Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach?

Spinach Nutrition Facts:

  • Serving Size: 100g
  • Sodium 70mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 3.8g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.4g
  • Sugars 0.4g
  • Protein 3g
  • Calcium 136mg
  • Iron 3.6mg
  • Potassium 466mg

From the above-mentioned facts, now there is no doubt that spinach is a super healthy food that is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and lots of vitamins and minerals. One can eat spinach every day to boost his health. But for bearded dragons, it is not the case. Excessive spinach can cause many health issues to your bearded dragon and your dragon can be seriously ill or even die.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • Can a bearded dragon eat spinach?
  • How much and how often can a bearded dragon eat spinach?
  • What are the nutrient benefits of spinach for a bearded dragon?
  • Can bearded dragons eat baby spinach?
  • Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach Leaves All the Time? 
  • How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach?

The short answer is:

  • Yes, a few leaves every couple of months
  • No, not daily.

The good news is a bearded dragon can eat spinach. Spinach can benefit your dragon so it doesn’t have to be avoided at all.

Spinach is no means necessary for pet dragons and some bearded dragon owners don’t feed spinach to them at all because they don’t want to take a risk.

Spinach can be perfectly fine on rare occasions, say a few leaves after every couple of months.

Here are some of the nutritional benefits of spinach for your bearded dragon: 

Your bearded dragon doesn’t thrive on a sugar diet, the high sugar content is not good for them. If bearded dragons consume high sugar daily, they will suffer from fatty liver disease, diabetes, obesity, or even heart failure.

On the other hand, spinach contains almost no sugar, making it a good and healthy occasional salad.

Spinach is one of the foods that contains calcium and phosphorous. When you hear phosphorous, you should be careful about its concentration in food for bearded dragons because phosphorous binds with calcium and stops calcium absorption in bearded dragons. As you know, calcium is very important for bearded dragons’ health, and calcium deficiency can cause weaker bones, poor muscles, or even Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). So, Bearded dragons should always avoid phosphorous-rich foods. The safe ratio of calcium to phosphorous is 1:1.

On the other hand, spinach contains more calcium than phosphorous. It is safe, or let’s say, it’s beneficial for bearded dragons. So, an occasional snack is again fine for a bearded dragon.

Spinach has many vitamins and minerals that your exotic dragon needs:

  • Iron, which helps oxygen flow to the body’s organs.
  • Folate, which regulates tissue growth and cell functions.
  • Fiber, which smooths out the digestion process.
  • Vitamin A, beta carotene, and Vitamin C, fortify your dragon’s immune system, vision, reproduction, and growth.
  • Vitamin K1, which regulates blood clotting.

A few bites of these minerals and vitamins will give your bearded dragon a health boost.

There is no difference in nutrient value between baby spinach and plain old spinach. So, you need to limit the consumption of spinach of all types for your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons can consume baby spinach as much as they can consume regular spinach, i.e. a few leaves every couple of months.

Spinach is a super food for bearded dragons but in controlled amounts. Bearded dragons can’t eat spinach all the time because it has one fatal flaw, it is jam-packed with oxalates.

Oxalates are deadly for bearded dragons, they bind with calcium, stop their absorption in bearded dragons’ bloodstreams, and cause calcium deficiency which results in many severe diseases or even the death of the bearded dragon.

The deadliest disease caused by calcium deficiency is the Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) which is a terrible condition in which your pet bearded dragon’s limbs become warped and even paralyzed. Read “Metabolic Bone Disease 101: Keep Your Bearded Dragon Healthy and Strong

You can feed spinach to your bearded dragon if your dragon is not consuming food that is high in oxalates and you are also providing your dragon with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements. Read “Bearded Dragons, Calcium, and Vitamin D3: Everything You Need to Know”. But still, you can’t feed spinach to bearded dragons too much or too often. It will kill them. The same goes for other oxalates-rich plants like Swiss chard, carrot tops, beet greens, etc.

If you notice the following symptoms in your bearded dragon, it might be MBD, in that case, you need to call your vet immediately:

  • Tremors or Shaking limbs.
  • Softening face bones and jaw.
  • Fatigue and Weakness.
  • Stunted growth.
  • Paralysis.
  • Swollen rear legs.

Luckily, MBD is easily preventable with proper diet and calcium supplements.

The other big no for spinach is the presence of Vitamin A and beta carotene content in it. Although it is not as dangerous as oxalates, still it poses a threat to the health of your bearded dragon.

A safe amount of Vitamin A is good for bearded dragons. But if your bearded dragon is already on a Vitamin A supplement and you feed your pet dragon a meal that also contains Vitamin A, then this can cause Vitamin A toxicity. (also called hypervitaminosis A). 

  • Swelling
  • Decrease in energy 
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration

Feeding spinach to your bearded dragon is pretty easy. Do the following and let your pet dragon enjoy the treat:

  • Get fresh and healthy organic spinach. 
  • Wash spinach thoroughly washed. It will remove pesticides or dirt. 
  • Chop the leaves to smaller sizes which are easy for bearded dragons to chew. It will eliminate any possibility of choking. Place these smaller pieces into your pet bearded dragon veggie bowl.
  • You don’t need to cook the spinach as raw spinach contains more nutrients. 
  • Feel free to add other tastes to spinach to make it more enjoyable for your bearded dragon. You can add other veggies, greens, or pieces of fruit.
  • Watch and enjoy the view of a bearded dragon eating spinach.

In case, your dragon turns away from greens, you need to top off the salad with pieces of sweet fruit like grapes, strawberries, or bananas. You can also hide Dubia roaches or other feeder insects in greens.

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