Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach? (All the Info)

Can bearded dragons eat spinach?

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Spinach is often considered a super food for humans as it is packed with vitamins and minerals. But that doesn’t mean it’s a superfood for your bearded dragon. Too much spinach can make your bearded dragon sick and could potentially be fatal.

So, can bearded dragons eat spinach, or should it be avoided altogether?

The quick answer is that bearded dragons can eat small amounts of spinach every three to four months.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach?

Bearded dragons can eat spinach occasionally in very small amounts. While spinach isn’t toxic, it contains high amounts of oxalates. Oxalates prevent your bearded dragon’s body from absorbing calcium.

This leads to metabolic bone disease (MBD). MBD causes your bearded dragon’s limbs to become warped or deformed and can even result in paralysis. With prompt medical intervention, MBD can be treated, but it can also be fatal.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach If They Take a Calcium Supplement?

If you give your bearded dragon calcium supplements, and he does not eat other food high in oxalates, like Swiss chard, beet greens, and carrot tops, he may be able to eat spinach on occasion with no problems. However, calcium supplements are not a guarantee that your bearded dragon is immune to metabolic bone disease and do not give you a license to feed him spinach regularly.

Many bearded dragon owners prefer to eliminate the risks by never feeding their bearded dragon spinach.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Baby Spinach?

You may think that because baby spinach is young and tender that it will pose less of a risk for your bearded dragon, but this really isn’t true. Baby spinach is packed full of oxalates, too.

Feeding your bearded dragon baby spinach poses a risk of metabolic bone disease, just like feeding him regular spinach does.

How Much Spinach Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

A healthy bearded dragon taking calcium supplements, who doesn’t consume other foods high in oxalates, such as beet greens, and Swiss chard, can safely eat two or three leaves of spinach every two or three months.

Feeding him more than that puts your bearded dragon at risk of metabolic bone disease.

How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach?

Bearded dragons can eat small amounts (two to three leaves) of spinach once every two to three months. Feeding them spinach more frequently dramatically increases the risks of metabolic bone disease.

Should You Avoid Giving Bearded Dragons Spinach?

A picture of a bearded dragon eating lettuce, an alternative to spinach

Many bearded dragon owners prefer to avoid spinach for their bearded dragons. Although a tiny bit every few months may be safe, you should consider whether it is worth the risk.

There are much safer and healthier ways to ensure your bearded dragon gets the vegetables he needs in his diet without feeding him spinach and risking metabolic bone disease.

Why Shouldn’t Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach?

Spinach poses a risk of metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons. It contains too many oxalates, making it hard for your bearded dragon’s body to absorb calcium.

Without calcium, your bearded dragon may develop metabolic bone disease, a condition that causes his limbs to become warped or paralyzed.

Metabolic bone disease can be treated if caught early, but it can also lead to death.

What Happens if a Bearded Dragon Eats Too Much Spinach?

Spinach contains a lot of oxalates that can prevent your bearded dragon’s body from absorbing the calcium it needs to build strong, healthy bones.

Without enough calcium in his bones, your bearded dragon can develop metabolic bone disease, a crippling disease that can lead to twisted or deformed limbs and paralysis. MBD can also lead to death.

Will Calcium Supplements Prevent Metabolic Bone Disease?

Calcium supplements do help prevent metabolic bone disease, but you still need to monitor your bearded dragon’s intake of food high in oxalates.

Giving him calcium supplements should not be considered a license to feed him foods high in oxalates.

Signs of Metabolic Bone Disease

If you have given your bearded dragon more spinach than you should have, you may be worried that he will develop metabolic bone disease. Here are symptoms you should watch for.

  • Swelling of the face
  • Swollen Rear Legs
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Slow or Stunted Growth
  • Shaking Limbs
  • Tremors
  • Softening face and jaw bones
  • Paralysis

Can You Cure Metabolic Bone Disease?

Metabolic bone disease can be treated and may reverse its effects if caught early. This involves calcium supplements, vitamin D3 injections, calcitonin injections, correction to the diet, and full spectrum lighting.

In moderate to severe cases of MBD, the recovery process is generally long and painful and leaves permanent scars and deformities.

How can you help a bearded dragon with metabolic bone disease?

1) Contact your vet. The first step to helping your bearded dragon is contacting your vet immediately as soon as you notice symptoms you think might be related to MBD.

2) Follow the vet’s treatment plan.

3) Feed your bearded dragon a healthy diet, including hornworms, phoenix worms, silkworms, and veggies high in calcium like:

  • Chicory
  • Endive
  • Squash
  • Escarole
  • Mustard Greens
  • Dandelion Leaves
  • Cactus Leaves and Prickly Pear
  • Figs

4) Provide plenty of fresh water.

5) Safety-proof his cage. Bearded dragons with the metabolic bone disease have frail bones that can be broken easily. Take these measures to ensure his cage is safe for him.

6) Remove rocks and sticks that may make climbing or getting around comfortably in the cage difficult.

7) Check that his basking rock is easy to climb.

8) Give him a shallow water dish to eliminate the risk of drowning due to his inability to move quickly.

9) Be gentle when picking up your bearded dragon. His bones are fragile, and you can cause injury easily. Avoid picking him up when possible.

10) Run the UVB light for 12 hours a day. Your bearded dragon cannot digest his food or absorb nutrients without it.

11) Whether you choose to feed your bearded dragon spinach is up to you, but you should know that doing so comes with serious risks. While a healthy bearded dragon can safely eat a few leaves of spinach every few months, eating more than that puts him at risk of metabolic bone disease.

12) Because there are no real benefits to feeding your bearded dragon spinach, and there are many healthy alternatives, many bearded dragon owners opt to avoid spinach in their bearded dragon’s diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t Bearded dragons eat spinach?

Spinach should not be a regular part of a bearded dragon’s diet because of its oxalate content.

Can Bearded dragons eat raw spinach?

Bearded dragons can eat a small amount of raw spinach, but it is not recommended as a regular part of their diet.

How often can bearded dragons eat spinach?

It is best to only offer spinach to a bearded dragon on occasion, as a treat.

Why is spinach bad for bearded dragons?

Spinach is bad for bearded dragons because it can interfere with the absorption of calcium, leading to potential health issues.

Additional Sources & Resources

We also have a series of resources about bearded dragons, including:

And you can check out these additional resources on bearded dragon nutrition as well:

  • “Bearded Dragons: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual” by R.D. Bartlett and Patricia Bartlett.
  • “Bearded Dragons as a New Pet” by L. David Mecham.
  • “Bearded Dragons: An Owners Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet” by Julie Rach Mancini.
  • “The Bearded Dragon: An Owner’s Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet” by Steve Grenard.
  • “Bearded Dragons: The Complete Guide to Their Selection and Care” by John Coborn.

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.