Last Updated on May 29, 2023 by keno
Tomatoes are a popular household fruit that also doubles as a vegetable. Due to their ease of access, bunny owners might ask, can rabbits eat tomatoes? If so how much in terms of quantity can bunnies eat? In this article, we’ll delve into answering these questions as well as looking at the nutritional value of tomatoes.
Can rabbits eat tomatoes?
Yes, rabbits that are 12 weeks old and above can eat tomatoes, however, feed them occasionally and in limited portions to prevent digestive problems. The rule of thumb is to feed rabbits one cherry tomato or a quarter of a plum-sized one per serving twice per week. This is in addition to serving them, hay substituted with other vegetables.
When it comes to serving your rabbits, always ensure that the tomato piece or slice is thoroughly washed to get rid of toxins as well as pesticides. It’s worth pointing out that other than the edible tomato flesh, the seeds, stem and seeds are toxic. In other words, besides the tomato flesh, the other parts contain a toxic compound called Solanine which may cause diarrhea or gastrointestinal problems for your bunny.
Nutritional value of tomatoes for rabbits
Adding tomatoes to a rabbit’s diet as a treat to their main diet is essentially going to provide them additional nutrients that contribute to their overall health and vitality. Below are some of the essential vitamins and minerals tomatoes contain.
- Vitamin A: Tomatoes contain vitamin A, which helps improve a rabbit’s vision by increasing the production of visual pigments in a rabbit’s eye which contributes to their optimal eyesight. Additionally, vitamin A helps boost the immune system of rabbits by developing and maintaining the epithelial tissues. This includes the digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts.
- Vitamin C: Another essential vitamin that helps to maintain the overall health of a rabbit is vitamin C. It assists in collagen production which is a protein that supports the connective tissues and the blood vessels as well as the improvement of a rabbit’s overall skin health. Lastly, vitamin C also helps to improve a rabbit’s immune system by acting as an antioxidant that aids to heal wounds.
- Potassium: Lastly, tomatoes also contain potassium, a mineral that supports the proper functioning of a rabbit’s muscular and cardiovascular systems. To be specific, it helps regulate nerve function, and fluid balance as well as the transmitting electrical impulses in a bunny’s body.
Risks of feeding rabbits excessive tomatoes
Although tomatoes contain health benefits, overfeeding your rabbits may lead to health problems. For instance, the high sugar content contained in tomatoes may lead to the disruption of a rabbit’s gut flora. This is mainly because a rabbit’s digestive system is adapted to consuming fibrous material and not high sugar content. This, in turn, may lead to digestive issues like diarrhea, bloating, or obesity.
Another health issue associated with the high sugar intake from tomato consumption is rabbit tooth decay. Additionally, unlike the coarse texture of a hay diet, excessive eating of tomatoes which are soft textured may prevent a rabbit from eating its main fiber diet. As a result, your bunny may develop dental issues such as overgrown or misaligned teeth, due to an improper diet that doesn’t file down their ever-growing teeth.