Blueberries are one of the most popular fruits for us humans to snack on. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to share our juicy fruit snacks with our pets? You are likely here because you are aware that not all foods that are safe for humans to eat are safe for your pet bearded dragon to eat. Can a bearded dragon eat blueberries?
Dr. Jess explains it all below:
Let’s Talk Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons are cool little reptiles that are grouped into the category of desert lizards – they like a warm, dry environment.
They fall into the genus Pogona with eight different species falling under this grouping.
The eight species of bearded dragons, are distinguished from one another and named for the differences in their spines on their chins and necks.
Bearded dragons get their name from their armor of spiny scales, which include a “beard” of spikes under their chins, and a neck that puffs up depending on their mood, most commonly seen when puffed out when they are upset.
They do this to seem larger to whatever is upsetting or intimidating them.
This may be paired with a erry ‘hiss’ when really upset.
They can live up to 10 years and can reach up to 24 inches long and weigh up to 18 ounces once full grown. They range in colors from brown, to orange, to yellow, to cream.
Beardies have a precise eye and good sense of smell.
Bearded dragons are often referred to as “beardies”, are one of the more popular reptilian pets because of their cool, interesting exterior and their popularity being of low maintenance pets.
What Do Bearded Dragons Typically Eat?
Beardies commonly consume vegetables, fruits, and insects.
Bearded dragons are considered omnivorous, meaning they eat what both herbivores (plant-eaters) and carnivores (meat-eaters).
Young, immature, growing bearded dragons tend to be mostly carnivores, and eat more meat, at most 80% animal and 20% plant material
Adult bearded dragons are usually the exact opposite when it comes to diet, they tend to eat more plants and be more on the herbivorous side of things. Some adult beardies can be more along the lines of 80% plant and 20% animal foods.
As a basic rule of thumb, a bearded dragon’s diet should be comprised of foods that are around the basic ballpark of 50% animal-based and 50% plant-based.
As mentioned above, the age and maturity of each and every dragon should also come into play here, so it is a very good idea to discuss your dragon’s specific diet with your veterinarian.
If your bearded dragon stops eating – check out this article on how long bearded dragons can go without eating food and contact your local veterinarian.
Common Store-Bought Fruits for Beardies:
- and a multitude of other fruits
Medical Concerns Regarding Fruits:
Many fruits can be fed to bearded dragons every now and then in very small amounts.
However, many fruits are extremely acidic or high in sugar and can be difficult on bearded dragon digestive systems.
This is why only a very small amount every blue moon (like once a month!) should be the norm with most fruits for beardies.
This goes for many fruits and vegetables.
Let’s Talk Berries… More Specifically Blueberries:
The blueberry plant is a flowering plant that is perennial, can survive and come back year after year.
It produces small round berries that are either a shade of blue or purple, hence their name.
The berry itself actually starts out very small and green and becomes larger and blue once ripe.
When ripe, they have a sweet taste and once punctured, a juicy fruit inside.
Blueberry Health Benefits:
Blueberries are low in calories, high in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. According to a recent Healthline article,
Antioxidants protect your body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases, such as cancer. Blueberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables.”https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-blueberries#section2
Another study even concluded that blueberries may be beneficial when it comes to diabetes and glucose metabolism [source].
How To Feed Blueberries To Your Bearded Dragon:
- fresh, store-bought blueberries
- cutting board
- kitchen knife
- All fruits and vegetables will need to have a visual inspection done to make sure that you are giving your pet a ripe, healthy food to eat.
- Next, you will need to clean, cut, slice, chop, dice, or smash up the blueberries so that your dragon can safely eat it. They will need food in bite-sized pieces or small amounts of mashed blueberries.
- You may need to consider mixing the chopped blueberries with other fruits and vegetables, up together to help discourage picking through their food bowl and eating only the preferred items in their dish.
- Watch for any adverse side effects of introducing this new food, before allowing them to have more of it at a later date.
Do not change or add new items to your pet's diet without talking with your veterinarian about it first. Contact your veterinarian immediately if adverse side effects arise after ingestion.
First off, you should always purchase high-quality blueberries for your lizard from a reputable food source.
All fruits and vegetables will need to have a visual inspection done to make sure that you are giving your pet a ripe, healthy food to eat.
Next, you will need to clean, cut, slice, chop, dice, or smash up the blueberries so that your dragon can safely eat it.
