Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to share our tasty apple 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 bearded dragons eat apples?
Dr. Jess explains it all below:
Let’s Talk Bearded Dragons!
Bearded dragons are chill little reptiles that are grouped into the category of desert lizards – they like a warm, dry environment.
They are grouped 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?
So many great questions to answer here!
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 Bearded Dragons:
- 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 Apples…
Apples are a common type of fruit here in the U.S.
Apples are a rounded fruit with a green or red exterior skin that can be thick or delicate, depending on variety, and a crisp fruit center that is juicy and watery.
Apples come in many different varieties, sizes, flavors, and therefore has been used in cooked for many different uses. Apples come from apple trees and have an internal core with apple seeds at the very center of its fruit.
Just like with any other fruit, apples have their nutritional value…. as well as some things to be weary of! Here are some of the highlights of an apples nutritional profile [source]:
Vitamin C is essential to your bearded dragon staying happy and healthy and an apple has a healthy amount of this vitamin.
Apples have a decent sugar and carbohydrate content as well.
Something to take note on and to keep in mind when feeding to bearded dragons who can come down with digestive upset with increased amounts of sugar!
An apple also contains a high percentage of water, which is great when looking to maintain hydration. But too much water can be troublesome!
Apples contain a high percentage fiber too!
Apples provide fiber which helps in constipation and improves gut motility. It is also why you feel full after eating an apple – that increased fiber helps keep you feeling full for longer, or “satiated”.
Too much fiber however, can lead to too much gut motility… and that’s not a good thing either!
Other Vitamins & Minerals:
It should be noted that apples contain other vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, that is needed for healthy body function.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Red Apples?
Yes! They can.
Can Bearded Dragons Have Green Apples?
They sure can, in moderation.
How To Feed Apples To Your Bearded Dragon?
- 1 fresh, store-bought apple
- kitchen fruit/vegetable knife
- cutting board
- You will need to have a visual inspection done to make sure that you are giving your pet a ripe, healthy apple to eat.
- Next, you will need to remove the skin/peel, the core, and any seeds. Then cut, slice, chop, or dice up the apple so that your dragon can safely eat it, in bite-sized pieces.
- Offer your bearded dragon one small piece of apple and observe for at least 24 hours for adverse signs. If no adverse signs arise, you can continue to give your bearded dragon apple in conservative amounts and according to your veterinarian's recommendation.
Contact your veterinarian before changing or modifying your pet's diet.
First off, you should always purchase a high-quality apple 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 remove the outer skin/peel and any seeds, and then cut, slice, chop, or dice up the apple so that your dragon can safely eat it.
They will need food in bite-sized pieces.
You may need to consider mixing the cut apple with 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 Much Apple 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 much apple to give your beardie.
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.
Apple should be given to your beardie in small bite-sized pieces.
Start with just one piece.
After 24 hours without any adverse side effects observed, then you are likely safe to feed your dragon a few bite-sized pieces of apple the next time to serve them up this fruit as a treat.
How Often To Feed Bearded Dragons Apples?
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 its nutritional makeup, apples should not be given daily.
At most, a small amount once or twice weekly is more than enough if you want to stay on the safe side – which I highly recommend that you do!
Can Apple 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 apple:
Apples can 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:
Apples do contain a decent amount 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 even though they must have phosphorus in their diet.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral that helps build healthy strong bones. Phosphorus also binds with calcium, making it unavailable for the bearded dragon to use!
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.
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 They Eat Apple Cores?
Great question! Bearded dragons should not eat apple cores. Not only are they not the most appetizing part of the fruit, but they can become a choking hazard.
Many lizards do not like the taste of the core and will skip over it if given a choice.
Can They Eat Apple Seeds?
Do not allow your bearded dragon to have apple seeds.
These slippery seeds are a choking hazard to your pet.
These apple seeds have also shown to be toxic in certain numbers to certain mammals.
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 apples.
However, it is important to know how much, how often, and how to properly serve apples 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.