Owning a pet as pocket-friendly as a Bearded Dragon is not as easy as it appears to be. There are a variety of things in their diet. From insects to fruits and vegetables, it makes it all to complete a wholesome, nutritious, and balanced diet. But the question is what and how much food goes into their diet to maintain its’ goodness? Let us find out.
Leafy Greens and vegetables are an integral part of your Beardie’s diet. They provide loads of health benefits and nutrition to your little Dragons. Vegetables should account for 75 % of your adult Dragon’s dietary intake.
Since vegetables are that important, while munching on your salads, for once even you would have thought that – Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes? So the simple answer to your thought is Yes! Definitely! You can share this pulpy, fleshy delight with your little Beardies. But before doing so, keep yourself hooked on this article to have a piece of proper knowledge on some dos and don’ts to not disturb the nutritional and healthy diet of your Beardie.
Let us find out more about Tomatoes. We will also look in detail at the benefits and risks that they offer. And how beneficial they might be for your little Beardie.
One of the healthiest and delicious fruit/vegetables one can ever find in the fauna kingdom is tomatoes-power packed with healthy nutrition values. Botanically a fruit, but tomatoes are labeled as a vegetable.
Types of Tomatoes
There are various kinds of tomatoes. Some of the commonly found tomatoes are :
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Roma Tomatoes
- Grape Tomatoes
- Red Beefsteak Tomatoes
- Green Beefsteak Tomatoes
- Cocktail Tomatoes
Some other varieties of tomatoes may include:
Better Boy Tomato, Early Girl Tomato, San Marzano Tomato, Black Krim Tomato, Celebrity Tomato, Campari Tomato, Cherokee Purple Tomato, Tigerella Tomato, Green Zebra Tomato, Brandy Wine Tomato, Money Maker Tomato, Mortgage Lifter Tomato, Super Sweet Tomato 100, Raf Tomato, Gardener’s Delight Tomato, Mr Stripey Tomato, Kumato Tomato, Jubilee Tomato, Japanese Black Trifele Tomato, Big Beef Tomato, Big Rainbow Tomato, Santorini Tomato And Hillbilly Tomato.
Nutritional Values of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are high in nutritional value. According to USDA, 100gms of tomatoes contain:
Similarly, one serving of a chopped or sliced tomato contains:
|Vitamin A||1499 International units (IU)|
Apart from the aforesaid nutritions and vitamins, tomatoes also contain antioxidants and other nutrients such as –
- Folic acid
- Beta – carotene
- Alpha-lipoic acid
Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are highly rich in vitamins and minerals. They are a healthy source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium and folate.
Their nutritional content promotes not only healthy and glowing skin but also aids in the good health of your heart. And the brownie point – tomato helps in weight loss too.
Including them in our diet, helps us in maintaining a healthy blood pressure level and a healthy blood glucose level as well. It also safeguards us against cancer.
Compounds such as lycopene and carotenoids help in protecting our eyes against damage from light.
Side effects and risks associated with Tomatoes
Tomatoes are acidic. Thus, in case of heartburn or acid reflux, one must limit the intake of tomatoes and their products.
Since tomatoes contain a high level of pesticide residue, so before consuming them one needs to be cautious and must always wash them thoroughly before consuming.
Now after discussing almost everything about our food hero – Tomato, the main question that lies here is –
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes?
As we have already discussed, YES! Your little Beardies can have tomatoes. Even ripe tomatoes are healthy treats for your Dragons as they contain fiber, water, minerals and essential vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Folate. But the trick is that the goods can only be fed as a treat and not as a staple diet.
Benefits of Tomatoes to your Bearded Dragons
Tomatoes have many essential nutrients and vitamins packed in them. When served occasionally as a treat to your little Beardie, it can serve many health benefits to him as well.
- #1 Despite being a fruit, Tomatoes are low in sugars. If fed in moderation, they might promote your little Beardie’s heart health.
