Apples are incredibly nutritious; that’s why they keep the doctor away. But can they keep the vet away when fed to beardies? Better still, can bearded dragons eat this nutritious fruit?
If you’re a member of the bearded dragon community, you probably know that beardies can eat some fruits in moderation. You’re advised to feed them fruits for optimal health.
But this doesn’t mean they can eat all fruits the same way you would. That’s why it’s wise to check with your vet before offering them any fruit.
Let’s talk about apples today, specifically if bearded dragons can eat them, their benefits, risks, and tips when feeding them to beardies.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?
Adult bearded dragons rely on insects and plant-based foods for their dietary needs because they are omnivores. They also need small amounts of fruit for optimal health.
The good news is that apples fall under the safe fruits for bearded dragons, which means your pet can enjoy this nutrient-dense fruit as you do.
However, they can’t have it every day. Like any other fruit, bearded dragons should eat apples in moderation for them to be beneficial. Too much may compromise their health.
So while apples are safe for bearded dragons, they should take a small percentage of your bearded dragon’s feeding chart. A healthy adult pet should be fed 80% plant-based food and 20% healthy insects.
But if you’re dealing with a growing bearded dragon, feed them 80% insects and 20% plant-based foods. You can also meet their dietary needs with supplements. However, consult your vet first so they can prescribe this depending on age and your pet’s nutrient requirements.
Are apple peels and seeds safe for bearded dragons?
The safest part to feed your bearded dragon is the soft flesh. Peels and seeds may pose serious health problems.
Beardies can’t digest seeds, so don’t feed them apple seeds. Besides, they can easily choke them.
Peels are hard to chew and may cause gut impaction. This is a serious condition that may lead to death if left untreated.
I recommend feeding the soft part after peeling. The close flesh to the core may not be soft, so to be on the safe side, don’t get so close to the core when cutting the apple. Furthermore, the hard part near the seed pockets is not safe for beardies.
What about applesauce?
Bearded dragons can have applesauce as well. However, you should be extra careful when selecting it for them.
Canned applesauce may contain preservatives that are not good for beardies. These pets are hypersensitive to compounds in preservatives and may react to them.
The best thing is to make your own applesauce from fresh, healthy apples and feed it to your pet. Canned applesauce may also have extra sugar from sweeteners, and as you probably know, too much sugar is not good for your reptile friend.
Applesauce is a remedy for constipation, but only if fed as required and without extra additives. But even so, your vet should approve it first after diagnosing your pet. So don’t go self-prescribing applesauce to your pet without your vet’s approval.
Types of apples to feed bearded dragons
There are different types of apples, but the common ones are red and green apples. Though they vary mostly in color, the nutrient content in all types of apples is almost the same.
The only difference is probably the concentration. That said, bearded dragons can safely eat red and green apples provided you feed them in moderation and remove the peel, seeds, and hard core.
Are Apples Safe for Baby Bearded Dragons?
Apples are among the safest fruits for baby dragons. They are healthy and offer tons of nutritional benefits for your pet. But since baby dragons only eat 20% plant-based foods, you should be strict when feeding them apples.
You have to serve the apples in moderation, without extra additives. For example, the sweeteners in applesauce or pesticides that may contaminate the food. You should also remove the peel and seeds before feeding apples to your baby dragon.
Another thing is that your baby bearded dragon cannot eat the same size apple as an adult beardie. Adjust the size accordingly; let your vet guide you if you’re unsure.
How Often Should Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?
Bearded dragons should have fruits as treats, and apples are no exception. Therefore, like any other treat, give your bearded dragon a quarter or a slice of an apple once a week.
Because babies cannot eat the same amount of apples as adult beardies, the amount you feed the beard should be determined by its age and size.
While an adult pet can eat a quarter of it, babies should have an eighth of the apple. This is only a rough estimate, so consult your vet for more accurate details.
They will recommend the right quantity based on your pet’s age, size, and weight. They can also do some tests to determine your pet’s nutritional needs and advise you on the amount to feed depending on that.
Do Apples Offer Nutritional Benefits to Beardies?
They do; in fact, they are among the healthiest treats for beardies. If you were to pick only one fruit to feed your bearded dragon, I recommend going for an apple.
Why? Because your pet will not only enjoy but also have several health benefits from eating a piece of an apple once a week. Let’s check out some of these benefits.
Benefits of Apples for Bearded Dragons
Source of fiber: applesauce helps with constipation because apples are a good source of fiber. Even in constipation-free beardies, the fiber content helps with digestion, making the process smooth.
It boosts iron reserves: Iron plays a major role in blood production. It helps with the transfer of oxygen to the bloodstream and the production of myoglobin and hemoglobin.
Being an essential mineral, it’s wise to boost iron reserves for your beardie. And since apples help with that, why not?
Low oxalate amounts: Unlike some fruits with high oxalate levels, apples contain low levels, so you don’t have to worry about calcium absorption in your pet’s body. High amounts of oxalates inhibit calcium absorption, leading to MBD.
Good source of potassium: Apples are a good source of potassium, and this mineral plays a role in muscle function and regulates the nervous system’s healthy function.
Water content: Apples also contain water, which keeps your pet hydrated.
Source of vitamins A and C: These two vitamins are essential for a strong immune system. In addition, vitamin C is a good antioxidant that protects against free radicals.
Risks of Feeding Apples to Bearded Dragons
Despite their health benefits, excessively feeding apples to beardies also comes with risks.
Some potential risks include the following:
High sugar content
Like in humans, excess sugar is also harmful to beardies. It can cause obesity or other sugar-related issues like diabetes. Furthermore, sugar is responsible for tooth decay and other common dental issues.
The sugar content in apples is not something to worry about if you observe the set guidelines. But when you feed in excess, you’ll compromise your pet’s health.
Unbalanced calcium phosphorous content
The ideal calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is either 1.5:1 or 2:1. Apples contain a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of 0.5:1. This is not good as, like oxalates, too much phosphorus inhibits calcium absorption in bearded dragons.
When this happens, the calcium in your bearded dragon’s body is useless, so your pet can easily suffer from metabolic bone diseases.
How to Feed Apples to Bearded Dragons
Feeding apples to bearded dragons is no rocket science, but how you go about it can affect how good or bad they are for your pet.
For optimal results, use these tips:
As always, always clean the fruit first before anything else. Use clean running water for better results. If you can, go for organic apples, as they contain less pesticide contamination.
The next thing should be peeling the skin to access the soft flesh. Remember, peels are unsafe because they are hard to chew and can easily cause blockage if ingested.
After peeling, cut the apple into pieces to access and remove the seeds. Next, cut the flesh close to the peeled area as it’s softer. This means you won’t reach the core, as it’s also not safe for beardies.
Ensure there are no stray seeds, even when dealing with a seedless apple. Once you’re through, cut into the recommended size for your pet, depending on their age.
Proceed to chop the piece into thin, manageable sizes, strands preferably of about 1.5 inches. These are easier to chew.
After you’re done, put the slices in a clean bowl and let your pet enjoy the treat.
Apples are among the safest and most nutritious fruits for your bearded dragon. So yes, beardies can eat apples and enjoy several nutritional benefits like hydration, improved vision, and smooth digestion.
However, this should be fed in moderation like most treats, as too much may compromise the above benefits.
Besides, fruits form a small part of bearded dragons’ natural diet and can never be treated as a staple food.