Curiosity around the diet of bearded dragons never ebbs. With multiple options on the cards, bearded dragon owners are always inquisitive about items they can feed to their bearded dragon without any qualms.
This also includes items they cannot or should not be feeding to their bearded dragon. What about onions, in that case?
Can bearded dragons eat onions? Bearded dragons should not eat onions under any circumstances. Onions are simply way too acidic in nature for the delicate digestive system of bearded dragons and can potentially cause serious complications if ingested by them. Whether raw or cooked, onions for bearded dragons are a no-no.
In this post, we will go into additional details about why onions are such a “forbidden vegetable” for bearded dragons. Alongside, we will also look at some other relatable fruits and vegetables which are just as big a taboo for bearded dragons as onions.
By the end of the post, you will have a particularly composite picture of the “don’ts” of bearded dragon diets, so make sure to read on till the end!
Why Bearded Dragon Owners End Up Feeding Onions to their Pets
Onions are one of the most common ingredients in a wide variety of diets and cuisines, right around the world. Irrespective of the culture, you will invariably find onions being consumed in one form or the other, whether raw or cooked.
Now, with bearded dragons, there is a common belief that what is good for us humans is also good for beardies. While to quite an extent that is true, there are notable exceptions, onions being one of them.
It is this unawareness on the “exception list of foods”, viz. foods which are OK for us humans but not for bearded dragons, which leads many bearded dragon owners, especially newbies, to end up feeding onions to them.
Nutritional Value of Onions
In every 100 grams (or 3.5 oz.) of onions, you will find the following nutrients, listed selectively:
- Protein – 1.1 gram
- Carbohydrates – 9.34 grams
- Sugars – 4.24 grams
- Niacin (B3) – 0.116 milligrams
- Pantothenic Acid (B5) – 0.123 milligrams
- Folate (Folic Acid) – 19 micrograms
- Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) – 7.4 milligrams
- Calcium – 23 milligrams
- Magnesium – 10 milligrams
- Potassium – 146 milligrams
- Phosphorus – 29 milligrams
- Iron – 0.21 milligrams
As you can see, the acidic content of onions is simply way too high (highlighted in red above). Also indicated in red is the relatively high amount of phosphorus, more or less similar to the amount of calcium, while a 2:1, calcium to phosphorus ratio is what is most desirable for bearded dragons.
It is these factors working in tandem that make onions a particularly “off the charts” food for bearded dragons.
Any Form of Onion is bad
In spite of knowing about the hazards of feeding onions to beardies, some pet owners like to believe that onions, if cooked, are OK for them. Well, they are NOT. To put it very bluntly, onions in ALL forms are an absolute NO-NO when it comes to bearded dragons.
So whether you fry them, boil them, sauté them, barbeque them, perhaps even caramelize them, it really does not matter – onions would remain a forbidden item for beardies and therefore should not be served to them at all in any form.
It is in this context that we would especially highlight mixed vegetables that are often available in supermarkets, including ones meant for pets. As a watchful and responsive pet owner, you must carefully go over the ingredients of such prepackaged food items.
In case you see onions listed among the vegetables in the mix (or can obviously see them in the package), then that would be an item you would want to avoid completely for your bearded dragon.
Accidental/Unintentional Feeding of Onions
No matter how hard you try – or in spite of knowing fully well about the hazards of feeding onions to bearded dragons, there is always the possibility of feeding onions to them accidentally. Let’s say, there is a situation where a fellow member of your family unwittingly ends up doing so.
Or you were feeding a mix to your beardie, which you only realized later on, had onions in it too.
No doubt, once you realize your folly, you would unsurprisingly be in a state of reasonable panic!
Well, a one-off incident of this nature may not necessarily cause serious harm to your pet. This is especially true if the ingested quantity of onion is really small.
However, in all such situations, be on the lookout for any signs of differential behavior in your pet, especially from a digestive standpoint.
In case you notice anything untoward that is particularly away from the norm, you are strongly advised to take your pet to the vet at the earliest possible without further ado.
Alongside, you must take additional precautionary measures to avoid such instances in the future. For instance, you could:
- Single-handedly be in charge of your beardie’s diet, which negates chances of accidental onion ingestion.
- Carefully vet your bearded dragon’s diet, in case someone else is responsible for it.
- Completely ban onions at home altogether, even for yourself or your family! Of course, this is an extreme yet highly effective measure.
Onions are not the only “Naughty Veggies for Beardies”
Just in case you thought that onions were the only vegetables that are such a big taboo for bearded dragons, think again! There are other vegetables which are also a part of this rather dubious fraternity.
As we mentioned towards the beginning of this post, herein we will highlight some of those below:
- Rhubarb – Rhubarb is especially bad for your beardie due to its particularly high levels of oxalic acid which can be dangerously poisonous for your pet.
- Avocado – Yes, avocados are fruits and not veggies; yet for convenience sake, we will list them here. The problem with avocados lies in their overall chemical content; while the same is OK (and in fact beneficial) for humans, it is definitely not so with bearded dragons at all.
- Lettuce – A common addition to our salads, the problem with lettuce – from a bearded dragon perspective, lies in its excessive water content with little to no nutritional value for them.
- Spinach – The issue with spinach is its calcium-binding chemical composition which can potentially lead to MBD or Metabolic Bone Disease in bearded dragons.
It is the high alkaline nature of onions that renders them completely avoidable for bearded dragons. To the furthest extent possible, you should completely avoid feeding any amount of onions to your beardie.
Now that you have a good understanding of “can bearded dragons eat onions” (no, they cannot!), you might also want to know:
Can bearded dragons eat peppers?
In moderate quantities, and on infrequent occasions, it is absolutely alright to feed peppers to your bearded dragon – both sweet as well as bell peppers. This is especially true due to the overall high nutritional value of peppers. Bear in mind though that some dragons may not favor peppers much.
Can bearded dragons eat cheese?
No, bearded dragons should NOT eat cheese; it is processed food which bearded dragons cannot digest. Moreover, the calcium content in cheese is simply too high for bearded dragons. Therefore, from an overall nutritionist perspective, cheese is a no-no for bearded dragons.