Bearded dragons can eat a variety of foods including live insects, fruits, greens, and vegetables. But obviously, not all these types of foods are safe for beardies.
Some of the foods that are not safe for beardies are processed or cooked foods. Beardies’ digestive systems are not designed to accommodate processed foods.
So, can bearded dragons eat dog food?
No, bearded dragons should not be given or eat dog food. Generally, dog foods are processed specifically for dogs. As mentioned, processed foods are not good for bearded dragons.
Some experts argue though not all dog foods are dangerous to beardies. This means that if you know exactly what your beardie can and cannot eat, you can feed your beardie dog food.
In my case though, I am not an expert. All of the things I mentioned and discussed in this blog are based on my personal experiences with my reptiles.
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Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat Dog Food?
Although both bearded dragons and dogs consume protein, their protein needs are not the same. This is the reason why the source of proteins is different between the two.
Dog foods have exactly what dogs need. High-quality dog foods are rich in protein formulated to resemble the wolf’s diet in the wild. As a result, most dog foods are made from different parts of animals such as muscle meat, organ meat, bones, and some vegetables.
Bearded dragons’ sources of protein on the other hand is different. They eat live insects and not animal meat. Their digestive system is not built for animal meat. If they eat animal meat, their kidneys will be affected which will cause health issues.
Protein consumption changes as the bearded dragons get older. For younger beardies, live insects are about 80% of their diet and only about 20% of greens.
For adult bearded dragons, however, the consumption of insects is lower. They only eat about 20% are insects and about 80% greens.
Generally, the main reason for this is that young beardies need more protein to gain speedy growth. Because adult beardies are not actively growing anymore, they need a lesser amount of protein than they used to.
Related Article: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Wet Dog Food?
What Foods Are Good for Bearded Dragons?
As you know, not all foods that safe for humans are also safe for bearded dragons. In fact, some insects, greens, and vegetables are dangerous to beardies.
If you are a beginner, choosing the best and safest foods for your bearded dragons can be challenging. But don’t worry, this post is written for you. That said, I have included lists of safe foods for bearded dragons. If you are interested, continue reading.
The lists below are divided into several sections according to food type. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it.
Insects that Bearded Dragons Can Eat
There are a variety of insects that your dragon can have. Some of them are listed below.
- Phoenix Worms
- Dubia roaches
- Mealworms – mealworms should only be fed to adult bearded dragons. These worms have a hard exoskeleton that could potentially cause digestive issues in baby and juvenile bearded dragons.
- Superworms – these are a larger type of mealworms and are only suitable for adult bearded dragons.
Fruits that Bearded Dragons Can Eat
As mentioned, not all fruits are safe for bearded dragons. This is because most fruits are too watery for reptiles. But there are some fruits that beardies can eat. Examples of those are listed below.
Quick note: Although bearded dragons can eat these fruits, I recommend that you only feed a minimal amount to your reptile. The reason for this is that most fruits contain too much water and sugar that could cause potential health issues in bearded dragons.
Vegetables that Bearded Dragons Can Eat
Like fruits, not all vegetables are safe and healthy for bearded dragons. There are some that contain substances not suitable for reptiles.
The vegetables listed below are some of the safe veggies you can offer to your bearded dragons.
- Greens beans
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
- Bell pepper
- Acorn squash
- Bok choi
- Yellow squash
Greens that Beardies Can Eat
Aside from vegetables, greens are also a great part of beardies’ salad. However, not all greens are safe for beardies. You need to be careful. But there are some that your bearded dragon can eat.
Below are examples of greens that your beardie can have.
- Dandelion greens
- Turnip greens
- Mustard greens
Foods that Bearded Dragons Can’t Eat
As you can see, there are a variety of foods your reptile can have. They can eat many vegetables, fruits, greens, and insects.
But as mentioned, not all of these foods are safe for them. There are fruits, vegetables, greens, and insects that are harmful to beardies.
I have listed below the foods that you should not give to your bearded dragons under any circumstances. Here are the examples of foods that you should not feed to your beardies:
- Iceberg lettuce
This type of lettuce is too watery for bearded dragons. In addition, this lettuce has no nutritional value for beardies too.
- Spinach and beet tops
I don’t recommend feeding both to a bearded dragon. Although some beardie owners do feed these to their beardies on an occasional basis, I don’t do the same. This is because both spinach and beet tops contain substances that could potentially cause calcium deficiency. As you know, lack of calcium could result in many serious health issues in beardies.
- Insects caught in the wild
Another thing that you should watch out for are insects caught in the wild. As a rule of thumb, do not feed your beardies with insects captured in the wild because you are not sure whether they are safe. Some of them may have chemicals that could cause health problems in captive beardies.
Fireflies are extremely poisonous to bearded dragons. Even a small amount can kill a beardie. So avoid it.
I mentioned that some fruits are harmful to bearded dragons. Avocadoes are some of them. Even a small amount can already harm the beardie.
Rhubarb has high oxalic content that is deadly for bearded dragons. It is extremely dangerous for reptiles.
Quick Reminders When Feeding Greens, Fruits, and Vegetables to Bearded Dragons
When feeding beardies, makes sure that the fruits and vegetables are finely chopped. Remember that beardies are prone to choking and impaction if ingested large chunks of foods.
The best way to do this is by considering the distance between beardies’ eyes. The space between the eyes is indicative of the size of food they can intake without having digestive troubles.
Related Article: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Ham?
Final Thought on Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dog Food
Bearded dragons cannot eat dog food. Dog foods are made solely for dogs. Beardies have a specific protein source.
Another reason for this is that bearded dragons’ digestive systems are not built to deal with processed foods. Choose healthier and safer foods for your beardies instead.
You can refer to the lists in this post to help you make a healthy decision for your reptile pet.
I hope this helps. Thank you for reading.