Oh we’re getting into tomato season friends, and who doesn’t live a nice slice of tomato on their sandwich, some bursting little cherry tomats in their salad, or a rich, flavorful spaghetti sauce made with a bushel of fresh red ones?
I do, I do!
But what about our pups? Can dogs eat tomatoes? Can they enjoy them alongside us or should tomatoes be off the menu for our canine companions?
Whether you like to share dinner with your pups, or have vines growing in the back garden, this is an important question. Let’s dive in.
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Can does eat tomatoes? The short answer is yes.
Some say no – and this is probably why. Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family – and nightshades contain an alkaloid called solanine, which is toxic in high concentrations. Ripe tomatoes, however, contain more tomatine instead of solanine. This makes them much less toxic than other plants in this family.
In fact, in moderation, tomatoes can be good for dogs. They’re low in calories and high in fiber, which is good for digestion. They’re also rich in various vitamins and nutrients, such as:
- lycopene – known to reduce the risk of heart disease and promote strong bones
- beta-carotene – can improve cognition
- vitamin A – helps with vision
- vitamin C – good for the skin
They also have minerals such as folate and potassium, which help with blood pressure and muscle health.
There’s just one catch – they have to be ripe. You want nice ripe, red tomatoes in your dog’s dish.
Serve them to your dog fresh, either on their own or mixed with her regular food. And, although you might like your tomatoes with a little salt, leave that off for Fido.
Also, avoid pesticides and herbicides – they’re no good for you and no good for your dog. As always, organic is best if that’s workable for you.
Ripe vs. Unripe
Now, here’s where things get tricky.
We mentioned only go for ripe tomatoes, and that’s because those red beauties contain more tomatine than solanine.
The green parts of a tomato, including the leaves, stem, and vine, do have higher concentrations of solanine. Generally the total amounts are small, but they’re higher than ripe tomatoes.
While your dog won’t be bothered by a small, green cherry tomato, if you have a garden full of tomato plants in the backyard, and your pup goes to town every time she’s out there, you may have an issue. If you have a tomato garden, keep your dog away from it. Perhaps create a barrier of some kind, or put up some decorative fencing to keep your pet out of that area.
Also notable – products that contain tomatoes, such as sauces, soups, or juices, may use unripened tomatoes, so it’s best to keep them off the menu. They may also contain other ingredients, such as xylitol, that are also not good for dogs. When in doubt, check the ingredient list.
If your dog does get into the tomato plants, you may notice these symtpoms:
- gastrointestinal upset
- vomiting and/or diarrhea
- abnormal heart rate
If you notice these signs of tomato poisoning in your dog, head to the vet.
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes: Final Thoughts
So, can dogs eat tomatoes?
Yes, in moderation, and as long as they’re ripe, tomatoes can form a healthy part of a balanced diet for your beloved pooch. Like so many other veggies, tomatoes contain healthy vitamins and minerals that boost health and longevity, keeping your pet health and happy! Next time you’re making a sale, toss a slice down to your pup and let her enjoy!
The Veterinarious team is made up of pet owners, pet lovers, and pet experts from around the globe! We’ve banded together to create a community of like-minded pet people to give you the latest research and health advice for your beloved beast!