Have you ever asked yourself “Can guinea pigs eat Tomatoes?”
Is this fruit (even though people call it a vegetable) harmful to guinea pigs?
You might have heard that tomatoes have some health benefits for guinea pigs.
But there are also some serious potential risks if you don’t do it right. Some parts of the tomato plant are toxic to guinea pig.
So can guinea pigs have tomatoes at all? Let’s look at whether tomatoes are ever safe for guinea pig, whether they have any nutritional benefits.
Can My guinea pigs Have Tomatoes
In short, “YES” guinea pigs can eat tomatoes.
However, it is important that owners have all of the information before they offer one to their cavy.
The tomatoes that are safe for guinea pigs to eat will be ripe.
They should not eat green tomatoes (even if you enjoy them).
Ripe tomatoes are an orange-red hue and may provide your pooch with nutrients that could help him live longer.
The deeper red the tomato is, the safer it should be for your cavy to eat!
Tomatoes (even ripe ones) should never be given to a guinea pig in excess.
Remember, everything in moderation! If you are going to offer your guinea pig some tomatoes do so slowly and with very small pieces.
Some guinea pigs have been known to have a negative reaction to them. They could be allergic, dislike them or the tomatoes could cause stomach upset.
Potential negative reactions to tomatoes include:
- Upset Stomach
- Muscle Weakness
- Increased Heart Rate
- Difficulty Breathing
The Health Benefits of Tomatoes for guinea pigs?
Nutrients in foods like Tomatoes contribute to the well-being and overall healthiness of your guinea pig.
So it is you need to add Tomato on your pet’s diet. Here are some of those nutrients:
- Beta-carotene: As a powerful antioxidant, Beta-carotene fights free radicals which damage cells, and it helps to promote health in the eyes, and upkeep a healthy skin, and coat.
- Vitamin C: Most importantly there is some vitamin C in grape tomatoes, which is crucial for guinea pigs. If they are in a deficit of vitamin C, they are prone to a disease called scurvy and that’s dangerous. It leads to swellings in joints, internal bleeding, loose stool, rough fur… Lastly, there is also iron which is important for healthy blood. Iron is vital for curing anemia and other blood-related issues in guinea pigs.
- Lycopene: Protecting cells in the lungs, heart, blood, muscles, nerves, and organs, Lycopene also helps fight off free radicals.
- Vitamin K: An important fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin K helps clot the blood.
- Tomatoes are very low in sugar, which is good since guinea pigs tend to gain weight if they are given too much. This often happens when overfeeding on fruits like bananas, which are high in sugar. The low sugar content is great because it allows you to feed your guinea pigs tomatoes rather often.
Dangers Of Feeding Your Guinea Pig Tomatoes
Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family of vegetables.
These plants, including peppers, eggplant, and potatoes, contain potentially toxic elements but still bear edible parts.
That means that while tomato fruits do contain many health benefits for your guinea pig and can be given as an occasional treat, the rest of the plant can be toxic.
-Some risk of diarrhea and stomach aches (if fed in large amounts and without other variety of foods) –
- Tomato is super-healthy and tasty for guinea pigs, but it is watery, so in high amounts, it can upset their fragile belly. So try to serve this along with another food for the guinea pig, because the stomach digests watery foods well when they are combined with something more caloric or different than the watery food. It’s a good idea to limit Tomato to 3-4 times per week, and no more than a few slices.
- Some guinea pigs can be allergic to tomatoes – The noticeable allergic reactions include swelling of the mouth and throat. In case you notice this, you need to give the guinea pig water right away and stop the feeding process. If the symptoms get worse, then you can always book an appointment with a qualified vet for assistance.
Where Are The Toxic Parts
Some parts of the tomato plant are safe for guinea pigs and some are not safe.
Here are the parts you should NEVER let your guinea pig eat:
- Immature GREEN tomatoes
The reason your guinea pig must not eat these parts of the tomato plant is because they contain high amounts of a toxic substance called tomatine.
The stems, leaves, roots and immature green tomatoes can each contain up to 5 percent concentration of tomatine.
Five percent concentration is quite a lot!
How to Serve Your guinea pig Tomatoes
When offering your guinea pig tomatoes, you’ll want to look for mature, ripe, red tomatoes (cherry tomatoes and other varieties are also fine) that have all of the stems, leaves, and vines completely removed.
While many people prefer their tomatoes salted, these types of additives can be harmful to your guinea pig, so small pieces of a plain, thoroughly washed tomato are always the safest way to serve them to your pet.
Start by offering only a bite or two and see how your guinea pig reacts.
If he or she enjoys the tomato and experiences no adverse effects, feel free to continue offering small amounts as a treat.
Frequent Questions and Answers
- What If My Guinea Pig Eats Pieces Of The Tomato Plant.
The signs of tomatine poisoning are an upset stomach and diarrhea, loss of coordination and signs of muscle weakness.
- Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomato Peels
Tomato peels are healthy for dogs as these contain a large amount of antioxidant Lycopene, which helps prevent cancer cells.
So, can guinea pigs eat tomatoes? Of course, they can! Tomatoes are a treasure trove of vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that contribute to our guinea pig’s health.
But like a double-edged sword, there are advantages and disadvantages to tomatoes.
The long and short of it is that tomatoes are beneficial to our guinea pig’s health, as long as we serve the actual fruit.
You should never give an unripe green tomato to your guinea pig because of the nightmarish compounds it contains.