Are Tomatoes Safe For Gerbils [Can They Have it?]

can gerbils eat tomatoes

Gerbils can have tomatoes in moderation. They are a rich source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, B6, potassium, and fiber. However, I do not recommend it. The reason is simple; tomatoes contain a high amount of water which is not suitable for gerbils.

Gerbils belong to a dry climate region where they mostly eat dry-based food like grains, seeds, and nut that grows in that environment.

Though a bite or two won’t likely make your gerbil sick, be cautious.

Key Takeaway: gerbils can have tomatoes in small quantities, they are safe, but due to high water content, it should be given occasionally.

Read to know more.

What Do Gerbils Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, gerbils eat a wide range of foods. They are found on the sandy plains of the Middle East, Africa, and other Asian countries. Since they live in a deserted climate region, their diet typically contains a variety of seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. 

Also, they eat various insects like mealworms, crickets, etc.

This means tomatoes are nowhere in their natural diet. But it doesn’t mean gerbils cannot have tomatoes; they can but in limited quantity.

But tomatoes are not the best choice for gerbils.

Domesticate gerbils, for example, should eat a high-quality gerbil mix, grains, and pellets. Fruits and vegetables should only be a small portion of their diet. It’s important to keep their diet balanced for complete nutrients.

Now you know what gerbils eat, let’s move to the main question.

Can I Feed Tomatoes To My Gerbils?

Yes, gerbils can have tomatoes in moderation. They are enriched with various vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that are helpful for your pet. Moreover, tomatoes are high in water content (94%-96% water).

Despite these, too much tomato can be harmful to your gerbils. The water content of tomatoes is much higher than they need, resulting in diarrhea, eventually leading to dehydration.

Also, tomatoes are acidic, which is not suitable for gerbils. It can harm them in many ways. So, if your gerbils happen to eat a small bite of tomatoes, it’s fine, but I do not recommend feeding it.

Are Tomatoes Safe For Gerbils?

Tomatoes don’t have any toxic substances. So, it’s absolutely safe for gerbils; however, the water content of tomatoes is much higher for them. Gerbils have a sensitive digestive tract, and excess water can mess with it, leading to diarrhea and loose stool.

Additionally, the acidic level of tomatoes can be harmful to your pet. It can cause oral and intestinal discomfort.

Whereas ripe tomatoes are safe, young green ones and other green parts of the tomato plant should totally be avoided. They contain solanine and alpha tomatine, and these two compounds are not safe for pets. 

This means your gerbils should never ingest the leaves, stems, and green tomatoes.

Do Gerbils Enjoy Tomatoes?

It depends!

Tomatoes are so different from what they usually eat. In the wild, they eat a variety of seeds, nuts, and vegetables or fruit. Basically, they eat whatever they see.

Tomatoes have a tangy and acidic flavor; some gerbils might enjoy it while other dislikes it. So, it depends on their eating preferences.

However, tomatoes are water-dense vegetables, so it’s important to feed them cautiously. Excess amounts can easily mess up their sensitive digestive system leading to several discomforts like diarrhea and loose stool.

Therefore, I do not recommend feeding it. However, a bite or two won’t likely harm your gerbils.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes For Gerbils

No doubt tomatoes are highly nutritious for us, but what about gerbils? Do they have health benefits too? 

Not really; there is no particular health benefit of tomatoes for gerbils. 

Health Benefits of Tomatoes For Gerbils

According to Healthline, 100g tomato contains:

  • Calories: 18.
  • Water: 95%
  • Protein: 0.9 grams.
  • Carbs: 3.9 grams.
  • Sugar: 2.6 grams.
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams.

If you look at tomatoes, you will find out they are made of 95% water, which is not suitable for gerbils. They cannot handle too much water as they are from a deserted region and usually do not consume high water-dense food. Excess water can lead to digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea, or acidity.

Moreover, unripe tomatoes are toxic for gerbils, so be careful.

However, it doesn’t mean tomatoes are useless for gerbils. They do have some benefits for them as well.

