Today we will talk about something very specific – tomato leaves. Maybe this food item is not that common and you probably haven’t really used it. However, the tomato leaves are for some people a very popular food item and they are completely edible for us. These leaves taste moderately sweet, with an earthy aroma, and are very tender too. We add tomato leaves in many recipes, mostly for pasta sauces. Now let’s see if our guinea pigs can consume tomato leaves as well.
Can guinea pigs eat tomato leaves? No, guinea pigs cannot eat tomato leaves because these leaves are poisonous for them. Our guinea pigs can eat the flesh, skin and the seeds of the tomato when it’s ripe, but not the leaves.
With this said, they also cannot consume the stem beneath the leaves as well. For us humans these leaves are not poisonous, but for the guinea pigs, they are extremely dangerous.
Don’t risk the health of your guinea pig by giving it tomato leaves. Some owners claimed they have given tomato leaves to their guinea pigs without noticing some very obvious symptoms. Trust me, this is one of those foods that is not worth the risk. Just imagine if your guinea pig is one of the ‘unlucky’ ones. Put tomato leaves out of reach for your adorable furry friend. Let’s see more info about these notorious tomato leaves in the following sections below.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Tomato Leaves
The guinea pigs cannot consume tomato leaves, so automatically there are no health benefits for them. Of course, if our guinea pigs could eat these leaves, they would get just a few nutrients mentioned in the section ‘Nutrition Facts’, but these nutrients can be found in almost every food that the guinea pigs can eat safely. We can conclude that guinea pigs won’t benefit at all from tomato leaves, and could instead be in great danger from eating them.
Nutrition Facts of Tomato Leaves
These are the nutrients present in tomato leaves:
- Phosphorus – the phosphorus is not good for the guinea pigs at all. It works together with the calcium to form strong bone tissues, but also with calcium, it can cause damage to the urinary systems of the guinea pigs. The guinea pigs that have excess amounts of calcium and phosphorus are more prone to deposits of these minerals in the urinary system, and most of the time this can be fatal.
- Potassium – this nutrient keeps the density of the bones at optimal levels, reduces the risk of kidney stones formations, regulates the blood pressure and keeps the muscle tissues healthy.
- Calcium – calcium is a mineral needed for strong bones. But, just as the phosphorus, calcium is dangerous for the guinea pig. It increases the risk of infections in the urinary system, as well as the other similar problems which are a serious danger for the health of your cavy.
- Magnesium – is needed for the health of all muscle tissues. It can prevent diabetes, heart problems, pains in the muscles, also it keeps the heart muscle healthy as well.
- Copper – this nutrient is important for creating red blood cells. Also, it can contribute to healthier bones, nerves, blood vessels and it boosts the immunity too. Copper also helps with better iron absorption.
- Manganese – is the strongest antioxidant. It makes bones healthier and stronger, reduces the risk of certain cancers, reduces inflammation, and it regulates the blood sugar. Overall, it boosts the whole immunity.
- Zinc – zinc boosts the immunity, speeds up the recovery during cold and flu and it reduces the risk of chronic illnesses.
- Alkaloids (tomatine and solanine) – the toxicity comes from these alkaloids and their symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, fatigue, confusion, dizziness, abdomen pain, cramps and flatulence.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Tomato Leaves to Guinea Pigs
- Toxicity – the alkaloids in the tomato leaves, tomatine and solanine, are safe for humans but are extremely toxic for guinea pigs. If your guinea pig eats these leaves, there is a big chance that it will experience nausea, and this is dangerous because guinea pigs cannot vomit! Also, there are stomach cramps too, with flatulence and loose stool. If this happens, you must rush to the vet immediately.
- Urinary problems – the calcium and phosphorus in tomato leaves are both harmful for the urinary tract of guinea pigs. These minerals form strong bones, but only when the guinea pig is young and still has to grow and develop. In adult guinea pigs, these minerals pile up as deposits and form kidney and bladder stones. Also, there is a risk of blood in urine, painful urination, and frequent infections in the urinary tract. If all these issues are not treated, it can result in renal failure.
Quick Facts on Tomato Leaves
- Originally, tomatoes come from Peru.
- Tomato has a scientific name too, ‘Lycopersicon lycopersicum’ and it means ‘wolf peach’!
- In the past, people feared eating tomatoes and thought they were toxic. This was believed because the tomato was often associated with the toxic plant ‘Belladonna’
- Tomatoes were first brought in Europe in 1500.
- The first varieties of tomatoes were yellow. It is no wonder that in Italy this veggie is called ‘Pomodoro’ meaning ‘golden apple’
- Technically, the tomato is a fruit; fruit is any edible part of a plant that contains seeds. For something to be considered a vegetable, it must be a root, leaf or stem.
- Tomatoes come in more than 10.000 varieties and they can come in different colors white, black, yellow, purple, red, and pink.
Before I let you go, one final thought on food. With food, you can’t ever be too careful which is why I get all guinea pig food from a reliable source such as Amazon. If you are not sure what to order but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats please check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas. We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your Guinea Pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.
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