Have you ever been making a delicious salad with your dog waiting eagerly underneath you for trimmings and dropped ingredients, and thought – can dogs eat tomatoes?
So many foods that are healthy for us turn out to be toxic for dogs, and so it is always good to question these things, to be on the safe side, before tossing titbits to your dog.
In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the humble tomato and work out whether it is safe to feed them to our pet dogs. We will also take a look at what to avoid when it comes to tomatoes and our dogs.
In this article, we will discuss:
- Can dogs eat tomatoes?
- Are all parts of the tomato safe for dogs?
- What are the signs of tomato poisoning in dogs?
- What should you do if your dog gets tomato poisoning?
- Are there any health benefits of tomatoes for dogs?
- Can you feed cooked tomatoes to your dog?
Yes, dogs can eat ripe tomatoes in moderation, occasionally.
Ripe tomatoes in moderation are safe for dogs. Leaves, stems & green tomatoes contain Solanine which is harmful to dogs in large quantities.
Are All Parts Of The Tomato Safe For Dogs?
The tomato belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables, which in itself does sound ever so slightly sinister.
The name is thought to derive from their dark and mysterious history, often rumored to have been involved in the production of narcotics and hallucinogens.
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Many vegetables belonging to the nightshade family, however, are rich sources of nutrients, and therefore serve as staple foods in many different cultures. Some of these include potatoes, eggplant, and peppers.
This means that tomatoes are a popular ingredient in most human dishes, which makes it all the more important to know if they are safe for your dog to eat, especially if you have a habit of leaving your dog leftovers from the main family meal.
Tomatoes are, of course, very safe for humans to eat, but should we be offering them to our dogs?
If you have already developed a habit of tossing a cherry tomato to your dog during salads preparations, then you will be relieved to know that, for the most part, tomatoes are perfectly safe to feed to your dog.
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However, this is only true for certain parts of the tomato plant, and care should be taken not to overfeed.
Solanine is a substance found in the stem and leaves of the tomato plant, and in large quantities, it can be harmful to your dog.
Young green tomatoes also contain a higher amount of solanine. While you are unlikely to feed unripe tomatoes to your dog, the problem is more likely to arise if you grow tomatoes in your garden, and your dog has access to them.
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
When left unsupervised, if your dog develops a taste for the fruit and veg you grow in your garden, they are more likely to overindulge, especially if left in the garden for extended amounts of time.
Chewing on the leaves and stems or consuming unripe tomatoes may be a way for your dog to relieve their boredom and get a tasty snack.
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You should also be aware of the possibility that your dog may be allergic to tomatoes.
Look out for sneezing, coughing, hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. You should take your dog to see a vet as soon as possible if any of these symptoms occur.
Alternatively, consuming tomatoes may aggravate your dog if they suffer from medical conditions such as acid reflux or have other gastrointestinal issues.
Tomatoes are highly acidic and can irritate your dog’s stomach, causing them a lot of discomfort.
Can You Feed Cooked Tomatoes To Your Dog?
One of the main reasons dog owners want to know if tomatoes are safe for dogs to eat is because a dog may have consumed a human dish that has high tomato content, for example, a tomato pasta sauce or soup.
Foods that are made with tomatoes tend to pose a higher risk to your dog’s health, not only because the concentration of tomatoes is higher than if your dog ate fresh tomatoes from a salad, but also because most soups and sauces contain a variety of other ingredients that are considered unhealthy and even toxic for dogs.
These are common ingredients that we use to add flavor to so many human dishes, but they are members of the Alum family, and they are toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.
Foods that contain tomatoes, especially canned or jarred sauces, and prepared soups, also contain high quantities of salt, sugar, and artificial flavorings, such as artificial sweeteners.
Some artificial sweeteners are very toxic for dogs, and both salt and sugar are unhealthy ingredients that should be avoided when it comes to feeding our pets, and even our selves.
What Are The Signs Of Tomato Poisoning In Dogs?
If your dog has consumed a toxic amount of tomatoes, then it should be reasonably easy to recognize the symptoms of tomatine poisoning.
Here is a checklist of the signs you should look out for:
- Gastrointestinal upset (GI)
- Weakness of muscles
- Loss of coordination
- Cardiac effects
- Abnormal heart rate
It is pretty rare for a dog to experience these symptoms to poisoning from tomatoes, but it is always good to be aware of what to look out for.
In general, it is a good idea to pick up on anything that seems unusual for your dog, even if they are acting a bit out of sorts because this is usually a clear sign that something isn’t quite right with them.
You know your dog best, and your observations may lead to getting a prompt diagnosis and treatment, no matter what the cause of your dog’s symptoms.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Gets Tomato Poisoning?
If you have recognized symptoms of either tomato poisoning or an allergic reaction, the best thing you can do for your dog is to take them to be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
If you are unsure and worried about overreacting, you can always call a vet helpline to describe your dog’s symptoms and get immediate over-the-phone advice, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The sooner a vet can examine and diagnose your dog, the faster they will be able to administer treatment, and the safer your dog’s prognosis will be.
In the case of an allergic reaction, it could lead to anaphylaxis, which is a potentially life-threatening condition. Therefore symptoms should always be taken very seriously and addressed as soon as possible.
Are There Any Health Benefits Of Tomatoes For Dogs?
Tomatoes are low in calories and high in fiber, which helps to aid digestion. They are also packed with nutrients, so it may be tempting to want to find a way to include this healthy food in your dog’s diet.
Even though tomatoes are great for our health, and probably your dog’s health too, it isn’t necessary to make sure that you include this food in your dog’s daily diet.
All of the nutrients and health benefits that a tomato offers should be provided already by your dog’s leading food.
It is vital to choose a good quality dog food that is high in protein and grain-free to make sure that your dog does not suffer from any deficiencies that could affect his health.
Extra healthy treats can be offered now and then, but it may be a better option to go for foods that are not likely to cause inflammation like the foods in the nightshade family to tend to do.
If you do still want to offer tomatoes to your dog now and then, you should ensure to remove all stems, leaves, and vines first.
Always pick fresh, fully ripe tomatoes and serve raw without any added salt or dressings. Make sure to wash them thoroughly, too, to remove any residue from pesticides and herbicides that may have been used and can cause your dog to get sick.
Tomatoes can be a tasty addition to your dog’s diet and a good source of fiber, but you should always exercise caution and observe your dog for any adverse effects.
If you notice that your dog is experiencing any stomach upset, it may be best to avoid feeding too many tomatoes as it could be aggravating them and doing more harm than good.
The health benefits of tomatoes can often be found in other fruits and vegetables, many of which may already be included in the formula of your regular dog food, so check the ingredients list to see just how good your current dog food is.