Tomatoes are rich in fibre, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals. You may have wondered-can rabbits eat tomatoes? They are very common in human diets. Note that not all human foods are safe for rabbits to eat, and some may cause problems for your pet if you fed it with them.
Rabbits can eat tomatoes, but you should give them tomatoes in little quantities or as a treat instead of making it a part of their diet. Although rabbits like tomatoes, it is not recommended for you feed young rabbits with it, as their digestive system is quite sensitive.
Your rabbit should be about three months old before you introduce fruits to it, and you should do this while monitoring the animal closely to check for adverse reactions.
Tomatoes contain sugar, and although it is in the natural form, it is still not very good for rabbits as they require just minimal sugar in their diets. Allowing your rabbits to consume too much sugar can lead to issues like dental problems, diabetes and obesity.
Tomatoes come in different variations, red, yellow, orange, purple.
They are all safe for rabbit consumption in minute quantities, but while rabbits can eat tomatoes, you should never give your pet the flower or leaves of a tomato plant. They are harmful to rabbits because they contain solanine , a poisonous substance that can affect the health of your rabbit adversely.
When feeding your rabbit with tomatoes, try to give it organic ones so that you can prevent the risk of giving your rabbit chemical infested tomatoes.
Benefits That Rabbits Gain From Eating Tomatoes
The benefits that rabbits get from tomatoes are almost the same as the ones that humans gain. Tomatoes have a high water content of about 95% so they can help in hydrating your rabbit. Their fibre content, though not so high, can help with peristalsis (stomach movement) and help your rabbit to digest its foods properly. Tomatoes also happen to be a good source of vitamins B6, A and C.
The presence of potassium in them helps to prevent low potassium levels in a rabbit’s bloodstream. Low potassium levels can bring about muscle weakness, stunted growth, cardiac arrhythmias and even weight loss.
Tomatoes also contain choline, which can help to lower the amount of cholesterol present in the blood, and it contains antioxidants such as lycopene which may prevent damage in the cells and may stop rabbits from developing heart disease as it is suitable for their heart.
How To Feed Tomatoes To Rabbits
We are already aware that tomatoes contain a high amount of sugar, and that is why they can only be fed to rabbits in little quantities. Too much sugar leads to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria causing digestive issues and stomach upset.
Before giving your rabbit a tomato, please make sure that the tomato is fresh, ripe and possibly organic, then remove any greens on it like the leaf or stem. Wash it properly to and chop it into bits small enough for your rabbit to chew. After that, remove as much seed as you can before feeding your pet as intake of too much tomato seeds is harmful to rabbits.
You should never feed your rabbit with cooked tomatoes because tomatoes are more acidic and sugary that way. Canned tomatoes and tomato sauce contain chemicals and sugar, so they are a terrible choice for your rabbit. Rotten tomatoes are also a bad choice as they can cause your rabbit diarrhoea.
Can Rabbits Eat Tomato Plant?
While the tomato berry on its own is not necessarily harmful to rabbits, the plant, including the stem and leaves are toxic to rabbits. They contain two alkaloids, solanine and tomatine, which are dangerous to a rabbit’s health. Solanine is a deadly substance that is always present in the stems and leaves of tomato plants while tomatine is a harmful substance found everywhere in the tomato plant, the fruit inclusive. However, it has more significant concentrations in the stem and leaves.
Tomato seeds and unripe tomatoes should not be eaten by rabbits as well because they are dangerous to their health. In essence, this implies that all parts of the plants (leaves, stem, flower, seeds, and vines) should be removed before feeding the berry to a rabbit. When rabbits ingest these toxins, they could suffer from stomach upset, diarrhoea or bloating, and in severe cases, they could die.
There is no exact way to determine the amount of ingested toxins which can cause problems because some rabbits can take in some of these compounds and be fine while some others may take in a minute quantity and have an adverse reaction. Therefore, you should make sure that your rabbit does not eat any of those substances at all.
You should feed your rabbit with not more than a slice or two of tomato per day and not more than one tomato per week. It is imperative to feed the right quantity of tomato so as not to overdo it as they are merely treats. Also, each rabbit is different; one may react negatively even to the littlest quantity of tomato while another may eat a lot and be very fine.
So, make sure you are careful and observant while giving your pet this treat and once you observe any adverse reaction, stop giving it tomatoes immediately and possibly get a veterinarian to see the affected rabbit.
What Is A Proper Rabbit’s Diet?
It is a foregone conclusion that a poor or unbalanced diet is a leading cause of health issues in rabbits. A proper rabbit’s diet should have a high fibre content. This can be obtained in hay which makes up a considerable part of their diet.
Hay should be provided for your rabbits at all times as it is required for a healthy digestive system, and it helps in keeping the rabbit’s teeth worn down as they tend to overgrow. When buying hay for your rabbit, ensure it is fresh and keep it in a dry and airy place to prevent the growth of mould. Younger rabbits are to be fed with alfalfa while older rabbits can be fed with grass, oat hays and timothy.
Another part of a rabbit’s diet is a wide array of vegetables. These should also be fresh and should not contain pesticides. Some of the vegetables that rabbits like include celery, broccoli leaves, basil, mustard greens, cilantro, parsley, clover, mint, collard greens and so on. Ensure that you feed them little amounts first to gauge their reaction to it.
Please take note that most houseplant leaves are harmful to rabbits, so avoid giving them those.
Fresh pellets also make up a rabbit’s diet. It should have a high level of fibre and low protein content. The older a rabbit gets, the less pellet it should consume to avoid health issues like obesity. It goes without saying that rabbits need water as part of their diet; it leaves them cool and hydrated. Sprinkling vegetables with water before giving them to your rabbits is a good option when your rabbit is not taking in enough water.
Finally, we have treats which are mainly fruits. They should be fresh, properly washed and given to rabbits just once in a while. Major treats for rabbits include bananas, pineapples, strawberries and of course, tomatoes.
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