Fresh cabbage before getting eaten by a bearded dragon

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbage? (The Variety Matters)

Cabbage is an affordable and healthy green that many beardie owners have in their home. That’s why the idea of feeding it to your pet is so appealing.

But can bearded dragons eat cabbage?

This guide will break down what this veggie has to offer your reptile from a nutritional standpoint, and explain if it’s good for them or not.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Green Cabbage?

Green cabbage is a nutrient-rich vegetable that’s perfectly safe for bearded dragons to eat in moderation.

It’s one of the most widely available cabbage varieties. As a result, it’s affordable and easy to get your hands on. Plus, it’s pretty nutritious and has a lot to offer your beardie.

Green cabbage has a good amount of Vitamin C, potassium, and iron. Vitamin C is crucial for a more robust immune system, better vision, and overall healthier development. Meanwhile, iron and potassium improve blood quality and circulation.

A bearded dragon having some cabbage

Like other forms of cabbage, this variety is low in fats, sugars, and oxalates as well.

The best part of bearded dragons eating green cabbage is its calcium to phosphorus ratio. Calcium outweighs phosphorus by a ratio of 2:1, making it a valuable food for bone health and development.

How Much To Give Them

Bearded dragons can eat green cabbage once a week. 

If other goitrogenic vegetables are a part of your beardie’s diet, you may want to limit green cabbage to once every other week or so. 

Green cabbage is an excellent addition to green mixes. It pairs well with protein sources like roaches and crickets, too. The cabbage isn’t ideal as a diet staple, but you can easily incorporate it occasionally into your lizard’s diet without any issues.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Red Cabbage?

Bearded dragons can also have red cabbage. Sometimes referred to as purple cabbage, this variety has a higher nutritional density than standard green cabbage.

It’s chock-full of vitamins and minerals that can improve your reptile’s health. 

For digestion, red cabbage has a good amount of fiber. There’s also Vitamins C, K, and B6. Vitamin K is responsible for tissue health and blood cell maintenance, while Vitamin B6 supports the nervous system and provides energy.

Red cabbage has manganese and magnesium as well. These minerals boost metabolism levels and regulate blood sugar levels, respectively.

Expert Tip: One considerable benefit that comes from bearded dragons eating red cabbage is that it acts as a source of antioxidants. Antioxidants can prevent inflammation, combat cell oxidation, and protect your beardie’s body from the harmful effects of free radicals.

Like green cabbage, the red varieties are low in fat and sugar. As a result, the vegetable can help lower your lizard’s risks of obesity, diabetes, and unplanned weight gain.

The calcium to phosphorus ratio isn’t as high as green cabbage. However, it’s still higher than most foods at 1.5:1.

How Much To Give Them

Thanks to its exceptional nutritional content, bearded dragons can eat red cabbage pretty regularly.

You can give these pet lizards red cabbage a few times a week.

While this variety is suitable for more regular feedings, don’t overdo things. It’s important to incorporate other greens and vegetables. Red cabbage shouldn’t be the sole source of nutrition.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Napa Cabbage?

Napa cabbage is a unique vegetable variety with a distinct shape. Matured heads are oval-shaped and contain thinner leaves than green cultivars. Furthermore, the stalks are thick and prominent.

Regardless of those differences, this is a type of cabbage that your bearded dragon can eat as well. Also known as Chinese cabbage, the thin-leafed green has a similar nutrient profile to more common alternatives.

It’s high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and fiber. The calcium to phosphorus ratio is acceptable as well. The vegetable favors calcium, which can lower the risk of skeletal issues like metabolic bone disease.

How Much To Give Them

Napa cabbage falls in line with standard green cabbage. Bearded dragons can eat this cabbage once a week.

Expert Tip: Like we mentioned before, it’s a good idea to limit feeding to once every other week if you’re providing other goitrogenic foods.

Why It’s Important To Limit Their Intake

On paper, bearded dragons can eat most of the common varieties of cabbage. In fact, many kinds actually have nutritional components that make this food good for your beardie.

So it’s no surprise that many herpetology enthusiasts like to incorporate cabbage into their Bearded dragon meals quite regularly. These greens are nutritious and can do a lot to ensure that your pet bearded dragon is getting the essentials.

