Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? Our Vet Weighs In
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? Our Vet Weighs In
- Tomatoes can be safe for dogs to eat, but only if they are ripe (but not overripe).
- The green parts of the tomato plant are toxic and should be kept out of reach from your dog.
- When used as part of a balanced diet, tomatoes can provide a rich spectrum of nutrients.
- If you think your dog may have eaten the toxic part of a tomato plant, then consult your vet immediately
Most dogs will eat absolutely anything you put in front of them, and many dogs will be found begging for scraps at dinner time, but some human foods can be toxic to dogs. Therefore, it is important to know what is safe to feed to dogs and which foods can be harmful.
So, what category do tomatoes fall under? Are tomatoes toxic to dogs? Well, in most cases the answer is no, but things aren’t necessarily as simple as you might think.
When are Tomatoes Bad for Dogs?
Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family of vegetables and contain poisonous compounds called tomatine and solanine, which serve as a natural defense against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. However, different parts of the tomato plant contain different amounts of these toxic substances.
The ripe tomato contains very small amounts of solanine and so is considered safe to feed to your dog, but the green parts of the plant such as the leaves, stem, and unripe fruit contain much more and so should be avoided. Younger plants will also have higher concentrations of these chemicals. For those of us that buy our vegetables from the supermarket, this shouldn’t be an issue, as we are rarely looking to come home with unripe tomatoes. However, for those dog owners with a keen interest in home growing their produce, and perhaps making green tomato chutney and other such preserves, the tomato plant should be securely fenced off or their dog should be closely supervised when roaming the garden, and all picked green tomatoes put out of harm’s way.
Whilst tomatoes must be ripe it should also be noted that overripe fruit ferments as it breaks down which can cause intestinal problems. So never give your dog a tomato that is soft, blistered, and breaking down.
Tomatoes have high acidity and whilst not usually a problem this can give some dogs an upset stomach. Always give in moderation and be vigilant to any undesirable effects, especially when introducing tomatoes to your dog’s diet for the first time. Tomatoes are best treated as a snack, in slices, and should not be a replacement for your dog’s usual diet. Here’s some great information about feeding tomatoes to dogs.
It is also worth noting that in some rare cases, your dog may have an allergic reaction to the tomato, even if they have only eaten the ripe tomato fruit. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from diarrhea to itchy skin and even anaphylaxis. So, it would be best to avoid tomatoes, despite their health benefits, if this sounds like your dog.
If your dog is generally an allergic or sensitive dog, this allergy medicine for dogs contains a powerhouse of natural ingredients and may help provide relief from other seasonal and environmental allergens.
Can my dog eat Ketchup or tomato sauce?
If you want to feed your dog tomato-derived products such as tomato ketchup or tomato sauce pay close attention to the other ingredients, as it is these rather than the tomatoes that might be the issue. In many cases, these products contain other harmful substances such as garlic, onions, and chives as well as other potentially dangerous chemicals and preservatives. For this reason, these products are not suitable for your dog. Homemade tomato sauces can be given as long as you avoid the aforementioned toxic ingredients and only use ripe tomatoes in the cooking process.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
If your dog has ingested only small amounts of the tomato plant, they may show no symptoms at all, but keep an eye out for any mild signs such as Vomiting, Diarrhea, and lethargy.
Very large quantities of the green stem leaves or vines of the tomato plant must be eaten for your dog to show severe symptoms such as incoordination, excessive salivation, dilated pupils, an increased heart rate, or difficulty breathing, in addition to the symptoms mentioned above.
Should your dog show any of these symptoms of tomato poisoning, take them to the vet immediately.
What is the Treatment of Tomato Poisoning in Dogs?
Depending on the amount of toxin ingested by your dog and the symptoms exhibited, your veterinarian may recommend starting your dog on fluid therapy to replenish any electrolytes or fluids lost due to vomiting or diarrhea. If large quantities have been consumed, then gastric lavage might be performed – this involves pumping the contents of the stomach out through a tube to remove toxins before they can be absorbed by the body. Thankfully, in most cases the prognosis is good should treatment be initiated quickly.
How are tomatoes good for dogs?
So now we know that the ripe tomato is safe to give to your dog, the question is, should you? And is there any benefit in doing so?
Yes! Tomatoes are very rich in nutrients, and many pet food manufacturers will add parts of the skin, pulp, and even seeds of uncooked tomatoes into their formula.
The fleshy parts of tomatoes are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which support normal bowel movements and healthy digestion.
Tomatoes are also packed full of phytochemicals such as lycopene which promotes strong and healthy bones, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, and may even aid in cancer prevention. In addition to these benefits, tomatoes are full of antioxidants and vitamins such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Vitamin A is very important in maintaining good vision, and Vitamin C aids immunity against infectious diseases. Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium which is important in regulating blood pressure as well as ensuring proper function of nerves and muscles.
It’s extremely important to make sure your dog is getting the micronutrients they need to be healthy. These supplements for dogs contain ALL the nutritional vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential omega-3 fatty acids that will help your puppy or senior dog to stay healthy, happy, and in great tail-wagging condition!
Dr. Alexander Crow is an RCVS licensed Veterinary Surgeon currently practicing at Buttercross Veterinary Center, a small animal accredited veterinary practice in Nottingham, United Kingdom. He earned his Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree at The Royal Veterinary College of London, recently named one of the top three veterinary schools in the world. With special interests in soft-tissue and neurologic surgery, Dr. Alex plans to pass the board certification examination needed to earn the title of Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon in the next year. When he’s not keeping our furry family members healthy, Dr. Alex enjoys traveling to Europe, painting, and staying fit.