Can dogs eat tomatoes? Yes, dogs can eat tomatoes, but there are some big exceptions and things you should know before giving them to your dog.
It is important to know that tomatoes contain parts of substances that are toxic in large quantities. Dogs should never eat tomato leaves or stalks, and green, unripe tomatoes should also not be eaten. Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family, which means they contain a substance called solanine in the stem and leaves of the tomato plant. This substance is also found in unripe tomatoes before they become ripe and red. Solanine is dangerous to dogs in large amounts, but once the fruit is ripe, the solanine content in the tomato's pulp is no longer toxic. Poisoning from overeating tomatoes is rare in dogs, but can occur when eating undercooked and unripe tomatoes.
In general, cooked ripe tomatoes that are free of the stems, leaves, and skin are safe for dogs to eat, but you should always consult your veterinarian before sharing human foods with your dog.
Are Tomatoes Good for Dogs?
Tomatoes are high in nutrients that are good for dogs when consumed in reasonable amounts. They are low in calories and high in fiber, which is good for digestion.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Lycopene may reduce the risk of heart disease and promote strong bones. Beta-carotene supports cognitive abilities. Vitamin A is known to support vision and vitamin C is good for the skin and coat.
Additionally, tomatoes contain minerals like folic acid and potassium, which support blood pressure and muscle health.
Risks of tomatoes
The most common sign of tomato poisoning in dogs is gastrointestinal upset, but dogs can also experience vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, confusion, an abnormal heart rate, and other symptoms. If you notice signs of tomato poisoning in your dog, you should see a vet.
Products that contain tomatoes, such as sauces, soups, or juices, can be unhealthy for dogs, mostly because they often contain salt, sugar, artificial flavors, or other harmful ingredients. It is best if you do not feed your dog these products.
You can instead make your own tomato products so you know what's in them. A little bit of these products probably won't do much harm, but there's no point in risking your dog's health.
As with almost all foods, there is a risk that your dog will have an allergic reaction to tomatoes. In rare cases, an allergic reaction can lead to anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal condition. If you notice signs such as coughing, sneezing, hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, or other allergy symptoms, you should stop giving your dog tomatoes and contact your veterinarian.
Some dogs have health issues, like acid reflux or gastrointestinal issues, which tomatoes can make worse. It's always best to consult your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your dog.
How should you prepare the dog tomatoes?
If your vet tells you it's okay to feed your dog tomatoes, make sure you choose ripe, red tomatoes that have had the stems, leaves, vines, and skin removed.
Only use ripe or overripe tomatoes. It is safest if you boil the tomato and then peel it. Serve them to your dog without any additives like salt as these can be harmful to dogs. Also, make sure you know the source of the tomatoes so you can avoid pesticides and herbicides that can make your dog sick.
If you serve your dog a tomato-based product like gravy or soup, check the ingredients for anything that may harm your dog. It's best to stick to fresh tomatoes that you prepare yourself.
Symptoms to look out for
The good news is that solanine poisoning in dogs is rare. If you suspect your dog has eaten raw tomatoes, including the stems and leaves, look out for the following symptoms:
- Effects on the heart (such as abnormal heart rhythm or irregular heartbeat)
- Gastrointestinal complaints (upset stomach)
- loss of coordination
- weakness of the muscles
Fortunately, this type of reaction is rare and poisoning is treatable. Your dog would likely need to eat large amounts of the tomato stems and leaves to become seriously ill. However, mild symptoms, including gastrointestinal distress, can occur with even small amounts. If your dog has eaten green tomatoes or tomato leaves or stems, especially in large quantities, keep an eye on him and call your vet to be sure. And if your dog shows any of the above signs, go to the emergency vet immediately.
Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Dogs can eat tomatoes, but there are a few things that are important to be aware of as they are not entirely safe. Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family, which can contain solanine, which is toxic to dogs. Unripe, green tomatoes as well as stems and leaves contain solanine. That's why you should only use overripe red tomatoes. First remove the leaves and the stalk and then boil the tomato. Then, to be on the safe side, remove the skin. You should only feed your dog small amounts.