Red, juicy and delicious, tomatoes are a welcome addition to any salad. But are they a welcome addition to your pet rabbit’s diet?
Can rabbits eat tomatoes?
Yes, rabbits can eat tomatoes. However, you should only ever give ripe tomato to your pet rabbit as a treat. You should also note that tomato leaves, stems and plants can be toxic to rabbits and must be avoided.
The tomato is the fruit of the Solanum Lycopersicum plant. Native to South America, it’s rich in vitamin C, potassium and an antioxidant known as lycopene.
Ripe tomatoes are most commonly red, but there are also orange, green and purple varieties available.
However, there’s much debate over whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. In botanical terms, it’s considered a fruit, thanks to the fact that it forms from a flower and has seeds. But due to the way it tastes, it’s treated more like a vegetable in the culinary world.
Are Tomatoes Safe for Rabbits to Eat?
Yes. The good news is that tomatoes are safe for rabbits to eat, including cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes and other tomato varieties. So if you’re looking for a tasty snack to give to your rabbit as a treat, you might already have a few of them sitting in your fridge.
However, eating tomatoes can also pose dangers to rabbits, as tomato plants are toxic to your furry friend.
Can Rabbits Eat Tomato Plants?
No. The green part of the tomato plant contains poisons known as solanine and tomatine. Tomato plants are toxic to rabbits and could potentially make your rabbit very sick.
That’s why it’s essential to remove the stalk before giving your bunny any tomato, and to make sure they never consume any part of the tomato plant other than the fruit.
Can Rabbits Eat Tomato Leaves?
No. Once again, tomato leaves are toxic to rabbits. If eaten in large quantities, they can cause serious health problems for your furry friend. Make sure you keep the leaves well away from your rabbit’s hutch.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes for Rabbits
OK, so rabbits can eat tomatoes, but should they? Are tomatoes good for rabbits?
The answer is yes and no. While tomatoes do offer some health benefits for rabbits, they also have a high sugar content and can cause an upset stomach. As a result, they should only ever be given in moderation.
That said, tomatoes can offer a range of important nutrients and health benefits to rabbits. Tomatoes are:
- A good source of vitamins A, C and B6.
- Rich in the antioxidant lycopene.
- A good source of potassium.
You can read more about the nutritional qualities of tomatoes in the table below:
|Raw tomatoes (nutrients per 100g serve)|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.2g|
Risks of Feeding Tomatoes to Rabbits
But before you start filling your bunny’s belly with tomatoes, make sure you’re aware of the health risks of tomatoes for rabbits:
- High in sugar. While they do contain several important nutrients, tomatoes are also high in sugar. Too much sugar is bad for rabbits, so tomatoes should only ever be given in moderation.
- Rabbits need hay. The most important ingredient in a rabbit’s diet is hay. This can be supplemented by fruits and vegetables, but tomatoes should never make up a large portion of your rabbit’s diet.
- Tomato plants are toxic. As we’ve already mentioned, tomato plants are toxic to rabbits. Make sure you never let your bunny eat tomato plants, leaves, flowers, stems or vines. If you grow tomatoes in your garden, you’ll also want to ensure your rabbit can’t access them.
- Never give unripe tomatoes. You should only ever give ripe tomatoes to your bunny as unripe tomatoes can also be toxic.
- Can’t be given to baby bunnies. Baby bunnies have a sensitive digestive system, so you shouldn’t give your furry friend any fruits or vegetables until he reaches 12 weeks of age.
How to Feed Tomatoes to a Rabbit
The first thing you need to consider is the serving size. A slice or two, or a single cherry tomato, is the most you should ever give to your bunny.
But remember, tomato should only be given as a treat once every week or so. Feeding too much tomato can cause digestive problems for your furry friend, so don’t over-do it.
You can prepare tomato for your bunny by completing the following steps:
- Remove the stalk and any other parts of the plant that may be attached.
- Wash the tomato thoroughly.
- Chop the tomato into bite-sized pieces.
- Feed it to your bunny.
You can give tomato on its own as a treat, or feed it along with other fruits and veggies that supplement the hay in your bunny’s diet. Leafy greens and celery are some of the other vegetables that are safe to feed to your rabbit.
Can bunnies eat tomatoes? Yes, they can. Tomatoes, including cherry tomatoes, can make a tasty treat for your pet rabbit. However, you’ll need to take care not to give your bunny too many of these delicious red fruits. It’s also important that you never feed your pet any part of the tomato plant other than the fruit.