When you first hear the words' Bearded Dragons', you can't help but think that it's the latest book by G. R. R. Martin. But animal enthusiasts know that Pogonas are a variety of reptiles that are affectionately referred to as bearded dragons.
Beardies make great pets because they're easy to handle and care for. They are also omnivores, which means their diet consists of insects, vegetables, and fruits.
Pogonas are known to have a bit of a sweet tooth and love eating fruits, especially grapes. This is why many owners find themselves wondering whether grapes are safe for their pets to consume.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Grapes
Yes, bearded dragons can eat grapes. Grapes are safe and an excellent source of Vitamins C, K, and B₆, which are all beneficial for bearded dragons. However, grapes are high in water, sugar, and oxalates. Follow our vet-approved guidelines as overfeeding grapes may lead to bladder stones, mouth rot, digestive upsets, and metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons.
Soft fruits like grapes should be given as a rare treat.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
The diet of a bearded dragon can change depending on its age. For instance, young beardies require considerable amounts of protein to grow and stay healthy. Their diet should mostly consist of insects such as crickets and grasshoppers.
On the other hand, adult bearded dragons in the wild prefer to eat insects like termites along with plant-based food. Bearded dragons in captivity are often picky eaters. This is because in the wild, they naturally spend lots of time browsing leaves and hunting insects.
However, the good news is that most Pogonas (as pets) will eat leafy greens such as endive, kale (small amounts), and rocket leaves. Nonetheless, it's safer to research what your dragon can safely consume before feeding them anything new.
It may surprise you to learn that bearded dragons prefer to eat fruit. That's why many owners make the mistake of feeding their beardies fruits regularly, thinking it's healthy for their pets.
But, even though beardies can eat grapes (and other fruits), it's not a good idea to feed them to your pet daily. However, before we get to the risks involved in feeding your too many grapes, let's discuss how giving them grapes in moderation can help.
Health Benefits: Are Grapes Good for Bearded Dragons?
Humans have cultivated and grown grapes for thousands of years now. There are quite a few varieties of grapes available, and they can be seeded or seedless.
Humans enjoy many nutritional benefits from grapes, but what can grapes offer bearded dragons in terms of health benefits?
How Can You Incorporate Grapes in Your Dragon's Diet?
Your goal should always be to replicate what your pet's diet would be in the wild. In the case of an adult dragon (one that has reached full maturity), 40% of your pet's diet should be protein or live feed (such as insects), while the rest should be plant-based.
Also, bear in mind that adult beardies only need to be fed once a day. You should feed your beardie in the morning so that they can digest food throughout the day. Don't forget to dust your beardie's live feed with calcium.
Grapes can be beneficial for your dragon's health for a variety of reasons.
All this may sound a bit confusing, but all you need to do is give your beardie leafy greens four times a week, and insects three times a week. You can add grapes to your pet's diet only as a treat - once or twice a month at most. In this way, your dragon will get the optimum amount of proteins, calcium, and vitamins.
Grapes Are A Splendid Source of Vitamins
Like all living things, dragons, too, need their dose of vitamins. Grapes are an excellent source of Vitamins A, K, and B₆. Vitamins A and C, fed in moderation, can keep your pets safe from problems like stomatitis (mouth rot), and respiratory tract infections by supporting the immune system.
Additionally, Vitamin C may also help avoid conditions like hyperkeratosis (thickened skin due to excess keratin). Finally, Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant and can help in connective tissue regeneration. Vitamins from the B family, like B₆, are good for your dragon in a variety of ways, including as liver support.
Grapes are also a great source of nutrients like riboflavin (vitamin B₂), thiamine (vitamin B₁), potassium, and calcium. All these nutrients are generally added to reptile vitamin supplements, which can be easily found on the market.
Grapes Contain Lots of Fiber
Beardies can get constipation if their diet does not contain enough fiber. A healthy dragon will poop daily, but if your pet stops pooping every day, this can be a sign of problems. Chances of serious health complications like organ failure can increase the longer a bout of constipation lasts.
While constipation in a beardie can also be linked to other problems, it's best to provide your dragon with a food source that minimizes this risk. Here's where feeding your pet grapes can help because they're also a great source of fiber.
Grapes can be beneficial for your dragon's health for a variety of reasons. They are a natural source of some of the vitamins and minerals that are found in commercial supplements. Vitamin C can be especially helpful in avoiding several health conditions.
Apart from that, grapes contain plenty of fiber that can keep your pet's gut healthy and help you avoid unnecessary trips to the vet for issues like obstruction.
