Bearded Dragon Diet (Broccoli, Dandelion & Greens checked)

It’s no secret that vegetables play an integral role in your bearded dragon’s diet. However, the wrong vegetables can do more harm than good to your pet companion. Since this is the case, you might be wondering whether it’s safe to feed your bearded dragon with broccoli or whether they can eat broccoli.

So, can Bearded Dragons eat broccoli? Broccoli contains a substance known as goitrogens, which have the potential to disrupt the thyroid function in Bearded Dragons. If consumed excessively, the presence of goitrogens can lead to goiter, a condition where the thyroid gland enlarges. Given the role that thyroid plays in metabolism, it’s critical for its function to remain unimpeded.

In my years of caring for bearded dragons and consulting with expert veterinarians, I’ve learned that while avoiding broccoli entirely isn’t necessary, moderation is key. Based on professional advice and guidelines from the Animal Veterinary Hospital Orlando in the United States, the fine chopping of broccoli, served sparingly and intermittently, can safely introduce it into a bearded dragon’s diet without risking thyroid health.

As a reptile enthusiast and owner of several bearded dragons over the years, it’s important to appreciate broccoli contains a substance known as goitrogens. In my observations and research, which align with findings from a study by Suzetta Cameron & Agata Witkowska showcased in Vetlexicon on Hypothyroidism in reptiles, goitrogens have the potential to disrupt thyroid function in Bearded Dragons.

As always, a diverse diet for bearded dragons should be maintained. I would always consult a veterinarian or pet nutrition expert for guidance when uncertain about incorporating certain foods into my bearded dragon’s diet.

When considering the dietary needs of bearded dragons, a variety of fruits, vegetables, and insects are generally required. The inclusion of broccoli in their diet, however, should be approached with caution.

Broccoli is part of a family of vegetables known as cruciferous vegetables. This family also includes kale, cabbage, bok choy, and collard greens, among others. These vegetables are recognized for their nutritional benefits as they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, offering a wealth of health benefits for many species. However, these vegetables also contain goitrogens.

Goitrogens are naturally occurring compounds in some foods, particularly in cruciferous vegetables. They get their name from the term “goiter,” which means an enlargement of the thyroid gland. If substances within the body cause the thyroid to grow, this can lead to the formation of a goiter. While typically not dangerous, this enlarged gland can affect the throat, making swallowing or breathing difficult.

Goitrogens can affect thyroid function by inhibiting the body’s ability to use iodine, a nutrient that’s essential for thyroid health. This can then lead to hypothyroidism and potentially goiter if the diet is not modified. Therefore, while broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables offer many health benefits, they should be used sparingly in the diets of pets such as bearded dragons.

When feeding broccoli to bearded dragons consider:

  • Broccoli can be fed to bearded dragons in moderation as part of a varied diet. It should not be a staple food.
  • Broccoli contains nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, and potassium that can be beneficial. However, it also contains compounds like goitrogens that can interfere with calcium absorption if fed in large amounts.
  • Broccoli should be chopped into small pieces to make it easier to chew and digest. The pieces should be no larger than the space between the bearded dragon’s eyes.
  • Broccoli should be fed cooked and cooled to help reduce goitrogens. Do not feed raw broccoli.
  • Only feed broccoli sparingly, around once or twice a week. Overfeeding it can cause nutritional imbalances.
  • Young dragons under 1 year old should not be fed broccoli, as they need more protein and calcium-rich insects. Adults and juveniles over 1 year can handle more vegetables like broccoli.
  • Always provide a fresh, varied salad with other vegetables too like collard greens, bell peppers, squash, etc. Do not only feed broccoli.

Bearded dragons can eat broccoli. However, it would be best to feed your bearded dragon broccoli occasionally since these super veggies contain acids and minerals that can hurt your bearded dragon when provided in large doses. This is not to say that broccoli doesn’t have essential nutrients that are instrumental for your pet companion’s growth and overall thriving. However, you should give these vegetables to your bearded dragon sparingly.

