Tomatoes are delicious and refreshing, whether you add them to your salads and sauces, or simply bite into them. Can rabbits eat tomatoes, though? Yes, and chances are they’ll find tomatoes delightful treats. But tomatoes should remain just that: an occasional treat, considering they can trigger diarrhoea and stomach upset.
If you want to know how to feed tomatoes to your bunny safely and avoid any complications, read the article below.
- Low in calories; bunnies are already prone to obesity in captivity, so they need low-calorie snacks.
- Vitamin A; this vitamin protects the eyesight and fur of your bunny.
- Vitamin C; this vitamin helps with wound healing, although rabbits can synthesize their own vitamin C from food.
- Tomatoes are acidic. The combination of sugar and acidity is dangerous for rabbits’ intestines because these fluffy creatures have evolved to break down fibrous foods, which aren’t acidic by definition. Therefore, rabbits’ good gut bacteria look different than humans’ good gut bacteria. Introducing sugary and acid foods destroys their good gut bacteria, which can cause digestive problems in the short-term, as well as immunity problems in the long-term.
- Tomatoes have lots of sugar, at least for rabbits. Constantly offering sugary treats to your rabbit is not a good idea because rabbits are prone to diabetes. Besides, if yours develops a knack for tomatoes, it might refuse healthier alternatives.
- Tomatoes are packed with water. The combination of water, sugar, and acid is dangerous for rabbits’ digestion, leading to watery stools, cramps, and gas. Left untreated, these symptoms can aggravate and lead to severe dehydration.
- Tomatoes are soft foods. Your rabbits are used to eating crunchy foods, which naturally trim down their overgrowing teeth, and obviously, tomatoes can’t do that. Besides, your rabbit might bite down too hard on the tomato and injure its lips or tongue.
How Many Tomatoes Should I Feed My Rabbit? Tips and Recommendations
Here are the steps on how to serve tomatoes to your rabbit:
- Cut the stalk off the tomato.
- Wash the tomato to remove any toxic chemicals or pesticides.
- Cut one or two slices of the tomato and take the seeds out.
- Allow the rabbit to eat the tomato slice from your hand. This way, you’ll bond with your pet, and you’ll make sure the rabbit doesn’t get his bedding dirty with tomato juice.
You can give cherry tomatoes to your rabbit. The equivalent of the one or two slices of tomato the bunny is allowed to eat makes up about one cherry tomato.
Don’t offer tomatoes daily because they can mess with your rabbit’s digestive system, which needs to work on crunchy, fibre-filled foods that resemble the plants and grass in the wild. Rabbits thrive on green, leafy vegetables.
Baby rabbits shouldn’t receive fruits or veggies. Your bunny should be at least three months old before tasting his first tomato. After you introduce these foods into his diet, incorporate treat-free days into your weekly feeding schedule.
Start slowly. Half a tomato cherry or the equivalent of a regular tomato slice is enough to start with. Watch your rabbit closely for any side effects for about two days before feeding it more tomatoes.
Fruits and veggies make up 15% of your rabbit’s diet. Offer your bunny a healthy, diverse diet consisting of a variety of fruits and veggies every day, but make sure 80% of its food is fresh hay.
Don’t feed tomato leaves, stems, or flowers to your rabbit. These parts of the tomato contain a mix of tomatine and solanine, which synthesizes tomatidine. Some scientists believe that these substances are toxic for rabbits, while others claim there’s not enough evidence for that.
Avoid tomato sauce, canned or cooked tomatoes, and ketchup. If you get these from the supermarket, they might contain plenty of salt and chemicals. If you prepare them in your home, these foods are too mushy and more acidic and sugar-packed than regular, fresh tomatoes.