If you own a dog and a lizard, it must have crossed your mind whether they can share food since it’s more convenient and economical. However, your main worry should be the effects of dog food on your lizard.
So, can lizards eat dog food? Dog food isn’t safe for lizards like bearded dragons or geckos since it has preservatives, chemicals, and high protein content. While the leopard geckos eat insects and occasional vegetables, geckos are on a strict insectivorous diet. A reptiles’ digestive systems aren’t complex enough to fully break down the food contents. Regular feeding of dog food can cause obesity, gut complications, other severe internal organ issues, or even fatalities. However, some skink species can occasionally eat dog food because it is of high quality and doesn’t contain excessive proteins.
Like dogs, bearded dragons are also omnivorous, meaning that they have a wide range of foods they consume. Perhaps, this characteristic makes owners wonder whether it is safe to feed them dog food or any other option for other common pets. These feeds are usually cheaper and easier to find, particularly for owners who keep other mammal pets.
The issue is still controversial among pet parents and animal experts. Some say that it is safe for the bearded dragons, but in small portions, while others are certain that it is risky and fatal for the reptiles. For the latter, most dog foods have excessive proteins that will strain the lizard’s digestive system leading to complications. On the contrary, the other group says that there is little or no proof that mammal pet food is harmful, especially when it is of great quality.
Undoubtedly, bearded dragons also need proteins for growth and bodybuilding. Therefore, they eat insects and other live foods as their meat source, especially when they are younger. The bulk of a growing bearded dragon’s diet should be proteins, but they still need leafy greens and fruits for their vitamins and minerals.
At this stage, the bearded dragon’s system allows for the breakdown of the excessive proteins to channel it towards their growth. If you feed them more than their bodies can handle, the internal organs will be under a lot of pressure, which is the main cause of kidney issues or even fatalities.
Bearded dragons may be omnivorous like dogs, but unfortunately, the protein content in their respective foods is not the same. Dogs are primarily hunters, meaning that they love indulging in high protein foods such as meats and bones, and, occasionally, have vegetables or grains.
In contrast, bearded dragons’ system isn’t as powerful as the dogs’; therefore, they don’t need that much protein in their diet. As a result, feeding them excessive dog food will likely cause severe complications with their systems. The safest protein source for beardies is insects they obtain naturally in the wild, like crickets and locusts.
The reptiles’ bodies are particularly fit to digest the minimal amount of proteins. In addition, for juveniles below two years, the insects comprise around 80% of their entire diet, while the remaining percentage is veggies and fruits. On the other hand, as they get older, the need for bodybuilding proteins significantly reduces.
Consequently, adults will only eat 20% proteins, while the rest will consist of leafy greens and other items. Some owners may argue that since young beardies need proteins, they are safe to eat dog food occasionally. However, due to the risks involved, we strongly advise you to avoid taking the gamble.
The issue may be highly debatable and controversial; however, it’s best to be safe than sorry, meaning providing your beardy only the recommended foods. Although it may not be instant, regularly feeding your bearded dragon dog food may lead to premature death. As with any other pet, providing unhealthy food can be fatal. They shouldn’t eat any food that strains their systems, such as excessive proteins, processed or preserved food.
Most owners would rather feed their pets natural foods that they are likely to find in the wild. In the wild, they can eat vegetables, fruits, and insects as their protein sources, depending on the most readily available option. Therefore, you can always research the best foods for your bearded dragon and maintain them, even when you feel they need more weight.
Can Geckos Eat Dog Food?
Unlike the bearded dragons, the leopard, crested, or house geckos are more strict in their diet choices. They mostly eat insects in the wild and only resort to other food types when there are no alternative options. So, can they eat dog food?
Geckos cannot eat dog food. These lizards are primarily insectivorous; therefore, it is best to avoid any other animal or human food. The wiring of their system only breaks down insects because their fat content isn’t as much as that found in other larger prey. They primarily thrive on a strict insect diet, and anything else can strain their systems or be fatal.
Only a few gecko species in the wild indulge in fruits occasionally to supplement their diet. However, all geckos love worms, crickets, flies, and any other live foods and some owners find it more convenient to breed the insects and feed them to their geckos.
Dog food is heavily loaded with proteins and is processed or preserved in most cases. Your gecko’s body will find the chemicals and excessive proteins too potent to break down, and the result will be slow shutting down of their systems and inevitable death.
Also, in most cases, dog food doesn’t have the perfect vitamin and minerals balance that the geckos consider healthy. Therefore, feeding them dog food, whether in bits or frequently, does them more harm. They cannot survive on kibbles or home-prepared foods like other pets; they would rather have purchased or live insects, particularly homebred. Unlike dog prey, insects are tiny but have the right nutritious content, which is perfect for the gecko’s bodies to digest.
Some owners may say that their geckos eat dog food and seem fine. Others will also say that the protein levels in kibbles and other prepackaged feeds cause weight gain in lizards. Unfortunately, unlike other mammal pets, the lizards take a while to show severe illnesses.