Drawing from my extensive experience raising bearded dragons, I can attest to the fact that these creatures need a comprehensive but varied diet. Age-specific considerations are vital. If you’re ever uncertain, consulting with a reputable veterinarian is always a wise choice. In the following sections, I’ll share insights gleaned from my own practices, vet consultations, and reputable sources to guide you in providing your bearded dragon with broccoli and other suitable vegetables.

It’s clear that although bearded dragons can eat broccoli, they should be given to them sparingly. While these veggies come with numerous benefits, they are equally toxic to your pet lizard. This is not to say that the entire broccoli is harmful to your pet.

Some of the safest pieces of broccoli that you should feed your bearded dragon are broccoli stalks and broccoli leaves. However, there’s a catch with feeding these parts to our pet lizard. You should ensure to finely chop and shed the leaves first before offering them to your bearded dragon. However, broccoli is a nutritious vegetable, and it’s of utmost importance to also remember that it has much more protein than you may realize.

Keep in mind that bearded dragons come from a habitat where food is sparse. Therefore, they tend to accept any food that is given to them. At the same time, they have a sharp sense of smell and a keen eye on anything surrounding them.

Even so, young bearded dragons are primarily carnivores while adults tend to be more herbivores. Therefore, Broccoli is a vegetable that should be fed to your bearded dragon in specific doses, depending on its age. Also, remember that the whole part of broccoli is not ideal for your bearded dragon.

Benefits of Feeding Broccoli To Your Bearded Dragon

Broccoli, like many vegetables, offers a range of nutrients that can be beneficial for a bearded dragon when fed in moderation. It is rich in vitamins like Vitamin C, K and A, which support the immune system, blood clotting, and vision respectively. Minerals present in broccoli like calcium contribute to bone health, an essential aspect of a bearded dragon’s well-being.

Additionally, the high fiber content in broccoli aids in digestion and can help maintain a healthy weight. Its low sugar content makes it a better option compared to many fruits which should be given sparingly due to high sugar levels.

The antioxidants found in broccoli can help protect the body against oxidative stress. This includes beta-carotene and other eye-health promoting compounds like lutein and zeaxanthin.

However, it is important to remember that while broccoli has many benefits, it should only be one part of a varied diet and given sparingly due to the presence of goitrogens. Balancing the diet with appropriate greens, vegetables, fruits and a good source of protein is crucial for the health and longevity of a bearded dragon.

Downsides of Feeding broccoli To Your Bearded Dragon

Although broccoli comes with numerous benefits, there are also many reasons why you should limit the amount of broccoli that you feed to your bearded dragon. For starters, broccoli consists primarily of fiber, protein, and water. More specifically, it contains a high water content, and consuming too much water can lead to bloating your pet lizard. Keep in mind that although bloating can be a mere condition, it can be severely dangerous to your bearded dragon.

Secondly, the calcium to phosphorus ratio in broccoli is not preferable. According to specialists, there is a higher need to optimize the calcium to phosphorus ratio to swing towards a higher calcium intake. This higher calcium ratio must be met in all your diets, especially when your bearded dragon is young and still growing.

Therefore, as a bearded dragon owner, you should be extremely careful of the amount of phosphorus that you feed to your pet lizard and all significant sources such as broccoli. To do this, you will have to supplement the diet with calcium in response. Finally, most vegetables contain goitrogen, a hormone that inhibits the production of thyroid in animals. However, broccoli has a higher level of goitrogen, which increases its chances of suppressing normal thyroid functions. Therefore, always limit the broccoli content you give to your beardie.

Can bearded dragons eat dandelion greens?

If you are a first time owner of a bearded dragon, there’s no doubt that you would want to give your pet the best food. However, there are myriad greens that you can feed your bearded dragon when it comes to plants. Since bearded dragons get bored eating the same food every time, it’s good to always look for different foods for them to eat.

