Yes, bearded dragons can eat parsley. It contains high amounts of calcium, fiber, Vitamin A & C, among other vitamins and minerals. However, it should be given in moderation as there are health concerns about giving your bearded dragon too much of it because it contains high amounts of oxalates. They can harm your pet if consumed in large amounts.
Oxalates are common in most greens, among other foods. They act as a defense mechanism for the plants as they grow.
Even though helpful to the growth of plants, oxalates can harm your bearded dragon because they can potentially bind with calcium, thus preventing this mineral from being absorbed by the body.
In addition, they play a part in the formation of kidney stones which are uncomfortable for a bearded dragon.
Calcium is a vital mineral for bearded dragon growth needs. It helps them grow, develop and maintain healthy bones. In addition, it enables female bearded dragons to form proper eggs.
In its absence, your bearded dragon might suffer from severe illnesses and health conditions such as metabolic bone disease.
As such, any ingredient that hinders calcium absorption by your bearded dragon should be avoided or given in moderation.
In addition, when calcium levels in your bearded dragon fall below the minimal limits, the pet will start utilizing the calcium in the bones, often leading to metabolic bone illnesses.
Besides oxalates, calcium deficit can also be caused by having too little calcium in your pet’s diet, poor supplementation, and poor lighting leading to Vitamin D3 deficiency which is vital in calcium absorption.
For every 100 grams of parsley, you can expect about 1,700 mg of oxalates which is significantly higher than in most other bearded dragon foods.
For instance, 100 grams of spinach have about 970 mg of oxalate, while 100 grams of asparagus have 130 mg, and you can expect about 400 mg of oxalates in 100 grams of rhubarb.
Kale has some of the smallest amounts of oxalates, with about 20 mg for every 100 grams of kale.
It is evident that parsley has a significantly high number of oxalates and should thus be given to a bearded dragon in moderation.
Parsley’s Nutritional Value
While we have discussed the effects of the oxalates found in parsley on your pet, parsley also has some vital nutrients for the immunity, growth, development, and thriving of your bearded dragon.
As such, parsley should be given in moderation to limit the oxalates intake but should not be fully avoided as it is still nutritional to your pet.
Here are the major nutrients in parsley and their respective amounts in parsley.
|Name||Amount in parsley per 100 g|
|Water||87. 71 mg|
|Fats (Total lipids)||0.79 g|
|Vitamin A||421 ug|
|Vitamin D2, D3||0|
|Vitamin E||0.75 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.09 mg|
Let’s look at some of these minerals and vitamins and their health benefits to your bearded dragon.
As we have seen earlier, calcium is vital for the growth, development, and maintenance of bones in your bearded dragon, in addition to their biological functions.
Its absence leads to health conditions, and you truly don’t want to deal with that. Parsley comes in handy in ensuring that your bearded dragon gets calcium from the diet.
Parsley contains high amounts of calcium, with 100 grams having about 138 mg. The high calcium content will help offset part of the oxalates’ effects, but you need to ensure that your pet gets decent amounts of calcium. You can also mix parsley with high-calcium foods to ensure that the pet gets enough.
Phosphorus is also present in parsley, and it prevents calcium-binding. The calcium to phosphorus ratio in parsley is above 2:1, the ratio most experts recommend. As such, the phosphorus amounts in parsley do not adversely affect calcium absorption.
2. Vitamin A and C
These two vitamins are vital in helping these lizards get rid of free radicals in their body and boost their immune system.
Both are present in parsley, although Vitamin A can be toxic if given to the bearded dragon in large amounts.
Therefore, you should limit Vitamin A-rich foods in your pet’s diet and avoid giving it any multivitamins with Vitamin A.
Proteins are vital in a bearded dragon’s diet, especially for babies. It helps with the high demand for their growth and development needs.
Even so, too much of it can lead to obesity in your pet. Don’t worry because parsley contains minimal amounts of proteins. In fact, it is hardly enough for the beardies’ needs, especially in baby beardies.
4. Vitamin K
Parsley is pretty rich in Vitamin K, which is vital in the growth of bones and blood clotting. In addition, this Vitamin K assists with calcium absorption by helping the mineral find its way to the bones, thus preventing metabolic bone diseases.
Fiber helps stabilize animals’ digestive tracts. It is plenty in parsley, with 100 grams of parsley having about 3.3 g.
Giving your bearded dragon parsley will help prevent diarrhea and constipation by regulating how the intestines take water. In addition, fiber can help prevent colon cancer in your pet by removing harmful water quicker.
Besides these nutrients, parsley is also low in sugar; thus, your bearded dragon will not likely gain a lot of weight. Excess sugar in their diet can result in fatty liver disease.
