Rabbits are herbivores. They get their energy through eating plant-based foods and vegetables. Unlike other animals, rabbits have a sensitive digestive system.
Like we always see in televisions and comics, rabbits are highly attracted to eating hay and grass. These foods suit their daily diet. They can also eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and pellets. They could even eat dandelions.
However, it takes time to convince them to get used to these foods as their digestive system needs to adjust. Speaking of fruits, can rabbits eat tomatoes?
Tomatoes are used as ingredients in different kinds of the dish to add that sweet, tart, tangy, or balanced flavor. However, is it good to be part of a rabbit’s diet?
Can Rabbits Eat Tomatoes?
Answer: Rabbits love eating tomatoes. However, a strictly limited consumption should be applied when you give rabbits this food.
Tomatoes are not poisonous, except for the fact that the leaves are the dead end. Yes, it is toxic to the point that your rabbit's digestive system cannot handle these fruits. As much as possible, exclude these fruits as their daily diet, and stick to considering it as an occasional treat.
So, why are tomatoes not ideal fruit for rabbits? It is because it contains alkaloids, tomatine, and solanine. The tomatine and solanine have a toxic compound present in all parts of the tomato plant and are highly concentrated in the stems and leaves.
Rabbits have a very low tolerance for solanine and tomatine. If rabbits encountered these toxins, stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, and worst, death will follow.
Just because it can be their occasional treat does not mean these rabbits can consume the whole tomato. It has high sugar content. Overfeeding tomatoes may result in dental problems and obesity.
To avoid these health issues, a small and limited portion of tomatoes is enough. Remove the seeds, the leaves, and the fruit stalk that holds the fruit on the plant.
If you plan to try an experiment or supplementing plant-based foods into tomatoes, do not try it.
Again, these bunnies are herbivores, and their digestive system is particular in what they eat. Fruits like tomatoes won’t help them to get the nutrients they need for faster growth and development.
Nutritional Content Of Tomatoes
Here is a list of the nutrients present in tomatoes. Are they enough for your pet bunny? Let’s find it out.
It is the ideal type of tomato for rabbits because of its small-sized. Since the rabbit is supposed to eat only a certain amount of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes are appropriate tomato treats suitable for these bunnies.
Cherry tomatoes are full of vitamins and minerals. Never underestimate the size of these tomatoes. It is rich in Vitamins A, C, E, and Potassium.
The primary nutrient of these cherries is Lycopene that is essential to fight free radicals that cause disease. It can also lower the risk of UV damage to the rabbit skin due to intense sun exposure and provides care for their heart.
It is an egg- or pear-shaped tomato, and when they get fully ripe, it becomes red. Coming from the word Roma they came from Italy.
Just like other types of tomatoes, it has nutrients. It is an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6. C and K.
Not only does it naturally give Vitamins, but it also has potassium, niacin, and folate that are all necessary to achieve stable and healthy heart health.
When you consider giving Roma tomatoes to your rabbits, you have to be careful about the quantity. Too much is harmful because of their digestive system.
The one that is always present in the supermarket and comes in different sizes, shapes, and colors is the heirloom tomatoes. This type of tomato is not unalike for nothing. It has every reason why they are not all the same.
However, it has a shorter shelf life. So most probably, it is not the right tomatoes for your rabbits. Fresh heirloom tomatoes are the source of Vitamin C that helps to strengthen the immune system of bunnies.
It also fights against cardiovascular disease as they are rich in potassium and folate that lowers blood pressure. Lycopene is also present in these tomatoes.
Fortunately, it contains Vitamin K for healthy and strong bones.
Both heirloom and hybrid produce yellow fruit. Compared to their red counterparts, these tomatoes are less acidic and have different nutritional content.
These yellow ones are high in folate with a dose of vitamin C. It is also rich in niacin and offers potassium essential to regulate blood pressure, nerve function, and muscle control.
Yellow tomatoes have Phosphorus for the normal regulation of the bunny’s cell, creates energy, and maintains strong bones and teeth that are good for their growth and development.
It is the under-ripe tomatoes that have an unpleasant taste that is harvested early for breeding. Although it gives a discomfort feeling to humans, it is very nutritious. It contains Vitamins A, C, B3, B5, K, B6, E, and Copper.
Vitamin A helps fight the effects of free radicals. The B3 plays a vital role in reducing bad cholesterol. It does not only gives multiple nutrients, but it also functions as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory that heal inflammation and lowers the risk of inflammatory responses.
Green tomatoes are rich in carbohydrates, fiber, proteins, and sugar which provided the energy a body needs. Great news for bunnies because these tomatoes lower the chance of heart disease.
Benefits Of Giving Tomatoes To Rabbits
The debate whether rabbits can eat tomatoes or not seems never getting old. It is a timeless topic that has been discussed widely by the owners of these adorable creatures over the years.
