Often assumed to be a vegetable but the tomato is actually a fruit that belongs to the nightshade family which originated in South America. It is eaten by people all over the world in salads and main meals. Now you are probably wondering what about our cute little guinea pigs, can they eat this delicious treat?
So, can guinea pigs eat tomatoes? Guinea pigs can eat every type of tomato but special attention needs to be paid to the serving size due to its sugar content. Also, tomato stalks and green leaves must be removed as they are toxic to guinea pigs.
The best and safe types of tomatoes to feed your guinea pig with are grapes, cherry, plum, and beef tomatoes. This was our short introduction to tomatoes as potential food for the guinea pigs. In the following sections, you will find more details on benefits, risks, or quick facts about tomatoes for guinea pigs. Let’s begin!
Are Tomatoes Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
There are really many types of tomatoes and all of them have a wide array of benefits that can have a positive impact on the life of a guinea pig. The following are some of the best-known benefits of the tomatoes for guinea pigs:
Boosts Cardiovascular Health
The health of the heart is vital to the existence of any being, and guinea pigs are no exception. Heart diseases often lead to death if not dealt with accordingly, and the best way to handle them is through prevention.
Lycopene and beta-carotene are linked to a reduced risk of strokes and heart-related complications. These compounds are available in tomatoes.
Swelling can be caused by either disease or injury and it is a normal reaction from the body. It becomes an issue when it gets to chronic levels. Inflammation can cause several complications, including cancer and diabetes. To deal with inflammation, you need antioxidants and tomatoes filled with them.
Aids in the Elimination of Free Radicals
Free radicals occur due to metabolic processes in the body. They can cause problems for our cute little guinea pigs. This is why you need to help your guinea pig to deal with them through the provision of foods that are rich in antioxidants, just like tomatoes. Free radicals, when accumulated in the system, can cause massive cell damage and different diseases.
Tomatoes Are Good for the Skin
Some compounds in tomatoes such as lycopene are known to provide the skin with nourishment and protection.
Helps to Boost the Immune System
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C for guinea pigs. This vitamin helps in improving the functioning of the white blood cells which ward off diseases from your guinea pig’s body.
Vitamin C equally plays an important role in the absorption of certain minerals such as iron which is essential for the blood. The deficiency of this vitamin will cause a disease known as scurvy.
Strong Bones and Teeth
The presence of vitamin K in tomatoes means that your guinea pig will have healthy teeth and bones. This is important for guinea pigs since they are quite fragile animals.
Help With Digestion
Tomatoes have an average amount of dietary fiber that helps with digestion. Dietary fiber also helps with nutrient absorption on top of preventing digestive problems such as constipation.
May Contribute to Weight Loss
First of all, tomatoes have a low amount of calories present in them. Secondly, they induce satiety through dietary fiber. Both of these two reasons are attributed to weight loss properties since they reduce the intake and overall levels of calories in the guinea pig’s body.
Nutrition Facts of Tomatoes for Guinea Pigs
These are the nutritional facts for 100 g of tomatoes:
- Energy – 18 kcal
- Protein – 0.88 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.2 g
- Carbs – 3.89 g
- Fiber – 1.2 g
- Sugars – 2.63 g
- Calcium – 10 mg
- Iron – 0.27 mg
- Magnesium – 11 mg
- Phosphorus – 24 mg
- Potassium – 237 mg
- Sodium – 5 mg
- Zinc – 0.17 mg
- Copper – 0.059 mg
- Vitamin C – 13.7 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.08 mg
- Vitamin A – 42 µg
- Vitamin E – 0.54 mg
- Vitamin K – 7.9 µg
- Thiamin – 0.037 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.019 mg
- Niacin – 0.594 mg
- Folate – 15 µg
- Carotene, beta – 449 µg
- Carotene, alpha – 101 µg
- Lycopene – 2573 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 123 µg
As we can see, tomatoes have many nutrients that are beneficial for guinea pigs’ health. It is of vital importance that tomatoes are very low in calories and have a good ratio of proteins, carbs, and fiber.
There are many vitamins and the importance of vitamin C cannot be overstated. It is essential for the daily life of a guinea pig and should not be taken for granted. Vitamin K is an essential vitamin for blood clotting and bone formation/growth.
