A very frequent question we get is if dogs can eat tomatoes.
No wonder, considering tomatoes are essential in many households and represent a big part of our diet!
So, can they? Or should tomatoes be on the “to avoid” list for dogs?
Dogs love to eat, that’s a fact. To the point that they can end up eating something they shouldn’t and that’s bad for them. Having in mind they’re not too choosy, it’s your responsibility as a dog owner to know what you can and can’t give your dog.
As always, we’re here to help you. So, today we’re taking a look at tomatoes and whether they’re safe or not. That way, you will be able to cross off one more thing from the list of food you’re unsure about. Let’s get to it!
Can I Give My Dog Tomatoes?
The answer is actually – yes and no! Yes, dogs can eat ripe tomatoes. No, dogs shouldn’t be eating the tomato plant. Namely, the tomato plant contains a lot of Tomatine , an alkaloid toxic to dogs, and humans for that matter.
Ripe tomatoes also have some Tomatine in them, but the amount is so little that it would take incredible amounts of tomatoes for it to become toxic. However, tomatoes are very healthy and can be beneficial to dogs as well.
Naturally, we’ll explain both sides – why tomatoes can be dangerous and what makes them good for dogs. Let’s begin with the downsides!
Are Tomatoes Dangerous To Dogs?
A tomato itself isn’t dangerous to dogs. However, the green parts of the tomato – the plant, vine, leaves and stems – contain two substances that are toxic to dogs. These two substances are Tomatine and Solanine. You could say that they’re acting as protectors of the tomato in a way.
So, as protectors they’re trying to keep everyone away from the tomato. And their way of doing that is by being toxic and causing various side effects and unhealthy symptoms in dogs.
The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart beat, breathing difficulties, drooling, dilated pupils, muscle weakness and lack of coordination. These are not that mild symptoms as you can see. Luckily, it would take large amounts of tomatoes for the symptoms to become fatal.
Another dangerous substance in the green parts of the tomato is Atropine. This substance causes atropine poison if consumed in big amounts. The symptoms of atropine poisoning are tremors and arrhythmia.
Finally, tomatoes shouldn’t be given to arthritic dogs as they only make the problems worse by meddling with the calcium consumption. This goes for humans too.
For all the reasons mentioned above, it’s important not to give your dog any parts of the tomato except the tomato fruit! Also, if you have tomatoes in your garden make sure your dog can’t access it and eat what it shouldn’t. Now, let’s take a look at the positive things about tomatoes!
Why Are Tomatoes Beneficial?
Did you know that the tomato is actually a fruit, not a vegetable? And a very healthy fruit for that matter! Let us tell you why.
First of all, tomatoes, just like papaya, contain an important antioxidant called Lycopene – working against cancer and degenerative diseases. Tomatoes are also very rich in vitamins, in particular Vitamin A, C, B6 and B3. Their levels of potassium, fiber and phosphorus are very high as well.
Lastly, tomatoes can contribute to the bone health, in dogs as in humans. Its beta-carotene is also a health contributor which leads to better vision and a stronger immune system.
How Much Tomatoes Do I Give My Dog?
Even though tomatoes can be very healthy, it’s important to understand that occasionally giving tomatoes to your dog will do the job. There’s no need to feed your pet tomatoes every day, the benefits won’t be any bigger!
Everything in moderation, as usual. You should also take into consideration your dog’s size and weight, as not all dogs can eat the same amounts of food.
If your dog likes tomatoes you can use them as occasional treats. Cherry tomatoes serve this purpose perfectly, like in the video below!
How Should I Serve Tomatoes To My Dog?
There are many ways to include tomatoes in your dog’s diet, but most importantly – remove all the green parts of the tomato and serve it only ripe!
It’s also a good idea to buy ripe tomatoes from the local market, as the Tomatine level is the lowest in these tomatoes. As tomatoes continue to ripen with time and by the time they get to the store their Tomatine level has decreased.
You can cook the tomato slightly, if you want to avoid allergy and intoxication. This way you’re keeping all the benefits, so if you prefer cooking tomatoes it’s fine as well.
Another thing many people wonder about is the tomato peel. Should you peel it off or is it safe? Actually, tomato peels are healthy for dog as they are the holders of the antioxidant Lycopene mentioned above.
Finally, we have to repeat this just to be on the safe side – green tomatoes are a big “no-no” as they have very high levels of Tomatine and Solanine! As you now know, these substances can create big problems for your pet so you should prevent that from happening.
Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce And Tomato Soup?
You finished your spaghetti dinner and you have some tomato sauce left? Can you give it to your dog?
This depends on the sauce. Usually, tomato sauce includes onion and garlic – both toxic to dogs. Other spices and additives in sauces are also undesirable dog food. However, if your tomato sauce is completely plain and unscented there’s no reason why you shouldn’t share some with your dog.
The same goes for tomato soup. If plain – go ahead and share some with your pet! It’s not the tomatoes that are bad for dogs, but other ingredients that can often be found in sauces and soups.
What Do I Do If I Notice Intoxication Symptoms?
Has you dog found some tomato bushes on his own and decided to treat himself? Or has he simply found tomatoes in the house and eaten too many of them? What do you do in these situations?
As mentioned, intoxication is not likely to happen from ripe tomatoes unless your dog has very large amounts. However, some dogs have problems digesting tomatoes properly and can have trouble with even small amounts. Not to mention situations when a dog has eaten tomato plants or stem!
Whatever the situation, you have to be observant in the case you notice something. Look out for symptoms such as vomiting, weakness, drooling, severe breathing etc. If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible where proper diagnose and treatment will be established.
If you take your dog to the vet in time, there will usually be no problems. It only becomes fatal if you don’t do anything about it, but the chances of that happening are very slim.
Tomatoes are safe for dogs, as long as they’re ripe and without the green parts. These parts and green tomatoes contain two toxic substances to dogs, Lycopene and Solanine, that can be very dangerous to dogs. This is why you have to make sure your dog doesn’t eat tomatoes directly from the bushes.
If served properly, that is ripe and red, tomatoes can be very beneficial. Namely, they fight against cancer, are rich in vitamins, fiber and potassium and make the bones stronger. However, no matter the benefits, serve the tomatoes only occasionally, there’s no reason to go overboard.
Finally, keep in mind that dogs don’t have the same nutritional needs as we do, so a quality dog food can’t be replaced by fruit and vegetables, no matter how healthy and beneficial. A combination of dog food and occasional treats in various forms is a good way to go!