Can Bearded Dragons Eat Onions?

Do you own one of these smart bearded dragon or have you seen one at you field or zoo and even wonder what they actually eat?

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Onions

But when it comes to other foods such as onions, you may need to pay a little bit of attention. So, can bearded Dragon Eat Onions? 

The simple answer is No. Never feed bearded dragon with (cooked or raw). Onions are laced with high levels of acids and have high calcium to phosphorous ratio. These components cause indigestion problems along the delicate alimentary canal of Bearded Dragon. 

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Details: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Onions?

1. Toxic to their digestive system

Onions (scientific name Allium cepa) usually contain toxic substance which when eaten by Bearded Dragon, it toxifies the alimentary canal leading to digestion problems such as incomplete digestion, vomiting and burning sensation.

You will notice mixed reaction when you feed your beard dragon with onions due to colorless steam produced by fleshly cut onions. These steam emissions from onions usually make your pet bearded dragon to even shed tears (though they don’t cry like human beings do).

Though scientific research has been done, it has not been able to establish the exact chemical that cause tears and itching sensation on bearded dragon.

The onion leaves produces slippery fluid between leaf layers, which makes it unpleasant meal for your bearded dragon.  The green leafy onions have hollow inner sections that incubate gas, which causes vomiting to your bearded dragon when eaten.

2. High Acidity level

Onions have high level of acid content, which cause hurt burn and throat discomfort to your bearded dragon when eaten. The Folate (Folic Acid) & ascorbic acid portions found in onions form a high pH environment in chyme within the stomach thus inhibiting normal working of digestive enzymes (high acid levels inactivates the digestive enzymes).

Raw onions when eaten causes burning sensation (due to acid content) on the tongue and inner lining of Bearded dragon’s mouth. This feeling makes the pet get agitated or angry leading to loss of appetite.

The red onions (normally fed to bearded dragons most – have white fleshy interior leaves and are sweet) have compound that affect the red blood cells of your bearded dragon leading to low cell count.

Bearded Dragon in a rocky background
Bearded Dragon

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3. Unbalance Nutrition components (Calcium to Phosphorous ratio).

Onions have unbalance calcium to phosphorous ratio. For every 1gram of calcium, there is 2 grams of phosphorous in a given onion species. This on itself cause ion imbalance in the body.

High level of phosphorous as compared to calcium is not ideal for Bearded Dragon Survival. Excess or phosphorous will inhibit calcium intake leading adrenal or renal disorder. On the other hand, excess or calcium within the body may not be healthy for your bearded dragon (this may result from inhibition caused by the phosphorous within the bones or kidneys).

Proper calcium to phosphorous ratio for your bearded dragon to achieve healthy life is 2 grams of calcium for every gram of phosphorous or 1:1 ratio. This will ensure a balance calcium intake and phosphorous removal from the bones and thus preventing any possible disorder. 

Onion has other nutritional components that may be of nutritional value for your bearded dragon. For every 100 grams of onions sliced for analysis, the following nutritional components will be found:

  1. Calcium – 23 milligrams , Phosphorus – 29 milligrams & Potassium – 146 milligrams
  2. Iron – 0.21 milligrams & Magnesium – 10 milligrams
  3. Protein – 1.1 gram, Sugars – 4.24 grams &    Carbohydrates – 9.34 grams
  4. Folate (Folic Acid) – 19 micrograms & Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) – 7.4 milligrams
  5. Pantothenic Acid (B5) – 0.123 milligrams & Niacin (B3) – 0.116 milligrams

By observation, it is clear that the phosphorous (written in bold) levels in sample is far much high as compared to calcium. In addition, the acidity level in different onion nutritional components (written in italic) are far much high too. This means that onions are not suitable for bearded dragon at whatever case.

Bearded Dragon, South Australia
Bearded Dragon, South Australia

Which Other Foods Do You Avoid From Feeding Your Bearded Dragon?

1. Vegetables and greens never to give

Though Bearded dragon feeds on vegetables, do not feed them with Lettuce, spinach, beet tops and Rhubarb. These kind of vegetables have high level of acid, which lead to indigestion problems.

Rhubarb has high level of oxalic acid, which cause digestive problems to your bearded dragon. Lettuce has very high water content (leads to diuresis and watery excretes that makes the cage messy often) and low nutrients content.

Spinach has high calcium-binding ability within the body of bearded dragon. This may cause a disorder called Metabolic Bone Disease in your pet bearded dragon if not avoided.

Beet tops though nutritious (contains magnesium and calcium); it has a chemical that inhibits calcium absorption in your bearded dragon. The chemical binds calcium in the digestive system thus preventing it from being absorbed from the blood. Calcium deficiency in your bearded dragon may lead to Metabolic Bone Disease.

2. Insects never to feed.

Never feed your Bearded Dragon with any of the following insects: Boxelder bugs, Fireflies or any fly that produces light and wild-caught insects. Normally, Fireflies are very toxic insects; they contain toxic substance, which kill the bearded dragon when eaten.

3. Fruits not to feed

Lemons, oranges, grapes, tangerines and limes. Citrus fruits have high level of citric acid, which affects the digestive system of bearded dragon by creating a high pH along the alimentary canal and thus inactivating digestive enzymes.

