There is no doubt that bearded dragons can eat a variety of greens. But there are greens that are not meant for reptiles. This in fact, some greens are harmful if fed to bearded dragons.
If you are new to raising a beardie, this might concern you. The reality is that bearded dragons are prone to health problems if fed with inappropriate foods.
So, can bearded dragons eat spinach at all?
Bearded dragons can eat spinach on an occasional basis. This is because spinach contain high amount of oxalates. As you might already know, greens and fruits that contain oxalates should not be part of the bearded dragons’ staple food.
Oxalates are substances that could sabotage the overall health of a bearded dragon. These chemicals bind with calcium which in turn inhibits calcium absorption. When this happen, your beardy will suffer from different health issues caused by calcium deficiency.
To provide better understanding, I included a table below that summarizes the nutrients your beardy can get from eating spinach.
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Nutritional Facts of Spinach
Now, let’s see whether or not eating spinach is good for bearded dragons. Please refer to the table below.
Per 100g serving
|Total lipid (fat)||0.39||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||3.63||g|
As you can see in the table, aside from the mentioned level of oxalate content, spinach is also rich in water. As you know, watery foods are not good for bearded dragons too.
Foods with high water content can potentially cause digestive issues like diarrhea. If you are a beginner, you need to be careful especially if you are feeding fruits.
But this does not mean that your beardy should not be totally fed with spinach. Beardies can eat spinach in a small amount as an occasional treat.
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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach? (My Personal View)
Spinach is one of the most common greens. This means that it is available in almost all parts of the globe.
So, do I recommend feeding beardy with spinach? Yes, you can give your beardies spinach occasionally. Many bearded dragon owners do the same. Just make sure that it is in a minimal amount.
Some experts though claim that spinach is safe for bearded dragons. But for someone who once lost his reptile pet, I don’t feed my beardie with spinach regularly.
But I admit that spinach is a great addition to a salad for reptiles. You can mix it with other greens to balance the nutrients. As mentioned, spinach is high in oxalates and water but can be offset with other nutritious greens.
The lively green color of spinach will help make the salad more colorful and enticing to eat for bearded dragons. This is good especially if you have a picky bearded dragon.
When done right, beardies can have several benefits from eating this green.
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What Are the Advantages of Feeding Bearded Dragons with Spinach?
Although spinach contains a high level of oxalates and water, it has several benefits to bearded dragons when offered in moderation.
As stated in the table above, spinach is a good source of protein. Beardies, especially the young ones need protein for their speedy growth. This is also the reason why they eat more insects than adult beardies do.
But spinach is not the main source of protein. Insects are. The young beardies consume about 80% insects and only 20% of greens.
Adult beardies on the other hand only eat about 20% protein-rich foods and 80% greens. As you can see, the consumption of greens and insects change as the beardy age.
Furthermore, spinach also has good calcium to phosphorous ratio. As recommended, the ideal ratio is 2:1. Fortunately, spinach has this ideal ratio.
Calcium and phosphorous ratio is very important to put into consideration. Every bearded dragon owner should know this. Foods that do not have the ideal calcium to phosphorous ratio should not be offered to beardies on a regular basis.
In addition, spinach contains a minimal amount of other constituents that are healthy to beardies. Some of these appropriate amounts are salt, potassium, vitamin C, and iron.
Overall, it seems that spinach is a healthy staple food for dragons. But it is not. There is one big problem making spinach not good food for beardies.
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The Problem of Feeding Beardies with Spinach on a Regular Basis
Despite all the great nutrients that spinach has, there is one big reason why you should not feed your bearded dragon spinach on a regular basis.
As mentioned, the main reason most bearded dragon owners, if not all, do not recommend feeding beardies spinach is because of its high oxalate content.
This chemical can be dangerous to the health of bearded dragons as it binds with calcium and prevents the body from absorbing it. As a result, beardies may suffer from calcium deficiency.
In other words, if beardies eat spinach on a regular basis, their body will be lacking calcium. If so, this may result in a more serious condition known as metabolic bone disease.
Metabolic bone disease or MBD is a health condition wherein the bone becomes weak and brittle. Bearded dragons with this MBD have difficulties in walking and other health issues.
The most common remedy is giving calcium supplements. This is a great way to help boost the calcium content in your beardies’ diet. The truth is, even the best diet won’t be able to supply the appropriate amount of calcium needed for beardies.
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Can Spinach be a Regular Diet Component for Beardies?
Unfortunately, no. I strongly discourage feeding beardies with spinach regularly. You already know the reason. The high oxalate content alone is enough to rule out spinach as natural food for a bearded dragon.
But this does not mean that beardies cannot eat spinach at all. There are good reasons why your retile should eat spinach. As you can see in the table above, spinach has several good nutrients that your beardy will benefit from eating it.
The only thing you need to remember is that when feeding spinach, make sure that is in a minimal amount and on an occasional basis only.
What I can recommend in terms of feeding frequency is once every 2-3 months. Mix it with other healthier greens to achieve a balanced diet.
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How Will You Prepare Spinach for Your Bearded Dragon?
Feeding greens to reptiles require extra care. This is because bearded dragons can easily get sick if ingested unhealthy foods.
This goes the same with spinach. But even it is safe for beardies on an occasional basis, there are some things you need to remember when preparing spinach for your bearded dragon.
Here are the things you need to remember:
1. Make sure it is clean
Well, this is not new. We all wash the greens before making them part of our salad. But for bearded dragons, making the greens clean is very important. This is because they are prone to impaction if ingested hard and not digestible materials.
So when making spinach as part of the salad, make sure it is clean and free from dirt.
2. Do not cook
When preparing food for beardies, it should always be remembered that the foods are fresh. The diet of bearded dragons in captivity should resemble their diet in the wild.
In addition, cooked foods lose their nutritional value. This is one of the reasons why bearded dragons should not be fed with cooked foods.
3. Mix spinach with other greens
Because spinach contains a high amount of water and oxalates, it is best to offer it with other healthier greens. This is to somehow balance the nutrients. There are a variety of greens you can add to your salad.
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Great Additional Greens for Bearded Dragons’ Salad
There are a variety of healthier greens that you can mix with spinach to make a healthier salad for beardies.
In this section, I included some of the best greens that could balance the diet of your bearded dragon. Actually, there are more than the five included below. But I just chose the five because they work well with my beardies.
If, however, the following are not available in your location, you can search for other options. I am sure you can find plenty of them online.
So, without further ado, here are my great and healthier recommended greens:
- Dandelion greens
- Grape leaves
- Turnip greens
These greens are some of the most nutritious foods you can offer to your bearded dragon. They can be staple foods for your beardies too.
Final Thoughts on Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach
Bearded dragons can eat spinach on an occasional basis. Not more than that. This is because spinach contains high oxalate amount something that can cause health problems in bearded dragons.
When offering spinach to your beardies, I recommend that you mix it with other healthier greens. This will make the salad healthier.
I hope this helps. Thank you very much for spending your time reading this post.