Having cared for bearded dragons for over a decade, I can personally vouch for dandelion greens as a safe and nutritious addition to their diet. My bearded dragons love the taste, and I’ve seen the positive effects of the rich vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and potassium. The high calcium content is something I particularly appreciate, as it contributes to their bone health – a vital aspect I’ve learned to focus on in my years of caring for these fascinating creatures.

These leafy greens also contain dietary fiber that aids digestion. Unlike some vegetables, dandelion greens do not carry the risk of goitrogens that can interfere with thyroid function. Hence, they are safer for frequent consumption.

However, it is important to ensure that any dandelion greens fed to a bearded dragon have not been exposed to pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals, which could be harmful. It is always best to serve them washed and chopped, as part of a varied and balanced diet. If there are any doubts about feeding your bearded dragon dandelion greens or any other food, a vet or pet nutrition expert should be consulted.

Bearded dragons are nocturnal animals and can eat dandelions. Ideally, dandelions are high in calcium and relatively low in phosphorus and contain other different nutrients such as Vitamin C and A. With everything considered, bearded dragons can eat dandelions; they make an excellent choice for your bearded dragon and should be included in its diet regularly.

It’s no secret that dandelions offer a wide array of essential nutrients and it’s not surprising that it’s liked by many animals, including bearded dragons. It’s also important to take a closer look at how you should prepare dandelions for your bearded dragon, aswell as other greens that you can feed to your bearded dragon, and whether a particular part of the dandelion is poisonous or not.

Serving different types of foods to your bearded dragon can get a little confusing for your pet. However, it all boils down to how you prepare and present the food to your bearded dragon. Knowing the easiest and fastest way to prepare your bearded dragon’s food properly will save you time and money and ensure that your pet companion simultaneously enjoys the meal.

There are many different ways that you can prepare dandelion greens for your bearded dragon. Since it’s a food that’s incorporated into another meal, you will only require some small amount of dandelion to include in your bearded dragon’s meals now and then. When preparing the greens, ensure that you thoroughly wash them to get rid of any dirt.

From my experience, after washing the dandelions, chopping them into small pieces is the next crucial step. Trust me, your bearded dragon will thank you for it! They seem to enjoy the smaller pieces more, and it’s easier for them to chew. Let me share my simple guide for preparing and serving dandelion greens, honed over the years of finding the perfect way to delight my bearded dragons.

Buying the Dandelion Greens From a Trusted Source

When buying your dandelion greens, it’s essential to ensure that you buy them from a trusted source. It comes highly recommended to purchase all your bearded dragon dandelions from a store. However, you can also grow your dandelion in your backyard. In case you decide to do so, ensure that the environment is well controlled to ensure that the dandelion doesn’t contain herbicides and pesticides.

Wash Your Dandelions

As mentioned above, before feeding your dandelion any food, ensure that it is thoroughly washed every time. The same applies to feeding your bearded dragon. Always give a dandelion or any other greens a thorough wash before giving it to your bearded dragon.

Cooked or Raw?

Naturally, dandelions are soft and chewy plants. Therefore, there’s no need to cook dandelions when serving them to your bearded dragon. Keep in mind that one of the most significant benefits of feeding your bearded dragons with raw dandelions is that your pet will be able to get all the nutrients from the dandelion.

That’s all there is to preparing dandelions for your bearded dragon. While the question of whether to chop or not to chop the dandelion is highly controversial, remember that your dandelions are often served as a salad or with another meal. Therefore, chopping them to fit in a bowl makes more sense than giving them as they are.

What Greens Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

An adult bearded dragon requires a variety of leafy green vegetables to eat daily. Apart from some insects and crickets, these greens come with a wide array of benefits, including the provision of vitamins and minerals required for them to remain strong and healthy. While this is the case, not all greens are formidable food components for feeding your bearded dragon.

Acceptable greens that should be fed to a bearded dragon should represent a high percentage of your pet’s diet. Such greens include beet greens, collard greens, broccoli, turnip greens, mustard greens, alfalfa hay, bok choy, kale, swill chard, parsley, clover, green cabbage, kohlrabi, green peas, and escarole among others.

