Can Donkeys Eat Tomatoes? (Answered)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Donkeys are farm animals who are sometimes kept as pets or companions. They often feed on straw, hay and pasture.

As a donkey owner it is natural to want to supplement their diet with treats and snacks including healthy fruits.

Donkeys will eat almost anything you give them, however this does not make it healthy or beneficial to them. Donkeys cannot eat tomatoes and it is best avoided as tomatoes belong to the deadly nightshade family and they are considered unsafe for donkeys to eat.

This article will dive into why it is not safe for you to feed tomatoes to your donkeys. 

What Are The Health Benefits Of Tomatoes To Donkeys?

Can Donkeys Eat Tomatoes

Although tomatoes are toxic for donkeys and should not be fed to them, it is an healthy vegetable eaten by humans and other animals and can provide the following nutritional value to the body:

  1. Fibre 

Tomatoes contain a lot of fiber. One tomato has nearly 1.5 grams of fiber.

The large percentage of these fibers are insoluble fiber including lignin, hemicellulose, and cellulose. 

These various fibers aid digestion and promote gut health with the help of prebiotics when you eat tomatoes.

  1. Vitamins

Vitamins are essential components of both human and animal life. Tomatoes are high in several vitamins, including vitamin A, folate, and vitamin K1. 

These vitamins are important in several body functions such as healthy skin growth, boosting the immune system and improving body development. 

  1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates make up about 4% of the overall mass of a tomato.

Other nutrients, such as natural carbs which are fructose and glucose, make up nearly 70% of the carbs content. 

All of these nutrients keep the body energized and vibrant all through the day.

  1. Antioxidants 

Tomatoes contain lycopene, an important antioxidant. This type of antioxidant is critical for the health of both humans and animals.

Antioxidants can help prevent and treat a variety of diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

  1. Potassium 

Although it is only found in tiny quantities in tomatoes, potassium is an important nutrient for your bodily functions.

Potassium aids in the improvement of bone, muscle, and healthy skin development.

Also check out this article I wrote on can donkeys eat goat feed

How Often Should I Feed Them Tomatoes?

Tomatoes are one fruit you should avoid feeding to your donkeys because of its toxic and poisonous properties.

Tomatoes belong to the Solanacae family which includes other vegetables like potatoes, egg plants and bell pepper. 

The plants, stem and vine of the tomato plant contain solanine, atropine and hyoscyamine.

These elements are very toxic to donkeys and will cause digestion problems such as slowing down food in the gut and trouble swallowing.

Although the major concentration of the toxins are in the green parts of the plant, including the unripe fruit, traces can still be found in the ripe red tomatoes and it is best to avoid feeding to the donkeys.

Can Baby Donkeys Eat Tomatoes?

No, baby donkeys should not be fed tomatoes as it predisposes them to a risk of harm.

There are other healthy treats and snacks you can offer to your foals to supplement their feed but you should totally avoid feeding tomatoes and others from the nightshade family.

If you have a tomato plot on your homestead, ensure it is not close to where the donkeys are located to avoid them accidentally browsing on the plants and developing problems. 

Can Donkeys Eat Cherry Tomatoes?

Cherry tomatoes are a tomato fruit variety. They are smaller than the regular tomatoes we have.

In addition, cherry tomatoes have a sharp and mildly sour flavor as opposed to the tangy flavor of regular tomatoes.

Donkeys also cannot eat cherry tomatoes as they are a part of the nightshade plant.

Although cherry tomatoes might be smaller and have a slightly different taste, the plants and unripe fruit are still very much as toxic to the donkeys as regular tomatoes. 

Can Donkeys Eat Tomato Plant Leaves?

Tomato plant leaves like every other member of the nightshade contain glycoalkaloids.

These glycoalkaloids are natural insecticides which serve to protect the plant from pests while it is growing and maturing. 

When the leaves and unripe fruits are ingested by animals such as donkeys, horses and dogs it causes problems within their body systems.

A donkey who has eaten tomato plant leaves can start exhibiting symptoms such as colic, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and a weak heart rate.

Wherever you have donkeys ensure there are no tomato plants around to avoid accidentally feeding on them and getting sick.  

Can Donkeys Eat Tomato Vines?

Tomato vines consist of the whole tomato plants including the leaves, growing fruits and stem.

All parts of the tomato plant are toxic for donkeys to eat as the presence of the glycoalkaloid- solanine can lead to serious health problems for the donkeys when ingested.

If you do have donkeys on your homestead, ensure they are well kept separately from any tomato plot you might have.

The donkeys might not know what is good for them and feed on the leaves, causing them to get sick.

Things To Watch Out For Before Feeding Them Tomatoes?

You cannot feed tomatoes to donkeys.

Even though the toxic elements are mostly concentrated in the green parts of the plant i.e the leaves, stem and unripe fruits, there are usually traces left in the ripe fruit and it is best not to gamble with your donkeys’ health.

There are also other toxins such as atropine and hyoscyamine found in the ripe fruit.

Atropine reduces gut mobility and leads to the development of colic while hyoscyamine reduces saliva production and disables the saliva glands.

Donkeys should always be watched for signs of tomato poisoning if you live on a farm or you have a tomato plant nearby.

Veterinary attention should be gotten at the first signs of any ill effects on the donkeys. 

How Can I Feed Tomatoes To Donkeys?

Donkeys cannot eat tomatoes as it is poisonous to them and it should not be fed to them in any way but rather avoided.

You can read up about other interesting treats you can feed to your pet donkeys and how to prepare different treats for them. 


Tomatoes are delicious and healthy fruits which most people use in their day to day cooking and offer many nutritional benefits to us.

To donkeys however, tomatoes are a ‘no no’ and on a list of no go areas. 

Tomatoes belong to the Solanicae nightshade family which has natural pesticides known as glycoalkaloids in them.

These substances protect the plant from pests while it is growing but it is poisonous to donkeys when ingested. 

Solanine, atropine and hyoscyamine can be found mostly in the green parts of the plant but traces are also seen in the ripe fruit.

For this reason tomatoes are avoided for donkeys and you can go ahead to feed them other safe treats such as cucumbers, apples and lettuce. 

Photo of author

About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox