Gerbils are found in a majority of American households. People who have not kept an animal before at home take a start with these small cute creatures. If you are one of those who have just pet a gerbil and are not sure if you can give them common culinary vegetables like tomatoes, you may want to read this article.
Tomatoes are popular salad fruit across the world. People also incorporate it in their savory dishes to add a nice flavor, but the question is, can gerbil eat tomatoes? Do they love it as much as we do? Is it even safe?
Find all the answers to the above questions and extra information about gerbils and tomatoes below!
Gerbil And Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are not toxic for gerbils. But it isn’t suitable for a regular diet. It would be best if you gave it to your pet in a moderate amount.
Tomatoes contain the correct amount of minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. If you offer tomatoes regularly, they might get sick because of the acidity.
Gerbils can eat every part of this fruit, which includes the skin, seed, and fleshy part. You do not need to remove any part before giving it to your pet.
Pros Of Tomatoes For Gerbils
Tomatoes are full of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the better health of your gerbil. Let’s take a look at what essential nutrients 100 g of tomato contains:
- Protein – 0.9g
- Fiber – 1.2 g
- Carbohydrates – 3.2 g
- Fat – 0.2g
- Water – 94.8 g
Not only these, but it also contains vitamin C, vitamin B9, Vitamin K, and potassium.
Wondering how each of these nutrients benefits gerbils? You are at the right place!
- Protein – These are the building blocks of animal tissue and keep a balance on regular tissue turnover and also maintain the functional body proteins like enzymes.
- Fibre – It helps in normalizing intestinal water content. If your gerbil is suffering from constipation, a little amount can ease the pain.
- Carbohydrates – A gerbil’s diet must have 80% of carbohydrates, 15% of protein, and 5% of fat. Carbs provide fuel to the body in the form of energy, and it also keeps the body of animals warm.
- Fat – as mentioned above, gerbils only need 5% of the fat from the total calories. If we talk about tomatoes, it contains 10% of the fat the rest is carbohydrates 71% and proteins 17%.
According to research, the above range of fat is suitable for gerbils and will not make your little friend obese.
- Water – Gerbils who live in the wild meet their water intake needs through the food they eat. As tomatoes are mainly water, you shouldn’t hesitate in giving them in a moderate amount.
- Vitamin C – It is required for healthy gums, to strengthen immunity and also prevent inflammation of joints.
- Vitamin B9 – It is also known as folic acid, and it helps convert food into energy and also make healthy red blood cells.
- Vitamin K – It is essential for blood clotting and healthy bones and regulates calcium levels.
- Potassium – It is required for proper muscle development and a healthy heart.
- Magnesium – is required for good brain health. Deficiency of magnesium can cause seizures, which you might have noticed in pet gerbils before.
What Will Over-Consumption Of Tomato Do To Your Gerbil?
Tomatoes don’t do any harm to gerbils if they eat in moderate amounts. Otherwise, it can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems for your pet.
There are two reasons behind this ill-effect; Tomatoes are acidic. If you offer too many pieces of tomato in a day, the excess acid will interfere with the stomach acid, causing indigestion and heartburn.
Secondly, tomatoes mainly have water, and if they consume it more than their capacity, it can cause diarrhea. Excessive acid in tomatoes can also cause diarrhea.
This health issue will cause your gerbil to lose weight and become lethargic. If you notice symptoms like watery stools, contact a vet.
How Much Is Too Much?
You should not give tomatoes regularly to your gerbils because of the high water content and acidity. Consider tomatoes as a treat for your gerbil that is to be given once a week.
Any fruit and vegetable that you give to your animal should not be more than a tablespoon, But, if you provide tomatoes in such quantity, it will not meet the needs of essential nutrients.
For that reason, adding half a tablespoon of tomato along with regular food in the same quantity will suffice.
Types Of Tomatoes Gerbils Can Eat
There are many types of tomatoes available in the market, but which ones are suitable for your tiny friend, find out below!
Grape tomatoes – These can easily be found in markets because of easy shipping and staying fresh for a long time.
The reason is, grape tomatoes have thick skin and a rough texture. Gerbils enjoy eating grape tomatoes more than the regular ones as they enjoy food with thick, coarse, and fibrous skins.
Cherry tomatoes – These have more water – content than the above ones and also bright-red and more round than grape tomatoes.
They have more seeds and thinner skin which your pet won’t love as much as grape tomatoes, but that doesn’t mean they will not eat at all. They can and they will!
All in all, we can say that tomatoes are not harmful to your tiny friend, but if over consumed, can cause health issues. Moreover, it would help if you preferred giving raw tomatoes as cooking them with extra ingredients is not good. Firstly, cooking tomatoes will cause them to lose their nutrients. Secondly, if you prepare them in any oil or add flavors, it will increase the total fat count and may cause obesity and other health problems too. However, roasted tomatoes work perfectly for gerbils.