Also, folate is a compound that is needed by the heart to avoid failure. It is also vital for tissue growth and cell function. There is also a good amount of potassium and aside from preventing heart diseases and complications, this mineral also lowers blood pressure.
Lycopene and beta carotene are powerful antioxidants that have benefits towards reducing inflammation and the existence of free radicals in the body and also help to improve sight, among many other functions.
Are Tomatoes Poisonous to Guinea Pigs? | Possible Risks
You’ve probably already heard rumors that the tomato plant is toxic for some animals. These are some of the potential risks of guinea pigs eating tomatoes:
- Some guinea pigs can be allergic to tomatoes. The more 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 will need to go to the vet for medical assistance.
- Diarrhea and lip sores. If this happens, you should reduce the serving size of the tomatoes that you give your guinea pig. Guinea pigs cannot regulate the intake of food on their own. Remember that the staple food for guinea pigs is hay and that fruits or vegetables only act as supplements.
- Presence of too many sugars. Some types of tomatoes contain a bit more sugar than it is needed by guinea pigs. This presents a problem. A way to regulate this is by offering the cavy tomatoes only once in a while, maybe one or two times per week.
Serving Size and Frequency of Tomatoes for Guinea Pigs
When you feed tomatoes to guinea pigs, it’s important to know can guinea pigs eat tomatoes every day or how many tomatoes you should give to them. This is exactly what we have talked about in the following sections. Let’s begin!
Can You Feed Tomatoes to Guinea Pigs Every Day?
Like any other vegetable or fruit, it’s not recommended to feed tomatoes to guinea pigs every day. The frequency of serving tomatoes to guinea pigs is two times a week. This is a good number that keeps a rich and balanced diet if you have also included different vegetables and fruits throughout the week.
How Much Tomato Can a Guinea Pig Eat?
As we’ve said, guinea pigs shouldn’t eat tomatoes every day but also don’t give them too much of the tomato. You need to chop the tomatoes into smaller pieces for the guinea pig to eat comfortably without any problem.
For the serving size, never go more than half a cup or handful of tomatoes. In large amounts, tomatoes can be harmful to the guinea pig’s stomach and cause diarrhea.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Tomatoes?
Most guinea pigs like tomatoes, but some owners have also reported that their guinea pigs don’t like them. So, just like humans, guinea pigs have their own taste preferences and some of them will love tomatoes and some will not. It’s normal if your guinea pig doesn’t like tomatoes, there are many other great vegetables that you can give to it, such as cucumber, lettuce, peppers, and so on.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Tomatoes?
For baby guinea pigs, it’s best to feed them with Alfalfa hay and water because it’s good for their growth and health. However, it’s not recommended to feed tomatoes to baby guinea pigs if they’re just a few weeks old. After 3 or 4 weeks, you can introduce tomatoes and other vegetables and fruits to baby guinea pigs, but only in small amounts.
More Information About Guinea Pigs and Tomatoes
In the following sections, you can read about what kind of tomatoes can guinea pigs eat and also find out if you can give to guinea pigs any other part of the tomato plant, such as leaves, stems, or seeds. Let’s begin!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cherry Tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes are smaller than regular tomatoes, and in shape and size are more comparable to cherries. Guinea pigs can eat cherry tomatoes as they are sweet and delicious, but as always you need to be careful with the serving sizes. Give them one or two whole cherry tomatoes and unlike regular tomatoes, you don’t need to slice them into smaller pieces.
Moreover, guinea pigs can eat cherry tomato seeds because these seeds are small and soft, so they won’t be harmful to your little pets.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grape Tomatoes?
Grape tomatoes are similar to cherry tomatoes mentioned above, but their shape and size are more comparable to grapes. Guinea pigs can eat grape tomatoes. They will enjoy eating them because grape tomatoes are tasty but not sweet as cherry tomatoes. Also, they can eat the seeds and skin of grape tomatoes.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomato Leaves?
Despite many misunderstandings, humans can eat tomato leaves but are tomato leaves poisonous to guinea pigs. Guinea pigs can’t eat tomato leaves because these leaves contain huge amounts of glycoalkaloids, i.e. tomatine and solanine that are toxic and harmful to guinea pigs’ stomachs and digestive systems.
Also, tomato leaves contain calcium and phosphorus, both of which can be harmful to them. If taken in huge amounts, it can form kidney or bladder stones in guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Tomatoes?
