Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? Is a Tomato Bad for a Dog

As man’s best friend, dogs tend to want to share whatever we’re eating, no matter what it is. Even if they can’t see it or smell it and may even not like it, they’ll at least sit and beg you for a bite. Veterinarians do not generally recommend feeding table scraps to your dog, but some foods are fine to give every once in a while, as a treat. It can especially be fine if you feed your dog in small, incremental amounts.

While it’s tempting—and fun–to feed our dogs, it can also be very dangerous if you accidentally feed your pet something that may be harmful to them. You should always consult your veterinarian before sharing human foods with your dog, to ensure that you are taking care of your pet in the best way possible.

Can dogs eat tomatoes? Are tomatoes at all safe for dogs to eat? The short answer is yes, however, there are some big exceptions and things you should know before you give them to your dog. They may contain substances that are toxic, and although poisoning from tomatoes is rare in dogs, it can happen. Tomatoes are okay to feed to your dog every once in a while, as long as owners are aware of the risks.

How are Tomatoes Potentially Good for Dogs?

Tomatoes are rich in nutrients that are good for both humans and dogs, if consumed in appropriate quantities. In fact, tomatoes can be good for dogs. They’re high in fiber, which is good for digestion. They also contain lycopene, which reduces the risk for heart disease and promotes strong bones. They have other minerals such as folate and potassium, which help with blood pressure and muscle health, and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene can improve cognition.  

When Are Tomatoes Bad for Dogs?

As with almost all foods, there is a chance that your dog may be allergic to tomatoes. If you’re asking yourself whether dogs can have tomatoes, ask yourself first if your dog has the potential to have an adverse reaction. In some rare cases, an allergic reaction to this fruit may lead to anaphylaxis, which is a potentially life-threatening condition. If you see any signs of an allergic reaction in your dog, such as sneezing, hives, coughing, swelling, or difficulty breathing, contact your vet right away.

Some dogs also have medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal issues or acid reflux, that may be aggravated by tomatoes. It’s always best to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any new kinds of foods. Make sure you are also always up to date with your dog’s health history.

The Risks of Tomatoes for Your Dog

Besides posing a problem for dogs who have allergies and medical conditions, there are several other risks associated with tomatoes. These risks include:

Tomato Products

Products that contain tomatoes, such as soups, juices, and sauces, may be especially unhealthy for dogs. They often contain sugar, salt, chemicals, artificial flavors, and other hidden ingredients that are harmful. Rather than give your dog soup or juice, if you are going to give them any tomato at all, it’s best to keep it to the fruit itself. This way you’ll ensure your dog is getting merely pure tomato; there’s no point in risking your dog’s health.

Solanine

Tomatoes belong in the nightshade family of vegetables, which means that the plants contain a few components that are harmful to certain animals. Solanine is included in these components. It is a substance found in the stem and leaves of the tomato and related plants, and it is harmful to dogs in large quantities.

Luckily for dogs who enjoy eating tomatoes, solanine is mostly concentrated in the green parts of the tomato plant. The leaves, stems, and young, green tomatoes tend to contain higher amounts of solanine than the ripe red fruit—red tomatoes are generally safe to feed to dogs. This is still problematic for those of us who keep tomato plants in our gardens, however; make sure your dog stays away from the plants and never chews on the stems or leaves.

Tomatine Poisoning

If your dog has consumed the green parts of a tomato plant, or has eaten a small, green unripe tomato, watch them carefully for any signs of tomatine poisoning. Clinical signs of this poisoning include gastrointestinal upset, cardiac problems, loss of coordination, tremor, seizures, and muscle weakness. The good news is that this poisoning, and its symptoms, are rare. The prognosis for dogs with tomatine poisoning is generally good.

How Can You Give Tomatoes to Your Dog?

If you enjoy preparing tomatoes for your dog, and your vet confirms that it’s perfectly fine, make sure you choose ripe, red tomatoes that have the vines, stems, and leaves removed. You can serve tomato to your dog fresh without any additives that humans enjoy such as salt; these can be harmful to dogs. Make sure you are aware of the source of the tomatoes as well. This way, you can avoid any pesticides or herbicides; these can make your dog very sick too. If you serve your dog a tomato-based product such as sauce or soup, or give them a dish that includes these, check the ingredients list for anything that may pose harm to your dog. In general, it’s safest to stick to tomatoes you’ve grown yourself. Can dogs eat cherry tomatoes? The answer is yes, as cherry tomatoes are ripe and red.

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes Conclusion

So, can dogs eat tomatoes? As with many human foods in consideration for dogs, the answer is both yes and no. Generally, tomatoes are okay for dogs. Ripe tomatoes are nontoxic to dogs, and can be fed in moderation as an occasional snack. Unripe, green tomatoes and the leaves and stems of tomato plants, however, should be avoided. While you can feed your dog little pieces of red tomatoes every once in a while, don’t let them eat the green parts; fence off your garden area, or supervise your dog when they’re around tomato plants. As with every human food, make tomatoes a special treat, and feed your dog only in small amounts.

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
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