Can guinea pigs eat tomatoes?
As you already (probably) know, timothy hay and other grass hay that’s low in calcium but rich in fiber is the main source of a guinea pig’s diet.
As herbivorous animals, guinea pigs eat only plants, fruits, and vegetables.
However, their digestive system is delicate and they cannot consume every type of vegetable or fruit that people can for several reasons.
The first reason is that some types of food are not safe for your guinea pig.
The second reason why guinea pigs cannot eat all that humans can is that guinea pigs have different dietary needs.
In this article, you will learn whether guinea pigs can eat tomatoes, how much, what types, and you will also learn whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables (that’s quite an interesting story on its own!).
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomatoes?
Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) belong to the cavy family and make excellent pets for grown-ups and children alike.
They don’t cost much, don’t eat much, are low maintenance, smart, funny, cheerful, friendly, and love to cuddle!
Interesting facts about guinea pigs
- The size of an adult guinea pig is on average 8 to 11 inches
- The average lifespan of a guinea pig is 7 to 9 years but sometimes they can live longer
- The oldest guinea pig to live was for 14 years and 10 months and is in the Guinness book of records
- Only 3 hours old, a guinea pig can already run
- Chewing is important for them to wear down their constantly growing teeth
- They eat their poop
- Guinea pigs don’t sweat
- They are crepuscular animals
- Guinea pigs are terrified by larger animals, people, sharp and loud noise
- They need a mixture of guinea pig food (pellets), an unlimited amount of hay, and limited amounts of vegetables and fruits
- They need around 30 to 50 mg of Vitamin C daily to maintain a healthy diet
Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C.
And yes, guinea pigs can eat tomatoes!
Actually, many guinea pigs love tomatoes.
Let’s see what are the benefits of tomatoes for your guinea pig.
What Are the Benefits of Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are a nutrient-dense superfood.
They are healthy for us.
And yes, the answer to the question “Can guinea pigs eat tomatoes?” is positive.
They are also safe for your guinea pig.
The benefits of tomatoes for guinea pigs are clear, as tomatoes are rich in
- Vitamin A
- Vitamins C
- Vitamin K
All these components are important for your guinea pig’s health, especially vitamin C and vitamin K.
However, again we will remind you about the importance of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid.
It is vital for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues is extremely important for your pet’s health.
The lack of vitamin C can cause serious health concerns in your guinea pig.
A raw tomato contains the following nutrients per 100gr:
- Water: 95%
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Carbohydrates: 3.9 grams
- Sugar: 2.6 grams
- Fiber 1.2 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
All these components in tomatoes boost your pet’s vision, promote healthier skin, and aid in digestion.
Besides, they are low in calories (only 18 cal/100gr).
Are Tomatoes Fruits or Vegetables?
Tomatoes are the fourth most popular fresh-market vegetable.
Whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables depends on how you look at them, legally or botanically.
Yes, that’s quite an interesting story.
Botanically, tomatoes are fruits.
Fruits and vegetables are different not only in their taste and the way we consume them, but the difference is in the seed-bearing structure of a plant.
Botanically, seed-bearing structures of a plant are fruits, while, technically, vegetables are any part of the plant that we can consume.
Therefore, botanically, as we consume the seed-bearing part of the tomato plant, tomatoes are fruits.
However, a big legal disagreement occurred in 1887, and in 1893, for the purposes of the customs regulations, the Supreme Court declared that tomatoes are vegetables.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomatoes?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat tomatoes.
Actually, some guinea pigs eat tomatoes, especially small cherry tomatoes, with great delight.
Nonetheless, every guinea pig is different and some guinea pigs may not love tomatoes.
As we’ve seen, tomatoes are a great source of nutrients for your guinea pigs.
However, you can feed your guinea pigs only with raw mature tomatoes.
Don’t forget that guinea pigs cannot eat any kind of processed food.
Nonetheless, only certain types of raw but ripe fresh fruits and vegetables are good for them.
Compared to ripe tomatoes, unripe tomatoes are not safe for your guinea pig.
Actually, they can be toxic to guinea pigs.
When they eat an immature or green tomato, guinea pigs might experience symptoms of poisoning.
Such symptoms include:
- Upset stomach
- Intestinal pain
- Dilated pupils
- Excessive saliva
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Lack of motor coordination
You should also pay attention to your guinea pigs and check whether they manifest other symptoms such as:
- Reduced appetite or difficulty eating
- Weight loss
- Drinking more water than usual
- Pain or difficulty urinating
- Weakness or feeling lethargic
- Squealing or flinching when touched
- Abnormal breathing (e.g rapid, shallow, raspy)
- Discharge from the nose and eyes
- Bulging or sunken eyes
- Hair loss or a change in hair coat
- Lameness or swelling of joints
That’s why it is important to always monitor and keep track of your guinea pig’s condition.
