Can bearded dragons eat pumpkin?

Image of a bearded dragon, pumpkin and a text that says: "can bearded dragons eat pumpkin"

Can Pumpkin Be Given To Beardie Only As Halloween Treat?

Looking around your home, you might see a variety of foods that you can share with your beardie buddy. Particularly if Halloween is around the corner you might have asked yourself – can bearded dragons eat pumpkin? 

The short answer is that yes, bearded dragons can eat pumpkins once or twice a month. 

However, we’ll now get into the benefits as well as risks of feeding your bearded dragon pumpkin.

Benefits Of Feeding Pumpkin To Your Beardie.

It is fine to give your beardie some raw or cooked pumpkin on occasions, but raw pumpkin has the most nutritional value of the two. Pumpkin is packed with vitamin A which is good for your beardie’s vision and vitamin C which helps boost its immune system. The higher water content in pumpkin plays a vital role when it comes to your beardie’s hydration.

Bearded dragons need a large amount of animal-based protein in their diet that normally comes from insects.  Their exoskeletons can sometimes be hard to digest but pumpkin can help with your pet dragon’s digestive health.  Furthermore, pumpkin contains high amounts of fiber which helps to digest food properly as well as healthy bowel movements.

Risks When Feeding Your Bearded Dragon Pumpkin

bearded dragon on a yellow background

Even though there are nutritional benefits in feeding pumpkin to adult bearded dragons, we have to look at the risks as well.  The main concern is the calcium to phosphorus ratio.  Bearded dragons need a 2:1 calcium/phosphorus ratio and pumpkin have just the opposite. A cup of cooked pumpkin is unsuitable for beardies in large amounts because it has 73mg of phosphorus and only 36mg of calcium.  

A lack of calcium in your little bearded friend’s diet can lead to metabolic bone disease, a condition that can be fatal to your beardie.  By feeding your bearded dragon pumpkin daily it can stop growth, increase calcium in its blood and displace other food in your beardie’s diet that is necessary to survive. 

Nutritional Content Of 100g of Raw Pumpkin.

Bearded dragons can eat pumpkin occasionally and the nutritional content is as follow:

Pumpkin NutritionAmount
Vitamin C9mg
Vitamin A426µg
Water Content91.6%

What About Pumpkin Seeds or Pumpkin Puree

It is fine to give your beardie the occasional pumpkin snack, but you must make sure you removed all seeds as well as the pumpkin skin.  Give them the flesh only.  Pumpkin seeds are very hard and difficult for your bearded friend to chew.  This can cause a choking hazard and the seed could get stuck in your beardie’s digestive system.  The same is said for pumpkin skin.

Pumpkin puree is deemed technically safe for your beardie to consume but you must remember that it is a natural laxative and should only be given to your bearded friend for medicinal purposes.

Serving Pumpkin To Your Bearded Little Friend?

how to serve pumpkin to your bearded dragon

Start by washing, drying, and peeling the pumpkin.  Make sure to remove all seeds.  Then proceed to cut them into bite-sized pieces approximately half a centimeter wide and up to 5 centimeters long.  It should be cut less than half a centimeter thick.  

Alternatively. If you will be adding it to a salad it can be grated coarsely or as finely as you prefer.  The grated pumpkin can add some color when added to a salad or leafy, mixed, green vegetable dish.  The pumpkin can be left in the vivarium until it is dried out and no longer fresh-looking.  

The pumpkin can be placed in the pumpkin skin and strips in your feeder insect container.  Most of the insects will love them and eat them.  This will keep the insects fed and hydrated and they will then pass the benefits on to your bearded dragon in a method known as gut-loading.

Final Thoughts

In general small amounts of pumpkin once or twice per month is non-toxic and generally safe.  

Due to the pumpkin’s high phosphorus level, it must not form part of your beardie’s regular diet and can be kept for a Halloween or a once-a-month treat.  

Although pumpkins do have nutritional benefits, there are other safer and more nutritious foods that contain the same or even more nutritional value.  This makes pumpkin a less-than-ideal food to add to your bearded dragon’s diet.

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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I am a huge animal lover and have four dogs, a Labrador, Jack Russell, Pug, and Teacup Yorkie. I also have a cat and a Cockatiel. I have had pets since I was a toddler, and there was not a day when there wasn't an animal in my house.