove any pips from the apple before giving it to your bearded dragon.
How Much Apple Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
It is impossible to give a definitive answer to how much apple your bearded dragon can eat as it depends on a host of factors.
Firstly, as discussed above, remember that apple should only be fed to your bearded dragon on occasion.
However when you do decide it’s time to give some apple to your bearded dragon, be sure it forms only part of their meal. The apple can be accompanied by a whole range of other safe foods to create a delicious mixed salad for your pet.
In this way apple should make up only a small proportion of the meal. Of course, exactly how much apple this represents depends on the size of your bearded dragon and of course their appetite.
What Types of Apples Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded dragons will eat any type of apple so long as it is suitably ripe.
This includes standard eating apples, cooking apples (when cooked) and even applesauce if prepared with no added sweeteners.
Nutrients Found in Apples
Like so many fruits, apples are packed with goodness. They’re a rich source of fiber, for example, which can help your bearded dragon’s digestive system working smoothly.
Apples contain plenty of vitamin C which is important for maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen formation, which makes it important for healthy joints among other things.
Apple is pleasingly low in fat and cholesterol, which can help to maintain a lean, healthy beardie. It also contains little in the way of sodium, which can negatively impact blood pressure and hydration levels.
Oxalic Acid Levels in Apples
One topic often discussed when it comes to bearded dragon diets is oxalic acid.
Oxalates can be seen as a potential threat to the health of your bearded dragon. High levels of oxalic acid in the diet can lead to the formation of kidney stones. It can also interfere with calcium absorption in the body, which is a major problem for capital lizards.
Fortunately apple is considered to have a “very low” level of oxalates.
One whole fruit contains just 1mg of oxalic acid which is incredibly impressive.
Calcium: Phosphorus Ratio of Apples
The ratio of calcium to phosphorus in your bearded dragon’s diet can have a significant impact.
In essence, these two minerals need to be consumed in the right ratio.
While there is a degree of flexibility, if the ratio becomes too heavily-skewed then problems can result.
Skeletal problems are the most likely impact of an insufficient calcium:phosphorus ratio.
Here apples do let the side down somewhat.
An ideal ratio for bearded dragons is 2:1. That is to say, twice as much calcium as phosphorus.
The calcium:phosphorus ratio in apple is roughly 0.7:1.
This is significantly below the optimal for bearded dragons.
This is one of the key reasons why apple should not be considered a staple part of your bearded dragon’s diet. Instead they are offered as a treat alongside foods with a far more beneficial calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Supplementation is also recommended by many experienced keepers, with beneficial levels of calcium dusted over your bearded dragon’s food each week.
- Recommended for reptiles or amphibians that are kept indoors
- Promotes healthy bones and vital bodily functions
How to Feed Apples To Your Bearded Dragon
If you have decided to give apple to your bearded dragon there’s here’s how to prepare it properly:
Ripeness is key – Choose a ripe, healthy apple to feed your bearded dragon. Avoid under-ripe, over-ripe or bruised fruits.
Thoroughly wash the apple – Apples are known to contain more pesticides than many other fruits. Removing this is therefore key. Wash the apple thoroughly under a tap to achieve this.
Remove the core – The core of an apple is tough (so can cause choking) and also contains the pips. Removing the central core then eliminates both these potential problems.
Finely dice the fruit – Using a sharp kitchen knife cut the apple into small chunks, each easily swallowed by your lizard.
Place onto a food bowl – Apple is best fed in a food bowl to stop the sticky juices spilling over the substrate of your bearded dragon vivarium.
Combine with other ingredients – Apple should only form a small part of your bearded dragon’s diet. So consider mixing the diced apple with other beneficial ingredients to create a varied salad.
Dust with a calcium supplement – Lastly don’t forget the benefits of mineral supplements for bearded dragons. This is especially important when feeding ingredients like apple with a sub-optimal calcium:phosphorus ratio. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully in terms of frequency and volume of supplementation.
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