They are generally calm and have no elaborate way of showing discomfort. Therefore, it may be too late by the time the symptoms manifest. They may seem to enjoy the food at first, but it could slowly be taking a toll on them. Given that any internal organ complication in such exotic species is difficult to treat, the consequences are mostly fatal.
Some owners may ask whether vegan dog food is okay for the geckos since it doesn’t contain excessive proteins. While the diet may be good for dogs with issues with regular dog food, the consequences are still the same for geckos since the food isn’t insect-based.
Most researches on dog food conclude that prepackaged products are usually laced with fat, bones, carcinogens, and preservatives such that some dogs are deathly allergic to them. Now that dogs’ digestive systems are tougher than the geckos’ imagine what the food would do to your lizard.
Ultimately, it is best to stick to an insectivorous diet, especially if you have a house or leopard gecko. It is only the day and the crested geckos that indulge in occasional fruits. Generally, fruits are acidic and contain too much sugar, such that leopard geckos would only eat them as a last resort.
Note that the right insects should be the right size, preferably smaller than the space between their eyes since large food can cause impaction. Also, avoid feeding your pet insect from the wild and instead buy from a retailer or breed some to be certain that they are safe for eating.
Can Skinks Eat Dog Food?
Skinks are thrilling and fascinating reptiles to keep with great personalities and impressive physical features. There are over a thousand species in this category of lizards; however, just a handful can make great pets. There are many types of skink lizards, such as the Bluetongue, Schneider’s, Blue-tailed, Red-Eyed Crocodile, Monkey Tailed, and the Fire skinks; however, which among them can eat dog food?
First, Blue tongued skinks are omnivorous and can therefore feed on different food varieties besides regular insects. The reptile isn’t very picky in its food choices, making it a keeper’s top choice, explaining why it is a common household name among numerous pet lizard parents.
This species has no major issues with rarely eating damp or dry dog food such as kibbles and canned dog meals. Experts advise that it is best to only feed the reptiles food meant for dogs occasionally because they contain excessive proteins that skinks’ digestive systems haven’t evolved to digest. You can only provide it as a treat because otherwise, you may subject the lizard to severe health issues.
If you are uncertain on the best way to feed your pet such food, it is best to refrain from it, as it may cause obesity, liver conditions, gut problems, and other severe illnesses. Moreover, using dog food as the only source of proteins is unfit for skinks, and you can lose your buddy in the long run. Besides, the meals aren’t natural since they contain additives and preservatives, unlike the protein that these lizards obtain from insects.
Secondly, the Fire skink is another stunning pet lizard. It is famous for its striking red, black, brown, and gold tinge. These skinks are known to eat almost everything, and it is okay to serve them high protein dog food as a treat and possibly complement their usual insects, fruits, and vegetable meals. Unlike juveniles, as the skinks grow older, they tend to incorporate more vegetables into their diets.
Thirdly, we have the Blue-Tailed skinks, which refer to many other skink species that may defer in stature but with the same diet requirements. Being omnivorous, these lizards can comfortably eat meat and bits of low-protein dog food. However, the servings need to be small to avoid overwhelming their systems. Their primary diet remains insects and vegetation. Therefore, it is ideal for them to eat meals that they would naturally find in the wild.
It ensures that they only consume the recommended protein levels that are safe for their bodies. The best sources for these skinks are snails, roaches, crickets, locusts, and worms, but you can also offer occasional leafy greens. Additionally, they can also prey on frogs, mice, and other slightly larger vertebrates.
Unlike the Blue-Tailed skinks, Schneiders are more omnivorous and can comfortably devour meat and vegetables alongside insects as their staple meal. Schneiders also accept dog food powdered with calcium; however, you should ensure it has low-fat content and high quality. Otherwise, you can obliviously cause health problems to your pet. The best way to go is to feed the lizard dog food mixed with vegetables or fruits. If the reptile refuses the dog food, you can always warm it build up more scent for your buddy to catch.
Lastly, Monkey-Tailed skinks are exclusively herbivorous, and it’s best to avoid any dog food in their diet. They primarily feed on vegetation and rarely eat insects, unlike most lizards. We also have the Red-Eyed crocodile skinks that aren’t very common pets among lizard lovers.
These reptiles primarily eat insects and small invertebrates. However, you can feed the adult pets dog food but on rare occasions being careful that the meal has the right fat content. Ultimately, you may only provide the lizard with the dog food as treats once or twice a week but ensure that the food is low in fats for health reasons.
Reptiles are one of the easiest pet species to keep. However, you need to provide the right food for them; or else, they may have organ complications. The downside is that it is difficult to detect health issues in such exotic pets, unlike with mammals. Therefore, your pet may be dying by the time you notice it.
If you have a bearded dragon or a leopard gecko, it is best to refrain from dog food. Such meals contain many preservatives, proteins, and chemicals that are fatal to your reptile’s weak digestive system. Excessive eating of such meals can lead to gut complications, obesity, and eventual death. The best foods for these reptiles are insects and occasional fruits and veggies for beardies.
On the other hand, skinks aren’t as sensitive as beardies and dragons. Thus, they have no issues with the occasional dog food as long as it is in small portions and doesn’t have excessive proteins.