Many owners wonder if bearded dragons can eat cilantro, because it’s an accessible herb that’s relatively easy to prepare. But naturally, you don’t want to feed your beardie anything that could harm them!
This guide will teach you everything you need to know.
Table of Contents
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cilantro?
A healthy and balanced bearded dragon diet consists of live prey, such as mealworms, crickets and kingworms, a variety of leafy greens, vegetables and a few kinds of fruit. In the same way that you should vary the live prey in your beardie’s diet, it’s also nice to mix up the greens you offer.
Cilantro, an herb that’s common in many cuisines, is a green that’s appealing to many bearded dragons and can be offered as an occasional treat. Bearded dragons can eat cilantro leaves and seeds, but not the flowers.
While cilantro is totally fine as an addition to your bearded dragon’s diet, caution should always be taken when offering this treat. Cilantro contains furocoumarin, a chemical that is known to cause stomach issues in many bearded dragons. Introduce this herb slowly to check for any adverse reactions and call your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.
If cilantro seems to be upsetting your pet’s stomach, then alfalfa, mustard greens, collard greens, and turnip greens are a few tasty alternatives.
Is Cilantro Good For Bearded Dragons?
While bearded dragons can eat cilantro, we wouldn’t say that it’s the most nutritious kind of green food that you could offer. Still, fresh cilantro leaves do have some nutritional value and can be good for bearded dragons if given as the occasional addition to a meal.
Let’s break down some of cilantro’s nutritional benefits.
Cilantro contains antioxidants that are thought to help fight inflammation, boost the immune system, promote heart, and lung health and help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Vitamins A and C
Cilantro is chock full of both Vitamins A and C. These vitamins are great for immune system support, healthy eyesight, reproductive health, cell growth, organ and tissue repair and healthy teeth, and bones.
This vitamin is great for your bearded dragon because it supports healthy tissue and blood cells, and it helps to promote blood clotting after scrapes, cuts, and other kinds of wounds.
Potassium is thought to help regulate blood pressure, but bearded dragons should not have too much of this mineral. Excess potassium can cause diarrhea, high blood pressure, kidney damage, and weakness.
Cilantro, like many leafy greens, contains a nice amount of beneficial fiber. Fiber not only helps to maintain healthy digestion, but it will also help your dragon to feel full after each feeding.
Expert Tip: Fiber is especially important if your bearded dragon has a diet that is very insect-based. Adding cilantro and other greens will help to keep your dragon’s digestion running smoothly.
Cilantro is thought to be between 90 and 92 percent water. While such a high water content may help to prevent issues such as dehydration, kidney stones, and other kidney issues, too much water can be a bad thing as well. The high amount of water in cilantro is known to cause diarrhea. This is one reason that we suggest introducing cilantro to your bearded dragon in small amounts.
As we mentioned earlier, some bearded dragons are not able to tolerate cilantro well at all. Be very careful before adding this herb to their list of greens, and talk to your vet if you’re not sure if it’s alright for your bearded dragon to eat cilantro.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cilantro?
If you’ve determined that your bearded dragon is able to eat cilantro without stomach distress, then you’ll still need to use it sparingly.
In most cases, it’s best to limit their cilantro intake to about once or twice a week. Some bearded dragon owners feel that it’s alright to allow their pets to consume cilantro more often, but we feel that a couple times per week is the sweet spot.
What’s the reasoning behind this way of thinking? First of all, cilantro has a very high water content, and this can lead to a number of health issues for your bearded dragon (assuming they’re already well-hydrated). Secondly, cilantro has a relatively low nutritional value when compared to other greens. Your beardie will benefit more from healthier options, so cilantro should only be an added bonus.
The Right Way To Feed Bearded Dragons Cilantro
Cilantro is not the kind of leafy green that you can simply drop into the feeding bowl. Believe it or not, there is a right and wrong way to feed cilantro to your bearded dragon.
Let’s go over the essentials.
1. Always Go Organic
Whenever you are feeding cilantro (or any other leafy green) to your bearded dragon, it’s very important to use only organic produce. Bearded dragons are very sensitive to chemicals, and non-organic produce is notoriously loaded with pesticides.
Expert Tip: Make sure to thoroughly wash the cilantro, because organic produce can still contain traces of animal fertilizer.
2. It’s All About The Presentation
Bearded dragons have a very tough time eating the stems of cilantro. In fact, the stems can be a choking hazard. So before you feed cilantro to your beardie, it’s important to chop it up finely. You can either place these chopped pieces into its feeding bowl, or you can sprinkle them on other foods.
You can sprinkle cilantro on top of berries, other greens, squash, bell peppers, or even fruit. However, be aware that some experts discourage combining fruit and cilantro due to potential stomach issues.
3. Take It Slow
We mentioned earlier that not all bearded dragons are able to tolerate eating cilantro. The best way to tell if yours is able to handle cilantro is to introduce it slowly. This gives you a chance to look for any kind of reaction.
The best way to do this is to give your bearded dragon one or two leaves per ten gallons of tank space. If they seem fine with this, then you can increase the amount of leaves. Talk to the veterinarian if you are not sure how to introduce new foods to your dragon.
4. Easy Does It
While cilantro is fine as an occasional treat, we don’t encourage giving it to your bearded dragon too often. It’s high in water content and isn’t the best in terms of nutritional value. If you want to give your bearded dragon cilantro leaves, then we suggest doing this no more than a couple of times a week.
Expert Tip: Adults can have up to eight chopped leaves per serving, and babies should be given two or three leaves.
Bearded dragons can eat cilantro, but it should only be done in moderation. As long as you stick to this principle and follow our steps, adding this herb into their diet shouldn’t cause you any trouble.
As always, let us know if you have questions!