It is a condition that prevents the reptile’s liver from filtering the blood effectively. The resulting effect is that your bearded dragon might suffer from other health complications.
Safe Substitutes for Parsley In A Bearded Dragon’s Diet
Parsley is high in oxalates and calcium too. However, limiting the amount of parsley you give the pet is good because of its effect in hindering calcium absorption.
Here are safer alternatives to give the pet, which have significantly low amounts of oxalates but is still nutritious.
The nutritional composition is per 100 g of the substitutes.
|Mustard Greens||90.7 g||2.86 g||4.67 g||115 mg||58 mg||0.42 g|
|Kale||89.63 g||1.49 g||4.42 g||254 mg||55 mg||1.49 g|
|Dandelion Greens||85.6 g||2.7 g||9.2 g||187 mg||66 mg||0.7 g|
|Swiss Chard||92.66 g||1.8 g||3.74 g||51 mg||46 mg||0.2 g|
They are all easy to find at the grocery store or even from your kitchen garden. In addition, they are nutritious enough for your pet.
Whenever you feed bearded dragons with parsley or any other greens alternative, ensure to clean them even if you are sure they are free of pesticides and chemicals.
It will help eliminate germs that might be harmful to your bearded dragon’s health. Organic choices are also a safe option.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Parsley Every Day?
If you decide feeding parsley for your bearded dragon every day, then you have to be strict about the amounts you give it.
Overfeeding it with this herb can be dangerous to its health as it might lead to illnesses such as kidney stones and metabolic bone disease.
Against the common belief, parsley is not a good everyday meal choice for a bearded dragon. It might end up building up in the pet’s body leading to a health crisis.
How Often Can I Feed My Bearded Dragon Parsley?
Now that we know the benefits and potential harm of feeding your bearded dragon with parsley, you are bound to wonder, how much parsley is too much for my bearded dragon? How often can I feed my bearded dragon parsley?
Because of the high oxalate levels in parsley, it is best to stick to feeding your bearded dragons with small amounts of this green leafy vegetable.
The exact quantum and frequency may differ from one beardie to the other depending on its age and needs. Ideally, once a week is sufficient for the pet. Substitute it with safer and nutritious options.
Baby bearded dragons need plenty of calcium because their bones are growing and developing significantly. In case of a deficit, baby bearded dragon might suffer stunted growth in addition to metabolic bone disease.
Parsley has several benefits to juvenile lizards; however, it would be best to avoid parsley completely since it prevents calcium binding in these reptiles.
Can Bearded Dragon Eat Cooked Parsley?
Cooked food has many health benefits, and just as with humans, your bearded dragon will also benefit. It makes it a better and safer choice for your pet.
Ensure to use clean the cooking pots and avoid overcooking them. Further, it is best to cook it alone as it might get overcooked if cooked together with ingredients. Alternatively, you may add it at the end of cooking.
However, your bearded dragon might not be keen to eat cooked parsley, and this is normal. In such a case, please do not force it to eat and instead stick to giving it raw parsley.
How to Feed a Bearded Dragon with Parsley?
The best parts of parsley to give a bearded dragon are the leaves and stems. They are rich in different vitamins and minerals beneficial to your pet.
Avoid giving your pet parsley root because they are challenging for bearded dragons to chew due to the rough texture. Since these reptiles are not good at chewing, parsley roots put your pet in danger of choking.
In addition, it might be hard to remove all germs and chemicals from the roots because they are in constant contact with the soil. Such contaminants pose a health risk to the bearded dragon.
When feeding your pet with parsley, start by looking for the freshest ones (fresh parsley), then thoroughly clean and wash them. Doing so eliminates dirt, chemicals, and any pesticides.
As earlier mentioned, these lizards are not good at chewing; thus, you need to slice the parsley into small pieces. It makes it significantly easier for your pet to hold and chew them.
Next, mix an ideal amount of the parsley with other vegetables such as mustard greens, bok choy, and dandelions.
It ensures that you limit the number of oxalates in the meal while maximizing the nutritional benefits of the meal to your pet.
Parsley has some nutritional benefits to your bearded dragon. It can help improve its immunity, strengthen bones, and get rid of free radicals.
All this is thanks to some of the minerals and vitamins it carries, such as calcium, Vitamin A, C, and K. However, parsley is rich in oxalates that bind with calcium, thus reducing the amounts of this mineral being absorbed by the bearded dragon.
Consider alternatives such as mustard greens, dandelion greens, bok choy, and kales. They have significantly lower amounts of oxalates while still providing your pet with vital nutrients for growth and development.
For adult bearded dragons, they can safely eat parsley once a week or once every month. As for babies, it would be best to avoid providing them with parsley totally.