You’re chopping up your salad and your pet rabbit is eyeing you. Is that drool you see coming from its eager mouth? Or is it its cuteness that makes you imagine it? Could it be that your rabbit wants a slice of that tomato?
With that cute, fluffy, furry face staring up at you, it may be hard to resist giving your rabbit a little treat. But, should you give your rabbit tomatoes?
When considering what to feed your rabbit, it’s best to err on the side of caution. While most fruits and veggies will be safe for them to eat, you should always double-check before feeding your rabbit something new.
So, can you share a bit of your salad with your rabbit, particularly a slice of the plump, red tomato picked from your own garden? Can rabbits eat tomatoes?
Can rabbits eat tomatoes?
Depending on who you speak with, tomatoes may fall into the category of fruit or vegetable. But what does that mean for your bunny?
Whether considered a fruit or a vegetable, it doesn’t matter much when it comes to your bunny’s diet. Even though your rabbit will likely want to eat a tomato, what you need to know is, can it? Or is it a detriment to its health?
You may be pleased to know that rabbits can, in fact, eat tomatoes. So get to tending to that tomato plant this summer, because your rabbit will love the occasional tomato treat.
Tomatoes are a nutrient-rich treat for your rabbit. They have vitamins A and C (great for your bunny’s immune system) and are high in antioxidants. Tomatoes are also high in water content, keeping your rabbit hydrated.
With rabbits known for having digestion issues, the fiber in tomatoes makes it a good treat that can keep your bunny’s digestion healthy. That’s right, even treats can help to maintain your rabbit’s gut health.
While technically fruits, tomatoes are often considered vegetables due to their relatively low sugar content in comparison to our other favorite fruits. Let’s face it, if you’re looking for a sweet fix, what are you picking? A peach from the orchard or a tomato off the vine?
To your rabbit, however, tomatoes are quite sweet. They’ll love the sugar they provide.
But be careful, because while technically safe for consumption, rabbits can’t have this decadent treat too often.
How many tomatoes can a rabbit eat?
A rabbit’s diet should consist mainly of hay and green leafy vegetables.
While it may be tempting to want to give your rabbit more treats, they should only make up about 5-10% of your rabbit’s diet.
Rabbits are known for their digestive issues. They require a strict, fiber-rich diet to maintain healthy digestion.
Treats should be added sparingly to your rabbit’s diet. You should only give your rabbit treats a couple of times a week.
So, while tomatoes are a perfectly healthy treat for your rabbit, limit their intake and consider them a sweet snack. Since you should vary the treats you give your rabbit, try not to give your bunny tomatoes more than once a week.
How to serve your rabbit tomatoes?
No, I’m not talking about whether or not to break out the good china glass or to keep it casual for your rabbit at dinner time. And while for us humans, presentation is a big part of the culinary experience, I’m referring to how you are going to prepare and serve the tomato for your rabbit.
Now that we know that tomatoes should only be given to your rabbit very occasionally, how many tomatoes can your rabbit eat?
Rabbits’ stomachs are small. With one cherry tomato, your rabbit will be full. If you have a large tomato, just a slice of it will do.
Before feeding your rabbit any type of fruit or vegetable, you should thoroughly wash them to rid them of any potential toxins that may come from pesticides.
Always remove the stem and leaves from the tomato. This part of the tomato can be poisonous to rabbits.
You’ll want to remove the seeds, as well. While usually only harmful in large quantities, the seeds may upset your rabbit’s stomach.
In fact, many seeds and pits of fruits will do so. To avoid any tummy troubles, ditch the seeds before serving.
Cut the tomato into appropriately portioned, bite-sized bites for your rabbit to feast on. Remember, it won’t take much to fill up your rabbit.
What can’t rabbits eat?
Tomatoes, in small, sparing quantities, are safe for rabbit consumption. Most fruits and vegetables will be safe for your rabbit to eat. However, it’s best to know which can cause harm to your rabbit before thinking about feeding it to your pet.
As mentioned, pits and seeds could be a danger to your rabbit. For certain fruits, you’ll need to remove them before serving.
Rabbits are herbivores, meaning they have a plant-based diet. Their diet should consist mainly of hay and green leafy vegetables. They should not consume any meat or dairy products. In general, think of them as vegan, if it helps.
While most vegetables are fine for your rabbit, raw onions, leeks, and garlic are not. Consuming these foods can cause a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Keep your bunny away from these foods.
So, we said green leafy vegetables were good, but we’re not going to consider iceberg lettuce to be one. In addition to adding no nutritional value to your rabbit’s diet, this lettuce is a health hazard. It contains a chemical that, if consumed regularly, is dangerous to your bunny.
Processed foods are also out. You may think that the treats that you eat (chips, crackers, etc.) would be a nice treat for your bunny, but these processed foods are too difficult on your rabbit’s stomach. Stick to fruits and veggies at snack time.
When it comes to what to feed your rabbit, stick with mostly hay and leafy greens. Fruits and other vegetables are good snack options.
A full veterinarian’s list of foods to avoid feeding your rabbit can be found here. If you’re not sure if a rabbit can eat it, always double check, either with some quick internet searching or a professional vet’s opinion.
What are the best veggies for a rabbit?
Tomatoes are an acceptable treat for your rabbit. But what are the best veggies to feed your bunny?
When considering what vegetables to have in your rabbit’s diet, stick to leafy greens. Ideally, you’ll want to vary the types of greens you give your rabbit. Don’t just stick to only one kind.
According to a bunny blog expert, these are the best greens to give to your rabbit:
Try introducing some of these greens to your rabbit’s diet. Just like us, a rabbit needs some variety in its diet to get all the nutrients it needs.
If introducing a new veggie, do so slowly and see how your rabbit reacts, observing their behavior and waste for any changes. This should be done not only with vegetables but whenever you add something new to your rabbit’s diet.
While your rabbit may favor one green over the other, it’s good to keep things “fresh” when it comes to the leafy greens in your rabbit’s diet.
A safe treat option
While tomatoes should not take up the majority of your rabbit’s diet, they are perfectly safe for your bunny as the occasional sweet snack.
Tomatoes are considered treats for rabbits and should be given sparingly. However, when given to your rabbit in small, infrequent doses, they are a great, nutritious treat.
So, next time you pick a fresh tomato from your garden, be sure to prepare an appropriate portion for your bunny. See how your pet likes it. The tomato could become a household treat favorite and a staple in your rabbit’s weekly variety snack pack.