Bearded dragons are a popular reptile and a fun pet to have as part of your family. As with any pet, beardie owners often find themselves researching what foods are safe for them to eat. The normal diet for a bearded dragon consists of insects, veggies, fruits, and even small rodents. But can bearded dragons eat baby food? The answer to this question isn’t simple.
As a general rule, it’s best not to give your beardie human baby food due to all the sugar and other added ingredients inside. However, there are times when baby food might be called for. If a beardie is feeling under the weather and isn’t eating properly, organic baby food such as butternut squash without any added sugar, is often used to make sure a beardie is getting its nutrients while they are sick. Baby food should not become part of your beardie’s routine, however. Let’s take a deeper look at bearded dragons, their dietary requirements, and why baby food shouldn’t be a staple of their diet.
All About Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons hail from Australia, spending time on both the ground and living in trees. They have big grins, or smiles, which people love. These smiles even help these reptiles regulate their body temperatures even though we want to think they’re smiling at us. The reason beardies make great pets is their docile nature and easy care routines. For this reason, many first-time reptile owners choose this pet. They are even an ideal reptile for kids who want a pet they can care for on their own.
Bearded dragons can grow between 15–20 inches in length. The name bearded dragon comes from a flap of skin under the reptile’s chin that puffs up when needed, to scare away potential predators. Beardies are also very adaptable. They enjoy spending some time in the shade but won’t pass up the chance to sun themselves as well.
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded dragons are natural omnivores. This means they eat animal-based protein and plant matter. In the wild, a beardie will chase down insects, spiders, small rodents, smaller lizards, and even worms. In addition to this, they will consume a wide variety of plant matter. When kept as pets, it’s up to us to ensure they get everything they need for a healthy diet. This means a mixture of beardie-safe greens, veggies, and insects. When they are young and growing, bearded dragons need a lot more protein, but once they have matured, their diet needs to contain less animal protein and more leafy greens.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Baby Food?
Now, let’s get to the question at hand, can bearded dragons eat baby food? Certain types of human baby food aren’t going to harm your beardie. However, it’s also not the best thing for your pet. This is why it’s best to not offer baby food to your beardie unless there is a good reason or you have been told to do so by your veterinarian.
While baby food is a great way to help human babies get used to the world of solid foods, there are things inside those little jars that aren’t good for a bearded dragon. Often baby food includes natural and added sugars, and too much sugar isn’t great for your beardie. Reptiles also have issues trying to digest processed foods.
The other factor is that through the cooking process, much of the nutritional value of the ingredients in baby food is lost, so they are not very beneficial to your bearded dragon.
Why Would a Bearded Dragon Need Baby Food?
As we mentioned above, veterinarians may recommend baby food in certain instances for your beardie. But why? This is often the case when a bearded dragon is sick and not eating well. This cannot be a cure-all, however. Baby food will not provide a bearded dragon with the essential nutrients they require to be healthy, but it can be used in times of need. Some bearded dragon owners have also used baby food as a base to make smoothies for their pets when they aren’t eating. These smoothies typically use beardie-safe baby food as a base then add more nutritious greens.
If you’re directed to give your bearded dragon baby food, there are things you should remember. First off, not all baby foods are safe for your beardie. Fruit-based baby food is often too high in both natural and added sugars to be considered safe. Also, any baby food fed to your beardie should be organic. This often keeps unwanted preservatives and additives out of the equation.
Can I Use Baby Food as a Treat for My Beardie?
No, baby food should not be used as a treat for your bearded dragon. The only time you should offer your beardie baby food is when there is an illness involved and your veterinarian recommends it. Luckily, there are lots of treats you can give your beardie that will offer them more nutrition and fewer additives than baby food.
While many baby foods are safe for your bearded dragon to eat, it isn’t recommended for them to have this food without good reason. Baby food is typically only used to help supplement a beardie’s diet when they are sick or not eating as they should. If you feel your bearded dragon is having this type of issue, reach out to your veterinarian. They will determine whether baby food should be supplemented and even guide you on which ones are considered safe for your pet.