Although guinea pigs can eat tomatoes, the stem and leaves are extremely toxic to guinea pigs and should be avoided. The leaves and stems of a tomato contain two chemicals that can be toxic to guinea pigs when consumed: solanine and tomatine.
With any pet, the primary goal is to ensure that they live a long and happy life. Guinea pigs cannot consume a variety of things, including the leaves and stems of a tomato.
Guinea pigs can eat tomatoes in small quantities if they are ripe, but the leaves and stems of the tomato contain a few chemicals that can cause significant health issues and even death if consumed.
Many people believe feeding their guinea pigs the leaves and stems of a tomato is worth the risk because of the benefits of nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus. However, both of these nutrients can cause issues with the urinary tract in your pet.
If your guinea pig consumes the leaves or stems of a tomato, it is important to take quick action to help ensure that there are no continued urinary tract issues or any of the other potential health risks associated with eating those greens.
What if My Guinea Pig Ate Tomato Leaves?
There are two primary chemicals in the leaves and stems of tomatoes that are toxic for guinea pigs: solanine and tomatine.
These two chemicals are not toxic to humans. However, because a guinea pig is so small, there are significantly greater effects of solanine and tomatine.
If your guinea pig consumes either the leaves or stems of a tomato, several things could happen.
There is a possibility that your guinea pig will become very sick, resulting in diarrhea, drooling, appetite loss, or stomach pain. Along with the potential for GI issues, there is also a risk of neurologic issues, including weakness, lethargy, and confusion.
If you notice any of these signs in your guinea pig, there are several things you can do to help your guinea pig feel better.
One symptom of toxicity associated with consuming the stems and leaves of tomatoes is nausea. This can be particularly dangerous for guinea pigs as they cannot physically throw up.
If you notice flatulence, bloating, or loose stool, it is important to immediately take your guinea pig to the vet.
How You Can Help Your Guinea Pig
It can be frightening whenever your guinea pig feels sick or eats something toxic. If your guinea pig consumes either the leaves or stems of a tomato, or if you suspect your guinea pig has consumed the leaves or stems of a tomato, you can take the following steps to ensure the guinea pig has as few lasting health effects as possible:
If you suspect your guinea pig ate greens from a tomato, or if you know your guinea pig didn’t consume much, observe it carefully for 48 hours to ensure that no major digestive issues develop.
While observing your guinea pig with these concerns, it is important to keep an eye out for loose stool, confusion, and lethargy as key signs that your guinea pig is in distress.
If any of the previously mentioned GI issues or neurologic issues arise, make sure that you take your guinea pig to the veterinarian immediately for an examination.
If your guinea pigs stop eating, syringe feed them immediately. You should immediately contact your veterinarian for an emergency visit if you have to syringe feed your guinea pig.
For a cost-effective method of syringe feeding your guinea pig, you can crush Cecotropes food pellets into vegetable-based baby food. This can be given to your guinea pig through a syringe.
Tomato Leaves Are Not Worth The Risk
Guinea pigs make wonderful pets, and if properly cared for, they can live up to eight years. An important part of being a guinea pig owner is taking care of them and keeping them safe.
Ideally, guinea pigs should not eat the leaves and stems of a tomato plant, but if they do, you must know the steps you can take to protect them.
If at any point you suspect your guinea pig has consumed the stems or leaves of a tomato, it is important to monitor them and contact the veterinarian as soon as possible. Remember, your veterinarian is your best resource concerning questions or concerns about your guinea pig.
Some people might tell you there are benefits to giving your guinea pigs the leaves and stems of tomatoes, but this is advice that shouldn’t be followed. Feeding the leaves and stems of the tomato to your guinea pig is simply not worth the risk.
You can never be too careful with the foods that you are giving to your guinea pig. Do your research, do not take risks with the greenery of the tomato plant, and give your guinea pig as much love as possible.