Pet bearded dragons will happily eat all manner of fruits, vegetables and salad crops, but can they eat cabbage as part of their diet?
Bearded dragons can eat cabbage. In fact, cabbage is arguably one of the very best foods of all for bearded dragons.
Cabbage has so many benefits that we’re going to discuss later in this article. But to give you the highlights it is absolutely packed with nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, it’s super-easy to prepare, cheap to buy and tends to be loved by most pet bearded dragons.
It can therefore make up a central part of your bearded dragon’s diet. Even then, however, it’s important to feed a range of different foods, to minimize the chances of vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Both Green Cabbage and Red Cabbage?
Bearded dragons can eat both green and red cabbage.
However it should be said that the delicious jars of pickled red cabbage often found for sale around Christmas are not suitable for bearded dragons.
If you decide to feed your bearded dragon red cabbage try to be mindful of the staining that can occur. It is possible for the rich juice to cause quite a mess in your bearded dragon cage, which may require considerable cleaning afterwards.
For this reason it is more normal to feed standard green cabbage to bearded dragons.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbage Everyday?
Bearded dragons can eat cabbage everyday.
Indeed, cabbage is one of the very best foods available for bearded dragons due to their nutrient make-up. Even then, however, it is important to offer a varied diet to your bearded dragon to ensure a balanced diet.
How Often to Feed Cabbage To a Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons can eat cabbage daily if they are also being provided with a range of other foods at the same time.
However there are equally good foods for your bearded dragon, so it does not necessarily need to be fed daily if you don’t want to.
Central to feeding your bearded dragon is ensuring variety over time. Every meal should consist of numerous different plants combined together to create a nutritious salad.
Under these circumstances some bearded dragon owners prefer to feed cabbage to their bearded dragon a couple of times a week, filling the gaps between with alternative leafy greens like kale and brussel sprouts.
Should Cabbage Be Raw or Cooked for Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons can eat both cooked and raw cabbage.
Generally raw cabbage is the preferable option. This is because the leaves tend to be more nutritious before they are cooked. Common cooking methods like steaming or boiling can leach nutrients out of the leaves, rendering them a less impressive food source.
For the bearded dragon owner, raw cabbage has the additional benefit of course that it saves you time on meal preparation. And who doesn’t want to save time each week?
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Raw Cabbage?
Bearded dragons can eat raw cabbage.
In fact raw cabbage is likely more nutritious for your bearded dragon. You can feed whole leaves to your pet, or finely slice if before feeding. Slicing the raw cabbage leaves is often a good idea as it makes the pieces easier for your bearded dragon to swallow.
Slicing up the cabbage also reduces the chances of your beardie selecting just the most appealing ingredients from it’s food bowl, and ignoring the rest.
It goes without saying that any raw cabbage you feed to your bearded dragon should be in good condition. Your beardie should not be considered equivalent to a compost bin, eating the stuff from your fridge that is past it’s best. The cabbage you provide to your bearded dragon should be good enough for you and your family to eat in terms of quality and freshness.
Nutrients Found in Cabbage
Cabbage is arguably one of the most nutritious vegetables of all to feed a bearded dragon. The fresh leaves are absolutely packed with vitamins and minerals that will benefit your beardie.
Vitamins found in cabbage that are beneficial to your bearded dragon include thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C & vitamin K.
However arguably it is the mineral content of cabbage that makes it even more suitable for pet bearded dragons. Firstly, cabbage is rich in calcium. A suitable calcium intake is crucial for bearded dragons and helps to ensure a strong skeleton and to mitigate against the risks of metabolic bone disease (MBD).
Combined with calcium, however, your bearded dragon will also benefit from appreciable amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese.
However the vitamins and minerals are far from the whole story. Cabbage is also a great source of fiber to support a digestive system, as well as having a reasonable amount of protein for a plant.
All told, cabbage really wins a “gold star” when it comes to food for bearded dragons.
Oxalic Acid Levels in Cabbage
Oxalates are a hotly-debated topic on many discussion forums and on social media. The reason is simple: oxalic acid can bind with calcium in the body, meaning less is available to support skeletal health. For this reason many experienced hobbyists advise feeding only minimal amounts of foods that contain high levels of oxalic acid.
However here the good news for bearded dragon owners continues.
Cabbage is considered to have “very low” levels of oxalic acid, meaning that even feeding it daily should be perfectly safe for your lizard.
Calcium:Phosphorus Ratios in Cabbage
The calcium to phosphorus ratio of cabbage is 1.7:1.
The optimal ratio for bearded dragons is roughly 2:1.
Comparing the calcium:phosphorus ratio in cabbage with other plants, cabbage is about as perfect as it’s possible to get.
The conclusion here is that cabbage contains plenty of calcium, together with a very good calcium:phosphorus ratio, which further underlines why it should be considered a staple part of your bearded dragon meal plan.
How to Prepare Cabbage for Your Bearded Dragon
While cabbage can be fed raw or cooked, it is generally advisable to focus on raw cabbage due to its higher nutrient content.
Preparing raw cabbage for your bearded dragon is very simple indeed. However it is important to underline that no meal for your bearded dragon should ever consist of just one single ingredient. Try to combine spinach with other reptile-safe fruits and vegetables to ensure varied intake of nutrients in every meal.
Choose the freshest leaves – You should carefully choose the freshest and most delicious leaves for your bearded dragon.You should choose leaves that you yourself would be happy to eat for dinner.
Thoroughly wash – These days pesticides and other farming chemicals are a worry. Before feeding any cabbage leaves to your bearded dragon be sure to thoroughly wash it to remove these. Even better, consider growing your own organic cabbages at home if you have some garden space available.
Finely slice or chop – Finely chop the cabbage leaves into small pieces. This is especially important for any thick, woody leaf stems, which might not be as easy for your bearded dragon to bite through.
Mix with other ingredients – Combine the chopped cabbage with other beneficial nutrients to offer a variety of flavors and nutrients. As cabbage is such a “perfect” food for bearded dragons, when using it as the base to a meal you can afford to include a few “treat” foods like bananas or strawberries which ordinarily shouldn’t be fed in high doses.
Remove before it wilts – Lastly don’t forget that green leaves like cabbage will quickly dry out and spoil in the heat of your bearded dragon cage. You can slow down this process by soaking the cabbage in water before feeding it to your dragon and by placing the food bowl away from the heater. All the same, keep an eye on the food bowl and promptly remove any uneaten cabbage before it begins to wilt and spoil.
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