Bearded dragons love a treat in their salad bowl. Pears and other sweet-tasting fruits are often high on the list of favourites.
But are pears actually safe for bearded dragons to eat? Or should they be strictly off your beardies menu?
As bearded dragon enthusiasts ourselves, we thought it was time to do some in-depth research, bust the myths and rumours and lay down the facts about feeding pears to your bearded dragon.
We have researched the work of Dr’s, vets, reptiles nutritionists and authorities in the space so you can be confident before feeding pears to your bearded dragon.
So can bearded dragons eat pears? Bearded dragons can eat pears in moderation. Like most fruit, pears are high in sugar and low in calcium which is vital to a bearded dragon’s health. Pears do contain good amounts of fibre and vitamin K. Overall adding small amounts of pear to your bearded dragons salad bowl on occasion is fine.
Read on to discover…
- Health benefits of pears?
- Potential concerns about feeding pears too often?
- A big myth finally busted about feeding pears to your beardie!
- If bearded dragons should eat pear seeds?
- How often they can eat pears?
- How you should offer/prepare pears for your beardie?
- How much of a beardies diet should be insect protein Vs greens?
Pears | Nutritional Data
Below you will find a table that includes the nutritional information for pears.
It’s important to get a good understanding of new foods that you are considering offering to your dragon.
Taking a couple of minutes to look at important nutritional factors such as protein, sugar, fat, calcium and phosphorus to name but a few will help you to decide whether certain foods are worth adding to your beardies salad bowl.
We will breakdown the key nutrients of pears shortly and explain their benefits and if there are any potential health concerns but first, here’s the table containing their nutrition.
Nutritional Information Of Pears Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.14||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||15.23||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Pears? (A Deeper Look)
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, pears are considered safe to feed to bearded dragons.
We have found many reptile experts to add pears on their ‘safe list’ of foods for bearded dragons including UC-Davis who listed them in their safe fruits section.
Even though pears are considered safe fruits, it’s important to understand that fruit, in general, is nutritionally poor and can also cause some health problems if overfed.
In the sections that follow we will break down both the good and the bad as well as be-bunking some myths about pears and toxins they contain.
Benefits Of Bearded Dragons Eating Pears
Following on from what we talked about above, as pears are a fruit the nutrition they offer a bearded dragon is limited, however, this doesn’t mean that they offer nothing at all.
Pears are actually high in fibre and using the table in the post you can see they contain 3.1g per 100g which is really good.
A healthy amount of fibre is important for the digestive system and to regulate bowel movement.
According to ‘medical news today’ pears also provide smaller levels of vitamin K.
Unfortunately, apart from these two nutrients and others in sparing amounts, pears don’t really offer to many health benefits to your bearded dragon.
Concerns Of Bearded Dragons Eating Pears
Most fruits don’t offer your beardie enough nutrition to warrant feeding them on a regular basis.
There’s also some downsides and potential health risks to doing so as well.
Let’s breakdown the health concerns that may occur if your beardie eats pears too often.
Pears Contain Excessive Amounts Of Sugar
Being a fruit, it’s no surprise that pears contain a high amount of sugar for a bearded dragon.
Reptile experts Pet-MD, state that sugary items should be kept to a minimum for bearded dragons and we have to agree.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t feed fruit and other items with a sugary content but it does mean that you have to make sure that you are conscious of their sugar intake.
A high sugar diet can have much more of a negative impact on a bearded dragon than it does on us humans.
For example, beardies struggle to digest sugary items even though they enjoy them and they can ferment in the gut and cause stomach ache and even diarrhoea.
Sugar can also have a huge impact on the health of a bearded dragon’s teeth and gum health.
Too much sugar will decay a beardie’s teeth much in the same way it does ours except it can cause them even more problems.
Vet-Med says this is due to the fact that their teeth are routed to the sockets by ligaments.
Ultimately, this means that they are prone to inflammation, infection and a lot of pain
This, in turn, will lead to costly vet bills from something that was easily preventable.
We have posted an article that shares all you need to know about your beardies teeth, including how to easily brush them and more.
Pears Are Low In Calcium
As a bearded dragon owner, you are probably well aware of the huge role calcium plays in your bearded dragon’s health.
To help you understand the role calcium plays and why it’s vital to bearded dragons, we have created a post that explains everything in an easy to understand guide.
When it comes to pears, they don’t provide much of the calcium that your beardie requires as part of their daily intake.
In fact, looking at the table we provided, you can see that pears only contain 9mg of calcium per 100g.
This is low even for fruit as by comparison, rose apples contain 29mg of calcium per 100g.
And to put this further in perspective, calcium-rich greens such as collard greens contain 232mg of calcium per 100g.
We have also researched other foods rich in calcium such as kale and you can check out what we found out about kale in this post here.
As you can see, fruit and specifically pears aren’t a good option to regularly feed your beardie when they need high amounts of calcium to be healthy.
