Guinea pigs enjoy munching away on a wide variety of foods. Cavies should eat fruits and veggies daily, and including things like leafy greens in your guinea pig’s diet is good.
There is a wide range of fruits to choose from, but only some of these tasty treats are safe for your cavy to eat. You need to make sure you choose the right ones, and tomatoes are a fruit for you to consider.
The question is: can guinea pigs eat tomatoes? Keep reading to find out.
Health benefits of tomatoes for guinea pigs
Tomatoes are packed with vitamins, like folic acid, and minerals that are a good source of nutrients for your furry friend. You can rest assured that your fluffball will benefit from nibbling on this fruit.
Below are a few vitamins found in tomatoes and how they can help your piggies.
Guinea pigs are unique little creatures. They are one of only a few mammals that cannot produce their own vitamin C.
This small animal relies entirely on its diet to get vitamin C. They can develop scurvy if they become deficient in this essential nutrient, so they must eat food rich in vitamin C or have a supplement.
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, which makes it the perfect choice for your piggy to eat as an occasional treat.
Vitamin K helps the body with blood clotting, so your furry friend’s wounds will heal well if they are ever injured if they snack on tomatoes.
These ruby red fruits have high water content and a lot of fiber. Dietary fiber is good for your little friend’s digestive system. It’s instrumental in preventing constipation and diarrhea by stimulating gastrointestinal motility.
Fiber maintains the balance of your cavy’s bacterial flora. High fiber content can also help prevent obesity, so chomping on tomatoes also means your little friend will enjoy good gut health.
Health risks from guinea pigs eating tomatoes
Guinea pigs can eat tomatoes and enjoy all their health benefits, but you should also keep the health risks from overconsumption in mind. It is critical to remember that tomatoes shouldn’t always be your first option when feeding your little creature. They may not always be beneficial — especially when too much is eaten.
Unfortunately, tomatoes are high in oxalic acid, and this acid is bad for guinea pigs in large quantities. When too much oxalic acid is in their systems, guinea pigs’ bodies react negatively.
Oxalic acid within the system can bind to calcium and form bladder stones. These stones can be found anywhere along the urinary tract, and they’re painful for your little fluffball.
Excess oxalic acid can also result in a condition called cheilitis. This is an inflammation of the lips that can cause mouth sores on your piggy, and that’s not very pleasant for them either.
Some guinea pigs are allergic to tomatoes, it’s true! Keep a close eye on your piggy when you first introduce this new food in case they have an allergic reaction. Feed them only a small amount and then watch to see if you notice any swelling of the mouth or tongue, or if you hear labored breathing.
You can help your furry friend if they have a reaction. Immediately stop your little one from eating the tomato and give them some water to drink. Seek a vet’s attention if your pet’s condition continues to worsen or if your guinea pig is having difficulty breathing.
Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family of plants, known for having alkaloids. Tomatine is a glycoalkaloid found in the leaves and stem of tomatoes — basically, the green parts. Unripe green tomatoes can also have higher quantities of it, but when the tomatoes ripen and turn bright red, very little tomatine remains in the fruit, so it becomes safe to eat.
Your little ones can die if they consume too much of this alkaloid, so be careful to feed them the correct part of the plant to avoid disaster.
Parts of the tomato and which of them can be eaten
The tomato plant has different parts, but your pet should only eat some of those parts. You should keep this in mind if you feed your cavy tomatoes.
Can guinea pigs eat tomato stems?
You should never feed your little critter the stem of a tomato. This green part of the plant contains significant amounts of tomatine. You could end up poisoning your piggy if you’re not careful.
Can guinea pigs eat tomato leaves?
These may seem like a good option seeing as greens are usually good for them, but you should never feed your pet tomato leaves. This is another part of the plant with a large quantity of tomatine. Avoid feeding this to your cavy to prevent poisoning them.
Can guinea pigs eat tomato fruit?
The one safe part to feed your little piggy is the actual fruit itself. This juicy part of the plant is what your guinea pig should eat.
Just be careful not to feed your fluffball too much of the fruit. A small piece (about the size of a cherry tomato) a couple times a week is more than enough.