Also Read: Do Bearded Dragons Need Water?
Health Risks: Are Grapes Bad for Bearded Dragons?
There's no doubt that grapes have some excellent health benefits, but that doesn't mean that you can't inadvertently cause your pet harm by feeding it too many or too often.
Grapes are high in water and natural sugars. Grapes also contain oxalates, which form crystals that can be harmful to a bearded dragon, and they can develop bladder stones or metabolic bone disease (MBD). There's also the choking danger that seeded grapes present.
If your dragon has ever been diagnosed with metabolic bone disorder or calcium-deficiency, then grapes should be avoided altogether.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Here's how you can avoid the health risks associated with grapes.
Grapes Can Be A Choking Hazard
To avoid feeding problems, cut the grapes to a size that your beardie can eat comfortably, be it young or adult (never bigger than their mouth). Moreover, if the grape's skin is very tough, make sure to serve your beardie peeled grapes.
Also, always buy organic, seedless grapes to feed your dragon. This way, you can avoid your dragon from swallowing seeds, which may damage their delicate gut. Furthermore, feeding your pet organic grapes will keep it safe from ingesting harmful chemicals, in the form of pesticides.
Grapes Contain Oxalates
Some dragons may be calcium-deficient or be suffering from metabolic bone disease (MBD). In such situations, you should avoid feeding your pet anything that has a high oxalate content.
Foods that are high in oxalate can worsen such conditions by attacking the calcium in your beardie's body and making it useless. While grapes have a moderate oxalate content, feeding a calcium-deficient dragon grapes is not an option. However, if your dragon is healthy, then you can feed it grapes occasionally.
Too Much Sugar and Water
A single grape packs a whopping 0.39 grams of sugar. That means feeding an adult dragon 4 grapes per week can lead to 1.56 grams of sugar intake. Believe it or not, beardies can develop high levels of blood sugar if their diet is sugar-heavy. For this reason, you should keep your pet's sugar content low.
Aside from this, grapes also have high water content. Water is essential for all living things, but too much water is bad for a bearded dragon. It can trigger diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. Like we said before, when dealing with grapes, moderation is key.
Feeding Guidelines: Grapes for Bearded Dragons
Now that you're aware of the health risks related to feeding your dragon excess grapes, it's time to discuss serving size.
To prevent your pet from developing any of the health risks discussed above, give your dragon no more than 1-2 grapes per month. Feed younger beardies even less.
Remember to buy organic seedless grapes to feed your pet. Also, you should avoid buying grapes with tough skin. If, for whatever reason, you can't avoid purchasing such grapes, then peel the skin from them. Do this, especially if your dragon is young.
It's also important you cut the grapes into bite-sized pieces (depending on your beardie's size and age) before giving it to your pet to eat.
It's a mystery why bearded dragons love grapes, but there's no denying they devour the fruit within minutes. It certainly helps that they're omnivorous and can eat fruits safely.
Grapes as occasional treats can give your dragon access to spectacular health benefits, like vitamins and a healthy gut that functions like clockwork.
To keep your pet healthy and happy, be sure to avoid all the risks we've discussed by the instructions, and you'll do just fine.
Do you have to peel grapes for bearded dragons?
No, you do not have to peel grapes for bearded dragons if the skin of the fruit is soft. However, if the skin feels tough and you think your beardie may have a hard time swallowing it, you may be better of peeling the grape before feeding.
You should always cut up grapes to bite-sized pieces, and especially if you have a young beardie, also consider removing the skin. In addition to being hard to ingest, the grape skin may contain pesticides if not washed properly. Also, always feed seedless grapes or remove the seeds, because they may damage your lizard's intestines.
Beardies make great pets, but they have delicate nutritional needs.
Approximately 65% of a juvenile bearded dragon's diet should be live feed, while adults should receive 40% of their diet in the form of live prey and 60% greens.
There are a variety of veggies your dragon can have, including bell pepper, ochra, and plantain leaves. Your beardie can also munch on grape leaves and vines.
High in sugar, grapes can cause digestive upsets as the sugars can ferment in their belly, and the sugar can cause dental problems (just like with us humans).
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Edele Grey, BSc, MVB, PGCertESM, MRCVS was born and raised in Ireland on a farm, so she was destined for veterinary-related work from a young age. Dr. Grey attended the only veterinary university in Ireland, the University College Dublin, and graduated in 2013. Since graduation, Dr. Grey has worked with a range of exotic, companion, and production animal species.
NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your bearded dragon's specific dietary needs (based on his weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.