April 6, 2021

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Raspberries? Vet explains the risks and benefits

bearded dragons dreaming of kale

Vet Explains

Since the discovery, raspberries have not lost their popularity. On the contrary, today we use them in various foods, from smoothies and ice-creams to baked goods and cookies. And to say that raspberries are delicious would be an understatement. In a nutshell, we absolutely adore raspberries.

But, what about bearded dragons? Do bearded dragons share our love of raspberries? Can bearded dragons eat raspberries safely?

Read on as we will tell you everything you need to know about bearded dragons and this sugary berry fruit before feeding it to your beardie.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Raspberries?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat raspberries. Raspberries are full of beneficial nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. However, following feeding guidelines is important, as raspberries are high in sugar, causing tooth decay and obesity. Raspberries are also high in oxalates, and the phosphorus to calcium ratio is not ideal, which may lead to metabolic bone disease in beardies.

Bearded dragons get really excited when offered raspberries.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM

Keep in mind that the adult bearded dragon's diet should consist of 30% animal-based foods and 70% plant-based foods. The plant-based portion of the diet includes 80-90% veggies and flowers and only 10-20% fruits. Since raspberries are a fruit and a sugary one for the matter, they should only be served as an occasional treat.

So yes, bearded dragons are allowed to eat raspberries as a part of a balanced and complete diet. They are not toxic and can actually be a sweet and juicy snack. You just need to be careful about portion size and feeding frequency.

Can bearded dragons eat raspberry seeds and leaves? Yes, as long as they are offered sparingly, just like the berry itself, seeds and leaves are safe for bearded dragons.

Bearded dragons have a sweet tooth, and therefore not only do they love the taste of raspberries, but they can actually become keen on sugary fruits like them. Raspberries must be used as rare and well-appreciated treats to avoid these addiction issues and exploit the benefits.

What about young beardies; can baby bearded dragons eat raspberries? Yes, raspberries are not harmful to baby bearded dragons. However, juveniles need a lot of protein to grow, so the majority of their diet should be animal-based.

Finally, we should note that the safety of this berry is not just a matter of simple yes or no. The sourcing (organic, pesticide-free, or regular) and serving form (fresh and chopped) are important safety factors.

Next, we will go through the health benefits before explaining some of the risks of feeding raspberries to your bearded dragon. We'll also tell you exactly how much and how often it should be fed. Let's dive in.

Health Benefits: Are Raspberries Good For Bearded Dragons?

As mentioned, when appropriately used, raspberries are healthy fruit for bearded dragons. There are several benefits of adding raspberries to your bearded dragon's menu, but the following are the most important.

An abundance of vitamins and minerals 

Raspberries are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Each vitamin and mineral has a specific purpose:

  • Vitamin C – raspberries are particularly packed with vitamin C, which is crucial for normal growth, strong immune system, impeccable vision, healthy reproduction, and renewal of cells and tissues
  • Vitamin E – protects the body cells from damaging free radicals and oxidative stress
  • Vitamin K – essential for strong and healthy bones, overall body balance, and blood clotting processes.
raspberries
  • Potassium – promotes kidney health, decreases water retention, regulates blood pressure, promotes healthy nerve function, and improves overall muscle function.
  • Magnesium – vital for normal brain functioning, healthy muscles, and maintaining normal blood sugar levels
  • Manganese – aids the metabolism and has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Iron – important for strong bones and healthy, oxygen-rich blood.

Healthy energy source

Raspberries contain a fair amount of carbohydrates, which are a vital source of energy. They are one of the few major ingredients.

Carbohydrates fuel the body with energy and make all bodily functions possible.

Antioxidant boost 

Antioxidants are essential for protecting the cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Antioxidants work in synergy with vitamin E, and together they protect the cells from oxidative stress.

Antioxidants fight the damages associated with aging and will keep the bearded dragon looking young and feeling healthy.

Great for hydration 

Raspberries are practically made of water – they contain as much as 87% water. Therefore, they are extremely good for hydration boosts.

The high water content is an important feature for bearded dragons that are reluctant water drinkers and prefer satisfying their water needs through foods.