It is crucial to know that guinea pigs can only eat ripe tomatoes. Unripe tomatoes, with their green color, still contain high amounts of tomatine. Make sure that the tomato you choose to feed your piggy is entirely ripe.
Read more: Unripe or ripe, there is more to green tomatoes than you might think. Read here to find out if guinea pigs can eat green tomatoes.
Also, remember that guinea pigs can’t eat processed or cooked foods. So don’t give your cavy any cooked tomatoes and avoid canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. They often contain too much sugar or seasonings that they shouldn’t have.
The best way to feed your little friend tomatoes is raw and ripe, like nature intended.
Read more: These small animals are free to eat the tomato fruit but are every part of it safe? Find out if guinea pigs can eat tomato seeds.
Types of tomatoes
It’s all good and well to feed your little buddy some tomato goodness, but is every type of tomato safe? Is there a type that is best suited for guinea pigs? These may be some of the questions on your mind.
Fortunately, all tomato varieties are safe, from what is known at this point. You don’t need to worry about the safety of the tomato, only your piggy’s preference. You can consider a few options.
Feeding your furry friend a small cherry tomato is a great option. The small size of these tomatoes makes giving your cavy a small serving of tomato more convenient.
Cherry tomatoes are sweeter than other kinds of regular tomatoes, which is something to consider before choosing them. Guinea pigs need to have a limited sugar intake because too much sugar can harm their gut flora.
Still, feel free to feed your little critter these tomatoes. Just remember to give them in moderation and not on a daily basis. Your pet will enjoy the sweetness.
Grape tomatoes are also small-sized. They’re an enjoyable option for your little friend, even if they aren’t as sweet as cherry tomatoes.
You can give your piggy just a single grape tomato as a serving size when you feed them, but stick to one every few days to avoid health issues.
Plum tomatoes are larger than cherry tomatoes, so keep this in mind if you decide to serve them to your furry friend. You’ll need to cut them into slightly smaller portions.
These tomatoes aren’t as sweet as cherry tomatoes, but your piggy can still enjoy them as a healthy treat.
Beefsteak tomatoes are the largest tomatoes out of all the ones previously mentioned. You can’t feed one of these to your piggy whole.
You must cut a cubic inch portion to feed your cavy and stick to no more than twice a week. Maintaining this moderation will keep your furry friend healthy and happy.
Guinea pigs aren’t limited to eating red tomatoes. It is safe for you to branch out and give your cavy yellow tomatoes to eat.
Yellow tomatoes are sweeter than red tomatoes, so consider your little friend’s gut health if you choose to feed them this color fruit. They should savor the sweet flavor and still benefit from all the health benefits of tomatoes.
Read more: Yellow tomatoes may not be the only colored fruit these small animals can enjoy. Check out whether guinea pigs can eat yellow peppers.
Can baby guinea pigs eat tomatoes?
It is safe for both adult and baby guinea pigs to eat tomatoes. You do have to be careful, though.
You shouldn’t feed tomatoes to a guinea pig younger than four weeks old. When you do introduce tomatoes to the baby’s diet, do so gradually and in very small amounts. Keep in mind that this fruit is high in oxalic acid, which your baby piggy will be sensitive to.
Can guinea pigs eat tomatoes | The final takeaway
Your cavy can benefit significantly if you decide to add tomatoes to your guinea pig’s diet. Tomatoes are safe to eat and are packed with health benefits that your piggy needs. You can’t go wrong adding a little tomato into their food bowl.
Do remember to give your cavy this fruit in moderation to avoid any health problems. All in all, you’ll make your little friend happy with something juicy to nibble on.
And while you’re meal-prepping for your piggy, go ahead and discover if guinea pigs can eat strawberries too.
Steph Dyson is a travel journalist by trade but a lover of all small pets. She’s been a pet mum to everything from gerbils to guinea pigs, rabbits to hamsters, and fish to dogs of all shapes and sizes. She wants to share her years of experience with small pets and make Small Pet Guides the go-to website for pet owners seeking information and care advice.