If you think rabbits only eat carrots, then that’s where you are wrong. Despite what you often see in the movies, rabbits can eat a lot of things. Since they consume various types of food, can rabbits eat tomatoes?
The Rabbit Diet
If you have a pet rabbit at home, you have to make sure that it has a healthy and well-balanced diet. Rabbits generally feed on85% hay or grass, 10% greens, and 5% good quality nuggets.
Hay seems to be the number one food for rabbits. They generally need a lot of fiber in their diets. It helps prevent the development of gastrointestinal and dental issues.
While the bulk of the rabbit’s diet might consist of a lot of hay, you can still feed them other stuff for the sake of additional nutrition and variety.
If you are feeding your rabbit fruits and vegetables, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, before giving them anything, make sure you know what these are and if they are 100% safe for the rabbits to consume.
If you consider yourself a responsible rabbit owner, you would do your research and know about the dos and don’ts.
Tomatoes For Rabbits: Yes Or No?
If you are considering feeding your rabbits tomatoes, there are some things you should take note of. Yes, you can feed rabbits tomatoes. However, there are limitations to this. And you need to figure out what these are.
Ripe Fruit Only
There has been a lot of debate surrounding the correct classification of tomatoes. Is it a fruit, or is it a vegetable? Whatever category it is, the most important thing is knowing which part of the tomato is safe for the rabbits.
For consistency’s sake, you can stick with the botanical categorization of tomatoes. In this case, it’s a “fruit”.
A tomato is made up of many parts. And rabbits can eat the fruit. Yes, this is a part of the tomato you can give to your rabbits. Also, you should only make use of ripe tomatoes.
You can’t give rabbits green tomatoes. But do note that this shouldn’t be something they eat daily. You should only give it as a snack or treat. Tomatoes have high sugar content. And too much sugar is bad for the rabbits. It might lead to some digestive issues.
As a rule of thumb, perhaps try giving your rabbits a tomato once a week and no more than that. The same thing can be said for other fruits and vegetables out there.
No To The Green Parts
As mentioned, a tomato is made up of different sections. For rabbits, they should avoid eating stems, flowers, and leaves. Green tomatoes should also be avoided. If you wonder why you can’t feed these parts to a rabbit, it’s because of Solanine.
Solanine is a toxic glycoalkaloid found in plants of the Nightshade family, including tomatoes. When solanine enters the rabbit’s digestive system, it produces a substance known as Tomatadine.
It can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as bloating and diarrhea. In some cases, it can lead to even more severe issues. It’s best to avoid feeding the rabbit any of this.
No To Processed Tomatoes
If fresh tomatoes are not available, do not ever opt to get canned tomatoes. Yes, there are so many varieties readily available in the supermarkets. However, you must keep them away from rabbits.
These processed tomato products have high sugar content. And this won’t do the rabbits any good. Apart from the sugar content, they might also contain other ingredients like preservatives that might be detrimental to the rabbit’s health.
Keep Tomatoes Away From Baby Bunnies
If adult rabbits have sensitive stomachs, how about bunnies? Well, baby rabbits are even more sensitive. It is why you should never ever feed them tomatoes at a young age.
You should wait until they are old enough to digest something like a tomato. Feeding them fruits and vegetables when they are only a couple of weeks old is not a good thing at all.
Nutritional Benefits Of Tomatoes
If your rabbit lacks certain vitamins and nutrients, then perhaps they can get some of it from consuming tomatoes.
Rabbits need about 12% to 16% protein. However, if you have an indoor rabbit, then they just need the former. If you have an outdoor rabbit, then they need the latter.
If you want to be sure, it’s better to seek the help of a professional, so you will know just how much protein the rabbit needs in the diet. Protein is an essential part of a rabbit’s diet because they need it for building their muscles and other parts of their bodies.
For rabbits, a high-protein diet is not advisable. However, if they lack protein and you need to add a little bit more of it to their diet, you can get some from tomatoes. A 100-gram tomato has about 0.9 grams.
Rabbits need fat for energy. And if they consume a diet that’s made up of greens, getting the right fat intake won’t be an issue. If you don’t have enough greens, you can add at least one tomato a week.
Tomatoes do not have high-fat content, making them a good add-on. Just make sure the rabbits do not consume more than the recommended amount.
If there’s one thing rabbits should avoid, it’s becoming dehydrated. Dehydration might affect the different bodily functions and mechanisms of a rabbit. If you give a rabbit a 100-gram tomato, it can get about 95% water from it.
This vitamin is essential in blood clotting. Rabbits produce Vitamin K in their bodies. However, there might be times when they need more. If, for example, a rabbit is pregnant, its body might require more Vitamin K. Rabbits can get some Vitamin K, specifically K1, from tomatoes.
Fiber is a major player in a rabbit’s diet. If they lack enough fiber in their diet, it can affect their digestive system. If and when they lack fiber, it can lead to a condition called gastrointestinal (GI) stasis.
It is common in rabbits. However, it can be a serious matter that can lead to their deaths. When something like this occurs, food moves rather slowly in the rabbit’s digestive tract.
Rabbits who suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) stasis can recover from this issue. If they get the proper treatment, it will take about three days to a week for rabbits to get back on their feet. It would probably take much longer if it’s a more serious case.
Apart from helping them with their digestion, fiber is also good for the rabbit’s teeth. Since their teeth are growing really fast, they need to munch on some fiber-rich food to help them with their teeth grinding. If a rabbit’s teeth are left to grow, it would be difficult for them to eat.
Given that they need a lot of fiber in their bodies, rabbits can get some from tomatoes. They might not have as much fiber as other fruits and vegetables but they are certainly there.
How To Feed Tomatoes To Rabbits
If you want to give your rabbit a tomato, here are a couple of things you should do before treating them to this snack. You should not forget to do these simple steps because missing one of them could lead to something terrible.
Keep The Ripe Fruit
As mentioned before, some parts of the tomato are harmful to the rabbits. Make sure you remove the stem, leaves, and everything else. Leave the ripe fruit only.
It’s the only part you should be saving for the rabbit. Since you can’t feed rabbits a lot of tomatoes, this won’t be a hard thing to do. It won’t take a chunk of your time at all!
No matter how fresh and ripe the tomato is, you still need to wash it as well as you can. It might have been exposed to dirt, pest, pesticides, and any other chemicals.
There are no special washing techniques. You can just wash it with water. The key here is to do it as thoroughly as possible! Do this every single time you need to feed a tomato to your rabbit.
Cut And Take Seeds Away
Once your tomato is clean, you just need to cut it. The ideal size is about the size of a cherry tomato. Before giving it to the rabbit, you have to remove all the seeds. Just like the stem or any other part, the seeds can be poisonous or dangerous to the animal.
Keep Your Rabbits Happy And Healthy
If you want your rabbit to live a healthy and happy life, you need to pay attention to what they eat. You need to feed them the right stuff. While it’s okay for rabbits to eat tomatoes, don’t forget to do everything in moderation!