Can Bearded Dragons Eat Blueberries? Keep THIS In Mind

can bearded dragons eat blueberries?

Blueberries are a firm favorite treat of pet Bearded Dragons. Just like us, they love these delicious fruits. But, should we really be giving blueberries to our Bearded Dragons?

Blueberries can be given to Bearded Dragons as treats if they are fresh and free from pesticides. They are not poisonous, but they are full of sugar and should not be part of their staple diet. Over-feeding with blueberries can cause health issues such as diarrhea, obesity, and MBD

Now we know that blueberries are not poisonous to Bearded Dragons, let’s find out why we still shouldn’t feed too many, what might happen, and how to feed them savely if you decide to give your beardie some berries.

Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Have Lots Of Blueberries?

Here are the key takeaways for this article in case you don’t want to learn in detail why blueberries aren’t good for beardies.

  • Bearded Dragons should not have blueberries as part of their staple diet.
  • Adult Bearded Dragons should have no more than 4 or 5 blueberries once a week.
  • Baby Bearded Dragons should ideally not have any blueberries.
  • They should only eat organic blueberries that have been thoroughly washed. 
  • Beardies should only eat ripe blueberries that have not gone off. 
  • Bearded Dragons should have their blueberries sliced up to prevent choking or impaction. 
  • Bearded Dragons can have frozen blueberries that have no additives and have been thoroughly defrosted.
  • Beardies love blueberries but will suffer bad health if they eat too many. 

Bearded Dragons can’t have lots of blueberries for the same reasons that they can’t eat a lot of fruit in general.

In the short term, feeding a lot of blueberries could give your Bearded Dragon diarrhea and an upset tummy. In the long term, the effects of over-feeding blueberries on his health can be serious. 

Blueberries Are Full Of Sugar

Most Bearded Dragons in captivity are overweight, to the point of being obese (Boyer, 2015). This means that they are getting too many calories.

This can be because they are fed too much, or are fed an incorrect diet that has too many calorific foods. High-fat live feed such as worms, or high-sugar items like fruits, are commonly fed too often.  

In the wild, Bearded Dragons live in very dry forests. Their natural environment includes rocks, scrubby vegetation, some sand, and hard, compacted earth.

In this habitat, high-sugar and high-fat items are rare, so their calorie intake is naturally limited. Also, Bearded Dragons in the wild do a lot more foraging and moving, and therefore get a lot more exercise and burn more calories. 

These factors combine to explain why Bearded Dragons in captivity should not be fed a lot of blueberries.

Even though blueberries are healthy in other ways, their high sugar content can contribute to obesity in your Bearded Dragon. 

Eating too many sugary treats like blueberries causes enlargement of the coelomic fat pads. The fat pads can increase in size until they take up half the coelomic cavity in the abdomen (Boyer, 2015).

As a result, obesity puts your Bearded Dragon’s organs under a lot of pressure and causes many health problems that can lead to death.

How many blueberries can Beardies eat?
Most beardie owners use blueberries as treats.

Blueberries Are High In Phosphorus And Low In Calcium

Phosphorus is a mineral. It is the second most abundant mineral that can be found in the body. Phosphorus is related to the formation of healthy bones and teeth.

It also plays a role in controlling metabolism, muscle control, and passing impulses through nerves. To build healthy teeth and bones, phosphorus combines together with calcium to form calcium phosphate.

However, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus within the body needs to be well-balanced for this process to work correctly. Many organs, hormones and nutrients play complex roles in this process.

But, in summary, if there is too much phosphorus compared to calcium in the diet, this is damaging to your Bearded Dragon. 

An excess of phosphorus binds calcium and stops it from being bioavailable for use by the body. As a result, most of the calcium gained from food will be excreted through urine and feces.

But, the Bearded Dragon’s body still needs bioavailable calcium for organ function. As a result, it pulls the calcium it needs from the bones. 

The ideal ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the diet of your Bearded Dragon is between 1:1 and 2:1 (Kolb, 2017).

Unfortunately, an inverse calcium-phosphorus ratio (when phosphorus is higher than calcium) is extremely common.

An inverse C:P ratio was found in 57.14% of pet Bearded Dragons blood-tested at veterinary clinics in Europe (Schmidt-Ukaj et al., 2017)

Blueberries, Phosphorus, And Metabolic Bone Disease In Bearded Dragons

Foods that are high in phosphorus and low in calcium, such as blueberries, can cause an inverse C:P ratio. If your Bearded Dragon eats a diet with an imbalanced C:P ratio for a long time, then it will suffer from Metabolic Bone Disease. 

Metabolic Bone Disease occurs when your Bearded Dragon doesn’t absorb enough calcium.

When your Bearded Dragon has an inverse C:P ratio, his body draws calcium away from the bones to keep the organs functioning.

When calcium is drawn away from the bones, the Bearded Dragon will become weak and deformed. Eventually, bones will break and the skeleton and organs will begin to fail, leading to eventual death (Marshall)

Can bearded dragons eat blueberries with seeds?
Bearded dragon diet should consist of 80% of healthy greens.

A Few Benefits Bearded Dragons Get From Eating Blueberries

Blueberries are a very nutritious fruit that contain a lot of vitamins. They are packed with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and antioxidants.

These nutrients can help support gut health and boost your Bearded Dragon’s immune system. They also have a very high water content, so are great for hydrating your Bearded Dragon. 

How To Feed Your Bearded Dragon Blueberries Safely

Blueberries themselves are not toxic or poisonous to Bearded Dragons and are safe to feed.

