Just like us humans, bearded dragons get tired of eating the same food every day and while there are a lot of plants to choose from, we want to make sure that the food we are offering to our reptile housemate is healthy, beneficial, and is not harmful in any way.
One of many plants that come to mind when thinking of food for the Bearded Dragon is the Dandelion. And why not? Dandelions are widely abundant all over the world. In fact, it grows everywhere that most of the time is considered a nuisance especially if we want to maintain a healthy lawn and garden. This makes us wonder, is there any benefit from this plant at all?
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of Dandelion to Bearded Dragon as part of its regular meal.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelions?
Dandelions are fully safe and non-toxic for Bearded Dragons to eat. While it is considered a weed and nuisance in the garden and lawn, you might be surprised to know that this plant is rich in Vitamins A, C, K, and Calcium, which makes it a good source of nutrients for humans, insects, and animals alike. Dandelion is an excellent choice to include in your bearded dragon’s diet on a regular basis.
While in general, Dandelions are safe for Bearded Dragon, there are other factors you need to consider before feeding Dandelions to your bearded reptile. You should be cautious in choosing which part of the plant to feed your bearded dragon, where to get Dandelions and how to prepare and serve Dandelions as part of your pet’s diet.
If you want to learn more and be sure you’re not causing more harm than good, keep reading as we’ve done further research on Dandelions and their impact on Bearded Dragons.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelion Greens/Leaves?
The most common and abundant part of Dandelion is its leaves. It’s usually the part being sold in the grocery stores and online stores not only because of its nutritional content but also because they are in season for a long period of time which in most climates it’s from early spring to late summer.
The Dandelion Greens is the most beneficial part of a Dandelion in a Bearded Dragon’s Diet. It contains a high amount of vitamins and minerals which is essential in keeping your pet happy and healthy.
Dandelion Greens contain high amounts of Calcium which is very important for Bearded Dragon’s bone growth, bone development, and muscle functions. It contains well-balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio that lets the beardie’s body be able to absorb most, if not all, of the calcium it consumes. Aside from Calcium, Dandelions are also rich in other minerals like Magnesium, Iron, and Potassium.
Dandelion Greens are also rich in Vitamins specifically Vitamins A, C and K. Vitamin A helps support bone health, growth, and reproduction. Vitamins K offers Bone Health and Wound Healing. Aside from the major vitamin benefits mentioned above, dandelions are also rich in folate, vitamins E and B.
The only drawback of feeding Dandelion Greens to your bearded reptile is the risk of Vitamin A toxicity. This is usually caused by letting your reptile friend consume too much Vitamin A foods especially if you are feeding it with recommended multi-vitamins at the same time. Common signs of Vitamin A toxicity include nausea and lack of appetite.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelion Yellow/Flowers?
Yes, Bearded Dragons can eat Dandelion Flowers. Dandelion Flowers are easy to chew and will surely delight your Beardie. In fact, it’s likely that they’ll prefer this one to Dandelion Green. Dandelion Yellow is also high in antioxidants and beta carotene, making it a healthy treat.
While not harmful, Dandelion Yellows are not as nutritious as Dandelion Greens. Dandelion Yellow is less preferable than dandelion green because it instantly fills your Beardie’s stomach and prevents them from consuming more nutritional meals.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Dandelion seed head should not be fed to Bearded Dragons at all times. This part of Dandelion is not digestible or nutritious.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelion Stem?
It is not a good idea to feed Bearded Dragons with Dandelion Stems. While the stem is not toxic to Bearded Dragons, a substantial amount of latex can be found in the milky sap that oozes out from the stem. This can cause stomach aches and indigestion.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Small amount of stem is okay for Bearded Dragon. Do not panic if your reptile friend happens to eat a few parts of the stem. It is understandable not to be able to remove all stems as this task can be difficult.
Where to Get Dandelions for My Bearded Dragon?
- Dandelion Greens and Yellows are now readily available in grocery stores and online stores. These products are highly recommended as they are mostly grown 100% organic.
- Dandelions are abundant from Early Spring to Late Summer and picking Wild Dandelions is another way to get dandelions. Avoid Dandelions that have been exposed to large amounts of pollution like areas near roadways and factories. Dandelions treated with fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides are also toxic to Bearded Dragons. Make sure to wash Wild Dandelions thoroughly before serving them to your Bearded Dragon.
- Planting your own Dandelion for your bearded dragon is the best way to get them. Dandelion seeds are easy to plant and are frequently accessible in stores. When growing your Dandelion Plant, avoid using any chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.
How to Prepare and Serve Dandelions for my Bearded Dragon?
Step 1: Collect Fresh Dandelions
As mentioned above, there are many ways to obtain Dandelions, and whichever you choose works. Just make sure to choose young, fresh dandelions. Fresh dandelions have bright yellow flowers and green leaves.
Step 2: Wash the Dandelions Thoroughly
Washing the dandelions thoroughly before servicing will remove all dirt and chemicals that might be harmful to your bearded dragon especially if you got your Dandelions from the wild.
Step 3: Chop the Dandelions
While Bearded Dragon can eat the leaves and flowers directly, make your Bearded Dragon life easier by chopping the leaves and flowers into bite-sized pieces. Do not cook the Dandelions or add any spices to it.
Step 4: Serve them.
Place the Dandelions into a bowl together with other organic vegetables. You can also sprinkle some bee pollen before serving.
What Other Flowering Plants Can Substitute Dandelion for My Bearded Dragon?
- Nasturtiums are a healthy substitute for Dandelion. Both leaves and flowers are rich in Vitamin C for a strong immune system and Minerals like Potassium, Calcium, and Iron.
- Hibiscus contains Vitamin A and a High Level of Vitamin C for strong bones, teeth, and eye health. It is also rich in minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, and Copper. However, over-consumption can lead to health issues like obesity, stomach and may even affect bearded dragon’s breeding cycle.
To sum it up, Dandelion is a great addition to your bearded dragon day to day meal. It’s nutritious and non-toxic as long as it is thoroughly cleaned before serving. It’s also cheap and very easy to find. The leaves can be fed in as large quantities as your bearded dragon wants, as often as they want, while the flowers are great treats for your Bearded Dragon from time to time.