With this being said, just about all experts all say that feeding leafy greens and vegetables still isn’t enough to ensure your dragon is getting the amount of calcium they require.
The same experts recommend that you use calcium supplements to provide the rest of the calcium your beardie needs to stop potential problems such as MBD.
‘Petplace’ which is an authority in pet care recommend you use a supplement such as Rep-Cal amongst others.
We have to say we agree, and this particular supplement is our top pic.
In fact, we have shared a post here that details the exact Rep-Cal calcium and multivitamin products we recommend and where you can pick them up for the cheapest price.
Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio Is Poor
As well as being low in calcium, pears also have a poor phosphorus to calcium ratio.
Basically put, phosphorus stops calcium being absorbed in the body so foods that are high in phosphorus shouldn’t be offered regularly.
Vetstream says that the ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio is 2:1, with 2 parts calcium and 1 part phosphorus.
Pears contain 9mg of calcium and 12mg of phosphorus per 100g which is nowhere near the recommended ratio.
Providing foods like pears too often would be harmful to your bearded dragon as it would affect their ability to process calcium.
Remember, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer pears at all but it’s simply something you need to be aware of when considering the portion size and how often you feed foods with a poor ratio of phosphorus and calcium.
Are Pears High In Oxalates?
Pears have gotten a pretty bad reputation for being high in a negative compound called oxalates.
To briefly explain, oxalates or oxalic acid is a natural substance that’s found in many greens, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Kidney.org explains that they bind to calcium during the digestion process and leave the body during the stool.
So what does this mean? It means that feeding your bearded dragon foods that are high in oxalates will again stop them from being able to process that much-needed calcium.
This is important for bearded dragons of any age but especially baby bad juvenile beardies that are still growing.
Here’s a detailed post that shows how fast bearded dragons grow and what common factors can affect their ability to grow to their potential.
The real question is, are pears really high in oxalates as people are suggesting?
We did some research and here’s what we found out…
Pears are actually low in oxalates and don’t pose any concern to your bearded dragon regarding their oxalate levels.
A study by Harvard in 2008 shows that pears have just 2mg of oxalates per fruit.
The average fruit weighs approximately 178g so this means that pears have on average 1.12mg of oxalates per 100g which is extremely low.
To further back up this point, drugs.com put pears on their list of low oxalate foods in an article they posted on the subject.
So you can put the number of oxalates in pears in perspective we have provided a table below that shares the number of oxalates of many common foods recommended to bearded dragons.
You will notice that pears are easily the bottom of the list…
Oxalates Per 100g
|Name||Oxalates Per 100g|
|Sweet Potato||240 mg|
|Mustard Greens||128.7 mg|
|Turnip Greens||50 mg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Pear Seeds?
Regarding seeds, it’s often hard to find advice on which seeds are fine to eat and which ones can cause digestive problems.
Following the advice from Vetmed who recommend taking the seeds and pits from fruits, then you should be doing the same with pears.
There’s really no reason to offer your beardie pears with seeds or pips and are just as easy to take out.
For this reason, and following the general advice of the experts above, we recommend taking out all the seeds and not risking any digestive problems.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Pears Daily?
By now you’ve probably worked out that pears aren’t a good choice of food to offer to your beardie daily.
Even though they provide high levels of fibre, there are just too many negatives and also better options out there.
One such alternative is strawberries, even though high in sugar many experts put this fruit on their top fruits list.
You find out more about strawberries in this recent post here.
But if your bearded dragon shouldn’t eat pears daily then just how often is it recommended for them to eat pears?
There’s no right or wrong here, this will depend on the other foods you offer them with a similar profile of high sugar and low calcium etc.
With all things considered you should be providing your beardies with no more than 10% of their diet coming from fruit.
If you feed your beardie pears around once a month in small portions while being conscious of this 10% rule then all should be fine.
How Do You Prepare Pears For a Bearded Dragon?
When preparing pears for your bearded dragon it’s always best to fist let them ripen.
This will allow them to become soft and easy to eat. You will also find them to contain much more juice and this will be much more appealing to your dragon.
Secondly, always peel off the skin and only offer the inside of the fruit.
The pear should also be cut into small chunks or cubes. The main benefit of this is that it’s easier to consume rather than one big chunk.
We believe the best way to provide fruit such as pear is to use it as a salad topper with other healthy greens in the same salad bowl.
You should only give your dragon a small portion of pear or any fruit for that matter and a few cubes are ample.
What Percentage Of a Bearded Dragons Diet Should Be Insect Protein Vs Greens
In this post, we’ve talked about what percentage of a bearded dragon’s diet should contain fruit compared to greens but how about insect proteins compared to plant-based foods?
The percentage actually changes depending on the age of the bearded dragon.
Baby and juvenile bearded dragons need more insect protein and less plant-based matter such as greens, vegetables and fruits while adults are the opposite.
Take a look at the handy charts below that show what percentage of your beardies diet should come from insects Vs plant-based greens based on their age.
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