If you’re looking for an immune-boosting treat that’s sure to satisfy, citrus is the way to go. It is juicy and refreshing, making it a tasty snack to enjoying so many different ways. Whether you’re having segments on top of a salad, or in a cold treat on a hot day, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to oranges.
Most creatures can enjoy the tangy freshness of orange slices, but that doesn’t mean they are good for every creature. A Bearded dragon is especially not recommended to have oranges or any other citrus fruit as a part of their diet. With most other fruits in the occasional but safe column for them, it can seem surprising that oranges are one of the fruits not recommended for consumption.
Why are oranges and other citrus fruits so detrimental to a bearded dragon? Let’s talk about that.
The Dangers of Citrus
Whereas most fruits are okay for beardies in moderation, citrus fruits are a hard no. Most fruits have high sugar and water contents, which make them a sometimes food rather than a staple part of your bearded dragon’s diet. Sugar isn’t the only thing that makes oranges and other citrus fruit detrimental to your beardie buddy.
Bearded dragons don’t need a lot of water in order to survive. Most of the water that they ingest is from the vegetables and fruits in their diet and the occasional sips from their water bowl. In the desert there aren’t abundant bodies of water, so beardies don’t need much to keep their system running.
Too much water can cause diarrhea which can lead to more severe issues with dehydration, malnourishment, and even parasites. The dehydration and malnourishment are due to the nutrients and the water completely running out of them. With them defecating so much they can release more of the parasites that already live in their body and that can lead to an infestation.
It is important to keep their diet varied and make sure they are getting adequate hydration, just not too much.
Oxalic and Citric Acid
Bearded dragons need a lot of calcium to keep their bones strong and healthy, as they are so prone to developing problems that affect them. Metabolic bone disease is one of the worst things that beardies can face as it can leave them with deformities, weak bones, and even damage their limbs enough to leave them paralyzed. Oxalic acid will combine with calcium and renders it unable to be absorbed by the body to help strengthen their bones.
Oxalic acid can be taken in small doses but it isn’t recommended to give them foods that are high in it frequently, or in large doses.
Citric acid is found in spades in oranges and other citrus fruits. Where it might not be too dangerous for other creatures, it can cause heartburn and stomach upset for your bearded dragon. It is also one of the culprits in oranges that can cause diarrhea and stomach irritation.
Sugar can be great in moderation for your little beardie buddy, and they should have fruits as a part of their diet routinely. However, oranges contain high levels of sugar and just aren’t worth being even an occasional treat for your bearded dragon. There are plenty of other fruits that would be far more beneficial to give them than citrus.
Vitamin C Alternatives
While oranges are high in vitamin C, which is good for boosting your beardie’s immune system, you would be better off looking for other sources. There are certainly more fruits and vegetables that you could feed them which have nearly equal levels of immune-boosting capabilities. Some of those fruits are:
Every one of these fruits has enough vitamin C to fulfill the need for your beardie’s diet. They don’t need a ton of it, but any of these will help boost their immune system to keep them healthy and stave off infections. All of them are safe for occasional consumption and though they are better for your bearded dragon than oranges, they should still be limited.
Giving your beardie an orange just once or twice won’t hurt or kill them, so don’t be worried if you’ve given them oranges or another citrus before. It just isn’t wise to keep it up or make it a continuous thing. There are so many other options to choose from so why not spice up your beardie’s diet with something new but safe for them to eat.
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