Cabbage is a common and inexpensive vegetable, and it is highly nutritious. It is a worth diet to have and is widely used for its health benefits. But can bearded dragons eat cabbage?
There are many different cabbages, and you may be wondering if they are suitable to be fed to bearded dragons. Cabbages are safe foods, and it is not wrong to feed them to your bearded dragon.
However, if you are looking forward to a staple food in your lizard’s diet, cabbage may not be a perfect choice. Cabbage is edible to bearded dragons but should not be used as a staple food.
Here, we’ll be covering several sections, including if bearded dragons can eat cabbage, why they should eat cabbages, how often to feed it, and more.
What to Know About Cabbages?
Due to its versatility, cabbage is consumed when cooked or raw and is packed with many different nutrients. It is an extremely healthy food with high amounts of vitamin C and vitamin K.
Cabbages are among the cheapest vegetables that you can find in the market, but surprisingly, they are the most underestimated vegetables today. Many people don’t turn to cabbages, but the reality is that cabbages are a pretty compliment to a healthy lifestyle.
They can also be an excellent choice of vegetable for animals. Cabbage is genuinely a great vegetable, and by this, I’m referring to its dense nutrients. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are responsible for healthy bones and good health.
Another fact about cabbage is that it is cholesterol-free, has low calorie and low sodium content.
Check below to see the nutrient composition in the cabbage according to USDA. The list shows nutritional value per 100 grams of cabbage.
- Energy: 25kcal
- Total Carbs: 6g
- Dietary fiber: 2.5g
- Sugar: 3.2g
- Sodium: 18mg
- Potassium: 170mg
- Calcium: 40mg
- Protein: 1.3g
- Vitamin A: 1%
- Vitamin C: 60%
- Vitamin B-6: 5%
- Magnesium: 3%
- Iron: 2%
- Phosphorus: 26mg.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbages?
Yes, bearded dragons can have cabbage as an occasional food. It is an excellent addition to the beardie’s diet and provides vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds, and antioxidants.
Cabbage acts as a great vegetable to the beardies and has other reasons that make it an outstanding food. These are due to its high calcium to phosphorus ratio, cholesterol-free, low-fat content, reduced amounts of sugar and starch, and high vitamin concentration.
Bearded dragons need to eat a varied diet to stay healthy and live longer. They require a variety of veggies, and this means that cabbage should not be the sole vegetable in the beardie’s diet.
When introducing cabbage to your dragon, do it gradually to prevent poisoning your pet. Too much of something is poisonous.
You can begin with a small piece of the cabbage leaf and keep an eye on how your lizard will react. If things go on well, you can increase the amount, but remember to do it gradually.
Since you need to provide a variety of vegetables to the beardies, you can mix the cabbage with around four different veggies when feeding. Combining different veggies ensures that the food is well balanced with vitamins and minerals.
Giving the correct amount of cabbage and providing it together with other vegetables is the right way for the beardies to enjoy the packed nutrients in cabbage.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat All Varieties of Cabbages?
There are four main varieties of cabbages, including green, red (purple), Napa and Savoy cabbages, and bearded dragons can eat all of them. However, no variety is the same as the other; they all differ in terms of nutrient composition.
So, let’s explore each variety of cabbage and see how safe they are to be fed to bearded dragons.
I guess many people have used green cabbage as their food, if not all. It is the most common cabbage we know and often sees it. When it comes to its nutrients content, this type of cabbage contains a 2:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Green cabbage is low in sugar, oxalates, and fat. It is slightly low in calcium, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and iron compared to other varieties like red cabbage.
Green cabbage is a healthy veggie for bearded dragons, but due to the presence of goitrogen, it negatively affects the thyroid function when fed in excess. Green cabbage should be fed to bearded dragons once a week or every other.
The red variety is highly nutritious compared to all other cabbage types and is the most preferred for the beardies.
Red cabbage contains the following nutrients; potassium, manganese, vitamin K and C, plenty of fiber, Vitamin B6 and folate, and antioxidants.
Other bottom lines about red cabbage are that it contains more calcium than phosphorus at a ratio of 1.5:1, and it is low in sugar and fat. The safest foods that bearded dragons can often eat should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio that ranges between 1:1 or 2:1.
