Tomatoes are a staple in most households, but should you feed them to your dog? Some say yes, and others say no, but the answer lies in the color of the tomato, along with what part of the plant you are trying to feed to your furry friend.
Always consult your vet before feeding your dog. As pet parents, we love to make sure our furry friends have delicious treats and are well cared for.
Should You Feed Tomatoes to Your Dog?
The topic of feeding a small number of tomatoes to dogs is highly debated.
Both red tomatoes and green tomatoes are some of the most commonly eaten fruits in America, but are they safe for your dog?
Americans, on average, eat almost twenty-five pounds of tomatoes every year.
Some Tomatoes are OK to Feed Your Dog
In short, tomatoes are totally fine for your dog as long as they are completely red in color.
About the Tomato Plant
Tomato plants are part of the nightshade family of vegetables, and white potatoes, most peppers, and eggplants are also a part of this family group.
Nightshade plants contain both Alpha tomatine and Solanine. Both of these chemical compounds are toxic not only to dogs but to humans as well.
Do Tomatoes Contain Toxins for Dogs?
Solanine and Alpha tomatine are found in the green parts of the tomato plant, such as unripe tomatoes, tomato stems, tomato plant roots, and green leaves.
The toxicity levels are up to 5% in the leaves and stems of the tomato plants and in the unripened tomatoes.
As the fruits mature and grow (turn red), they start to lose toxicity. This makes them become safe for your dog.
You will want to keep your dog away from the stems and leaves as they never end up losing toxicity; this can lead to tomatine poisoning.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has some additional information about tomatoes and tomatine poisoning.
What Health Benefits Do Tomatoes Have For Dogs?
Tomatoes have always been known to be healthy and beneficial to humans, but did you know that a fully ripe tomato is also loaded with benefits for your dogs?
Giving your dog tomatoes can provide them with wonderful health advantages.
*Disclaimer, we are not vets but we perform research on all of our written content to share with you. NOTE: Always contact your vet with questions and concerns.
It is a good idea to contact your vet and discuss your dog’s food and treat choices prior to introducing human foods and new food into your dog’s diet.
Tomatoes Contain Vitamans Your Dog Needs
This may come as a surprise, but tomatoes are loaded with soluble fiber, beta-carotene, potassium, antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, and lycopene.
All of these nutrients can benefit the overall health of your dog. Tomatoes are also extremely low in calories which is an added bonus, especially for diabetic pups.
Vitamins and Nutrients in a Tomato
How the nutrients in tomatoes benefit your dog:
- Vitamins A and C – Vitamin A is well known to support the function of cells along with their reproduction.
Vitamin A also aids the efficiency of the immune system, and once inside the body, it breaks down to become beta-carotene.
Vitamin C is an extremely powerful antioxidant that has the ability to seek and destroy free radicals that cause damage to cells and inflammation within the body.
Dogs have the ability to synthesize vitamin C naturally, so they can be at an added risk of toxicity due to high levels of vitamin C in food and supplements.
This includes treats, snacks, and even regular dog food.
- Lycopene and beta carotene – Both of these are extremely powerful antioxidants known as carotenoids.
They have the ability to seek and destroy any free radical molecules that may be present in the body.
They can also eliminate the damage that occurs from the presence of free radicals.
Lycopene and beta carotene cause the tomatoes to have their lovely signature, red coloration.
- Dietary fiber – Fiber is essential for every animal or human in order to keep regular bowel functions moving. Fiber may also aid in weight management if fed correctly.
The fiber found within tomatoes is classified as an insoluble fiber or prebiotic, which aids in the colonization of healthy microbes within the digestive tract.
- Potassium -Potassium is an essential mineral that supports proper kidney and heart functions.
Potassium also regulates bone growth and density, fluid levels, and the development of muscles within the body.
Many of these nutrients found within the ripe tomato fruit are essential for the proper functions that take place within our bodies and our dogs.
Potential Health Risks of Tomatoes For Dogs
Note: When feeding tomatoes in large amounts that add up to more than just an occasional treat, there can be health hazards that come along with overfeeding.
Symptoms of Tomatine Poisoning in Dogs
Many people have home gardens, and with a home garden generally come tomatoes.
If you have a dog, you will want to ensure that they either do not go outside alone or that they are fenced in properly to avoid accidental ingestion of large amounts of unripe tomatoes.
There are many signs that point toward tomatine poisoning. They are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle weakness
- Allergic reactions
- A loss of coordination
- Gastrointestinal issues/ abdominal pain
- Abnormal drooling
- Rapid heart rape
- Confusion that is usually accompanied by lethargy or drowsiness
- Loss of appetite
Most dogs will only ever get a mild case of vomiting or gastrointestinal upset if they have only eaten a small amount of the green portions of the tomato plant.
Keep in mind that there is no agreed “safe” amount of green tomato products that are considered palatable and safe for dogs, especially for small dogs.
Types of Tomato Products That Are Potentially Beneficial For a Dog
This product is derived from crushing the skin, seeds, and the pulp of ripe tomatoes.
It is put into many different brands of commercial dog food and can hold numerous health benefits for your dog.
Tomato pomace is also a great way to get soluble fiber into your dog’s diet and has added benefits such as reducing the amount of inflammation and improving the immune system.
Cooked and Dried Tomatoes
Both cooked and dried tomatoes are safe for your dog as long as they are fully ripe.
If the slice of tomato has any green in it, it is better to not feed it and run the risk of accidental poisoning.
You will also want to make sure there are no added ingredients if feeding cooked or dried products. These additional ingredients can cause an upset upset stomach.
Condiments and Canned Tomatoes
Feeding canned tomatoes is also ok, but you want to make sure tomatoes are the only ingredient.
Tomato-based products such as ketchup or other sauces like pasta sauce usually have far too many ingredients in them to really be very safe for your dog.
Dog owners should air on the side of caution regarding any condiment or sauce.
Ways to Include Tomatoes in Your Dog’s Diet
There are many ways that you can safely and even have fun feeding tomatoes to your dog.
All you need to do is make sure that no portions of the tomato are green and that there are no added ingredients that could potentially pose side effects to your dog or be harmful.
There are many different recipes for fun tomato treats for your dog. You can make it an enjoyable family event to try new tomato recipes and then share them with your dog.
Do dogs like to eat tomatoes?
Yes, dogs like to eat tomatoes just like you! They are tasty and maybe they know they are good for them.
Just remember, don’t feed your dog too many tomatoes at one time.
Can dogs eat tomato soup?
It is not recommended to feed your dog tomato soup as it can contain different ingredients that could be harmful to them. Ask your vet.
What should I do if I think my dog may have eaten green tomatoes or stems and leaves of the plant?
The best thing you can do for your dog if you suspect they may have eaten green portions of the plant is to immediately call your vet or take them to the clinic.
Carefully watch for symptoms of tomatine and solanine poisoning in your dog.
What About Fried Green Tomatoes? Does cooking them take out the tomatine and solanine?
Many people enjoy eating fried green tomatoes, but even though they are cooked, this does not get rid of the tomatine or the Solanine, which can poison your dog.
Make sure that your dog does not get into any of the fried green tomatoes you make. If they do, you will need to call your vet right away.
Tomatoes Can Be a Good Source of Vitamins and Fiber For Your Dog
Dogs can enjoy tomatoes with you in moderation as long as you pay close attention to the color of the fruit.
Make sure you feed them only a few, but if your dog enjoys accompanying you in the kitchen while you experiment with recipes or out in the garden, feel free to give them one or two.