Is it Safe for Pet Beardies to Have Blueberry? For any bearded dragon owner, it is…
Is It Safe for Pet Beardies to Have Tomato?
When you own a bearded dragon as your doting pet, it can be hard to determine exactly what healthy food to include in their salad bowl.
Take tomatoes, for example. While tomatoes may be a wonderful source of vitamin A for your pet beardie! But just as other fruits, you should not feed them excessively.
In Support Of This Statement, Reptile Experts and Vets State –
Bearded dragons require vitamin A for their health growth and function. And since tomatoes have plenty of that, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to include bits of finely chopped tomatoes to your bearded dragon’s diet salad.
If Tomatoes Are Fed to Them in Moderation, then it proves beneficial for them in these following ways –
- It will promote more adequate vision in them
- It will aid in their overall growth and reproduction capabilities
- It will help them in protein synthesis
- And lastly, it will aid in effective skin development
Another Reason Being…
It is recommended not to feed your pet beardie excessive tomatoes on a frequent basis because it contains oxalic acid.
As you may well know, Oxalic acid restricts the calcium absorption which your pet beardie needs for their proper done development as well as the production of eggs (in case of female bearded dragons).
Even though your bearded dragon may not be killed if they intake too much of vitamin A (via tomatoes), it still isn’t a good idea to feed them on a regular basis.
Yes, it is true that your bearded dragon can change the beta carotenes present in the fruit into vitamin A whenever they have to. And that they can excrete the beta carotene as waste when their body has enough of Vitamin A; experts believe that when they cannot excrete the excess, they can die out of synthetic vitamin A poisoning.
Moreover, tomatoes also contain low calcium to high phosphorus ratio. And you very well know that excessive phosphorus intake can bring about unwanted health complications in your pet bearded dragon- including paralysis or death!
Digging Deeper Into Tomatoes Unhealthy Phosphorus to Calcium Ratio
Like all dragons, your pet beardie also needs calcium to survive properly without any risks of health complications. But since tomatoes pack a high dose of phosphorus, which binds the calcium and inhibits it from getting absorbed by the dragon’s body, it can lead to a condition known as MBD – Metabolic Bone Disorder.
It is a very common condition seen in most pet dragons and also a major death cause for such reptiles. No way should you want to put your pet beardie at such a high risk.
Field experts and vets say the ideal ratio of calcium and phosphorus should be in 2:1 ratio. They further explain that roughly 5mg of calcium is present in comparison to 29 mg of phosphorus in tomatoes. And while feeding tomatoes in small quantities infrequently might be relatively alright, if their diet consists of excessive tomato (or even other foods with high phosphorus), then MBD may very well be a looming possibility for them.
Ideally, you need should look to supplement your pet bearded dragon’s diet with appropriate calcium supplements to keep their necessary calcium levels intact. Top vets recommend using Nekton, RepCal, or ReptoCal supplement sprinkles on your pet bearded dragon’s food bowl, at least 2 times in a week.
That said, as a mandatory course of action, you should visit your nearest vet care to get your pet dragon thoroughly examined and possibly diagnosed before resorting to the aforementioned means. Furthermore, the concerned vet expert will even recommend you the right calcium supplement, which will best benefit your pet beardie for their healthy growth and well-being.
Is It Safe To Feed Your Pet Beardie Tomato Stems or Leaves?
Let’s focus our attention to some other probable alternatives like – tomato leaves or stems!
There are several owners who wish to know if it is safe to feed their pet bearded dragon tomato leaves or stems? (You may well be wondering about the same thing!)
Well, truth be told, you should not feed tomato leaves, or its plant stems to your pet bearded dragon. The reason for that is pretty obvious! As a part of the nightshade plant family, both tomato leaves and its plant stems consist of poisonous alkaloids like Solanine and Tomatine! And each of them is known to impact your pet dragon’s physiology adversely!
To prevent any negative physiological impact on your pet beardie, you should remember to remove the leaves, stems, vines and etc., from the tomato prior to feeding them. Just focus on the fruit, cut them into small bits, and also remember to peel the existing feeds before putting it into their food bowls. Dragons have difficulty in digesting seeds. Plus, it also poses the threat of choking hazards.
Stick to feeding them a minimal quantity of tomato, say once or twice a month. Doing so will prevent any unwanted health complications in your pet dragon- including stomach issues resulting due to acidity.
What About Feeding Them Hornworms/Tomato Worms?
Although bearded dragons rather appreciate munching on soft and nutritional-filled tomato worms or hornworms as many call it, experts recommend feeding them only those which are availed from trustworthy commercial sources. Refrain from feeding them any wild tomato worms simply because they might consist of excessive toxicity- just like in tomato stems and their leaves.
These hornworms/tomato worms usually feed on plants being rich in Solanine alkaloids. As they chew on the tomato plant’s leaves, they tend to soak in a good amount of toxins. On consuming them, it can very possibly poison your pet bearded dragon.
Furthermore, wild tomato worms also munch on other kinds of solanaceous plants- like tobacco or other nightshade family plants. And keeping in mind that they don’t have any control on how much toxins they have taken in, feeding it your pet dragon means making them prone to several health, even life risks!
That said, if you still want to feed tomato worms to your pet dragon (keeping in mind its nutrition content as stated above), you can procure them from reliable sources such as amazon.
The worms you will get will be safe from in-build toxins and will deliver the appropriate dose of healthy fat and calcium into your pet beardie’s body. Plus, the works available will come with softer exoskeletons that will let your l’ll dude munch on them and even digest them without any issues.
How Often & In What Precise Amount Should You Feed Tomatoes To Your Pet Bearded Dragon?
Since it is well established that tomatoes are too acidic for your pet dragon, you should aim to limit the feeding amount as much as possible to avoid upsetting their stomach in any way.
But as you also need vitamin A and lycopene present in tomatoes, experts recommend making it only 10% of their entire diet. You should include other slices of greens like mustard green, kale, broccoli, etc., with tomatoes whenever feeding them.
The best course of action would be to include tomatoes into their diet once a month at best. And while you do this, be sure to wash the tomatoes (and other plants) properly to remove existing pesticides or chemicals from their exterior surface.
The Right Way to Feed Tomatoes to Your Pet Bearded Dragon?
As in the case for most fruits and vegetables, you will need to undergo certain precautionary preparations. Respective field experts and vets suggest the following tips when feeding tomato to your pet dragon.
- Properly wash the tomato to remove any traces of pesticides, herbicides, and toxic chemicals
- Avoid cooking the tomato. Instead, feed them the raw fruit as it will prove more beneficial for your l’ll pet critters
- Make sure you chop tomatoes into tiny and easy to eat bits mainly to avoid any choking accidents. Don’t feed them any more than a quarter of the tomato
- The best way to feed them is to use tomatoes as their diet salad topper. This will make your pet beardie wonder what’s over their diet bowl and compel them to take a nibble
- However, you should remember to keep the main part of their diet salad nutritious and healthy, preferably by using greens and vegetables
- Remember to sprinkle some calcium supplements over your pet dragon’s diet and also keep bowls that allow them to eat all their nutritional salad rather than only a portion from the top
Bearded dragons are fascinating little pet lizards, and if you can steadily keep providing them a nutritional diet, they will grow up to be strong and healthy. That said, you need to follow a sensible diet, preferably by taking up your trusted vet expert’s recommendation.
Tomatoes are indeed beneficial to your pet dragon. And so you most certainly can feed them. But, refrain from overcompensating and stick to a once-a-month routine when feeding them tomatoes.
Always look to mix it up with other vegetables, greens, and meat components such as commercially procured insects, bugs, etc., which are also crucial for their growth and development.