Can dogs eat tomatoes? The answer to that question is a bit more complicated than first seems. While tomatoes are great for humans to eat, there are a few things you need to consider before giving them to your dog.
You might have heard that tomatoes can have some health benefits; however, there are also some serious potential risks if you are not carful feeding them to your canine.
Today, we are going to have a look at whether tomatoes are safe for dogs to eat and if they are good or bad for dogs. We are also going to look at different food products that contain tomato, and see if they are ok for your dog to eat.
In this article you will learn that some parts of a tomato plant are safe for dogs, and some are not. Dogs can also be allergic to tomatoes as well, although this is usually quite rare.
Once you have finished reading this article, you will have all the information needed to answer the question “Can dogs eat tomatoes safely?” and decide whether to feed them to your dog.
Fun Facts About Tomatoes
Tomatoes originated in western South America and the Aztec word tomatl was the inspiration for the Spanish word “tomate”, from which the English word tomato was formed. The Spanish first discovered the tomato from their contact with the Aztec civilisation during the colonisation of the Americas.
Interestingly, a legal dispute in the United States in 1887, lead to tomatoes being classed as a vegetable by the US Supreme Court in 1893. This was because they are generally served with dinner and not dessert. Botanically, tomatoes are still classed as fruit.
Are Tomatoes Safe for Dogs to Eat?
The question of “are tomatoes safe for dogs?” is a bit more complicated than a yes, no answer. Some parts are perfectly safe for your dog to consume, while others are not.
It is important to remember that tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, and parts of them contain substances that can be toxic in large doses. While poising from overeating tomatoes is quite rare in dogs, it is best to know what parts to avoid.
Below we have listed some of the parts of a tomato or tomato plant you should never give to your dog.
- Green, unripe tomatoes
The parts listed above are toxic to dogs because they contain a few different components that are harmful to dogs, including solanine (tomatine in tomatoes). Solanine is found in the leaves, stem and in green tomatoes, along with plants in the same family. It is harmful to dogs in large quantities and can cause some serious health complications.
Luckily for dogs, solanine is mostly concentrated in the green parts of a tomato plant rather than the ripe, red fruit. Ripe tomatoes do contain trace amounts of solanine; however, the amount is so small that red tomatoes are generally considered safe for dogs to eat.
While it is great news that ripe tomatoes are safe for dogs to eat, it is still problematic for those of us who love to grow our own tomatoes in our garden.
Keeping dogs away from certain places is always a battle and stopping them from chomping down on a nice tomato plant is easier said than done. If you decide to grow tomatoes in your garden, make sure you put them in a place where your canine companion is unable to each them.
Can Puppies Eat Tomatoes?
We now know that ripe tomatoes are ok for dogs to eat and the green parts of tomatoes are not, but what about puppies? Puppies tend to have weaker immune systems that are still developing, so the effects of harmful parts of tomatoes may be stronger. We recommend you avoid giving tomatoes to your puppy, until they get a bit older.
Nutritional Value of Tomato (100g)
- Calories – 18
- Water – 95 %
- Protein – 0.9 g
- Carbs – 3.9 g
- Sugar – 2.6 g
- Fiber – 1.2 g
- Fat – 0.2 g
- Saturated – 0.03 g
- Monounsaturated – 0.03 g
- Polyunsaturated – 0.08 g
- Omega-3 – 0 g
- Omega-6 – 0.08 g
How Are Tomatoes Good for Dogs?
Tomatoes are loaded in good nutrients and minerals, and are good for dogs when consumed in appropriate quantities. They are low in calories and high in fibre. Additionally, tomatoes contain large amounts of beta-carotene and lycopene, which can help to fight certain diseases.
Tomatoes are also loaded with vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin B12.
We’ve listed some of the benefits of tomatoes below.
Vitamin C – Boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also important for your dog’s skin condition and can help wound healing.
Vitamin A – Is good for your dog’s vision. Like Vitamin C, it is also beneficial to your dog’s skin.
Beta-carotene – Can improve cognition and helps to prevent metabolic syndrome.
Lycopene – Promotes healthy, strong bones and aids in the prevention of cancer. It can also help to reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease.
Fibre – Aids your dog’s digestive system
Minerals such as folate and potassium – helps to promote healthy blood pressure and muscle health.
You will have to decide if the health benefits of giving tomatoes outweighs the possible negatives. It may be best to talk to your vet before supplying your dog with them. We have outlined some of the negatives below.
How Are Tomatoes Bad for Dogs?
We know that green tomatoes and the leaves, stems and roots of tomato plants are toxic to dogs. While your dog would have to eat large amounts of them, you should always have this in the back of your mind.
