Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes, Are They Poisonous or Safe?

Written by Austin S.
Updated: June 15, 2022
Image Credit Masarik/Shutterstock.com
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The nutrition of your dog is essential for its general health. You need to mind what your dog eats if you want it to remain healthy. With so many brands around, it can be challenging to find the best dog food for your pet. A balanced diet with quality ingredients will give your dog the proper nutrients to live a long life.  

Besides, it is a common custom to feed your pets from the table while eating. Most times, dogs love to eat whatever their owners are eating.  You might be wondering if tomatoes can be part of what you can feed your dogs. 

Tomatoes are an everyday diet for humans. Many of the meals you eat daily contain tomatoes as an ingredient. If you have a garden with tomatoes, there are a few things you should know about feeding your dogs tomatoes. We’ll be discussing whether tomatoes are safe or dangerous for your dogs to eat in this article. 

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Can Your Dog Eat Tomatoes?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Your dog can eat tomatoes. Yet, you need to understand the limitations of feeding your pet tomatoes. The fleshy part of ripe tomatoes is safe for your dog to eat. You have to feed your dog this fleshy part in moderation, especially if your dog has a sensitive stomach. 

Tomatoes become dangerous for your pet when it eats the seeds, leaves, or stems. Unripe or green tomatoes are also terrible for your dog to eat. These parts of the tomato contain tomatine, a very toxic chemical to your dog. 

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What Are The Health Benefits Of Tomatoes To Your Dog

Tomatoes can be of enormous benefit to your dogs when given in moderation. They contain vitamins and antioxidants that provide your dog with excellent health benefits. Some dog foods contain tomato pomace as an ingredient. Tomato pomace is a good source of beneficial minerals and vitamins. Below are some of the health benefits of tomatoes to your dog

Enhances Immunity

Lycopene is a phytochemical that gives ripe tomatoes their red color. This antioxidant helps protect cells in the muscles, heart, and blood. Lycopene also gives your dog the ability to develop strong bones. Ripe tomatoes are suitable for your older dogs. It helps them fight against degenerative diseases.

Enhanced Vision

When your dog has vision problems, especially in their old age, they lack vitamin A in their diet. Vitamin A is one of the top ingredients present in tomatoes. Vitamin A helps delay the onset of macular degeneration. It also helps to decrease any eye-related diseases. 

Furthermore, you can find beta carotene in tomatoes. Beta carotene is a potent antioxidant that prevents oxidative damage in your dog. 

Healthy Skin and Fur Coat

Vitamins A and C present in tomatoes give your dog a healthy skin and fur coat. They help to promote joint health in your dogs. They also support the immune system and strengthen the bones of your pets. 

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Increased Cardiovascular Health

Have you ever heard that tomatoes are good for your heart?. This statement is very true. Tomatoes contain high degrees of potassium.  Potassium is a mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Potassium also helps to regulate blood sugar and stabilize neutral functions. 

Similarly, iron is present in tomatoes. Iron is a mineral that plays a critical role in strengthening blood circulation. Feeding your pet a few slices of tomato can help prevent any illnesses related to their heart. 

Strengthens Bone Tissues

Your dog’s bones can benefit significantly from a few slices of tomatoes in their diet. Tomatoes contribute very much to bone tissue strength. Calcium and Vitamin K can be found in tomatoes. They are responsible for strengthening the bone tissues of your dog. 

Therefore, adding some slices of tomato to the diet of your old but active dog is a good idea. Tomatoes are also suitable for strengthening the bones of your young dogs, especially if they are very active. 

Can Tomatoes Be Bad For Your Dogs?

Tomatoes are part of a family of vegetables called nightshade. They contain toxic substances that are harmful to your dog. The green parts of the tomatoes contain a highly concentrated amount of solanine and tomatine. 

Besides, the solanine in the tomatoes decreases as they begin to ripen—this is why it is advised to feed your dogs the ripe tomatoes. You have to ensure that your dog never ingests the stems or leaves of the tomato plant. 

Similarly, it would be best if you avoided any unripe tomatoes. If your dog has any of the parts mentioned above, it can develop tomato poisoning.  