So, in terms of calcium to phosphorus proportion, both red and green cabbages fall within the safe range. Likewise, red cabbage has goitrogens, but the levels are not too high, like in the green variety.
Savoy cabbage quite resembles the green cabbage, but it has a crispier texture and thin foliage. About its nutrients, savoy cabbage has a higher percentage of phosphorus than calcium; it is moderately acidic and contains high levels of vitamin A.
Due to the higher phosphorus level than calcium, feeding this cabbage to bearded dragons in excess can lead to metabolic bone disease. It can also result in stomach and digestive problems because of its acidity.
When feeding savoy cabbage, provide too little amounts of it to the beardies. There will be no harm if you choose to feed your pet with savoy cabbage once every week or so. Too much vitamin A may lead to dehydration, swelling, or energy loss in your lizard.
Savoy cabbage is goitrogenic too, and because of many negative sides about it, it is not the best option variety to feed to bearded dragons. But you don’t need to worry because a little piece of savoy cabbage is not dangerous when fed occasionally.
Chinese cabbage and Napa are the same things. It has thinner leaves and is tastier compared to other cabbages.
Napa cabbage is a perfect choice vegetable for bearded dragons because of its high concentration in vitamin A and C, calcium, and fiber. It has more percentage of calcium than phosphorus, and the ratio falls within the range that is safe for bearded dragons.
However, Napa cabbage is also goitrogenic; thus, it should be fed occasionally, about once a week.
What are the Health Benefits of Cabbages to Bearded Dragons?
Cabbages have a lot of nutrients, and bearded dragons will benefit in many different ways from these nutrients. As we have seen, the amount of nutrient cabbages supplied to the beardies depends significantly on the variety.
So, what impacts do each nutrient contained in cabbages have towards your lizard? I have explained the roles of these nutrients below.
Cabbages have various minerals, which include sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and manganese. All these minerals play a vital role in bearded dragons.
For instance, potassium helps in regulating blood pressure, protects the muscles and nerves, and averts kidney stones. Manganese helps in metabolism, and magnesium supports healthy blood sugar level, calcium, while phosphorus enhances strong bone formation.
For effective absorption of calcium into the body, the calcium level in the cabbage should be higher or equal to the quantity of phosphorus present.
Cabbages, especially the red variety, is rich in vitamin K, which is essential for the maintenance of tissues and blood cells, and aids in blood clotting in case of an injury.
Vitamin C is also present in cabbages and has multiple functions, which include, strengthening of the immune system, helps in vision, growth, and reproduction.
Vitamin A supports a healthy vision, while vitamin B6 and folate are responsible for maintaining the nervous system and boosting energy.
Cabbages have adequate dietary fiber levels that promote healthy digestion of food, which reduces the chances of constipation and leads to frequent and smooth pooping.
It is recommended to give cabbages to bearded dragons when they are still fresh to increase actionability and help the beardie benefit from the dietary fiber.
Cabbages have potent antioxidants like sulfur compounds and polyphenols. The two antioxidants prevent inflammation and protect the free radicals in the body from damaging the cells.
As we saw from the list of nutrients composition at the beginning of the article, cabbages have 3.2g of sugar per 100g. This is extremely low sugar content and will not harm your beardie.
Bearded dragons should be fed with foods that are reasonably low in sugar to avoid heart attacks, kidney failure, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Another advantage of cabbage is the low-fat content, which helps to prevent stroke, high blood pressure, and fat accumulating on the tail.
How to Prepare Cabbage for Bearded Dragons?
You don’t need to go through a complicated process to prepare cabbages for feeding your bearded dragon. Here are the easy steps that you should follow.
- Cut off the outer foliage and wash the cabbage thoroughly with clean water.
- Remove some inner leaves to feed your lizard. Never feed the stalk to the beardies because it is difficult to eat and digest as well.
- Cut the inner leaves you obtained from the cabbage into tiny pieces.
- Mix the sliced pieces in the diet and give the food to the beardie.
Cabbage has plenty of nutrients, and this makes it a superb vegetable to include in your beardie’s diet. It comprises a high proportion of calcium to phosphorus, low fat, low sugar, and starch, high energy, vitamin A, C, K, and B6.
Cabbage should never be used as a staple food; instead, it should be fed occasionally to avoid interference with the thyroid function and other health issues.