So, why is there a need to limit cabbage intake?

Well, it all comes down to the goitrogens. Goitrogens are compounds that interfere with the thyroid gland. Eating too many goitrogens can result in a condition called goiter in bearded dragons, which is a condition that causes abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland.

When the thyroid gland swells, it’s unable to function as it should. The thyroid is responsible for producing all-important hormones that regulate several biological functions. So when the gland goes out of whack, your bearded dragon’s health can take a severe nosedive.

High goitrogen intake can even lead to hyperthyroidism, leading to a dangerous drop in hormone production.

Unfortunately, nearly all varieties of cabbage are goitrogenic. Thus, there’s always a risk of complications.

The good news is that your bearded dragon can eat cabbage with these goitrogens without any issues. If they couldn’t, cabbage and a slew of other vegetables would be off the table. Foods like broccoli, collard greens, kale, and many other popular beardie meals are goitrogenic!

Expert Tip: The key is to limit goitrogen intake to avoid thyroid issues. As long as you restrict cabbage to once a week or so, your lizard should be fine.

Which Kind Has The Most Health Benefits?

The healthiest type of cabbage you can feed is red cabbage.

Red cabbage still contains goitrogens like other varieties. However, those compounds aren’t as prevalent. Compared to green and napa cabbage, red cabbage isn’t nearly as goitrogenic. 

As a result, you’re free to feed this variety a few times a week because it’s actually rather good for your beardie.

Red cabbage has a bit more to offer on the nutrient front as well! It has all the benefits you would expect. For example, they’re getting appropriate calcium (which is very important) to phosphorus ratios, low fat content, and a collection of essential vitamins and nutrients.

However, red cabbage contains a few extras other greens don’t have. For example, it has Vitamin B6, folates, and Vitamin K.

The most noteworthy addition is the antioxidants. Other types of cabbage have antioxidants, too. But none of them have the high levels that red cabbage does!

Expert Tip: For this reason, many consider red cabbage to be a heart-healthy alternative to other varieties. It can reduce inflammation and protect cells against free radicals, which may help reduce your bearded dragon’s chances of encountering conditions like cancer and heart disease.

Preparing Cabbage For Your Bearded Dragon

So, now you know that bearded dragons can eat cabbage. But what’s the best way to start introducing it into your bearded dragon’s diet?

Don’t worry, doing this is a piece of cake and only requires a little bit of preparation.

Choose The Right Cabbage

First things first, you need to choose the right type of cabbage. In addition to selecting a suitable variety, it’s important to source raw and organic greens.

Avoid feeding your beardie canned or frozen cabbage. Cooking and freezing processes negatively impact the nutritional density of the vegetables. Most of those all-important vitamins and minerals go out the window, leaving nothing but empty calories in their place.

Raw cabbage is the way to go!

Expert Tip: When possible, stick to organically grown heads. Organic cabbage is cultivated without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Standard cabbage is fine, but there’s always a risk of chemical residue.

Wash & Remove Stalks

Whether you get organic greens or not, washing is a must!

Before your bearded dragon can eat cabbage, it’s important for you to take some time to clean it thoroughly. Remove the leaves and wash both sides. The goal is to eliminate residue and debris that your bearded dragon could accidentally eat.

Next, remove the stalks. Cabbage stalks are far too firm for your beardie to eat.

Some can chew through the fibrous stems without missing a beat, but digestive problems can occur later on. It’s best to remove them entirely and provide nothing but crunchy leaves.

Chop & Serve

After you wash and de-stalk your cabbage, it’s time to chop!

Cut the leaves into small pieces that your lizard can easily manage. They should have to do much tearing as they eat.

Add the cabbage into a medley of greens and serve them to your bearded dragon on a platter. As always, keep an eye on your lizard’s health if this is their first time eating cabbage. 

You should encounter any issues. But in the off chance that you do, make sure to lay off on the cabbage and visit a vet for assistance.

Closing Thoughts

So, now you know that bearded dragons can have cabbage as long as you prepare it properly and limit how much they eat.

This is one of the most convenient foods to include in their diet, so it makes sense to mix it in every once in a while. Just stick to the guidelines we’ve listed above and your beardie will be able to enjoy this food for many years to come!