Looking for a veggie that’s bursting with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants? You might reach for some cabbage! Of the four main varieties of cabbage—red, green, Savoy, and Napa—are any safe for your bearded dragon? Can bearded dragons eat cabbage? Let’s take a look at all four kinds.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Red Cabbage?
Let’s start with the red variety (also called purple cabbage). How often can bearded dragons eat red cabbage?
Among the cabbages, red cabbage is the most nutritious option for your beardie. These nutrients in particular are excellent for your pet (and they're found in green cabbage, as well):
- Lots of fiber, which promotes healthy digestion
- Vitamin C, which fortifies your dragon’s immune system, vision, reproduction, and growth
- Vitamin K, which is essential for tissue and blood cell maintenance
- Antioxidants, which prevent inflammation
- Manganese, which aids metabolism
- Potassium, which regulates blood pressure
- Magnesium, which promotes healthy blood sugar levels
- Vitamin B6 and folate, which boost energy and help maintain the nervous system
Red cabbage also has the following healthy qualities:
Low fat and sugar. Like all four cabbages, red cabbage won’t put your beardie at risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other health issues that can occur from foods that are high in fat and sugar.
More calcium than phosphorus. Red cabbage also has a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1.5:1 in favor of calcium. Foods that bearded dragons can eat on a regular basis generally have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:1 to 2:1, so red cabbage falls right in that safe, healthy range.
So red cabbage is actually a great option for your bearded dragon! It’s crunchy, delicious, and nutrient dense. Because of this, bearded dragons can eat red cabbage a few times a week.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Green Cabbage?
So let’s take a look at green cabbage, which is very similar to red cabbage but with a little less nutritional value. While still a healthy vegetable, green cabbage has less fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, and Vitamin C than red cabbage. On the bright side, it has a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1, and it’s low in fat, sugar, and oxalates.
Unfortunately, green cabbage contains goitrogens, which can interfere with proper thyroid function. With too much goitrogenic food, your beardie could suffer from an enlarged thyroid that fails to produce hormones as it should. Red cabbage does contain goitrogens too, but it is not as goitrogenic as the other kinds of cabbage.
Don’t worry though...your beardie doesn’t have to totally shun this crunchy snack. Bearded dragons can eat green cabbage once a week, or every other depending on what other goitrogenic food may be on their feeding schedule. Green cabbage makes a great addition to a salad, maybe topped with some Dubia roaches.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Savoy Cabbage?
Similar to green cabbage but with thinner leaves and a crispier texture, savoy cabbage is not the best option for your bearded dragon for these reasons (including the fact that it is goitrogenic):
Acid level. Savoy cabbage is fairly acidic, which can cause stomach and digestive issues in your beardie.
More phosphorus than calcium. Savoy cabbage actually contains a little more phosphorus than calcium, putting it outside the safe range. This means too much savoy cabbage can actually put your bearded dragon at risk for metabolic bone disease.
High in Vitamin A. While this vitamin is an essential part of a balanced diet for bearded dragons, too much Vitamin A can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as energy loss, weight loss, dehydration, and swelling. A dragon who is receiving Vitamin A supplements along with lots of Vitamin A-rich foods is at higher risk for developing Vitamin A toxicity than a dragon who simply consumes many Vitamin A-rich foods, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding how much Savoy cabbage to feed.
Pro Tip: Talk to your vet if your bearded dragon is on Vitamin A supplements to determine how often you can serve Vitamin A-rich foods.
A little Savoy cabbage every other week or so should be perfectly fine, but don’t treat your bearded dragon to much more than that.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Napa Cabbage?
Also called Chinese cabbage, Napa cabbage has a sweeter taste and thinner leaves than the other cabbages. Napa cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber, and calcium. It also has more calcium than phosphorus, landing it in that safe range.
Napa cabbage is goitrogenic, so it should be fine about once a week.
How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbage?
All four cabbages can be served raw. Just follow these easy steps before offering the leafy goodness to your beardie:
- Thoroughly wash the cabbage; remove the outer leaves.
- Separate a few inner leaves to feed your beardie.
- Don’t feed the cabbage stalk, just the leaves. The stalk is very hard for the dragon to eat and digest.
- Chop the cabbage leaves into very small pieces.
- Salad time! Watch your beardie gobble up the cabbage.
Pro Tip: Wilted cabbage has less fiber, so make sure you only serve fresh. Fiber is not only good for your dragon’s digestion, but also for cholesterol, heart, and blood pressure regulation.
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