TOMATOES - Snack or stay back?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomatoes?
Guinea pigs can eat a variety of fruits and vegetables but it can be difficult to see which are best, safe and healthy.
Tomatoes are safe for guinea pigs to eat. Tomatoes have many beneficial dietary benefits including:
- Great source of fibre - necessary for correct digestive health
- High in Vitamin C - A necessary vitamin in their diet
- High in Vitamin K - Helps assist with bone development
- Folate - A B Vitamin which assists with tissue growth
Are all parts of the tomato safe to feed?
Unfortunately no. The ripened tomato fruit is the only safe part of the plant that guinea pigs can eat. Guinea pigs cannot eat unripened tomatoes, tomato leaves or tomato stem. These parts of the plant contain a compound called "Tomatine". Similar to Solanine it is a glycoalkaloid poison, commonly found in nightshade species of plants. It resides in the tomato plant in small quantities.
Whilst not poisonous to humans in small amounts, for a small guinea pig this compound can cause health issues, due to their size. It is best to only feed the safe ripened fruit of the plant and avoid areas where Tomatine resides which is in the stem, unripened fruit and leaves.
How often can I feed Tomatoes to my Guinea Pig?
One small cherry tomato a day can be fed. It can be a daily inclusion in your guinea pigs diet however tomatoes are also high in Oxalic Acid. Too much Oxalic Acid can cause a condition called Cheilitis. This condition causes scabs to form on the mouth of the guinea pig, which can be painful. It requires Veterinary treatment if it is developed generally in the form of an antiobiotic lotion or cream, with a diet overhaul where items high in oxalic acid are removed.
Hence why it is best not to feed more than a cherry tomato a day, or every second day. Tomato can be a wonderful treat as well for your guinea pig, the majority of guinea pigs love eating the delicious fruit.