- #2 Tomatoes are a brilliant source of Vitamin A. If taken in the proper dosage, it helps your little Beardie strengthen and maintain his immune system. Apart from that, it also helps in the growth, reproduction, and vision of your little Draggo.
- #3 Tomatoes aid indigestion. With a high quantity of water and fibre present in tomatoes, it helps aid the digestion of your little Beardie.
- #4 Tomatoes support healthy eyes. Lycopene present in tomatoes helps your little Beardies in having healthy eyes. Lutein and Beta Carotene present in tomatoes, help your little Draggos have a great vision. They also guard against certain eye conditions like cataract and macular degeneration.
- #5 Tomatoes promote healthy antioxidants. Your little Beardies can develop Cancer. Lycopene present in Tomatoes helps in decreasing the risk of cancer or preventing it. Antioxidants present in tomatoes protect your little Dragon’s body from free radicals. Free radicals cause the aging of cells, which play a role in various heart diseases and other diseases as well.
The Risk associated with Tomatoes for Bearded Dragons
A good food, with many benefits, brings with it certain risk factors as well. This is the reason that even a superfood like a tomato has to be eaten in moderation. Various risk factors associated with tomatoes are :
- Digestive Issues: Tomatoes are highly acidic. If eaten over a moderate quantity, they can cause bowel irritation and digestive distress to your little friends. As a result, diarrhoea can further result in dehydration to your little Draggo.
- Vitamin A toxicity: A decent amount of Vitamin A present in tomatoes is not problematic at all. The problem arises when a large number of tomatoes combine with the supplements rich in Vitamin A. Overdose of an essential Vitamin A, might cause uncomfort to your little Beardie – leading to symptoms of swelling, a low energy level, weight loss, and dehydration.
- High content of Phosphorus: Your little Beardie needs a good amount of calcium to keep healthy and keep going. But Phosphorus present in tomatoes combines with calcium and thus prevents it from being absorbed in your little Draggo’s bloodstream. If phosphorus is consumed in a large quantity, your Bearded Dragon can develop a life-risking symptom- i.e. Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). If MBD is left untreated, it can paralyze and can even kill your little Dragons. Tomatoes do contain calcium as well. But in proportion to Phosphorus, they are almost 6 times less. To prevent MBD, your little Beardie’s diet must contain calcium and phosphorus in a ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 to be on a safer end.
- Poor Nutrition: Tomatoes are a poor source of calcium. Hence, they do not make a portion of very good food to be included daily in your Beardie’s diet.
- Acid Content: You must avoid citrus foods due to the presence of citric acid in them. It can cause a lot of problems to your Draggo’s digestive system. With the high amount of water and dietary fibre, it can result in poor digestion having problems like diarrhoea and dehydration.
- Tomatoes are low in Oxalates: Oxalates are similar to Phosphorus. Since they too absorb calcium. Hence, they too might result in your Beardie getting affected by life-threatening MBD. It can also be responsible for reproductive issues in female Dragons.
How to serve Tomatoes to Bearded Dragons?
Be careful of the dirt and pesticides present on the skin of your tomatoes. Always wash the tomatoes thoroughly. Discard any tomato stems or leaves. Peel their skin. Remove their seeds. Chop the flesh of the tomato finely to avoid choking, as your little Beardie does not chew but swallow his food.
You can use this tomato treat as a topping to his daily diet. It might persuade him to have his leafy greens. Carefully observe them while they are having their food. In case of any leftover food, remove it before it rots there.
Always serve fresh food to your little Beardie.
How many Tomatoes should you give to your Bearded Dragons?
Since now we have already seen the benefits and risks associated with tomatoes, it would be not wrong to say to feed your little Beardie only in Moderation and only as a treat.
For an adult, Bearded Dragon (i.e 18 months and above) – do not feed over one tiny slice or half a cherry tomato per week or every two weeks. Since overfeeding might lead to several health issues to your little Beardie, including a calcium deficiency.
