Those yellow flowers may be an eyesore on the lawn, but they are more than just a common weed. Yep, we’re talking about dandelions. Botanically classified as an herb, this wildflower is rich in antioxidants, offering many nutritional benefits for humans, such as reduced inflammation, improved digestion, and even healthy blood pressure. That being said, are dandelions safe for bearded dragons to eat, too?
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelions?
Yes! Bearded dragons can eat dandelions. They can eat them every day!
Dandelion leaves are so healthy for bearded dragons that they are actually a staple green.
Why Dandelion Greens Are So Good for Bearded Dragons
Dandelion greens (the leaves) win in two main categories for bearded dragons.
- Number one: they are rich in calcium, which is so important for your bearded dragon!
- And number two: Dandelion leaves have more calcium than phosphorus (with a ratio of 2.8 to 1). This is important because phosphorus prevents calcium from being properly absorbed into the bearded dragon’s body, which can cause metabolic bone disease. This is a serious condition that can be fatal. When a food has more calcium than phosphorus, the phosphorus will not be able to block all of the calcium.
Additionally, dandelion leaves contain Vitamin A, Vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and iron, all of which help keep your bearded dragon healthy.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelions?
As we mentioned, bearded dragons can eat dandelion leaves every day. However, you should be aware that dandelion leaves do contain a moderate amount of oxalates.
Since oxalates act similarly to phosphorus, it’s best to feed dandelion leaves along with other calcium-rich greens such as collard greens. That way, there is even more calcium entering your dragon’s body to prevent depletion.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelion Flowers?
Dandelion flowers have antioxidants and beta carotene, but are not calcium rich like the stems, so the flowers are better as a treat vs a staple. Additionally, the flowers are quite filling, so your bearded dragon’s appetite for other more important foods may be ruined if he eats too many—it’s like eating dessert before dinner.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelion Puffs?
Dandelion puffs are not the same as the flowers. They are basically just seeds and are not a good source of nutrients for your dragon. So there’s no good reason to let your bearded dragon eat dandelion puffs.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelion Stems?
If you’ve ever picked a dandelion, you know there’s a milky substance inside the stem. This sap can upset your dragon’s stomach. It isn’t poisonous or deadly, but it just isn’t very good for them.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Wild Dandelions (or Dandelions from Your Yard)?
The problem with letting your dragon eat dandelions that are growing “in the wild,” so to speak, is that you don’t know for sure if they have come in contact with harmful chemicals and pesticides.
If the dandelions are in your own yard and you don’t use any lawn treatments or fertilizers, you can let your dragon eat those dandelion leaves and flowers. But with any other dandelions your dragon may find outside, it’s not worth the risk.
Pro Tip: Check your local grocery store for fresh organic dandelion leaves. To avoid accidentally serving your dragon harmful pesticides or chemicals, buying organic is the safest bet.
How to Serve Dandelion Leaves to Your Dragon
Serve dandelion leaves like you would any other fresh leafy green.
- If the stems are still attached to the dandelion leaves, remove those first.
- Wash to remove any dirt.
- Chop or rip into smaller pieces.
- Toss into a salad with carrots, bell peppers, collard greens, and a bit of raspberry, or any other fruits and veggies your dragon enjoys.
If you’re giving your dragon the flower of a dandelion, be sure to remove the stem.
Takeaway: Bearded dragons can enjoy dandelion leaves on a daily basis. Serve with another calcium-rich green to counteract the oxalates. Dandelion flowers can be given as a treat. Dragons should not eat the stems or puffs.
Does your dragon love dandelions? Let us know! And if you have questions or feedback, we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]