But, the fruits that we buy from grocery stores are often contaminated with chemicals such as pesticides, preservatives, fertilizers, or coatings that make them shiny and attractive to shoppers. These chemicals can be harmful to Bearded Dragons. 

The best way to keep your Bearded Dragon safe is to buy only high-quality, organic blueberries. Also, take the time to thoroughly wash them before you offer them to your Bearded Dragon. 

Another risk of feeding Bearded Dragons blueberries is that they are a choking hazard. Just like when you feed grapes to a child, you can dramatically reduce the choking risk by slicing the blueberries in half before serving. 

As with any food item, make sure that the pieces of blueberry you give to your Bearded Dragon are smaller than the space between their eyes.

This measurement is approximately the width of their throat and reduces the risk of choking or impaction farther down the digestive tract. 

How Many Blueberries Can Adult Bearded Dragons Have?

It is difficult to prescribe an exact amount of blueberries for a Bearded Dragon. However, a good rule of thumb is to regard blueberries as a treat, rather than a staple part of your Bearded Dragon’s diet. 

At the very most, adult Bearded Dragons should eat 4 or 5 blueberries once per week. However, a few blueberries once a month is a common and conservative recommendation. 

Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Blueberries?

Baby Bearded Dragons need a much higher proportion of protein to vegetation in their diets than adult Bearded Dragons. Also, they need a lot of calcium to build strong bones as they grow.

Blueberries can reduce calcium absorption. Because of this, it might be a good idea to avoid treats like blueberries at this stage in their development. Or, at least, feed a very tiny amount of blueberry as a rare treat. 

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Frozen Blueberries?

If the frozen blueberries have zero additives, there is no reason that they should be any riskier than fresh fruit.

Check the ingredients and small print carefully to ensure no anti-clumping or preservative chemicals have been added. You also need to defrost and wash the blueberries thoroughly. 

The nutritional value of frozen blueberries is a little different from fresh blueberries. According to the nutritional information available, frozen blueberries actually have more calcium and less sugar than fresh blueberries, which is good for your Bearded Dragon.

Can Blueberry Seeds Cause Impaction?

Blueberry seeds should not cause impaction and there is no need to remove them, according to veterinarian Dr. Jess. However, this is assuming that blueberries are only being fed in small amounts and not more than once per week. 

How do you feed blueberries to bearded dragons?

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Moldy Blueberries?

No. If the blueberries have gone soft, squishy, wrinkled, or even furry, you should not feed them to your Bearded Dragon. These blueberries will have little nutritious value left and will be even higher in sugar than usual. 

Many of the fungi that cause fruit to rot are pretty harmless and play an important role in the ecosystem. But, it is always best to avoid unknown potential toxins.

On larger fruits, patches of mold can sometimes be cut out, and the fresh parts can be used. However, blueberries are so small that you should not try this and should just throw them away. 

Also, blueberries are soft. Mold on soft fruits like peaches and berries often spreads widely below the surface. As a result, trying to cut away mold that you can see on the surface of soft fruits is not advisable. 

If the blueberries (or any other fruits) seem slimy, you should also throw them away. Slime indicates the presence of bacteria, not fungi.

Bacteria could cause your Bearded Dragon to suffer food poisoning and stomach upset. 

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Unripe Blueberries?

No. If the blueberries are not yet dark blue, then they are unripe. They will taste sour and unpleasant. Your Bearded Dragon might not even want to eat them.

If he does, though, he may get a belly ache from the acidity.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Blueberries?

A typical serving of blueberries for an adult Bearded Dragon is 4 blueberries.

As blueberries weigh around half a gram each, I did some math to find out the nutritional value of a 2 gram serving of blueberries. According to the Blueberry Council, the nutritional value of 2 grams of blueberries is: 

Nutritional Value Of 2 Grams Of Fresh Blueberries

  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 0.29g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.04g
  • Soluble Fiber: 0g
  • Insoluble Fiber: 0.04g
  • Total Sugars: 0.2g
  • Protein: 0.01g
  • Vitamin D: 0 mcg
  • Calcium: 0.11mg
  • Iron: 0mg
  • Potassium: 1.54mg
  • Vitamin A: 0.06mcg
  • Vitamin C: 0.2mg

Nutritional Value Of 2 Grams Of Frozen Blueberries

  • Total Fat: 0.01g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 0.24g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.06g
  • Soluble Fiber: 0.01g
  • Insoluble Fiber: 0.04g
  • Total Sugars: 0.17g
  • Protein: 0.01g
  • Vitamin D: 0 mcg
  • Calcium: 0.16mg
  • Iron: 0mg
  • Potassium: 1.09mg
  • Vitamin A: 0.04mcg
  • Vitamin C: 0.06mg

Notice that there are some differences between the nutritional value of fresh and frozen blueberries.

Frozen blueberries have less vitamin A, but more vitamin C than fresh blueberries. Fresh blueberries have less calcium and more sugar than frozen blueberries. 

can bearded dragons eat dried blueberries

Nutritional Value Of Phosphorus In Blueberries

Phosphorus is not required to be printed on food labels. Because of this, it is good to be aware that just because phosphorus isn’t listed on the food, it could still be in it.

The USDA Standard Reference says that in a 2-gram serving of raw, fresh blueberries, there is:

Phosphorus: 0.24mg 

Notice that there is much more phosphorus than calcium in blueberries. This means that blueberries have an inverse calcium-phosphorus ratio. As a result, they should not be fed regularly. 

Leave a Reply