No, bearded dragons cannot eat avocados. Avocado contains a substance called persin, which can be toxic to many animals, including reptiles. In addition, Persin can cause heart and lung problems and even death in severe cases.
While some sources suggest that the flesh of the avocado fruit is safe for bearded dragons, it’s still not recommended to feed it to them due to the potential risk of toxicity. Additionally, Avocado has a high-fat content, which can contribute to obesity in bearded dragons if fed in excess.
Why Avocados Are Bad for Your Bearded Dragon
Oxalic acid, or oxalate, is an antinutrient compound found in plants such as avocados. Oxalic acid is usually found in plants bound to minerals such as calcium or iron, and binds to these minerals and makes them less absorbable to the body. In some plants, oxalic acid can form insoluble oxalate crystals that can be toxic or fatal if consumed in large quantities.
This is especially true for bearded dragons, which can easily mistake oxalate-containing plant material for food and accidentally eat it. Moreover, bearded dragons are highly susceptible to oxalic acid due to their small size and high metabolic rate. As a result, they can rapidly develop kidney failure after ingesting oxalic acid in quantities small enough to cause mild gastrointestinal upset.
The oxalic acid content of Avocado can also lead to decreased mineral absorption. This can be particularly problematic for bearded dragons, requiring high calcium for healthy bone and shell growth. Over time, a diet high in oxalic acid, including many avocados, can contribute to the development of metabolic bone disease. This severe condition can cause weakened bones and deformities.
Inadequate Calcium to Phosphorous Ratio
Avocados contain a high amount of phosphorous, making the calcium-to-phosphorous ratio unbalanced. This means that if a bearded dragon were to consume a significant amount of Avocado, it could disrupt the calcium-to-phosphorus balance in its diet, leading to a calcium deficiency.
In bearded dragons, inadequate diet, insufficient supplementation, and the presence of calcium-inhibiting substances like oxalates can lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD). Bone fractures, stunted growth, and other bone issues characterize MBD.
To ensure the health of your bearded dragon’s bones, providing a balanced diet with adequate calcium levels is essential. Additionally, bearded dragons require sufficient lighting, such as UVB lamps, to absorb calcium from their diet.
Can Lead to Obesity
Avocados are high in fat and calories, which can cause weight gain and lead to obesity if consumed in excess. Bearded dragons have specific dietary requirements. Their diet should consist mainly of low-fat, high-fiber vegetables and fruits, with less protein from insects or other sources.
If a bearded dragon is fed a diet that is too high in fat, it can become overweight, leading to various health problems. Overweight bearded dragons may have difficulty moving around, develop fatty deposits under their skin, and be at higher risk for other health issues such as heart disease.
Therefore, providing a balanced diet for your bearded dragon and limiting high-fat foods like Avocado to an occasional treat is crucial. It’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a reptile nutritionist to ensure your bearded dragon’s diet meets all its nutritional needs and monitor their weight and overall health.
As mentioned, avocados contain a fungicidal toxin called persin, which can be harmful to bearded dragons if consumed in large amounts. Persin is primarily found in the leaves, bark, and seeds of the avocado plant, but it can also be present in the flesh of the fruit in smaller amounts.
The amount of person in the avocado fruit’s flesh is generally considered safe for humans and most animals, including bearded dragons, when consumed in moderation. However, feeding bearded dragons large amounts of Avocado, or allowing them to eat the leaves, bark, or seeds of the plant, can lead to persin toxicity.
What You Should Do if Your Bearded Dragon Eats an Avocado
Call a Vet Immediately
It’s essential to call a vet immediately if your bearded dragon eats an avocado because, as discussed, avocados are toxic to them. An experienced reptile vet will be able to determine if your beardie requires emergency medical attention and can administer the appropriate treatment. Sometimes, an antidote may be necessary, requiring you to visit the vet in person.
The vet may induce vomiting to remove any remaining avocado from the dragon’s system or provide other treatments depending on the severity of the symptoms. The sooner the dragon receives appropriate care, the better it’s chance of full recovery.
Symptoms of avocado toxicity in bearded dragons may include gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, lethargy, weakness, and in severe cases, death. These symptoms may not appear immediately after the dragon eats the Avocado, and delayed symptoms can make it difficult to determine the cause of the illness.
Monitor Its Behaviors
If your bearded dragon has eaten an avocado, it is vital to monitor its behaviors and look for any signs of respiratory distress. Some specific behaviors you should monitor include changes in appetite, energy level, and bowel movements.
If your bearded dragon seems more sluggish than usual or is not interested in food or water, these could be signs of avocado toxicity. Similarly, if your dragon is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, you should take note and inform your vet. Monitoring your bearded dragon’s breathing and overall activity level is also essential. You should contact your vet if you notice difficulty breathing, weakness, or other unusual behaviors.
By closely monitoring your bearded dragon’s behaviors, you can help ensure that any symptoms of avocado toxicity are caught early, allowing for prompt treatment and a better chance of a full recovery.
Give It a Warm Bath
While a warm bath won’t directly counteract the toxic effects of an avocado, it can help to soothe your bearded dragon and ease some of the symptoms of avocado toxicity. Specifically, a warm bath can help to hydrate your bearded dragon, which is vital if it has been experiencing vomiting or diarrhea due to avocado ingestion.
It can also help to relieve any discomfort the dragon may be experiencing, as well as help to promote relaxation and calmness. However, it’s important to note that a warm bath should not be used as a substitute for veterinary care. However, if you suspect your bearded dragon has ingested Avocado, you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
Let It Drink a Lot of Water
If your bearded dragon has ingested Avocado, it’s vital to ensure that it stays hydrated. Avocado toxicity can cause gastrointestinal distress, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
Providing your bearded dragon access to fresh water is essential, and you should encourage your dragon to drink water regularly. However, it’s important not to force your bearded dragon to drink excessive water, which can cause other health problems. Instead, you should monitor your bearded dragon’s water intake and provide it with small amounts of water frequently throughout the day.
You can also offer water-rich foods like leafy greens or fruits like melon to help keep your bearded dragon hydrated. It’s also essential to keep your bearded dragon’s habitat clean and ensure that it has access to a humid hiding spot, which can help to prevent dehydration and promote healing.