While these fruits are highly nutritious to humans, it doesn’t meet the exact nutritional requirements rabbits need every day.
However, every owner should be thankful for the health benefits even though it is only an occasional treat.
Advantages of feeding tomatoes to your rabbits
The advantage of feeding tomatoes to rabbits is they can get Vitamin A which is essential for their bone development, vision, reproduction, and immune system. Without these vitamins, they are prone to disease and infection.
It also contains Vitamin C that is essential to repair all body tissues and for growth and development. Fun fact, rabbits do not need much of this Vitamin as their bodies are naturally producing it in ways that human bodies cannot.
Tomatoes can also give Vitamin B-6 as it functions to get more energy from carbohydrates and proteins.
However, it is not required for rabbits to get Vitamin B-6. The next is potassium which is essential for animals, especially rabbits.
It prevents Hypokalemia that is an active disease for rabbits that can cause poor growth and weight loss during the juvenile stage and muscular problems at the maturity level.
Although there is a high risk of health problems in tomatoes, the fact that these fruits can also give some advantages to rabbits is undeniable.
High Antioxidants Content of Tomatoes
Tomatoes have antioxidants. It contains a nutrient called Lycopene which is the reason behind the red color of this fruit.
Since they have a sensitive digestive system, fiber helps digest easily. Fortunately, tomatoes are low in fat which is good and healthy for rabbits to avoid obesity.
Lastly, it has a high water content that keeps rabbits hydrated since these creatures need lots of fresh and clean water.
Though it may seem that tomatoes are healthy for rabbits, you have to consider that an excessive amount of tomatoes can harm this animal. Keep in mind that these fruits are dangerous too.
How Much Tomatoes Should Rabbits Eat?
Feeding treats are one of the essential parts of taking care of these fluffy creatures. Since tomatoes have some nutrients that a rabbit needs, rabbits can eat this fruit but in a moderation way.
No more than a slice or two in comparison to a cherry tomato is enough for these bunnies. Rabbit owners must be aware of the amount or quantity of tomatoes their pets can eat.
Not only in this fruit but other foods as well since rabbits have a more complicated digestive system than other animals. Know the fact that there is a big difference between humans and rabbits.
As for these creatures, tomatoes are only their occasional treat. If you failed to follow these feeding rules, your poor bunny might get bacteria, endure a stomach ache, get bloated, and constipation.
You don’t want to see your rabbit obese.
So, better comprehensively understand that tomatoes should not be a part of their daily diet.
The treats for rabbits should contain no more than 5%. So, prioritizing a balanced diet is a must. We all can agree that rabbits have small stomachs.
That only means they are not gifted to digest hard and solid food easily. A cherry tomato is one example of this fruit that has an appropriate quantity because of its small-sized. A quarter of plum tomatoes is highly accepted, and so is the slice of sandwich-sized tomato.
It will always be up to you if you will allow them to eat tomatoes. Some owners live for the statement “prevention is better than cure”.
So instead of tomatoes, they are finding other treats for their rabbits. However, still, some owners believe that tomatoes are relatively good treats for their bunnies. So, they follow every single step and avoid feeding excessive amounts of these fruits.
Stick to the recommendations and guidelines for tomatoes to keep your bunny living their life healthy and happy.
Final Thoughts: Can Rabbits Eat Tomatoes?
As rabbits are allowed to eat tomatoes, you still have to be careful as tomatoes give lots of warnings. In this case, tomatoes are not an everyday fruit for these bunnies. Why? Simply because tomatoes have parts that are toxic to these sensitive little creatures, like the tomato plants, or lettuce.
The green part of these plants has poisons, namely solanine and tomatine. If these two toxic compounds enter your rabbit system, they can get sick eventually.
Remove the stalk before feeding tomatoes to your pet and ensure they will never consume any part of the plant. The tomato leaves are also prohibited as it is indeed toxic too.
If served in large quantities, it can lead to critical health issues. Keep the leaves away from your rabbit’s meal. However, no one can claim in general that small or large quantities can kill rabbits. It all depends on your rabbit.
These fur creatures can consume tomatoes, and it is okay with them as long as they do not experience any health problems.
Unfortunately, on the other hand, rabbits can eat small quantities of this fruit and act unusual because they feel the pain.
So, you see, we can never tell. To avoid this situation, observe your pet regularly and consult a vet to check their overall condition.
As long as you follow the guidelines for feeding tomatoes to rabbits, you will never have a problem with your bunny. If your pet is allergic to the fruit, avoid feeding tomatoes even though it is only a treat to them.
When they accidentally eat tomatoes, and you realize they are showing symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and other abnormal behavior, do not hesitate to contact your vet for the immediate solution.
Hezekiah is a pet lover since birth, according to his parents. He started writing for the Pets Checklist in 2020. He is fond of playing with and taking pictures of different friendly animals around his neighborhood. He loves to read and write articles about pets, science, and music.