Can Bearded Dragons Eat Oatmeal (Is it a good idea)?
If you are wondering what foods to feed your Beardie (Click here to learn what you should be feeding him), you may be curious if oatmeal is a good idea or not. Let me explain…
Can bearded dragons eat oatmeal? No, it’s not a good idea to feed Bearded Dragons oatmeal. They can physically eat it, but, it has limited nutritional benefits and has bad calcium to phosphorous ratio. Also, there are many other nutritional alternatives available.
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Now that you understand that it is not a good idea, let me explain how I have come to this conclusion, some health benefits oats have, as well as risks. Keep reading.
What is oatmeal?
Before I explain why oatmeal is not ideal for your Bearded Dragon I want to take some time to explain exactly what oatmeal is to make sure we are on the same page.
Commonly oatmeal is known as a popular breakfast, which is basically oats. It is typically mixed with water or even milk and served up. However, the main ingredient is oats. And, for that reason, I will focus on that for this article.
According to Wikipedia, oats a form of course flour that is made from hulled oat grains. There are a few different ways that it can be harvested. And this has an effect on its outcome when it is purchased in your local supermarket.
When the oats are grounded, they are commonly known as White Oats. Maybe you have seen these sold before, right?
If the oats are steel-cut, they are known as coarse, or commonly known as “Irish Oats”.
Rolled oats are probably one of the most common oat forms. They are also known as Instant, quick, or even “old fashioned” oats. They are quite common because they are easy to add water or milk, throw it in the microwave and its done, are you with me?
Nutritional facts about oatmeal
To get a better understanding if it’s a good idea for your Beardie it’s a good idea to look at the nutritional value they have. Once we know this then you can see what, if any, nutritional benefits they have for your Beardie.
Source: Wikipedia– Based on 100g.
Are there any health benefits of Oatmeal?
Now that you know what oats have in them, let me explain if there are any associated health benefits of it. To get a good overview of oats I will explain noted health benefits for bearded dragons as well as other well-known findings or studies on oats, which may include the effects on us humans.
Lower the risk of heart disease (humans)
According to Wikipedia, there was a 1997 ruling by the food and drug administration. It claimed that consuming rolled oats or oat bran can lower the risk of heart disease.
This is linked to its beta-glucan that reduces the levels of blood cholesterol. There was also a similar conclusion made in 2010 by the European safety authority.
Rich in antioxidants
According to Healthline, oats are rich in antioxidants. You may be thinking, so what? or, what is that? Right? Well, antioxidants are a compound that stops oxidation. This is beneficial because oxidation is a chemical reaction that can damage cells or organisms.
In summary, oats are regarded as healthy low-fat food that can help with weight loss. For us humans they make us feel fuller for longer, which in turn, reduces the chances of our overeating.
This is done by slowing down the emptying of our stomachs and increasing satiety hormone PYY.
But, for bearded dragons, very little. You could argue that it is low fat, but other alternatives offer other nutritional benefits that match their needs better.
Are there any health risks with Oatmeal?
Now that you know that Oatmeal has some health benefits the natural thought is, what about the risks? Are there any associated with it? Should you be concerned about your Beardie? Let me explain…
Low in calcium
Oats are quite low on calcium. Which is not ideal for them. Calcium is so important that many Bearded Dragon owners supplement it with their food (more on this later).
It is important because it helps bone development, similar to us humans. If reptiles do not get enough calcium they run the risk of becoming calcium deficient.
This can result in diseases such as Metabolic Bone Disorder (MBD). It is quite bad because, in extreme cases, lizards can struggle to stand up, walk, or climb.
Therefore, it is important to keep the calcium levels regulated by supplementation and eating the right food.
Bad Calcium to phosphorous ratio
If you look at the nutritional chart above you will see that there is more phosphorous than calcium, right? Well, this is not good for Beaded dragons. According to Vetstream, this ratio should be at least 2:1, in favor of calcium.
This ratio is important because phosphorous binds to calcium and stops lizards absorbing the calcium that they need. Hence the reason why you need to look out for foods, like oats, that have poor ratios, and substitute them with food that is more of a nutritional match.
One of the problems with oats is the risks of contamination. According to everyday health, it is known to get contaminated with gluten-based foods such as wheat, barley, or rye. This usually happens in the production process.
However, this can be mitigated by looking for oats that specifically say “gluten-free”. This will mean it has been specifically prepared with that in mind, are you with me?
Should Bearded Dragons Eat Oatmeal?
Like most things in life what you can and should do are two different things. For example, can you eat pizza every day for dinner? yes. But, should you eat pizza every day, no! Therefore, in this section, I will explain why I feel its a bad choice.
The reality is Bearded Dragons have a specific diet they need to maintain a healthy life. This includes insects, vegetables, and some fruits. But, most of their diet is insects and veg.
Therefore, if you want your Beardie to last long, you need to maintain that. So, focus on the best foods that fit in with this mix, such as crickets, and fresh veg, etc.
Can baby Beardies eat Oatmeal?
In this section, I will explain if you should consider feeding your baby Bearded Dragon oats. We have discussed adults already, but what about babies, is there any difference for them?
You may be aware that, depending on the age of a Bearded Dragon, baby, Juvenile or Adult, they have a slightly different diet. It is not necessarily different foods, but the ratio of insects, veg, and fruit changes.
So, for babies, they are typically fed more insects and less veg. But adults have more veg and fewer insects, are you with me?
With the fact that babies need more insects, I would not consider giving them oats. This is because with their limited intake of fruits and veg you should maximize it with food items that are more nutritionally beneficial.
Can you feed oatmeal to your Bearded Dragon indirectly?
In this section, I will explain that there is one circumstance when you would consider feeding oatmeal to your Beardie. It is not the conventional way but is one of the rare ways that makes it acceptable, in my opinion.
Feeding your Bearded dragon oats indirectly is feasible, and is probably happening regardless if you intended to or not. Why? Well, the feeder insects that you give you your beardie, such as Calci worms, are gut-loaded.
Gut-loading entails the insect being pre-fed to load them with nutrients, so that they can, in turn, feed your Beardie. Oats are sometimes given to these insects as part of that pre-feeding.
If you compare it to us, humans, many of us eat meat, such as beef, right? Where does it come from? Yes, a cow. This cow is fed grass to keep it well fed before it is provided to us in the form of meat.
Do you see my point? Us humans would never eat grass directly, right? But, indirectly, yes, are you with me?
In this section, I will answer some questions related to Bearded Dragon’s diet, and discuss if they should or should not be eating them. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me.
Q: Can Bearded Dragons eat plant leaves?
Yes, Bearded Dragons can eat plant leaves, for example, mint leaves (Click here to see if it’s safe). However, just because they can eat it, it doesn’t mean that you should give them lots of it, are you with me?
Q: What happens if a Bearded Dragon is not happy?
If a Bearded Dragon is not happy he will start to act differently and may go off his food. In extreme cases, you may see your Beardie developing stress marks (Click here to see what they are).