If any of these symptoms occur, don’t hesitate to take your pet to a vet immediately.
In these cases, your number one priority is the health and the life of your pet, so you should not let the symptoms worsen.
- Avoid feeding your guinea pigs with food that is not safe for them
- Make sure that there is no contamination of the water supply
- Keep your guinea pigs’ habitat clean and safe
- Make sure that your guinea pig’s nutrition and diet remains consistent
- Check the quality of food you are giving to your guinea pig
How Much Tomatoes Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
The general rule to feeding your guinea pigs with fresh fruits and vegetables that are safe for them is that you should never give them more than two to three tiny slices or cubes of raw produces.
Likewise, you should never give them the same raw foods more than two to three times a week.
If you are just introducing new fruits and vegetables to your guinea pig’s diet, make sure to give them only one slice a week.
Monitor your guinea pig’s behavior and check for any signs of allergic reactions.
In case you notice any odd behaviors or reactions to the new food, without any hesitation, take your guinea pig to a veterinarian.
Also, never give your guinea pigs fresh raw fruits and vegetables without thoroughly washing and slicing them, and removing the seeds.
Guinea pigs cannot eat seeds of any kind; they are a potential choking hazard for your pets.
Yet, when it comes to tomatoes, you don’t have to worry.
Tomato seeds are soft and your guinea pig can chew and swallow them without any problems.
It’s also great if you feed your guinea pig cherry tomatoes, as they are small enough and have even smaller seeds.
Besides, guinea pigs eat cherry tomatoes even with more joy.
You can simply cut one cherry tomato in half and serve the two halves to your guinea pig every two to three days.
Know that your guinea pigs’ lives depend on how you take care of them.
Are There Harms of Feeding Tomatoes to Guinea Pigs?
While tomatoes can rarely pose dangers and threats, they can do so if a person consumes an excessive amount of them.
Some of the results of human overconsumption of tomatoes include:
- Allergies and infections
- Kidney problems
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Urinary problems
- Acute gastrointestinal problems
Tomatoes contain a compound called histamine which results in allergic reactions such as skin rashes, coughing, sneezing, itching sensation in the throat, and the swelling of the face, mouth, and tongue.
Also, excessive amounts of tomatoes are not safe for guinea pigs.
Too much tomato can trigger kidney diseases, mainly because tomatoes are rich in potassium and can pave the way for acute kidney problems.
Considering that tomatoes are acidic, they can irritate the bladder and create gastrointestinal and urinary problems.
Actually, the high content of oxalic acid is the one that is dangerous to guinea pigs.
Oxalic acid causes Cheilitis, a condition that creates painful scabs on the mouth of a guinea pig, which requires the treatment of a veterinarian who will prescribe medications and give dietary advice.
For that reason, make sure to follow the feeding guidelines and protect your guinea pig from the harmful effects of oxalic acid.
So, if all these symptoms of overconsumption can occur in humans, be sure that all of them can occur in your guinea pig whose dietary needs are different and their digestive tract much more fragile compared to ours.
One small cherry tomato a day can be fed.
What Types of Tomatoes Guinea Pigs Can Eat?
There are 45 types of tomatoes, but guinea pigs eat tomatoes that are commonly found on the market such as
- Cherry (recommended)
- Grape (but in moderation)
All varieties of tomatoes are harmless to animals.
Most likely, you will give your guinea pigs to eat cherry tomatoes, grape, or plum tomatoes, which are commonly found on the market.
But, always make sure that the tomatoes you are giving to your guinea pigs are ripe yet not too soft.
Also, be careful of the amount of tomatoes you give your guinea pigs to eat; only small amounts of a particular fruit or vegetable are acceptable.
One small cherry tomato every two days is more than is sufficient for your guinea pig.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomato Seeds?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat tomato seeds.
Considering that tomato seeds are tiny and soft, it doesn’t give guinea pigs much trouble in chewing and eating them.
Guinea pigs eat tomato seeds without any problems because they are not a choking hazard for them, unlike many other seeds in fruits and vegetables that you always have to remove before feeding your guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Tomato Juice?
No, guinea pigs cannot have tomato juice.
Your guinea pigs can only have fresh and clean water, while juices of any kind are a strict no to them.
The first reason why you shouldn’t give your guinea pig juice is that juice is processed.
Also, it contains high amounts of sugar which won’t help their thirst but will cause a lot of damage to their bodies.