Read more: Is My Bearded Dragon Getting Enough Water? Vet Explains

Promotes smooth and healthy digestion

Raspberries are rich in healthy dietary fiber. Dietary fibers are necessary for healthy digestion and regular bowel movement. The fiber content in the raspberries is sufficient to promote smooth digestion.

Health Risks: Are Raspberries Bad For Bearded Dragons?

Strict moderation is the key to raspberries' safety for bearded dragons. These are the things you need to consider before serving this berry to your bearded dragon.

High oxalates content

Oxalates are a tricky nutrient for bearded dragons. In small doses, oxalates are safe, but they are predisposing factors to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) in more significant amounts.

To be more accurate, oxalic acid binds with calcium and prevents the calcium received through the food from being absorbed in the bloodstream and used. Oxalic acid affects the calcium reserves in the body, too – it depletes the calcium stored in the bones, thus increasing the risk of MBD.

These are some of the symptoms that MBD causes:

  • weakness and lethargy
  • bowed or swollen legs
  • arched spine
  • bumps along the spine
  • softening of the jaw
  • tremors
  • loss of appetite

If you suspect your beardie may be suffering from the disease, contact a vet immediately for assistance.

Too much sugar

Sugary foods are not a good idea for bearded dragons as they are associated with high risks of obesity, heart and liver issues. Just like in humans, in bearded dragons, sugar can also cause tooth decay.

This tasty berry is very high in sugar which can pose a health risk to your bearded dragon.

Since teeth issues are explicitly complicated to manage in bearded dragons, prevention is imperative. The complexity of teeth problems in bearded dragons stems from the fact that their teeth are fused directly with the jaw. This fusion increases the risk of potentially life-threatening infection spreads.

Finally, high sugar contents increase the risk of dehydration. Considering bearded dragons are not very fond of drinking pooled water, dehydration can be a severe issue.

Choking hazard   

When it comes to raspberries and the risk of choking is not so much about the size; an adult, bearded dragon, can easily mush the entire raspberry into its mount. Raspberries are a choking hazard because the bearded dragon's appetite for them is ravenous.

When offered raspberries, a bearded dragon will try to gulp down on them, thus risk choking.

Inadequate calcium to phosphorus ratio

To maintain strong and healthy bones, bearded dragons need both calcium and phosphorus. However, they also require these minerals to be present in a specific ratio. Namely, the amount of calcium should be 2.4 times larger than the amount of phosphorus. However, raspberries contain more phosphorus than calcium.

When the phosphorus levels are much higher than the calcium levels, phosphorus inhibits calcium absorption and utilization in the body. As a result, the calcium levels in the are low, and when lacking calcium, bearded dragons develop Metabolic Bone Disease.

Watery stool

Because of their high water content, if consumed in excessive amounts, raspberries can cause diarrhea in bearded dragons. Diarrhea can easily lead to dehydration and additional complications.

Signs of dehydration you should watch out for include:

  • Wrinkles skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Again, if your think your beardie may be dehydrated, ask a vet for advice on how to offer them more hydration safely.

Avoidance of regular food

Raspberries have a lovely, almost addictive sweet taste. Once introduced to raspberries, your bearded dragon may easily prefer them over its much-needed regular diet.

If your bearded dragon fills up its tiny stomach with raspberries, it may not be getting the balanced diet necessary for meeting its delicate nutritional requirements.

In the long run, the avoidance of regular bearded dragon food will lead to nutrients deficiencies and malnutrition.

Feeding Guidelines: Raspberries for Bearded Dragons

How many raspberries can I give my bearded dragon?

Adult bearded dragons love raspberries and can safely enjoy the taste of few raspberries. More precisely, the portion size of raspberries for bearded dragons is two to three pieces.

How often can I feed my bearded dragon raspberries?

With the portion size covered, we should note that bearded dragons can eat raspberries once in a while – every few weeks.

Feeding your bearded dragon more than two to three raspberries every few weeks will cause issues ranging from diarrhea and tooth decay to not eating the foods they need to stay healthy.

How to prepare and serve raspberries for bearded dragons?

Preparing raspberries for your bearded dragon is straightforward but does require few steps.