Other health benefits include:

  • Tomatoes are juicy vegetables with a high water content that can help your gerbil stay hydrated for longer.
  • It has a lot of fibers which is vital for proper gastrointestinal functions.
  • Tomato provides essential vitamins and minerals to your gerbils which are necessary for a healthy livelihood.
  • The vitamin C in tomatoes is an antioxidant that boosts immunity and helps fight diseases caused by viruses.
  • Other compounds like beta-carotene and lycopene offer protection against various infections and diseases.

How Many Tomatoes Can Gerbils Eat?

1-2 small pieces should be fine.

The Thumb rule is gerbils can have 10%-15% portion of their total diet as a snack.

I do not recommend feeding tomatoes to your gerbils; however, they’ll be fine if they have a bite or two. Tomatoes are high in water content which is not suitable for gerbils. They typically eat a dry-based diet, and too much water can lead to diarrhea.

Besides, tomatoes are highly acidic and can cause discomfort in their mouth and stomach. Thus, it’s important to limit the serving of tomatoes to minimize the adverse effect. Not only tomatoes but any vegetable or fruit also shouldn’t be fed in large quantities.

Lastly, your gerbil’s nutritional requirement must be met before you opt for any additional snack items.

How Often Should Gerbils Eat Tomato?

1-2 times a week should be fine.

In general, gerbils shouldn’t eat tomatoes at all. This is not something they eat in the wild. Tomatoes are highly nutritious but not that effective for gerbils. There are no particular benefits of tomatoes for them.

In fact, feeding tomatoes can be harmful to them due to their high water and acidic content. Feeding tomatoes can lead to digestive distress, diarrhea, and loose stool.

Besides, high acidic levels have other risks like irritation in the mouth, and tongue, chances of damaging the internal lining of the stomach, and so on.

Thus, I do not recommend feeding tomatoes to your gerbils; however few times a week won’t likely make them sick, but it’s good to have variety.

Can Gerbils Eat Tomatoes Stem, Leaves?

No, stems or leaves shouldn’t be given to gerbils. They contain a high level of solanine and alpha tomatine, which are highly poisonous compounds. Ingesting it can seriously harm your gerbils, depending on the quantity.

A small bite of greenery likely cause gastrointestinal upset and may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach ache. Besides, unripe green tomatoes are also poisonous to pets.

Therefore, you must be careful with them if you have grown tomato plants in-house. It’s important to keep your pet away from the garden area or where you have kept the tomato plant.

However, if your gerbil has ingested stem, leaf, or unripe tomatoes, contact your vet and explain the matter before it turns serious.

Healthy Alternative To Tomatoes

Gerbils can have tomatoes sometimes; however, it’s not recommended due to its high water and acidic content. But the best thing is there are a lot of other safe and healthy options available. For example, you can opt for vegetables like carrots, bell pepper, and broccoli or fruits such as apples (seedless), bananas, pears, or melons.

Remember, treats should be given a few times a week under observation.

Also, avoid canned products as they are highly processed and loaded with sugar and artificial flavoring. It’s better to opt for fresh ones.

If your pet is trying tomatoes for the first time, start with a small bite, see how your gerbil reacts, and decide whether to continue or stop.

Here are some healthy alternatives:

  • Fruits- Apples, bananas, pears, berries, and melons.
  • Vegetables- bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, romaine lettuce.
  • Others- Grains, seeds, and nuts are excellent fiber sources, but ensure no added salt, sugar, or other flavorings.

Before you serve any additional treat to your pet, ensure their nutritional requirement is met; otherwise, important nutrients can be missed and lead to various health conditions.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, gerbils can have tomatoes in small quantities. However, it’s not the best snack option for them for various reasons. Firstly, the water content of tomatoes is way more than they require. Too much water is not suitable for gerbils; it can lead to diarrhea, loose stool, etc.

Second, tomatoes have a high acidic level, which can cause mouth irritation and issues in their internal lining, leading to mouth and stomach ulcers. So, if your little bud enjoys tomatoes, give them in small quantities with limited servings.

Considering all these factors, it’s best to avoid tomatoes at all and opt for something like gerbil mix, seeds, or commercial treats; it’s more nutritious and healthy.

More Useful Articles:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *