Tomatoes are a fun fruit that often gets lumped with vegetables. While we humans can enjoy it on everything from salad to burgers, the question of can guinea pigs eat tomatoes still warrants examination.
The Short Answer: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomatoes?
The quick answer is that, yes, guinea pigs can eat tomatoes. However, there are caveats to can guinea pigs eat tomatoes that you should be aware of, and you need to moderate the amounts your guinea pigs receive.
Serving Sizes of Tomatoes for Guinea Pigs
The first step with any tomato is washing it off, just like you would if you were eating it. The next step is removing all the stems, leaves, and stalks, if the tomato arrived with them. These parts are poisonous to guinea pigs.
Cherry tomatoes are generally easier than larger varieties. You can drop whole cherry tomatoes in the cage, and the guinea pigs will eat the whole thing. Generally, two to three cherry tomatoes is plenty for a single guinea pig.
You will need to cut up larger tomatoes, as no guinea pig should eat a beefsteak tomato in one sitting. You want to cut the tomato so that what you offer your guinea pig is no more than the size of an apple wedge.
Guinea pigs can have tomatoes a couple of times a week, provided the serving size is appropriate. You can store tomatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you do not have another use for the rest of the fruit.
Vitamins in Tomatoes
Vitamin A affects many things in a guinea pig’s body, from vision to immunity. Typically, guinea pigs gain enough vitamin A through a varied diet, but a little extra from tomatoes is typically beneficial.
Vitamin C is critical for guinea pigs, and their bodies cannot manufacture it as yours does. It helps them remain healthy and happy, and since guinea pigs do not absorb vitamin C efficiently, tomatoes are a solid addition.
Potassium is one of the critical levels for fluid regulation in almost every living creature; too little potassium in the body can cause several problems. Potassium tends to affect the interiors of cells.
Folate is one of the critical B vitamins. Folate affects tissue growth, which helps keep your guinea pig healthy. Without it, wounds won’t heal well, your guinea pig won’t be able to move as well, and there could be problems as the piggle ages.
Fiber helps regulate the digestive system and keep it healthy. It does the same thing in guinea pigs, and it’s an essential part of their diet. Without it, you will notice problems every time you clean the cage.
Tomatoes also have a high water percentage for fruits and vegetables. While guinea pigs are usually good about drinking on their own, the hydration boost offered by tomatoes is typically beneficial.
When Shouldn’t You Feed Tomatoes to Guinea Pigs
Generally, you do not want to feed young or infirm guinea pigs tomatoes. Their digestive systems are more delicate, and tomatoes may put their system out of balance. That can aggravate other conditions.
Another note is not to feed unripe or canned tomatoes. Unripe fruit doesn’t have the same nutritional profile. Canned tomatoes, meanwhile, often have preservatives on top of being cooked.
About Tomato Stains
When feeding your guinea pigs tomatoes, you will see stains on their chins and possibly other body parts. Most guinea pigs will have these red stains out in a couple of hours, and there’s nothing dangerous about them. They’re fun to take photos with though!