1. First of all, start by shopping at your local market or grocery store for raspberries that look fresh and are free of mold or spoilage. Choosing particularly fresh raspberries is extremely important as aging raspberries, even if they are not quite rotten, can cause diarrhea in bearded dragons.

2. If possible, it is always best to choose organic raspberries, as this will reduce your bearded dragon's chances of consuming harmful pesticides and chemicals.

3. Once you have your raspberries home, wash them even if it is not your bearded dragon's designated treat day. This way, they will be ready to go when it's time to feed them. Sometimes, raspberries are packed in containers are pre-washed. However, it is always better to stay on the safe side and re-wash them yourself.

4. When treat-time comes, select two to three raspberries that look juicy and fresh and chop them into fine pieces. Adult dragons can mush a whole raspberry, but it is better to be safe and have them chopped.

5. It is advisable to serve the chopped raspberry on a plate as its juice can stain the inside of your bearded dragon's enclosure. It is also essential to remove any raspberry leftovers your beardie does not eat after about an hour. Otherwise, the leftovers will go bad and spread bacteria on other foods.

What about other raspberry products?

With fresh raspberries covered, it is time to say a word or two about other raspberry products.

Dried raspberries are definitely a no-go for bearded dragons as they are usually additionally sweetened, and too much sugar is never a good idea.

Frozen raspberries are safe for bearded dragons and contain the same amount of nutrients as fresh raspberries. However, make sure they are well-thawed before serving. It is advisable to thaw them overnight at room temperature. Alternatively, if thawing them in the microwave, you should note that they must not be fed warm.

Keep in mind that some frozen fruit mixes contain other fruits that are not suitable for bearded dragons. Also, be prepared to clean the mess as frozen raspberries are mushier than fresh ones.

Raspberry jams are not a bearded dragon-friendly food because jams are packed with added sugars and preservatives.

You May Also Like: Why Is My Bearded Dragon Not Eating?

raspberries on table

Nutrition Facts

Here is what a cup (123 g) of raspberries offers:

  • 105 g water
  • 64 calories
  • 0.7g total fat
  • 1.5 g protein
  • 14.7 g total carb
  • 5.4 g sugar
  • 8 g fiber

Your bearded dragon will also enjoy the following helpful vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • B vitamins
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Cooper
  • Potassium

Although raspberries are 87% water, they contain many vitamins and minerals, which can be a great addition to your bearded dragon's diet.

Still, it's imperative to remember that this tasty berry is very high in sugar which can pose a health risk to your bearded dragon. Consequently, we highly recommend you stick to small portions sizes and keep raspberries as a rare treat.

Bottom line – Can Bearded Dragons Have Raspberries?

Yes, bearded dragons can safely enjoy two to three juicy raspberries every few weeks. Fruits are minor yet essential and delicious part of the bearded dragon's diet.

However, it goes without saying the raspberries are an occasional treat. Their health-boosting properties contribute as long as the bearded dragon is served an otherwise balanced and complete diet.

All in all, moderation is the key, and bearded dragons need a nutritious and versatile diet consisting of both animal and plant-sourced foods. Meanwhile, adding those few raspberries now and then will satisfy your bearded dragon's sweet cravings.

Vet's Comment

When used as occasional treats, raspberries are excellent health boosters for bearded dragons. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, they are rich in sugar which is why they are not a good fit for regular treats.

You can use raspberries to trick your bearded dragon into eating its veggies. Just scatter small pieces of raspberries throughout your bearded dragon's salad – your bearded dragon will chomp on its entire salad bowl.

Another thing to consider when giving raspberries to your bearded dragon is to keep your fingers safe. Bearded dragons get really excited when offered raspberries, and if you practice hand-feeding, chances are you will get bitten.

- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM

Ivana Crnec doctor of veterinary medicine

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Ivana Crnec

DVM

Ivana Crnec is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine specialized in domestic carnivores. She graduated from the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia. Ivana is a certified canine nutritionist and also certified in HAACP food safety system implementation. She currently works as a veterinarian while completing her postgraduate studies. Her research has been published in international journals.

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.

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