Can bearded dragons drink milk? Or, is it dangerous to the reptile? In this post, I will share with you some important facts that I think you should know as a beardie owner.
Bearded dragons can eat a variety of human foods. However, many human foods are not safe for bearded dragons.
So, can bearded dragons drink milk?
Unfortunately, bearded dragons cannot drink milk. In fact, all dairy foods are not healthy for bearded dragons, not just milk. This is because beardies’ digestive systems cannot digest milk and absorb nutrients from it.
Bearded dragons are different from other animals such as cats and dogs. These pets can drink milk. But the story is different in bearded dragons. Milk can be potentially detrimental to their health.
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What Is the Possible Effect of Milk in Bearded Dragons?
Unlike other animals, bearded dragons do not have enzymes in their guts that could breakdown lactose. This is the main reason why they are intolerant of milk. Their body is incapable of producing enzymes to digest milk.
So, what will happen if bearded dragons drink milk? Bearded dragons can suffer from gastrointestinal upset and bloating. In some cases, milk consumption causes digestive issues such as diarrhea and digestive tract damage.
If your beardie has milk accidentally, pay close attention to him/her. If problems arise, bring him/her to a vet immediately. Do not wait until the issue becomes worse. It will be hard to fix.
Related Article: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Ice Cream?
Can Bearded Dragons Have Other Dairy Foods?
If milk is not suitable for bearded dragons, you might be thinking that other dairy products will be safe. Unfortunately, all dairy products are not safe for bearded dragons.
Examples of dairy foods that you SHOULD NOT feed to your bearded dragon are cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other dairy foods. Dairy products such as these are high in fat.
High-fat content and lactose make dairy products unsuitable for bearded dragons. Aside from being hard to digest, they could also make your beardie fatty.
Other issues include kidney failure in bearded dragons. I highly suggest that you do not give milk your reptile milk. Always be careful.
Related Article: Can Bearded Dragons Drink Tea?
What Other Alternative Healthier Foods for Beardies?
One of the reasons why most people want to give beardies milk is because they want to provide a good source of calcium, protein, and hydration to their reptile.
If you are still reading at this part of the post, you are already aware that milk is not healthy for bearded dragons. So what other food alternatives you can give to your beardies to provide them their needs?
The good news is that there are healthy food alternatives you can give to your reptile. Below are some of them:
If you want to provide your bearded dragon a good amount of calcium, the easiest option is to add calcium powder with Vitamin D3 to their food (click here to check my recommended calcium powder on Amazon).
What you can do is to just dust your beardie’s calcium powder to provide their calcium need. But remember that too much calcium is not healthy too. In fact, too much calcium can cause health issues in beardies.
I strongly suggest that you consult a vet before giving calcium powder to your reptile.
For protein sources, you can offer gut-loaded insects to your beardies. Examples of these insects are dubia roaches and crickets. These insects are some of the healthiest options for beardies.
It is also important to remember that protein needs differ from young and adult bearded dragons. Young beardies, for instance, do need more protein than their adult counterparts.
This is the reason why they eat more insects than greens. Their diet must compose of at least 80% insects and 20% greens. Protein is an important part of their diet to gain speedy growth.
For adult beardies, however, the diet is completely the opposite. For adult bearded dragons, they should have about 80% greens and only about 20% insects.
The safest way to keep bearded dragons hydrated is to give them water to drink. However, not all beardies drink from a water drinking bowl. Maybe because they are not accustomed to it.
If that is the case, what you can do is to use a Drinking Water Dripper Bowl (click here to check my recommended dripper bowl on Amazon) for your bearded dragon to drink from. The running water resembles the streams in the wild where beardies used to drink from.
Another thing you can do is to mist or spray your beardie with water. This can help to keep him/her hydrated. You can also bathe your reptile and soak in the water for several minutes. This is also a great alternative to keep your beardie hydrated.
What Other Foods That Should Not Be Fed to Bearded Dragons?
Aside from milk, there are other foods that you SHOULD NOT feed to your bearded dragons under any circumstances. The following are the example of those:
Avocado is one of the fruits that you should not offer to your bearded dragon. This is because avocadoes contain oxalic acid which could cause issues in beardies. Even a small amount can already be detrimental. Large amounts can be fatal.
Insects are an important part of the beardies’ diet. However, not all insects are safe for them. One example of an unhealthy insect is the firefly. Fireflies are highly toxic for bearded dragons. Beardies can die when eaten fireflies.
Beet tops are some of the foods that beardies should avoid. This is because beet tops contain substances that hinder calcium absorption which will in turn cause calcium deficiency and other health risks in bearded dragons.
Just like fruits, not all greens are suitable for bearded dragons. Spinach is an example of those greens that are not healthy for bearded dragons. Spinach contains substances that hinder calcium absorption which will cause health issues in beardies.
Rhubarb is highly toxic and can be fatal for bearded dragons. So be careful to not accidentally offer rhubarb to your reptile.
Lettuce is not toxic like those listed above. However, the reason why lettuce is not suitable for beardies is that it can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea.
If you bearded dragons happen to have any of the foods listed above, I strongly recommend that you seek guidance from a vet. And do it quickly. I lost a bearded dragon before because I took everything for granted.
Final Thoughts on Can Bearded Dragons Drink Milk
Bearded dragons cannot drink milk or eat other dairy products. The reason for this is that the beardies’ gut is incapable of producing enzymes responsible for breaking lactose.
As a result, beardies’ digestive systems won’t be able to digest milk and other dairy foods. Milk can only cause digestive issues in bearded dragons.
Another reason why milk is not good for bearded dragons is that it has a high-fat content. Fatty foods can only make captive beardies fat due to the lack of physical activities.
Instead of offering milk, you can instead offer calcium powder to give an appropriate amount of calcium to the reptile, water to provide hydration, and gut-loaded insects for protein needs.
Bearded dragons can drink apple juice as an occasional treat. But make sure that it is just in a small amount and must be diluted with water. It is a good way to entice a bearded dragon to drink from a bowl.
Bearded dragons can drink tap water but make sure that the water is clean and free from any chemicals. Also, I strongly suggest that you use a water conditioner to make the water safer. This is a great way to keep your reptile hydrated.