4. Greens 

Avocado as fruit has high level of acidity (oxalic acid) and chemical component, which make your bearded dragon ill and may cause death if taken in large amount.

You should not feed your pet bearded dragon with avocados at all. Tomatoes can be fed occasionally (twice a year) since they have high level of acidity and are difficult to digest, (they have adverse reaction to digestive system).

Which Foods Should You Feed Your Bearded Dragon?

1. Staple insects

These should be the main meal for your bearded dragon. These insects contain high iron and protein content that build the body tissues of Bearded Dragon. Staple insects include crickets, hornworms and roaches (Dubia roaches).

2. Occasional Insects

Occasion insects should be fed to your bearded dragon after every 3 to 4 months. They contain high carbohydrates and fatty content, which may fatten your Bearded Dragon abnormally.

It is advisable to supplement them with fruits and vegetables when feeding. Occasional insects include mealworms, waxworms, butter worms, silk worms, and earthworms.

3. Staple fruits

Staple fruits are provide vitamins and roughages, which prevents constipation to your bearded dragon. You can feed them often as you supplement with leafy vegetables such as kales. Staple fruits include Mango, Papaya and Prickly Pear (Cactus Leaves).

4. Occasion fruits

Occasional fruits should be fed after every three months. They contain high content of vitamin (vitamin C – ascorbic acid) and water content that affect the digestive system of your bearded dragon. However, they provide enough roughages that prevent constipation.

Occasional fruits include Blackberries, Cantaloupe, Apples (peeled) Honeydew Melon, Kiwi (peeled), Blueberries, Grapes (remove skin on grape), Raspberries, Strawberries, Peaches, Watermelon, Pears (peeled) and Bananas.

5. Staple Greens

The leafy staple green feeds contains high iron content, which is needed for growth of bones and teeth. Moreover, they provide salad that enables smooth digestion when mixed with other hard food substances such fruits.

Staple greens feeds include Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Dandelion Greens, Endive, Escarole, Watercress and Turnip Greens. 

6. Occasional Greens

Occasional green feeds for bearded dragon contain high level of oxalic acid, which affects the digestive track of your pet. Though these greens have vitamins and roughages needed by yours bearded dragon, they should be fed after 4 to 6 month.

Occasional greens include Celery Leaves, Bok Choy, cucumber (peeled), Kohlrabi Leaves, Swiss Chard, Kale, Carrot Tops, Parsley and Cilantro.

7. Staple Vegetables

Staple vegetables are very important as they provide vitamins necessary for growth of bearded dragon. These vegetables can be supplemented with staple fruits. Staple vegetables include Green Beans, Acorn Squash, Snap Peas, Yellow Squash, Parsnips, Butternut Squash, Okra and Sweet Potato.

8. Occasional Vegetables

These should be fed to your pet bearded dragon occasionally since they take longer to digest and may introduce excess calcium/phosphorous when fed in large amount.

They include Celery Stalks, Asparagus, Green Peas, Carrots, Bell Peppers, Zucchini, Broccoli, Beets, Cauliflower and Pumpkin.

As you feed your bearded dragon, observe the following precautions kindly.

  • Vet carefully any breaded dragon’s food (onions).
  • Avoid feeding your Bearded Dragon with onion of any species or form (cooked or raw).
  • Hand feed your bearded dragon to avoid any accidental onions in the feeds.
  • Ensure that all commercial feeds for bearded dragons are vet approved.

Rule and Guidelines to Follow When Feeding Your Bearded Dragon.

1. Any plant feeds should be fresh, chopped and thoroughly washed before feeding your bearded dragon. Water provides added nutrition to your beaded dragon.

2. Never feed your bearded dragons with food pieces that are larger than the space between the eyes (this cause chocking while feeding).

3. Let your bearded dragon hunt for food (insects) introduced in the cage to enable it to exercise while moving.

4. Always ensure that you feed you bearded dragon from a dish to prevent it from direct swallowing, which may cause impaction leading to death or health complications.

5. Never leave excess food in the cage after feeding your bearded dragon. This makes it less active or docile since most of them never stop eating.

6. It is always advisable to offer plant feed mixed with insects to boost the nutrients acquired per feed.

7. Fruits should be peeled and chopped when feeding your bearded dragon.

8. Never entrust your kids to feed your bearded dragon in your absence.

Conclusions

Bearded Dragon do not eat onions in any form (raw or cook). Though some owners mix onions with other feeds, this is not right since onions contain toxic substance, acids and high calcium to phosphorous ratio, which cause digestion problems.

It is therefore advisable to avoid giving your pet bearded dragon any onion species. Also, follow the feeding guidelines discussed above to ensure a healthy life for your pet bearded dragon. 

Sources: 

  1. Detection and phylogenetic analysis of adenoviruses occurring in a single anole species 
  2. Diagnostic imaging of reproductive tract disorders in reptiles

Jason

Hi, I am a reptiles enthusiats. I'll espaicilly cover guides and DIYs on different Lizard species, Chameleon, Gecko. So, hang in there as we express our reptile pets' love.

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