For a baby or Juvenile Bearded Dragon ( i.e less than 18 months) – it is not recommended to serve them tomatoes. As it is their diet comprises 75 % insects and 25 % vegetables. So you better feed them Crickets.
Do not feed more than a quarter of a regular tomato to your adult Beardies in a month. Since Tomatoes have loads of risk factors, you better be safe than sorry.
Precautions while serving Tomatoes to your Bearded Dragons
Always wash the outer skin of tomatoes thoroughly as it has dirt, debris and pesticides. Before serving the tomatoes make sure you remove their seeds and chop them as fine as possible. Be careful of the tomato leaves, stems, vines as they are not to be fed ever.
Tomatoes must always be fed to your little Beardies in their natural and ripe form. Cherry tomatoes can also be fed as they are easy to consume and helps control your Beadrie’s portion as well. Avoid feeding canned tomatoes and green tomatoes to your little Draggos. Remove any leftover or uneaten food, if any. And always serve your little Beardie with fresh food. Do not overfeed as Tomatoes contain oxalate.
And most importantly, before trying or adding any new food to your Beardie’s diet, always consult his Vet for the guidelines and guidance, if any. If you get a green signal, introduce the food as a treat. Check onto your Beardie while he is having his food. If he is reluctant to have it, do not force him to consume it. Monitor his activities for 24 hours after the introduction of any new food.
In case of any adverse reaction or symptom, consult your Dragon’s Vet asap.
So after having a direct answer to your question, let us quickly get onto any side questions which, by now, might be popping in your head.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cherry Tomatoes?
Yes. Your little Draggos can have cherry tomatoes as they have comparatively a low amount of sugar. But before feeding cherry tomatoes to your Beardies, wash them thoroughly for their skin must be carrying dirt and pesticides. If there are any green parts, remove them as well.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Green Tomatoes?
No! Your little Beardies can not have green tomatoes since they contain Solanine ( i.e. a poisonous compound). If your Draggos ingest it, Solanine may cause them some alarming health issues. So it is better not to feed your Bearded Dragons any sort of unripe tomatoes.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Grape Tomatoes?
Yes! You may happily feed some grape tomatoes to your little Beardie. But the trick is to feed them in moderation. In comparison to cherry tomatoes and the regular ones, Grape tomatoes have a high amount of sugar. Excess sugar might lead to certain health issues like – weight gain, diarrhoea or dehydration, etc. So either feed Grape tomatoes to your little Draggos in small quantities or it is better to avoid it completely.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Canned Tomatoes?
No! Never feed Canned tomatoes to your Beardies. Since Canned tomatoes contain a high amount of sodium, seasonings and preservatives, they can cause great harm to your little Beardies. So always feed them tomatoes in their natural and unadulterated form.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato Leaves and Stems?
No! Keep the tomato leaves, stems and vines away from your little Draggos. As they contain Alkaloids (i.e. Solanine and Tomatine) they can be toxic to your little Beardies. Alkaloids are extremely poisonous. So never feed these to your little Beardie.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato seeds?
No! It is better to remove the seeds of tomatoes before serving them to your little Beardies. Seeds might be soft and small. But your Draggo might choke on them. So keep the tomato seeds away from your little friend.
Finally, we can conclude that Yes! Your Bearded Dragons can have tomatoes. But like any other food, they too come with certain restrictions. So after balancing the pros and cons the choice is solely up to you, whether you want to feed the tomatoes.
Fruits and vegetables are indeed a vital part of your Beardie’s diet. Thus, they contribute a lot to your little Draggo’s balanced diet and health benefits. Tomatoes do offer some great health benefits. But you need to be careful to feed them in moderation to your little friends.
The thing to be noted is that anything in moderation has a beneficial effect. The goodness to prove good enough might have a certain boundary to act in. Any good food consumed beyond its boundary may turn toxic and deadly for anyone’s health.
Hence, before taking any action one must have a thorough knowledge of the food to be fed. And last but not the least, always take your pet’s Vet in confidence before introducing any food to your Beardie’s diet.