Tomatoes are a strange fruit; strange in that everyone treats them like a vegetable. BLT and burgers wouldn’t be the same without tomatoes, but have you tried putting any other fruits with your savory meals? Sliced grapes don’t work as well as tomatoes.
Tomatoes also have quite the rich history. For being only found out by the rest of the world in the 1400s, you would think everyone had been eating tomatoes since day one. You might be surprised to learn that tomatoes were originally considered taboo because they are in the same family as nightshade.
Now, before you decide to throw away all your tomatoes, the fruits themselves are perfectly fine for us to eat. Now that we’ve cleared that, you may wonder can rabbits eat tomatoes? If asked what can rabbits eat, you’ll likely say fruits and vegetables. They’re vegetarians, after all and a tomato is a fruit so it should be safe. Right?
In this article, we’ll answer can rabbits eat tomatoes, as well as exploring other questions pertaining to rabbits and tomatoes, including some questions you may not have thought of!
So, Can Rabbits Eat Tomatoes
This is a bit of a two-pronged question. If asking can rabbits eat tomatoes and referring to the fruit, then yes. Rabbits can eat tomatoes. Only as a treat, which you may have guessed, and we’ll talk more about later. If asking can rabbits eat tomato leaves, stems, flowers, etc then the answer is no.
Remember what we said about tomatoes being related to nightshade? The fruit is safe for both us and for rabbits, but everything else can be deadly for rabbits. So yes, rabbits can eat tomatoes, but they can’t eat anything related to the rest of the plant.
Are Tomatoes Good For Rabbits?
Yes. Tomatoes are a healthy treat for rabbits. The keyword is treat. Tomatoes of any and all kind should never replace normal rabbit food. What do rabbits eat? Hay and leafy greens. Fruits and other vegetables should be given as treats due to the high sugar, water, and vitamin content. There is such as thing as too much of a good thing!
What are the benefits of tomatoes? Tomatoes, according to the USDA, are rich in a variety of vitamins like A, B6, and C. Perfect for a treat. Like all treats, only small amounts should be offered. Keep in mind that rabbits have a sensitive digestive system, so too many tomatoes in their diet could make them sick.
Can Tomatoes Be Bad For Rabbits?
As we mentioned plenty of times, the fruit itself is perfectly fine for your rabbit. The problem is the tomato lacks key nutrients needed for a healthy diet. There isn’t enough fiber, which to a sensitive digestive system bunnies have, can lead to stomach pains or diarrhea.
Tomatoes need to be provided in moderation to the diet of a rabbit, and only as a treat. This being said, remember that tomatoes are related to nightshade. This is where the tomato can be very bad for your rabbit, as everything but the fruit of the tomato plant can be lethal.
Unless you’re growing your own tomatoes, chances are you and your rabbit won’t come into contact with the plant. At most, you’ll deal with the stems. Even though these stems seem nice and hardy, a perfect thing for your rabbit to chew, never give your rabbit the stems or any part of the plant.
Lastly, although this is less severe than the possible death of your rabbit, is that you should never give your rabbit green tomatoes or overripe tomatoes. When rabbits eat tomatoes they don’t exactly care for them being green or overripe, which can get them sick. So check ahead of time that the tomato is ready to be served.
How Many Tomatoes Can I Feed My Rabbit?
Normally when you’re offering tomatoes to rabbits, you never want to offer the entire fruit to them. It’s too big, too rich, and it’s going to make the bunnies sick. Instead, offer a slice or two of tomato maybe once a week. Twice a week if your rabbit is an adult.
Dealing with grape tomatoes, it’s fine to offer around two or three at once. Again, use as a treat and only once a week. Maybe twice a week if your rabbit has been very good. The biggest problem with cherry tomatoes is that just one is enough to fill your rabbits’ stomach up and can make them shun other foods.
If you have a baby rabbit, tomatoes of all types are an absolute no-no. Their diet needs to be formulated for their young health, and a tomato is going to make them sick.
Can I Feed My Rabbit Canned or Dried Tomatoes?
No, absolute not. Feeding a sliced tomato or cherry tomatoes is fine, but never anything from a can or that’s been dried. For rabbits, this stuff has too much sugar and other chemicals compared to their normal diet. Not to mention that canned tomato products also contain seasonings and vegetables you don’t want to give your rabbit.
Stick with the raw stuff, it’s just healthier for your rabbits.
Will Rabbits Like Ketchup?
They might, but never feed them ketchup either. Ketchup isn’t a purée of tomatoes like, say, a jam is. Instead, it’s a mix of a variety of ingredients. Ketchup is high in sugar which can lead to obesity in your rabbit. Not to mention plenty of the ingredients wouldn’t be something rabbits eat to begin with.
So even if your bunny is curious, never let them have ketchup. It’s not healthy for them.
Is a Purée OK Tomatoes OK For Rabbits?
While ketchup is a big no, a tomato purée isn’t exactly bad. It depends on the ingredients, of course. Many tomato products use lots of sugar, so remember to read the information on the can or bottle to see how much of the content is actual tomato and the rest everything else.
This being said, a purée isn’t normally something a rabbit would have in their diet. If your rabbit is sick and can only take liquid foods this isn’t a terrible idea, but you’ll need to talk with your vet first. Overall, it’s better for rabbits to eat raw tomatoes than anything man-made like ketchup or purée tomatoes.
Is There A Difference Between Organic And Non-Organic Tomatoes?
To us, yes. Organic tomatoes tend to be more “cleaner” as it were. Not as much pesticide usage, although many would argue the organic label is just there to raise the prices. For rabbits, they don’t exactly care if its organic or not. If you’re asking yourself can rabbits eat tomatoes, you’re not likely asking if the tomato has to be organic or not!
Some owners will argue that organic is much better than non-organic, but we never saw our rabbits acting differently if their diet had organic foods or not. It’s entirely up to you, but it’s a safe bet your rabbit won’t care so long as the food is tasty.
How Do I Prepare and Introduce Tomatoes To My Rabbit?
This depends on the tomato being given. For larger tomatoes, like say beefstake, the first thing you’ll want to do is cut the fruit into either bite-sized chunks or the classic ring. For cherry tomatoes, there is no need to cut them unless you feel they’re too big for your rabbit. At which point cutting them in half isn’t a bad idea.
Now, before you cut or serve a tomato to any rabbits, be sure to clean it off. Residue pesticides can easily be latched onto the tomato, or even germs. Just like any fruit you’ll eat, cleaning before serving is the best way to stay safe. With larger tomatoes, be sure that all the seeds are removed as a precaution.
Now that your cherry tomatoes or tomato slices are ready, present them to your rabbit as a treat. For cherry tomatoes, keep in mind you want to introduce them to any rabbits done eating their hay and vegetables. If not, rabbits eat tomatoes as their main course while not touching what does matter.
Once your rabbits are done eating, it’s time for clean up. Remove any uneaten tomatoes, as if you let them sit in the cage they’ll rot and attract insects. Not a very pleasant thought, is it?
And there you have your answer to can rabbits eat tomatoes. Yes they can, if you refer to the fruit. If you ask can rabbits eat tomatoes and are talking about the tomato plant the answer is no. Tomatoes are related to nightshade and while the fruit is perfectly fine, the rest of the plant can be lethal.
In honesty, you likely never thought can rabbits eat tomatoes before? Not many people picture rabbits happily eating a tomato. You’d be surprised to what rabbits will chow down on. It’s always good to encourage your rabbit to try a wide-range of different foods and treats. This is what they would eat in the wild, after all.