The most common sign of tomato poisoning in dogs is gastrointestinal issues; however, dogs can also suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, an abnormal heart rate, and a few other symptoms. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately.
When you give your dog ripe tomatoes, you should make sure you wash them thoroughly and even remove the skin if possible.
This is important because non-organic tomatoes are often grown with the use of many different pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilisers, insecticides, dyes and synthetic agents. Organic tomatoes will have less of these; however, it is still a good practice to was them thoroughly before serving them to your dog.
Unknown chemicals used to grow tomatoes can make your dog sick, so it is best to be cautious.
While ripe tomatoes are generally safe for dogs to eat, the skin is another place that can harbour toxins or unknown chemical products. The risks however, are probably quite low.
Some dogs also suffer from medical conditions, such as acid reflex or other gastrointestinal issues, which can be aggravated by tomatoes.
All things considered, ripe tomatoes that have been washed thoroughly are safe for dogs to eat in moderation. Just remember to keep an eye out for any symptoms that may be a sign tomato poisoning.
What About Allergies to Tomatoes in Dogs?
Like all things, tomatoes can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs. Tomato allergies are rare, however, they can occur.
Ultimately, there is no real way to discern if your dog has an allergy to tomatoes before they eat one.
If you are feeding tomatoes to your dog for the first time, then you should watch out for signs of an allergic reaction. You will generally notice any symptoms within the first hour of your dog ingesting tomatoes, although it can take more or less time. We’ve put together a list of some of the signs you should watch out for. These symptoms may be caused by an allergic reaction to other food items as well. They are as follows:
- Rashes on their skin
- Gas and strange bowel movements
- Itching, scratching and licking in excess
- Hot pink or red ear skin
- Respiratory issues
As you can see, if your dog is suffering from an allergic reaction to tomatoes, the symptoms are different to if they are suffering from tomato (tomatine) poisoning. You can see those symptoms earlier in this article, or check out the American Kennel Club for more information on tomato poisoning.
If your dog is showing any signs of an allergic reaction or tomatine poising, you should take your dog to the vets immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Cherry Tomatoes and Other Varieties
There are so many different varieties of tomatoes from cherry to beefsteak, and everything in-between. Are any of these different varieties more or less toxic to dogs?
The answer is no, not really. Cherry tomatoes, beefsteak and other varieties are safe for dogs to eat as long as they are nice and ripe. Remember that you may want to feed less of a larger variety of tomato to your dog.
When it comes to the plant of tomatoes, there is no difference as well. All varieties of tomato plant are toxic to dogs!
Can Dogs Eat Tinned or Canned Tomatoes
Cooked or canned tomatoes are perfectly safe for dogs to eat; however, there are a few things to consider. Some of these tomato products can contain added salt or extra ingredients that can be bad for dogs, or upset their stomach. Only ever feed tomatoes that have no extra additives.
Additionally, some cooked or tinned tomatoes can contain green or unripe tomatoes, so watch out for that.
One benefit of cooked or tinned tomatoes is that the lycopene contained in them can be more easily absorbed by the body, which is a major health benefit.
Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce or Tomato Soup?
You can feed tomato sauce or soup to dogs, but you need to remember that the additional ingredients added to these products can be bad for your dog. Tomato sauce is generally loaded in salt, which is bad for dogs and the same can be said about tomato soup.
Additionally, be careful about feeding tomato products to your dog where you do not know the source of the tomatoes. They could have a whole load of chemicals on them, or green tomatoes could have been used in the manufacture of the product.
Some other products that may be used in tomato sauce or soup include garlic and onion, which are highly toxic to dogs. Avoid any products with these in them.
We recommend that you just stick to regular tomatoes, or plain cooked ones from a tin.
Help! My Dog Ate a Green Tomato or Plant!
If your dog has ingested a green tomato or the plant, don’t panic. Dogs who have only eaten a small amount will probably be fine, unless they are allergic to tomatoes. Keep an eye on your dog for the next few hours and note down any symptoms they may be showing.
If your dog has ingested a large amount, it is best you contact your vet straight away. Your vet should be able to give you advice on what to do if your take has eaten large amounts and determine whether any further action should be taken.
If it is your first time feeding your dog a ripe, red tomato, you should monitor them over the next couple of hours to make sure they are not showing any signs of an allergic reaction or tomatine poisoning. You should also check their stools for the next day or so, to see for any signs of gastrointestinal issues.
Summing Up Can My Dog Eat Tomatoes
As you have probably figured, there is a bit more to the question than meets the eye. If there is one thing to remember from this article is that, red is okay and green is bad.
For most dogs, tomatoes in moderation is perfectly fine and safe; however, we suggest that you do not build your dog’s diet on them.