Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Written by Anna Hollisey
Short answer: dogs can eat tomatoes, but not in large amounts, and only if they’re ripe. Tomatoes are bursting with antioxidants, fiber and vitamins: just like humans, dogs can benefit from all those nutrients. But beware the green tomato…
Is Tomato Safe for Dogs?
Tomatoes come from the nightshade family. Like potatoes, they contain a deadly toxin – Solanine, also called Tomatine – which can, even in small amounts, cause some level of irritation in the digestive system.
Solanine is concentrated in the tomato vines and leaves. Green tomatoes also contain a high level of Solanine. But the American Pet Poison Helpline says that dogs would have to eat a large amount of tomato plant or green tomato to get a toxic dose.
At a high dose, symptoms of Solanine or Tomatine poisoning can include:
- Abdominal pain
In a worse case, tremors, breathing difficulty, and lethargy or depression. However, this is rare for domestic cats and dogs.
To be safe, call your vet if you think your dog has eaten a large amount of tomatoes, especially if there’s a risk that they were green. Smaller dogs and puppies won’t need to ingest as much tomato to get negative effects, and early treatment can make a big difference.
Is Tomato Good For Dogs?
Ripe tomatoes are great for healthy dogs. Each one is loaded with good stuff like:
- Fiber - for healthy digestive systems
- Vitamin C - fights aging and reduces inflammation
- Vitamin K - supports protein synthesis and healthy blood
- Potassium - for the heart and nervous system
- Lycopene - an antioxidant which promotes healthy skin and might even fight cancer cells
Introducing Your Dog To Tomatoes
When introducing a new food, you should always do it in small amounts and allow time to observe any effects on your dog.
That’s because dogs can have unpredictable food allergies – just like people. Tomatoes could give them hives or breathing difficulties, which will require a trip to the vet.
Choose tomatoes that are ripe, without green parts, and remove stems before feeding to your dog. Cooked tomatoes are good, but be sure you haven’t cooked them with onions or garlic (commonly found in manufactured pizza or pasta sauce), which are both toxic for dogs.
Tomatoes are fairly acidic, and can disrupt the balance in your dog’s digestive system. So don’t feed your dog too many at once, even if he decides that he loves them!
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