They will need food in bite-sized pieces.
You may need to consider mixing the chopped or smashed blueberries with other fruits and vegetables, up together to help discourage picking through their food bowl and eating only the preferred items in their dish.
Food should be presented in a shallow clean dish that is not easily tipped over.
Fresh water should always be available in a shallow dish that can’t be easily tipped over. This water dish should be washed and cleaned daily.
Any food left in your bearded dragon’s enclosure that is not eaten up will start to get old and become unsafe for your dragon to eat, if they will even touch it at all.
This could lead to some major health issues, as well as a smelly enclosure and a bug problem – things you definitely do not want to deal with.
So, it is very important to clean out any foods that your bearded dragon leaves behind in a timely manner.
How Many Blueberries Should I Give My Bearded Dragon?
Contact with your local veterinarian for expert advice about your pet’s diet.
They will be able to help you decide how many blueberries to give your specific bearded dragon.
The amount of food you should give them will definitely depend on what foods you and your vet have decided are going to be a part of the pet’s diet.
As a rule of thumb, if your dragon is leaving food behind – then it may be that too much food is being offered to them.
How Often To Feed Bearded Dragon Blueberries?
Most young bearded dragons eat once or twice daily, while older lizards can be fed once daily, depending upon each pet’s individual appetite.
Some bearded dragons will not eat for a period of time.
Read this article on why bearded dragons may not be eating daily.
Because of the nutritional contents of blueberries (high sugar content, unbalanced calcium:phosphorus ratio, etc.), it is recommended to not feed blueberries to bearded dragons more than once or twice a week, and only at the recommended amounts.
Can Blueberries Be Harmful to Bearded Dragons?
There are always risk involved when your pet consumes anything, whether it is a new food in their diet or not.
I have listed a few of the hazards that come with feeding your pet beardie blueberries:
Blueberries can be quite large and slippery and may become a choking hazard in smaller, younger dragons.
Give consideration to cutting them into a smaller, more manageable size before feeding them to your bearded dragon so that they are less likely to choke.
Digestion Problems / Sugar Content:
Blueberries do contain a high level of sugar, just like many other fruit does.
Too much sugar, especially on a regular basis, can lead to obesity, dehydration, digestion problems, diarrhea, tooth decay (yes, bearded dragons have teeth!), and inappetence, all of which can further develop into more serious issues.
Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio:
It is commonly known in the bearded dragon world, that bearded dragons need to consume more calcium than phosphorus in their daily diet.
Any failure to achieve this ratio over a long period of time can result in the bearded dragon suffering from illnesses like metabolic bone disease.
Blueberries have an unbalanced calcium and phosphorus ratio.
Because this ratio is so incredibly important to your beardie’s health, it is also important to provide your beardie with calcium supplementation to ensure that your beardie is getting enough calcium that it needs daily to support proper body functions.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Blueberry Leaves?
Giving your beardie a blueberry leaf or two when you are offering them pieces of blueberry won’t harm them at all.
Just make sure that it is done in moderation, just like the fruit of the blueberry is offered up in moderation.
Can They Eat Dried Blueberries?
The higher sugar content of dried fruit such as dried blueberries makes me always say a resounding no.
Do not feed your bearded dragon any dried blueberry pieces, stick with the fresh fruit.
Can They Eat Frozen Blueberries?
Frozen blueberries are quite hard and are a potential choking hazard, so I do not recommend offering your pet any frozen blueberries if they are prone to choking.
Can They Eat Blueberry Jam or Preserves?
No, no, nope.
Do not ever feed your bearded dragon jelly or jam as these are high in sugar.
High sugar content is not good for your little friend, so please stay away from the jellies and jams!
Bearded Dragon Diet Supplements:
Bearded dragons have an increased need for calcium versus phosphorus in their diet.
This is especially true when they are young and their bones are growing.
Most veterinarians will likely recommend to sprinkle bearded dragon calcium powder over the food that you are offering your dragon.
This is usually done 2-3 times per week.
Contact your veterinarian for specific recommendations about supplementing your dragon’s diet.
Bearded dragons can be fed quite a plethora of fruits, vegetables, and insects safely, including blueberries.
However, it is important to know how much, how often, and how to properly serve blueberries and every other food we give our little dragons before we allow them to consume it.
For individual questions regarding your pet and their diet, contact your vet for specific dietary plans.