Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?

In this post we learn that bearded dragons can eat apples occasionally as a treat – and why they’re not good for them on a regular basis

can bearded dragons eat apples featured image

Yes Beardies Can Eat Apple As A Treat

About 10 min reading time

We’re often asked whether bearded dragons can eat apples? The answer is yes, bearded dragons can eat apples and most do like them. They should only be fed as a treat though, since they’re high in sugar and water content. They also contain almost no calcium (relatively speaking) somewhere around twice as much (although still not that much) Phosphorous.

But an apple a day won’t keep the Beardie Doctor away – there’s not really any nutritional value from apples to bearded dragons. So keep them as a tasty treat once in a while and avoid the digestive issues that too much sugar brings, as well as teeth and weight issues.

Are Apples Good For Bearded Dragons?

Apples are not harmful to bearded dragons, and they are a delicious treat now and then. Like all fruit they contain a fairly high level of sugar and fructose which can upset the delicate balance of the bearded dragon gut. For this reason, whilst fruits are recommended daily for humans, they’re not for bearded dragons.

It should also be noted, from the nutritional data below, that apples have a moderate oxalate content – which binds calcium in the gut and renders it unable to be absorbed into the bloodstream. A lack of calcium will lead to Metabolic Bone Disease, which is definitely not a good thing. Also noted, from the nutritional data, the amount of phosphorus in apples compared to the calcium is quite high too. This too has implications for calcium levels.

So apples aren’t especially good for bearded dragons, but they won’t do any harm in relatively small portions, and can help to keep a dragon hydrated – although there’s better alternatives.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?

Bearded dragons can eat apples as an occasional treat. They offer very little nutritional value, but are a good source of water and do taste nice. Apples can be fed to bearded dragons as part of their salad, particularly if that helps entice your bearded dragon to eat the salad.

The high level of oxalate, phosphorus and particularly sugar content mean you should be careful not to overfeed apples to bearded dragons as there are health implications such as Obesity or Metabolic Bone Disease from that too.

The short answer to can bearded dragons eat apples is yes they can, but not many and not often. But when they do eat them they’ll almost certainly love them.

Green Or Red Apples For Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons can have either green or red apples. Green apples tend to have more fibre and protein than red – with red having a bit more sugar content which is why they’re usually sweeter. But either are fine as that occasional treat.

Bearded Dragons And Apple Peels

Bearded dragons shouldn’t have apple peels for a few reasons;

  • Too tough and chewy. Bearded dragons don’t tend to chew food all that well, despite the fact that bearded dragons do have teeth. Apple peel is especially tough and chewy and presents a choking hazard if fed to them.
  • Pesticides spray and/or wax could be on the skin. This is likely to be nasty for your bearded dragon especially if it’s not an organic apple. Some of the pesticides used could potentially kill a bearded dragon.

Advantages Of Apples For Bearded Dragons

  • Many bearded dragons do like them
  • Contain lots of moisture for helping hydration
  • Readily available in supermarkets
  • Last well in the fridge
  • A nice treat
  • Very small portions can be added to a salad occasionally to improve its appeal

Disadvantages Of Apples For Bearded Dragons

  • Almost no nutritional value
  • Too much moisture and sugar for everyday feeding
  • Can be a bit pricey, especially out of season
  • Too much oxalate and phosphorus for regular use too

How Should I Feed Apples To A Bearded Dragon?

Frozen apples should always be thawed naturally before feeding to your bearded dragon. Don’t microwave them, they’ll turn to mush – and they shouldn’t be fed warm either. Let them sit on the side for a while. Don’t feed old apples to your bearded dragon either – they can ferment and cause problems with digestion.

Fresh apples are always a better option.

Wash them first to remove any potential pesticide or other weird and nasty chemicals that may have been sprayed onto them. Peel the skin and then use a cheese grater to produce some long thin strips of grated apple. If they’re too long you can cut them in half. The best way to give a bearded dragon apple, is to eat the apple yourself having first shaved off a few strips.

However you prepare the apple for your bearded dragon, do make sure there aren’t any seeds/pips in what you give them, as these are quite hard and difficult to digest for your bearded dragon’s small system.

In a Salad

A very small amount of apple can be added to a mixed salad dish every couple of days if desired. This will often entice an otherwise stubborn salad refuser to eat. If the slices are relatively small and spread out across the rest of the salad, they’ll often eat the whole lot – which is a big advantage over some of the other fruits such as blueberries because they’ll often be eaten and the rest of the salad left behind.

But don’t overdo the portion size – be mindful of all that sugar. The best way to add apple slices to your bearded dragon salad is to use a cheese grater or similar, to provide really thin slices. Then if they’re too long you can cut them in half and strategically place them in the salad.

By Hand

As a very occasional treat you can also feed grated apple slices to your bearded dragon by hand. Make sure you keep your fingers well clear of their mouths otherwise you might end up getting bitten in their excitement. Most bearded dragons do like apples and some will lunge quite purposefully to get them. Bearded dragon bites are rare and almost always accidental like this.

You could also use small tongs if you prefer – although there is nothing quite as rewarding as feeding your bearded dragon by hand. Do be careful about doing this too often though as they can become extremely lazy and expect to be hand fed everything. One of ours expects that royal treatment. She’s usually disappointed!

How Many Apples Should I Feed A Bearded Dragon?

Apples should still be considered as a treat for bearded dragons and shouldn’t be fed every day. We would recommend 2 or 3 grated apple slices a week at most.

With all fruit for bearded dragons, less is more. If you can break them into smaller pieces so they still get the taste and the treat without getting too much at once, your dragons intestines will thank you for it.

Nutritional Data For Apples For Bearded Dragons

In this table the figures include the apple skin, unfortunately we’ve been unable to find data with skin off – and we’d not recommend giving your bearded dragon the apple skin since it’s quite tough. It’s probably where most of the oxalate content is too. Nevertheless, weight wise, the skin doesn’t account for a huge amount, so the figures below should be a reasonable guide.

Nutritional ItemContent
Water Content (%)84.6
Fat (%)0.15
Protein (%)0.13
Dietary Fibre (%)2.1
Carbohydrate (%)14.8 (of which sugar is 11.8)
Calcium (mg/100g)7 (0.07%)
Potassium (mg/100g)106 (0.106%)
Phosphorous (mg/100g)8 (0.008%)
Vitamin A (ug/100g)Minimal
Vitamin C (ug/100g)4.6
Oxalates (mg/100g)10
Nutritional Data For Apples For Bearded Dragons [1][2]

Summary

In this post we looked at whether bearded dragons can eat apples. The answer, we discovered, is yes, bearded dragons can eat apple, as an occasional treat. We also looked at how to feed apples to your bearded dragon and discovered it was relatively easy to do this, either grated as part of a salad or by hand/tongs.

We also learned that the nutritional value of apples is really suprisingly low. But as a nice, sweet treat for your bearded dragon every now and then, they’re a good option and most bearded dragons really do love them.

Frequency: OCCASIONAL TREAT.

For more information on other fruits that Bearded Dragons can eat, please see our overall category at ‘Which Fruits Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

References

1: US Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Fetched on 17th September 2021 from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1750341/nutrients

2: Oxalate (oxalic acid) content of 750+ foods, with numbers from university and government sources – sourced from https://oxalate.org/ on 17th September 2021.

Featured Image by JackieLou DL from Pixabay