Can bearded dragons eat lettuce? Since lettuces are so easily available, most beardie owners have wondered whether or not their dragons can eat lettuce. And, as humans, when we think about green and healthy, lettuces are always at the top of the list. But is this the same for our scaly pals?
This article will go over the basics of feeding your bearded dragon lettuce to help you decide how to deal with lettuces concerning growing big and healthy beardies.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Lettuce?
Basically, Yes. However, it isn’t highly recommended by more experienced owners and experts. It may not cause any drastic reaction from your beardie when eaten, but it also doesn’t bring all that much to the table. Lettuce offers relatively lower nutrition compared to other vegetables and shouldn’t replace more beneficial vegetables in their diet.
Lettuce is generally a last resort meal whenever you have nothing else to give your beardie. It may be safe to eat, but you will be wasting space in your pet’s meals that can be fitted with more nutritious options instead. If you are looking for other vegetables that your bearded dragon can eat, here’s an article to get you started.
What Negative Effects Can Feeding Lettuce to Bearded Dragons Cause?
Lettuce is healthy food for humans. However, this doesn’t necessarily apply to bearded dragons as well. Leafy greens may be one of the staples in their diet, but it just isn’t the best choice.
With most of the lettuce varieties being mostly water, there is no nutritional value that your pet can gain from it. And, since bearded dragons come from arid deserts, excess amounts of water are not ideal for their diets. Their bodies may process the water, but this risks diarrhea for your pet and, coincidentally, possibly dehydration. If this ever happens, make sure to schedule a visit to the vet as soon as possible.
What Makes Lettuce a Poor Choice for Your Bearded Dragon?
Lettuce may seem healthy, and they are, just not for your beardie. It may pass off as an occasional emergency meal for your beardie, but, simply put, there are better options out there. Here is why lettuce is a less desirable option compared to other vegetables:
- Low Nutritional Content. Like people, bearded dragons require a balanced diet, and lettuce fills up your dragon faster than it can give the necessary vitamins and minerals your pet needs from each meal. Since it is 94% water, there is significantly less space for other nutrients to be there. Thus, making lettuce a poor choice as a staple plant or green in their diet plans.
- Low in Calcium. Bearded dragons are highly dependent on calcium and vitamin D3 for their growth. These nutrients also help them avoid Metabolic Bone Diseases as well. And, lettuces do not offer much of these things at all. Giving them lettuce often hinders them from developing into adults with strong bones and powerful jaws. This issue can be compounded upon by feeding your pet food that is high in oxalates and phosphorus, making them weaker and potentially smaller if they ever reach adulthood.
- Low in Sugar. This may look good, but others argue that this causes their bearded dragons to be weaker and less active. Yes, lettuce is still better in preventing obesity and tooth decay, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t other options that you should explore.
Can Juvenile Bearded Dragons Eat Lettuce?
As with adult bearded dragons, baby beardie shouldn’t eat lettuce either. Juvenile Bearded Dragons are still growing and developing, and giving them less nutritious food will be the difference between growing to adulthood and not reaching it at all.
Offering juvenile lettuce will only fill them up without providing significant nutrition. But, if you really must feed them these greens, you need to sprinkle a little powder of multivitamins to raise the meal’s nutritional value. You can get one of the best ones for bearded dragons here.
What Other Greens Can You Will Bearded Dragons Eat?
After establishing that lettuce isn’t a good candidate for your bearded friend’s green diet, here is a quick look at what you can feed to your pal instead. Here are 5 of the best, nutrient-packed, and filling greens that are great for your bearded dragon:
- Swiss Chard
- Dandelion Grass
- Mustard Green
- Boc Choy
These five offer a better balance between water and nutrients and are more packed with vitamins and minerals than lettuces. These are also easily accessible and easy to grow, making them better choices than a lettuce meal. If you are looking for fruits that they can eat instead, here is a quick article to get you started.
How many vegetables Should Your Bearded Dragon Eat?
Bearded dragons change the ratio of their diets as they grow older, and it generally goes like this:
- Baby Bearded Dragons. They need to eat a ratio of 80% bugs and insects to 20% plants to help them grow faster and bigger.
- Juvenile Bearded Dragons. Their diet should be split from 50% insect to 50% plants to prepare for their transition to adulthood.
- Adult Bearded Dragon. Their diet is the opposite of when they were babies at 20% bugs and insects and 80% plants.
This ratio is one of the reasons why it is recommended to make a varied and well-rounded meal plan for your pet dragons. Doing so ensures that you adjust their meals to how they are like in the wild, making their stay with you more conducive to how they live their lives in the desert.
Overall, Lettuce is safe to eat for your beardies, but it doesn’t pay off in the same way that you expect it to. Yes, they will fill up fast, but there are no benefits of being full but undernourished. It is still best to stick to a diet that has variety and is more packed with nutrition.
There will be times when you can’t avoid feeding them lettuce but make sure to feed them something much more nutritious the next time they eat.
Pro-Tip: One way to do this is with supplements. Click here to get some for your Beardies.