Though it is not commonly known, bearded dragons should not eat tofu. Tofu is a high-protein food made from soybeans, and while it may seem like a healthy option for bearded dragons, it can be harmful to their health.
This article will explain why bearded dragons should not eat tofu and offer some choices for good health.
What Is Tofu?
Tofu is a high-protein food made from soybeans. It is a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans, as it offers a way to get protein without eating meat. Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the curds into blocks.
Though it is healthy for humans, tofu is not a good choice for bearded dragons.
Why Shouldn’t Bearded Dragons Eat Tofu?
Tofu is not a suitable substitute for bearded dragons as food, as tofu is high in protein and low in calcium. In addition, it lacks the proper levels of Vitamin A that beardies need to stay healthy.
What about the Protein?
Bearded dragons are omnivores; they need both meat and plants to stay healthy. Their diet should be around 50% plant-based foods (mostly leafy greens like kale, dandelion greens, collards, mustard greens, or turnip greens), 40% protein-based foods (like fortified bugs, cooked chicken, and goat’s milk), and 10% fruit-based foods (like apples and bananas).
Tofu, meanwhile, is high in protein but low in several other necessary nutrients. In particular, the calcium to phosphorus ratio in tofu is 1:1 while it should be 2:1 for bearded dragons. This means that too much tofu could throw off the balance of nutrients in a bearded dragon’s diet.
Additionally, bearded dragons get their Vitamin A from plant-based foods like carrots and dark, leafy greens. Tofu, on the other hand, is low in both of these vitamins. If a bearded dragon eats too much tofu without adding vitamin-rich foods to its diet, it could develop health problems down the road.
What Should Bearded Dragons Eat Instead?
A much healthier option for bearded dragons would be a combination of foods high in both protein and calcium. Some good options include:
- Cooked chicken (without skin); 3 oz. provides 30 grams of protein and 3 mg Vitamin A
- Goat’s milk; 1 cup contains 14 grams of protein and 100 IU of Vitamin A
- Fortified bugs; 1 oz. contains 20 grams of protein, 5 mg Vitamin B12 and 700 mcg folic acid
- Spirulina powder; 2 teaspoons contain 7 grams of protein and 20 mcg Vitamin B12
In addition to feeding bearded dragons a variety of foods from this list, it is also important to vary their diet by offering different kinds of insects. Otherwise, they are likely to become picky eaters, which can cause problems later on if they stop eating the foods that are most important for their health.
Why Are Tofu Bad For Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons should not eat tofu because it can cause health problems.
Tofu is high in oxalates, which can bind to calcium and other minerals in the body and prevent them from being absorbed. This can lead to calcium deficiency and health problems such as kidney stones.
Tofu can also have a high salt content. This is not usually dangerous if the dragon eats a varied diet, but it may cause problems with mineral imbalance or kidney disorders.
Bearded dragons should never eat silken tofu as this is much higher in water content and will not provide the correct nutrients.
The one exception to the tofu rule is that white block tofu has a very low calcium content and can be given occasionally as a treat.
This is especially beneficial to the dragon if it also enjoys insects and other calcium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables and nuts.
Can Bearded Dragons Be Allergic To Tofu?
Yes, bearded dragons can be allergic to tofu. Bearded dragons that are allergic to tofu may experience skin problems, including rashes, scales, and lesions. If you think your bearded dragon may be allergic to tofu, contact your veterinarian.
Tofu is one of the top eight allergens for dogs, cats, and humans. It can cause food allergies in both mammals and reptiles. Allergic reactions are typically caused by protein substances that are found in foods or chemicals, such as preservatives or dyes, that are added to foods.
Signs And Symptoms Of Tofu Poisoning In Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons should never eat tofu as it can lead to poisoning.
Signs and symptoms of tofu poisoning in bearded dragons include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and lack of appetite. If you believe your bearded dragon has eaten tofu, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What To Do If Your Bearded Dragon Ate Tofu
If your bearded dragon ate tofu, it’s best to call a veterinarian. Tofu is not a part of a bearded dragon’s natural diet and can cause health problems.
Bearded dragons are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and vegetation. They can’t digest plant matter very well. If your bearded dragon eats too much tofu, the calcium in it will bind to the phosphorus in the tofu making what is called “unavailable” calcium. This can cause problems with bone growth or deformity of the jaw.
What Fruits And Vegetables Can You Feed Your Bearded Dragon Instead?
Bearded dragons should not eat tofu as it is not a part of their natural diet. They can, however, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Some good food options for bearded dragons include carrots, apples, grapes, green beans, and squash.
For more information on what you should be feeding your bearded dragon, please see this article.
Keeping Bearded Dragons Away From Tofu
Tofu is high in carbohydrates and low in protein, which is the opposite of what bearded dragons need to eat. Furthermore, tofu has a few components that can be bad for bearded dragons.
Tofu is high in phytic acid and saponins, which bind with nutrients to prevent their absorption. Phytic acid and saponins can also potentially build up in the dragon’s system and cause problems. Finally, tofu contains soy, which is not good for bearded dragons.
To keep your bearded dragon happy and healthy, make sure it eats a varied diet with lots of protein. It should never eat tofu. A few greens here and there won’t hurt either, but make sure they’re not the only food he’s eating.
Bearded dragons should never eat tofu. Tofu is not a part of their natural diet and can lead to poisoning in bearded dragons.
Furthermore, tofu has many components that are bad for the health of your dragon including phytic acid and saponins which bind with nutrients or build up in the system.
If you have any questions about what kind of food your beardie needs to be eating please get in touch!