It all depends on which green tomatoes we’re talking about. Guinea pigs can’t eat unripe green tomatoes, because these tomatoes contain solanine which can be harmful to them and cause diarrhea or vomiting. Solanine levels decrease in the ripe red tomatoes.
For humans, it is recommended to eat unripe green tomatoes only if they were previously cooked or fried. But considering that guinea pigs can’t eat cooked food, they can’t eat unripe green tomatoes in any case.
On the other side, guinea pigs can eat ripe green tomatoes that never turn red, because they have almost the same nutrients as regular red tomatoes. They are a good source of vitamins, such as vitamin C and also minerals. Give them to guinea pigs only in small amounts and not very often.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Yellow Tomatoes?
Guinea pigs can eat yellow tomatoes and these tomatoes are very delicious to them because they are usually sweeter than regular red tomatoes. Yellow tomatoes, just as regular tomatoes, have many nutrients that are beneficial for guinea pigs’ health, like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, different antioxidants, and many others.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomato Seeds?
As we know, guinea pigs shouldn’t eat some types of seeds, especially huge ones. Guinea pigs won’t have any problem eating tomato seeds. These seeds are unlike the other seeds that are usually huge and can pose a potential choking hazard to your guinea pig.
Tomato seeds have many powerful nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and dietary fiber. All of that can offer a lot of benefits for guinea pigs. Don’t worry and feel free to give your guinea pigs seeds from tomatoes.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomato Stalks?
We’ve already written above that guinea pigs shouldn’t eat tomato leaves. Guinea pigs can’t eat tomato stalks (stems) or any other green part of the tomatoes, this also includes tomato tops and tomato vine. These green parts aren’t good for guinea pigs’ stomachs and digestive systems, because of glycoalkaloids’ presence in them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomato Skin?
Guinea pigs can eat tomato skin because this skin is very thin and will not be a problem for them. Skins from vegetables and fruits usually contain more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than the inside parts, but a problem can arise if they are not organically grown. Tomato skin, just like any other skin from other vegetables and fruits can potentially be concentrated with pesticides.
Pesticides can be extremely harmful to guinea pigs’ health. So before giving tomatoes to guinea pigs, wash them thoroughly or an even better option is if you can buy organic tomatoes or grow some of them by yourself in your garden.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Canned Tomatoes?
Guinea pigs can’t eat canned tomatoes or any other canned vegetables or fruits. You shouldn’t give guinea pigs any type of processed or cooked foods, because it’s very hard for them to digest those foods. Guinea pigs enjoy only fresh and washed tomatoes, so try to provide them with as much organic food as you can.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Roma Tomatoes / Plum Tomatoes?
Roma tomatoes are also known as plum tomatoes and they are small-sized oval plum-shaped red tomatoes. People use them mostly for making a sauce. Guinea pigs can eat Roma or plum tomatoes without any problems. These tomatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals just like regular tomatoes.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomato Sauce?
Same as for canned tomatoes, guinea pigs can’t eat tomato sauce or any other processed or cooked foods. Guinea pigs are herbivores and they enjoy only fresh hay, fruits, and vegetables. Their digestive system is very sensitive and isn’t made to digest any type of processed/cooked food.
Quick Facts on Tomatoes
The following are some fantastic facts about tomatoes that you need to know:
- There are different variants of tomatoes in the world.
- Ketchup was initially a Chinese sauce that had no tomatoes in it. After a century, tomatoes were added to the recipe to improve the sauce.
- When tomatoes are under attack from caterpillars, they emit a chemical that makes their leaves taste terrible.
- In Egypt 2012, protesters were throwing tomatoes at Hillary Clinton.
- Tomato juice is mostly made out of tomato sauce rather than fresh tomato fruits.
- Research has shown the possibility of growing tomatoes on soil that is similar to dirt. This has led to the assumption that tomatoes can be grown on Mars.
With food, you should be careful what to choose. If you are not sure what to feed them but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats, 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.
List of Sources
Vitamin C Requirements of the Guinea-Pig
Diet Composition and Mineral Balance in Guinea Pigs
Dietary Requirements of the Guinea Pig With Reference to the Need for a Special Factor
Metabolic Availability of Vitamin C in the Guinea-Pig