Tomatine Poisoning

Generally, tomatoes contain small amounts of solanine and tomatine.  Feeding your dog a high amount of tomatoes can give them tomatine poisoning. Still, it is unlikely that your dog will consume enough tomatoes to cause serious complications. 

Regardless, a small number of tomatoes given to puppies can cause tomatine poisoning due to their small size. It is essential to remain vigilant when feeding your puppy tomatoes. Thankfully, there are very few cases of tomato poisoning in dogs, and those cases are not usually fatal.

Symptoms Of Tomatine Poisoning 

When your dog eats large quantities of the green parts of the tomato, it may feel symptoms of tomatine poisoning. If your dog has any of the following symptoms after consuming a large amount of tomato, there is every probability that it has tomatine poisoning. 

  1. Loss of appetite
  2. Vomiting
  3. Muscle weakness
  4. Diarrhea
  5. Loss of coordination
  6. Lots of drooling

Luckily, your dog won’t experience these symptoms unless it consumes a considerable amount of the green parts. 

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What To Do When Your Dog Is Showing Signs of Tomatine Poisoning

It would be best to take your dog to the vet as soon as it shows symptoms of tomatine poisoning. Your vet can perform fluid therapy to treat the poisoning. Fluid therapy uses electrolytes to treat any dehydration caused by tomatine poisoning. It is also effective in helping the dog’s body flush out the toxins. The vet can administer fluid therapy to your dog through the abdominal wall, veins, or under the skin. This all depends on the needs of your dog. 

Similarly, your vet can induce vomiting in your dog to expel any pieces of the tomato plant left in its stomach. Your vet can also use activated charcoal to restrain any toxin left in the gastrointestinal tract before the dog’s body can absorb it. 

When inducing vomiting in your dog is not possible, your vet can perform gastric lavage. In gastric lavage, a tube is placed in the dog’s stomach to flush out the toxins. In cases where the dog has difficulty breathing, the vet can prevent asphyxiation by creating an emergency airway. 

Can Your Dog Be Allergic To Tomatoes?

The answer to this question is yes. Your dog can be allergic to tomatoes, even the ripe ones. Some common symptoms associated with an allergy to tomatoes in dogs include itchy skin, coughing, and hives. Most dogs suffering from an allergy to tomatoes also experience gastrointestinal issues. When you notice that your dog has an allergic reaction to tomatoes, remove them from their diet. 

Similarly, there are rare cases where an allergic reaction in your dog can cause anaphylaxis. If this occurs, you need to take your pet to the vet immediately. 

Can Your Dog Eat Canned Tomatoes?

No. Canned tomatoes contain a high concentration of sodium. It can cause excessive thirst, nausea, increased urination, and dehydration in dogs if taken in high amounts. The best thing to do would be to feed your dogs fresh, ripe tomatoes. 

Can Your Dog Eat Cooked Tomatoes

It would help if you prepared any cooked tomatoes your dog will eat. Cooked tomato products bought from the store contain other ingredients aside from tomatoes that can harm your dog. These ingredients can be artificial flavors, sugar, or salt. 

Similarly, try to avoid feeding your dog tomato sauce. Tomato sauce often contains onion and garlic, which can be unhealthy for your pet. 

What Quantity of Tomatoes Can Your Dog Eat?

It would help if you fed your dog small quantities of tomatoes. Analyze the size of your dog before feeding it tomatoes. Smaller dog breeds should eat fewer tomatoes than larger dogs. But large dogs should also eat tomatoes in moderate quantities. 

Whatever the size of your dog, introduce the tomato little by little to their diet to see how they react to it. Do not exceed the quantity limit even if your dog loves tomatoes

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Is It Worth It?

While the fleshy part of tomatoes is safe for your dog to eat, the other parts are hazardous to its health. It all boils down to moderation and supervision. If you want to feed your dog tomatoes, ensure that they are ripe and it is done in moderation. Supervise your dog, so it doesn’t steal a slice of tomato while you’re cooking with tomatoes. 

Besides, it is not worth it for your dog to suffer health issues because you want to feed it fruit. If your dog eats too many tomatoes, take it to the vet to get rid of tomatine poisoning. Most dogs that get tomatine poisoning recover entirely after treatment. Hopefully, this article has bolstered your understanding of the benefits and dangers of your dog eating tomatoes.

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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.