Bearded dragons can consume a variety of leafy greens which contribute to their overall health and well-being. In general, vegetables and greens should make up about half of an adult bearded dragon’s diet, with the rest primarily being insects and a smaller portion being fruits.

Some excellent choices for leafy greens include:

  1. Collard Greens: High in calcium and fiber, collard greens are a nutritious option that can be a staple in the bearded dragon’s diet.
  2. Mustard Greens: Similar to collard greens, mustard greens are also high in calcium and fiber, along with being a good source of vitamins.
  3. Dandelion Greens: Dandelion greens are safe for bearded dragons and provide high amounts of calcium and vitamins A and C.
  4. Turnip Greens: These are another safe option with high calcium content, though they should be fed less frequently due to slightly higher levels of oxalates, which can bind to calcium and reduce its absorption.
  5. Butternut Squash: While not a green, butternut squash can be grated or finely chopped and added to the vegetable mix. It’s a great source of vitamins and calcium.
  6. Bok Choy: It can be included in your bearded dragon’s diet but should be offered sparingly due to its higher oxalate content.

Remember, variety is key in maintaining a healthy bearded dragon, so rotating through different types of greens and vegetables is a good idea. As always, greens should be thoroughly washed and chopped into small, manageable pieces before feeding.

Although these are the greens that should make the larger percentage of your bearded dragon diet, a lesser percentage of the diet can include peas, carrots, cactus, different squash, cooked sweet potato, and cucumber many others.

The rule of thumb is that the majority of the greens you should feed to your bearded dragons should contain higher calcium to phosphorus ratio, which helps correct and prevent metabolic disease.

What Do You Do when Bearded Dragon Won’t Eat Greens?

Believe me, I’ve been there, and I know it can be frustrating. Just like people, bearded dragons have their own tastes and preferences. One of mine adores mustard greens but turns up her nose at kale. Here’s what I’ve learned about dealing with their picky eating habits and how to coax them into enjoying their veggies.

In such situations, these lizards may want to eat what is only suitable for them, but it does mean that they should live off their preference alone.

If a bearded dragon refuses to eat greens, there are several steps to encourage healthier eating habits. Firstly, try different types of leafy greens as they might simply dislike the taste of certain ones. Variety in their diet can make mealtime more appealing.

Chopping the greens into small pieces and mixing them with their favorite fruits or insects can also be helpful. The bearded dragon may consume the greens inadvertently while eating the other foods. Over time, slowly reduce the amount of fruit or insects mixed in until they become accustomed to eating the greens.

In some cases, hand-feeding or using feeding tongs can coax a reluctant bearded dragon to eat. Showing the greens in motion can trigger their predatory instinct.

If the bearded dragon is young, they may prefer insects over greens, which is normal. Their diet tends to include more plants as they grow older. However, it is still essential to introduce greens early on to get them used to it.

Always ensure the greens are fresh as bearded dragons can be put off by wilted or discolored vegetables.

If all efforts fail and the bearded dragon still refuses to eat greens, or if it exhibits signs of illness such as lethargy, weight loss, or changes in feces, it’s time to consult a vet. They can rule out any underlying health issues that may be affecting the bearded dragon’s appetite and provide further guidance.

Whenever you are dealing with a picky eater, the first thing you should keep in mind is that you should not stop offering a variety of greens mixed up with a salad. If your bearded dragon loves eating insects, try to add them to the greens to get the attention of your bearded dragon. On the other hand, if your dragon loves fruits, you can also sprinkle red fruits such as red raspberries or strawberries on top of the salad.

Remember that the red color always attracts bearded dragons. Therefore, by sprinkling the berries on top of the salad, they will automatically draw his attention to the salad.

What Part of the Dandelion Is Poisonous?