Likewise, juice doesn’t contain fiber like fresh raw foods do, so fruit and vegetable juice cannot fulfill any of guinea pigs’ dietary needs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomato Sauce?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat tomato sauce but only if you have made it without ant salt, spices, or preservatives.
In other words, all you can give to your guinea pig is mashed raw tomato without processing it in any way.
Now it is a good time to remind you never to offer industrialized sauces to your guinea pig.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomato Leaves?
Guinea pigs can eat leaves, but not tomato leaves.
Never let your guinea pigs eat tomato leaves.
The leaf of the tomato plant is not safe for your guinea pigs.
It can cause the following:
- In severe cases, death
Are Tomatoes Safe for Guinea Pigs?
The answer to whether tomatoes are totally safe for guinea pigs is a bit more complex.
It’s both yes and no.
Tomatoes contain solanine, which is a toxic alkaloid.
Leaves and stems are heavily concentrated with solanine.
Hence, as long as your guinea pigs don’t consume the leaves and the stems of tomato, as well as an excessive amount of tomato flesh, tomatoes are not toxic.
Make sure to feed your guinea pig with only two to three thin slices of tomatoes two to three times a week, never more than that.
If your guinea pig ate a lot of tomatoes, the following symptoms and signs can occur:
Which Food My Guinea Pig Should Not Eat?
There are certain foods your guinea pigs should avoid.
Some of the foods that you should avoid feeding your guinea pigs are:
- Anything that contains caffeine
- Iceberg lettuce
- Corn Kernels
- Peanut butter
- Bok Choy
- Dairy products
In addition to that, always remember to never give your guinea pigs processed food or baked, fried, or cooked food.
Also, don’t expose your guinea pigs to any plants, flowers, or grass that can be found in your yard or garden because they may contain pesticides.
Most houseplants are also toxic.
As pet owners, we have to maintain the health of our pets.
We need to keep in mind many things to keep our little furry friends healthy.
- Make sure that your guinea pigs always have an unlimited supply of grass or hay
Clover hay should not be an option because it contains too much protein and calcium, which can harm your guinea pigs.
The recommended types of hay are timothy hay, oaten, barley, or grassy hay.
Likewise, be sure that the hay is in absolutely perfect condition, without harmful substances such as molds, mildew, or fungus.
- Regularly feed your guinea pig with leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits
These types of food will balance the nutrients your guinea pig needs every day.
Don’t forget that your guinea pig needs fresh and raw vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, endive, carrot top, brussel sprouts, kale, and others, only a few times a week.
- Provide your guinea pigs with guinea pig pellets that are enriched with vitamin C
Just like humans, guinea pigs need a daily intake of Vitamin C to remain strong and healthy.
Pellets will supply nutrients to your guinea pig but they will not be sufficient to provide enough vitamin C.
You should know that citrus fruits are not a great source of vitamin C for your guinea pigs.
Acidic fruits are also high in sugar, which guinea pigs cannot digest very well, so they can easily get an upset stomach.
Much better options are red peppers, kale, parsley, and broccoli.
What if My Guinea Pig Doesn’t Like Tomatoes?
If your guinea pig doesn’t like tomatoes, then you can choose to give them an alternative.
Even though guinea pigs eat tomatoes, which is great as they have high levels of vitamin C, there are alternative vegetables you can give to your guinea pig:
- Red peppers
- Green peppers
However, different fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients and not all are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and other components your guinea pigs need.
When it comes to vitamin C, you can include a range of vegetables and fruits.
Fruits beneficial to your guinea pig include:
Feed your guinea pig with one particular type of fruit or vegetable once or twice a week.
As you can see, citrus fruits are not on our list.
Guinea pigs can eat citrus fruits in moderation, but we don’t recommend them because they are (obviously) acidic, which can cause digestive problems in our guinea pigs, and high in sugar content, which is also not good for their well-being.
Can guinea pigs eat tomatoes?
The answer to this question is yes, guinea pigs eat tomatoes and many furry pets love them.
Tomatoes are perfectly safe for guinea pigs.
However, give your guinea pigs to eat tomatoes in moderation, in small amounts, only a couple of times a week.
Although guinea pigs eat cherry, grape, or plum tomatoes, one tiny cherry tomato every two to three days is just the perfect serving size for your guinea pig.
Every guinea pig needs a daily cup of raw and fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, which guinea pigs need to consume every day.
In addition to that, they need unlimited access to timothy hay, which provides them with sufficient fiber and keeps their teeth trimmed.
Likewise, your guinea pigs need constant access to fresh and clean water.
To make their daily diet complete, supply your guinea pig with some guinea pig pellets that are fortified with vitamin C.