We know spinach is packed full of nutrients, and it is a favorite vegetable to many people, but can bearded dragons eat spinach? Is it suitable for them?
Unknowingly what spinach can do to bearded dragons, your lizard might end up eating this veggie and leave you worried, especially if there’s any slight change in normal reaction.
You can’t be at peace at all, not until you are sure enough that spinach is acceptable for the beardies.
Read on for more information on spinach and bearded dragons and know whether you should keep spinach off your dragon’s menu or not.
Is Spinach Nutritious?
Yes, spinach is an incredibly nutritious vegetable as it packs lots of vitamins, carotenoids, calcium, iron, and other additional minerals.
It is necessary to look at the nutritional profile of any food material you choose to give your lizard to see if it has the essential nutrients the beardies need and check its nutrient content.
You will need to look at the calcium, phosphorus, acid, sugar, and protein level. Check below to see the nutritional aspect of 100g of raw spinach, according to USDA.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach?
Spinach is a favorite veggie to many bearded dragons, and it has some benefits for beardie’s health. Feeding your dragon a few spinach leaves isn’t necessarily harmful, as they are fine when provided on rare occasions.
As it is evident from the nutritional profile above, there is more calcium than phosphorus mineral in spinach, making it safe and beneficial for the beardies. Phosphorus rich foods can be dangerous for bearded dragons, especially under long term consumption will cause MBD.
This is because too much phosphorus acts against calcium and blocks its absorption into the body. Moreover, spinach is high in iron that is necessary to enhance the flow of oxygen to the body’s organs.
That’s not all; there is a tremendous amount of fiber in this vegetable responsible for smoothening the digestion process. Likewise, spinach is rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, which improves eye health and vision.
There is more to spinach, but I have only covered a few of its benefits. Indeed, spinach isn’t a superfood for nothing.
How often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach?
Though spinach has many nutrients that bearded dragons need, I would recommend you to feed them on rare occasions, about two times every month. Spinach is pretty high in oxalates that bind to calcium and prevent its absorption into the bloodstream.
That proves that if bearded dragons continuously eat spinach, the body cannot absorb the calcium in this veggie because of oxalate. This is hugely harmful since your dragon can get the metabolic bone disease (MBD) due to calcium starvation.
Always ensure that your lizard is getting enough calcium now and then. You need to know that calcium from foods cannot meet the level that the beardies require, and that’s why you need to include a calcium supplement.
Aside from Spinach, What Else Can I Feed My Bearded Dragon?
One good thing about beardies is that they eat a variety of foods. And this means that you have many food options to choose from, all the way from insects, vegetables, and fruits.
You will find a dragon owner who, at all costs, will avoid giving spinach to their lizard, and this is entirely okay. It is always best to stay safe and to risk things.
However, I’m not saying that spinach will kill your pet, but it means too much of it is pretty dangerous and can pose a health issue to the beardies. So, if you are not for the idea of letting your pet to eat spinach, you can always consider using the following greens instead:
- Turnip greens
- Dandelion greens
- Grape leaves.
These are the most highly recommended greens to feed the beardies, and they can serve as a staple diet. They have a healthy balance of calcium and phosphorus, so there is no need to worry about calcium metabolism problems.
Is Baby Spinach Safe for Bearded Dragons?
Perhaps you may think that oxalic acid is present in mature spinach and not in baby spinach. Unfortunately, spinach at any age contains oxalic acid but at different concentrations. So, whether you have matured or baby spinach, ensure you feed them sparingly.
Even if you strictly supplement your lizard friend with calcium, beware that if you feed it too much oxalate food or feed them too often, they can kill the lizard. I believe this is the last thing you want to happen, so make sure to use spinach in the right amounts.
Other foods that are high in oxalate and you want to avoid are beet greens, swiss chard, carrot tops, and avocado.
How to Prepare Spinach for Bearded Dragons
In every food you provide to your bearded dragon, you need to be keen on its preparation, make sure you prepare it in the right way. Sometimes you can make a slight mistake and end up hurting your lizard.
As far as spinach goes, if possible, ensure you buy organic spinach, and of course, they should be fresh. Wash them to remove dirt and any pesticide so that they don’t get their way into the beardie’s body.
Cut the leaves into smaller pieces to prevent choking during swallowing. Mix the spinach with other veggies, fruits, and greens in a bowl and provide it to your beardie. Watch as it munches it all up.
As we have seen, bearded dragons can eat spinach, but it is safe to feed them in pretty small amounts and occasionally. Spinach contains high amounts of oxalate, which is a calcium-binding chemical and inhibits calcium absorption.
If your dragon overeats spinach and takes it too often, it will not benefit from the calcium in the diet and may eventually suffer from MBD due to calcium deficiency.