They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But are they good for our little reptile friends, too? Can bearded dragons eat apples?
Good news: bearded dragons can eat apples! In fact, apples are one of the safer fruits for dragons to eat on a regular basis. It’s important to note, though, that beardies don’t need fruit every day. Adult dragons should be eating roughly 20% insects and 80% plants, and only 10 to 20% of those plants should be fruit. Keep that in mind as you determine when to give your beardie apples.
Why Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?
Apples are a nutrient-dense snack that pack a healthy punch for people and dragons alike. Here are some of the key benefits for your beardie:
- Vitamins A and C, which fortify your dragon’s immune system, vision, reproduction, and growth
- Fiber, which enhances the digestive process and prevents constipation
- Carbohydrates, which keep your beardie energized
- Potassium, which regulates blood pressure, aids muscle function, prevents kidney problems, and lowers water retention
- Iron, which helps oxygen travel smoothly in the blood
- Lots of water content, which keeps your dragon hydrated
Pro Tip: As long as your beardie doesn’t eat too many apples (stick to once a week or so), they can be a very nutritious addition to your bearded dragon’s healthy and balanced diet.
Can Bearded Dragons Have Green and Red Apples?
The main difference between green and red apples, besides the taste, is that green apples have a bit more fiber, protein, potassium, and iron. Both colors are safe for your beardie, but remember to remove the peel first for both colors!
Do Bearded Dragons Eat Apple Peels?
Humans can safely eat an apple with or without the peel, but the same isn’t true for your beardie. Never let your dragon eat an apple peel. Not only does the peel cause a risk of choking, but it’s also difficult and uncomfortable for your dragon to chew. Additionally, apple peels may contain chemicals from pesticides and other sprays, especially if the apples are not organic. In some cases these chemicals can kill bearded dragons.
Pro Tip: When possible, buy organic fruits and veggies for your dragon.
Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Have Apples All the Time?
No fruit is healthy for your dragon in high doses, including apples. Despite the health benefits of this delicious fruit, apples can harm your bearded dragon when fed too often. Here’s why.
Too much sugar. This is the primary reason apples can’t be given to your beardie too often. Like most fruits, apples have a lot of sugar. And that’s not something you want to be feeding your dragon on a daily basis. Too much sugar has a similar effect on dragons as it does on humans: your beardie could end up with tooth decay, obesity, fatty liver disease, and even diabetes. At worst, if your dragon is on a sugar-high diet for a prolonged period of time, he could even suffer heart failure and die.
Pro Tip: Limiting sugar intake is an important step in giving your dragon a long and healthy life!
How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?
You can’t exactly hand your bearded dragon the apple and watch her devour it, although that would be really cute to see! Instead, the best way to feed apples to your beardie is to peel and slice them into small, thin pieces to prevent a choking hazard. The first couple of times you feed apples to your beardie, keep a close eye on him as he eats. Make sure he isn’t struggling to swallow the food or making any coughing noises. If your beardie has trouble eating the apples, the pieces were probably too big.
Another thing to watch out for is seeds. Dragons can’t digest seeds, so whenever you feed your beardie an apple, it’s important to remove any stem, seeds, or pieces of core. These can cause gut impaction, a potentially deadly condition in which the digestive tract is blocked. Left untreated, this can cause death.
The easiest way to prevent your beardie from getting seeds or core is to just serve the outside flesh of the peeled apple. That way the pieces are softer and easier for your dragon to handle. The closer the flesh of the apple is to the core, the harder it is for your dragon to safely eat.
To sum it all up, follow these steps to serve apples safely to your beardie:
- Peel the apple.
- Slice the outermost flesh on the fruit into very small, thin pieces.
- Ensure there are no seeds, stem, or pieces of core in the apple slices.
- Serve with veggies or alone and watch your reptile enjoy!
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