Bearded Dragons – Kale Yeah Or Kale Nay!
This superfood for humans raises lots of concern for bearded dragons. With its oxalates, goitrogens, and vitamin A content, you might want to give up on giving kale to your bearded dragon. You can do that, but first, take a look at this article.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kale? We vote yeah for kale in your bearded dragon’s diet on the condition that it’s not given more than once a week or every other week.
This article will reflect on the benefits and risks of giving kale to your bearded dragon more than recommended and preparing and serving kale to your beardie.
Nutritional Values Of Kale
Nutritional Information Of Kale Per 100g.
|Total lipid (fat)||1.49 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||4.41 g|
|Vitamin C||93.4 mg|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0 ug|
|Vitamin B6||0.147 mg|
|Vitamin A||241 ug|
|Vitamin E||0.66 mg|
|Vitamin K||389.6 ug|
With the above table we’ve established that kale is safe to feed kale to your bearded dragon. Let’s look at the individual benefits and any potential concerns of feeding your bearded dragon kale.
Benefits Of Feeding Kale To Bearded Dragons
As a bearded dragon owner, it is crucial what you know as nutritious greens to ensure a balanced and varied diet for young bearded dragons.
- Water – Kale has a very high content of water. Great for keeping your beardie hydrated. However, too much of it can cause your bearded dragons to have diarrhea.
Vitamin A – This vitamin is essential for normal vision, the immune system, and the reproduction of bearded dragons. Too much vitamin A can be dangerous for them as well.
Vitamin C – This vitamin will help keep your bearded dragon’s immune system strong and help heal wounds. Also, vitamin C is necessary for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues
Protein – This is vital for muscle development and repair. Baby and juvenile require a lot of protein to help them grow healthy and strong.
Phosphorus – This is important in the formation of bones and teeth. Also, it’s required for the body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues.
A Great Source Of Calcium. The phosphorus in kale is outweighed by the calcium at a ratio of 2.4:1, meaning that beardies can absorb the calcium in kale (it won’t have too much phosphorus or oxalates). This puts it above the recommended calcium to phosphorus ratio range (between 1:1 and 2:1), which is a good thing. Beardies need their calcium!
This ratio is an essential factor in determining what foods to feed your dragon because if there is more phosphorus than calcium in food, then too much of it can put your pet at risk for MBD.
Low sugar. Like most vegetables, kale is very low in sugar. Your bearded dragon won’t have to worry about getting fat on kale! Tooth decay, fatty liver disease, and heart problems can occur when dragons overeat sugar.
Risks Of Kale In A Bearded Dragon’s Diet
Oxalate content. While safe in small doses, oxalates are not good for bearded dragons in general because they bind with calcium in the body and prevent it from being absorbed into the dragon’s bloodstream.
Oxalates can deplete the dragon’s already-existing supply of calcium over time, causing a painful condition called metabolic bone disease (MBD). If your bearded dragon gets MBD, you’ll notice swollen or deformed limbs, lethargy, and difficulty moving. In severe cases, your dragon could become paralyzed or even die. So it’s vital to supply your beardie with enough calcium and not too many oxalates to strengthen the bones and prevent this disease.
Oxalates are a severe issue, so it’s not surprising that they are top of mind for Dragon Keepers who are trying to determine if they can give their beardies kale. But the conflicting information online can make it challenging to decide.
Goitrogens. Dragon Keepers also worry about kale because it contains goitrogens, negatively impacting a dragon’s thyroid. Too much goitrogenic food can cause the thyroid to become enlarged and begin malfunctioning in its production of hormones. Luckily, there are not enough goitrogens in kale to put it off-limits for bearded dragons. A little bit won’t be harmful.
Loads of Vitamin A. The third concern with kale is that it has a tremendous amount of Vitamin A. If your bearded dragon takes Vitamin A supplements, you may want to avoid feeding kale because it can put your beardie at risk for Vitamin A toxicity.
It can cause swelling, lethargy, weight loss, and dehydration. Bearded dragons on Vitamin A supplements usually don’t develop hypervitaminosis A, but it’s something you should be aware of as you determine your dragon’s diet.
Can A Bearded Dragon Eat Kale Greens?
This part of the vegetables is the best part for your bearded dragons. It has the highest concentration of nutrients in it.
Before feeding bearded dragons kale greens, wash the vegetables thoroughly first.
Vegetables usually contain debris and even parasites on them. It could be from while growing on the farm or your garden. It can also be from being transported between the farm and grocery stores.
Fresh Or Cooked Kale – Which Is Best?
Fresh kale tends to be a little more expensive and prone to spoiling.
Meanwhile, frozen kale is easy to stockpile and always on hand.
So, which is the better choice?
Without a doubt, fresh kale is your best bet. Try to provide raw kale whenever possible. It’s more nutritious and hasn’t been marred by any treatment processes just yet. Many frozen greens are blanched or boiled and could impact the nutritional density.
How Often And How Much Kale Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
The amount of kale to feed bearded dragons should be a handful. It should supply them with enough nutrition since they will also be eating other food.
You should only feed kale to your bearded dragons twice a month. It can be fed to them once every two weeks. Since there are a lot of other vegetables that your bearded dragons can eat, they shouldn’t depend on just kale.
Additionally, their staple food of vegetables has plenty of nutrition already. If you feed them kale too often, they may develop a health issue due to the high level of vitamin A.
Preparing Kale For Your Bearded Dragons
If you want to provide the very best for your beardie, choose an organic product! Organic kale is free of pesticides and herbicides, which could ultimately impact the health of your pet lizard.
Make sure you take the time to clean fresh kale. Even if it’s an organic product or one that’s marked as “pre-washed,” washing kale before your bearded dragon eats it should be a top priority.
There’s always a chance that bugs and debris could be lurking between those curly leaves. It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process.
Simply give the greens a good rinse. The goal is to eliminate any dirt or residue that could harm your bearded dragon.
Next, you must cut the kale before your bearded dragon eats it. Kale grows on thick stalks, and we suggest ditching the stems because they are far too firm and fibrous.
While some bearded dragons can digest them without a problem, the potential health risks aren’t worth the trouble.
Remove the leaves from the stalks. Then, chop them up into fine, manageable pieces.
Add the kale to the meal mixture you created, and it’s ready to serve!
Place the meal into the dish and let your beardie have a feast. If your lizard suffers from dehydration, you can also mist the meal with fresh water. Otherwise, the greens should be more than enough to entice your bearded dragon.
We hope you have a clearer understanding of feeding kale to your bearded dragon after reading this article. You can make a leafy salad by including leafy greens, collard greens, sweet potato, and more into your beardie’s salad bowl.
However, always research new food you want to introduce to your bearded dragon. If still unsure, you can always discuss the issue with your vet. Remember, it does not matter how healthy food is; it can always have side effects that could be harmful to your bearded dragon.
Continue to read our main article “What do Bearded Dragons Eat?” for all the ins and outs on general diet questions, and get a further detailed breakdown of other popular foods in the articles below:
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