Whether served with crêpes, ice creams, salads, or solely as a jam, strawberries are a delicious treat for people everywhere. You may be wondering if your beard will enjoy this versatile fruit as much as you do. Are they safe for our reptilian bearded pets? Can bearded dragons eat strawberries without any issues? Let’s find out.
Can bearded dragons eat strawberries?
Quick answer, Yes, bearded dragons can eat strawberries; But the answer isn’t quite complete, the most important question should be “How frequently can bearded dragons eat strawberries?”
Strawberries like every other sugary fruit for pets out there should be fed to bearded dragons only in moderation, once or twice each week.
On the bright side, strawberries and apples are considered one of the safer fruits that bearded dragons can eat, which means you don’t have to limit them to only once a month.
How often can bearded dragons eat strawberries?
Strawberries have high nutritional value for both people and beards. Although strawberries contain more phosphorus than calcium, they also have relatively low phosphorus to calcium ratio than other fruits. (More on this later.)
Strawberries are also easily eaten by dragons because they are soft, and the seeds are too small to pose a choking hazard. Of course, you want to avoid feeding the stems to your dragon.
Because of these qualities, bearded dragons can eat strawberries once a week as a snack or less, depending on what other fruits are on their feeding schedule.
Some dragon guardians like to put small pieces of strawberries in dark leafy green salads or other vegetables to encourage their dragons to eat more vegetables. This is widespread and effective use of the fruit, but be careful how often you use this technique. Bearded dragons love strawberries, and they may end up craving the sweetness of the berries to the point of rejecting the vegetables they so desperately need. This problem is hard to reverse once it occurs!
Why can bearded dragons not eat strawberries all the time?
When strawberries are fed in small amounts and infrequently, they do have a lot to offer your dragon. The following are some of the nutritional benefits.
- Carbohydrates, which provide energy
- Calcium, to strengthen bones and tissues
- Vitamin C, which enhances the immune system, eyesight, reproduction, and growth of the dragon
- Fiber, to help the digestive system run smoothly
- High water content (45% – 68%), which in moderation can improve kidney function and prevent dehydration
- Potassium, which regulates blood pressure
However, there are several important reasons why strawberries should not be consumed regularly.
More phosphorus than calcium
One cup of strawberry contains about 23 grams of calcium and 36 grams of phosphorus. That’s not much of a difference, but it’s enough to make strawberries unsafe for daily intake.
An important reminder:
one of the most essential components of a bearded diet is calcium. It is so necessary to bearded dragons’ bone development and overall health that most veterinarians will recommend sprinkling calcium powder on your pet’s food to ensure they are getting enough calcium.
Phosphorus is another matter. On its own, it is not entirely harmful to bearded dragons, but it must be consumed in more negligible amounts than calcium. A balanced ratio ranging from 1.1 to 2.1 is best in foods that contain both minerals. This is because phosphorus, as mentioned here, essentially prevents calcium from being absorbed into the dragon’s bloodstream.
When the phosphorus content of a dragon’s diet consistently exceeds the calcium content, the resulting effect can be devastating to your pet’s health. Without proper calcium intake, bearded dragons can develop metabolic bone disease (MBD), a painful and sometimes paralyzing disease that distorts the skeletal structure and development.
Squeaky tip: Metabolic bone disease is easily the most common disease in bearded dragons, but don’t be alarmed as this is easily prevented with proper nutrition and care.
Lots of sugar
All fruits contain some amount of sugar, some more than others. When it comes down to it, the dietary restrictions are the same for dragon fruit: limit the amount.
High water content
Foods that contain a lot of water and minimal nutrition (such as curly lettuce) should not be fed to your dragon. However, it is usually safe to occasionally feed foods that are high in water content and nutrients. Strawberries are one such food. However, if your dragon has too many strawberries, it may get diarrhea from too much water, which can dehydrate your pet.
In the wild, bearded dragons can handle prolonged dehydration, but not the kind of diarrhea that results from a cycle of excessive dehydration. This can be a very unpleasant ordeal for you and your beardie.
If bearded dragons consume too much sugar, they can develop some of the same unpleasant and even fatal diseases as humans: tooth decay, fatty liver, obesity, diabetes, and heart failure. So even though your dragon will gobble up those strawberry chunks and may beg for more, stay strong and give in to her cravings only in moderation.
How can bearded dragons eat strawberries?
Bearded dragons will sometimes take a bite out of a whole strawberry, which is usually safe as long as the nibbling process happens under your supervision. You can also chop up the strawberries into small pieces and place them in the bearded dragon’s food dish alone or with vegetables or other fruits.
Remember to wash your strawberries thoroughly before feeding them to your beard, especially if they are not organic. Often, the berries may contain chemicals from pesticides and other sprays that can harm or kill bearded dragons in rare cases.
When the strawberries are ready, enjoy watching your beard devour them! Maybe you can even eat them together.
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