Rabbits are often considered herbivores, but they also eat a lot of vegetables. If you are wondering, can rabbits eat tomatoes, the answer is yes. Rabbits eating tomatoes is not an uncommon thing to find in nature or at a backyard rabbit hutch. But there is more to it than that.
There are some dangers and benefits that come with this type of diet for your pet bunny. This article will discuss the dangers and benefits associated with rabbits eating tomatoes as well as what types of tomatoes they should be given access to and how much should be allowed per day.
Benefits of Tomatoes for Rabbits
Tomato plants are easy to grow either in a pot or in your garden. Growing your own tomatoes is a cost effective way of providing your bunny with a treat that they can enjoy.
Tomatoes provide a great source of Vitamins A, B6, C, potassium and antioxidants. These essential vitamins and minerals help to keep your rabbit in good health.
Tomatoes also a high level of water. As bunnies primary diet is dry, high fiber hay, they need a large amount of water to remain hydrated. Tomatoes can assist with this, but should not replace fresh, clean drinking water for your rabbit.
Dangers of Rabbits Eating Tomatoes
The tomato plant is the real issue for the rabbit. The plant and the leaves contain Solanine. Solanine is a naturally occurring chemical, that in the wrong amount and/or circumstance could kill the rabbit.
Solanine in small amounts can be absorbed and excreted by the human body. Some
people are more susceptible to illness with eating tomatoes, and therefore they do
not eat them. Rabbits on the other hand cannot make these decisions.
It is important to make this decision for your bunny and never feed your rabbit the tomato leaves, stems or plants.
How to Feed Tomatoes to Your Rabbit
Tomatoes consumed by rabbits need to be washed so they are free from any pesticides sprayed onto them. Cut open the tomatoes before giving to your rabbit to ensure there are no parasites inside the tomato.
You will need to cut the tomato into bite size pieces for the rabbit to eat, ideally removing the seeds. A small amount of seeds are okay for your rabbit, but it is best practice to only feed your rabbit the firmer portion of the tomato.
Remember, tomatoes contain sugar, so please use in small amounts only. One cherry tomato per day, or around half a larger tomato per week.
To ensure the best health for your rabbit, avoid feeding any green tomatoes, remove stems and leaves, remove seeds from the tomatoes and never allow your rabbit to eat the tomato plant itself.
Watch your bunny closely for any changes in their behavior after eating tomatoes and check out their rabbit droppings to make sure they look like usual.
Only fresh tomatoes should be fed to your rabbit. If you have tomatoes which are withered, overripe or molding, throw these in your compost rather than feeding to your rabbit. When feeding fresh fruits and vegetables to your bunny, ask yourself if you would eat this produce? If the tomato isn’t good enough for human consumption, don’t feed it to your rabbit.
Sugar and Acid in Tomatoes
If you’ve ever suffered from heartburn, you’ll know that eating tomatoes can trigger symptoms in humans. The same rings true for rabbits. Whilst rabbits don’t technically suffer from heartburn, they can have digestive issues that result from eating acidic foods, such as tomatoes.
Tomatoes are also a relatively sweet fruit and contain natural sugars. Sugar poses a huge health risk to rabbits and can easily cause weight gain. If you overfeed your rabbit tomatoes, you are putting their health at risk.
Can Rabbits Eat Cherry Tomatoes?
Rabbits can eat cherry tomatoes, in fact, they are a great way to portion control the amount of tomatoes your rabbit eats. Ensure the cherry tomatoes are ripe and remove any trusses from the cherry tomatoes.
Wash the cherry tomatoes thoroughly and cut in half. Scoop out the flesh and seeds and discard. Giving your rabbit one cherry tomato is a wonderful treat for your rabbit and will also safeguard your rabbit against eating too many tomatoes at once.
Can Rabbits Eat Grape Tomatoes
Like cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes are smaller in size and an excellent way to give your rabbit a small portion of tomatoes.
Be sure to follow the same feeding instructions for other tomatoes – wash well, remove seeds and no green leaves from tomato plants!
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Tomatoes?
Rabbits under 12 weeks of age shouls not be fed tomatoes of any kind. If your bunny is older than 12 weeks of age and you would like to introduce tomatoes to their diet, do so in a very small portion, follow our feeding guide and watch your rabbit closely to see if they have any kind of reaction.
Can Rabbits Eat Tomato Leaves?
Rabbits must not be fed tomato leaves, stems, trusses, stalks or any part of the plant, except the fruit itself.
Tomato leaves are highly toxic to rabbits and are known to cause diahhrea, vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, weakness, changes in heart rate, behavioral changes, drowsiness and depression in rabbits. This in turn, could also contribute to gi statis in rabbits which is potentially fatal for your bunny.
Tomatoes are a Treat, Not an Everyday Food
Rabbits make wonderful indoor pets. They are adorable and full of personality. You will need to make sure the rabbit has a place to relax by himself but is not completely secluded from the family. Rabbits need social interaction, plenty of exercise, and lots of activities.
It is important to remember however, that hay is the basis of your rabbits diet. Let’s take a further look into daily feeding for your bunny:
An average sized adult rabbit will need around one quarter cup of rabbit pellets each day. Ideally, pellets should form 2% of the overall diet. Our article on the best pellets for rabbits will help you narrow down the best choice for your rabbit.
The main part of a rabbit’s diet should be unlimited amounts of fresh hay, and lots of clean water. Contrary to what people who do not own rabbits think, Hay is the most important part of the diet. Hay should fulfil 70% of the overall diet. This is because Hay supports the functioning of the digestive system, help to maintain dental health, and provides most of the rabbit’s nutritional intake. Hay is low in calories and high in fiber.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables should only take up approximately 28% of the rabbit’s diet. That component of the diet should ideally be mostly vegetables. Fruits are nice, but they contain high sugar content, and akin to humans eating cakes or cookies. Rabbits love their food and poor diet and/or overfeeding can lead to health problems for rabbits.
Conclusion – Can Pet Rabbits Eat Tomatoes?
To wrap it all up, yes you can feed tomatoes to your pet rabbit. This includes cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, truss tomatoes (minus the trusses) and all types of tomatoes.
Tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes, as well as colors. You can feed any type of tomato to rabbits, as long as they are ripe.
Make sure you do not feed any tomato vines, leaves, stalks, trusses, stems or any part of the tomato plant to your rabbit.
Ideally remove seeds from the tomatoes and make sure you wash them thoroughly to remove any pesticides.
Remember, tomatoes are treats for your bunny! Give plenty of fresh water, unlimited hay and watch your bunny closely for any tummy upsets, especially if just introducing tomatoes to your rabbit.