Dandelions are some of the best foods to give to your bearded dragon. However, since bearded dragons have started to be domesticated recently, many owners still find it hard to determine what to feed their bearded dragons. Also, they wonder whether any part of a dandelion is poisonous.

Ideally, dandelion is a toxic-free plant that is entirely safe for bearded dragons to eat. Therefore, you can rest assured that each part of the plant is not only safe to feed to your bearded dragon, but is also packed with vitamins A, C, K and different minerals such as calcium and phosphorus.

While the dandelion is a great food to feed your bearded dragon, it’s worth noting that you should be highly cautious about where you get your dandelion from.

One of the most notable parts of a dandelion is the flowers. Generally, the flowers are an excellent source of antioxidants and beta carotene. Even so, it would help if you tried to limit the number of flowers that you feed to your lizard. This is mainly because filling your dragon with dandelion flowers will prevent them from eating other foods.

What Vegetables Are Bad for Bearded Dragons?

Although different vegetables are suitable for your bearded dragon, there are some that you should altogether avoid. You should do obvious things when feeding your bearded dragon, but there are some things that the vast majority of owners rarely know about.

Vegetables such as lettuce, beet tops, and spinach are bad for bearded dragons. While bearded dragons are omnivores, and they love to eat a lot of vegetables; however, there are different other vegetables that you should feed to your pet lizard other than the ones listed above.

While bearded dragons love lettuce, you should only feed them lettuce when it’s an absolute emergency. Otherwise, lettuce is a vegetable that you should avoid feeding to your bearded dragon because it does not contain any nutritional value and may cause different digestive conditions such as diarrhea.

At the same time, you should avoid feeding your pet lizard a beet top. Beet tops are naturally very nutritious vegetables that contain high levels of magnesium and Vitamin A. Unfortunately, they also have other harmful chemicals that inhibit the absorption of calcium.

This chemical works by binding with calcium in the digestive system, thus preventing the nutrients from being absorbed into the bearded dragon’s body. Therefore, when beet tops are fed to a bearded dragon, they can cause a calcium deficiency. Finally, you should avoid feeding your pet companion with spinach.

What Other Foods Should You Avoid Feeding Your Bearded Dragon?

Knowing what foods to feed your pet lizard is essential to know the proper and good nutrition for your bearded dragon. Most fruits, insects, and vegetables are utterly acceptable as long as they are all-natural and the ideal size. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

Insects are perhaps your pet bearded dragon’s favorite foods. However, you should avoid feeding wild insects to your bearded dragons. This is mainly because wild insects may have parasites in them that can harm your pet lizard.

Therefore, always ensure to get dead insects from an exotic pet shop. This way, you will be sure to get clean insects that pose no harm to your pet reptile. While still at it, avoid feeding any fireflies to your bearded dragon, or any other reptile for that matter. Also, any glowing insects are always toxic and can kill your reptiles.

When it comes to fruits, you should avoid feeding avocados to your pet lizard since avocados are harmful to your bearded dragons. Keep in mind that a small amount of avocado can make your reptile ill and a large amount of avocado can be entirely fatal. Finally, you should avoid feeding your bearded dragon with oxalic acid.

Therefore, it’s of utmost importance to provide your pet lizard with a proper, well-balanced diet to ensure that it maintains the best health possible. For instance, the lack of calcium in the bearded dragon’s body can lead to possible metabolic diseases. Therefore, feed it foods such as peeled apples, peeled sweet potatoes, carrots, mustard greens, and insects.


Different types of bearded dragons may have slightly different nutritional needs. Therefore, there are varied opinions regarding the most appropriate diet for captive bearded dragons. Your knowledge and understanding of what they should eat will help you make an improved decision on what to feed your bearded dragon.

Dandelion is an excellent food for the bearded dragon. Apart from being free of any toxins, this plant is filled with essential nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, and K, and minerals such as calcium, which are instrumental for bone formation. Importantly, it’s essential always to feed your bearded dragon raw dandelions, since cooking dandelions diminishes the quality of the nutrients.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

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