Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? Are They Safe For Dogs?

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can dogs eat tomatoes

Simply put: yes, tomatoes are good for dogs. Snacking on the red, fleshy part of a tomato isn’t going to hurt your dog.

As curious as the idea may seem, pet owners usually tend to wonder how far they can go with what they feed their animals.

Also, as pet lovers already know, dogs have a way of wanting to eat just about anything they see people eating, right? 

So can dogs eat tomatoes? We need to first determine what type of tomatoes we’re talking about. 

You may decide you want to slip your dog a juicy, raw tomato from your backyard garden or a spoonful of cooked tomatoes off your plate.

But the most important thought to always consider is whether or not tomatoes are safe for your dog to feast on.

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? Are They Good For Dogs?

So of course, it won’t hurt if you feed your dog ripe tomatoes in moderation.[1

Ripe tomatoes are a perfectly healthy snack for your dog, even though in the end the dog may simply just walk away after nibbling at the juicy bit of tomato you tossed them. 

Tomatoes are nutrient-rich in vitamins and minerals, important for healthy dogs. They are low in calories and high in fiber, which makes them great for your dog.

 Additionally, tomatoes are known to contain lycopene[2], important minerals for your dog’s heart and bone health.

When Are Tomatoes Bad For Dogs?

Green tomatoes and dogs are a bad mix. Never forget that! You must ensure that you keep the (green) tomato plant as far away from your dog as possible. 

Some Parts of the Tomato are Dangerous for Dogs

As you’ve read, tomatoes are safe for your dog only when they are fully ripe.

You should never under any circumstance feed your dog unripe tomatoes or make it come near the tomato plant for that matter. 

That is because the leaves and stems of tomatoes can pose some serious health hazard for your dog[3], just as green, unripe tomatoes are ‘No, No’ for dogs, too. 

Tomato plants contain a substance called solanine[4] in their stem and leaves, as well as in the tomato fruit before it ripens and turns red. 

Consumed in high amounts, this substance (Solanine) is dangerous for dogs.

Exposure or ingestion of unripe tomatoes and their stems and leaves can be dangerous for your dog.

How Can I Feed Tomatoes To My Dog?

When we talk about feeding your dog ripe tomatoes, please note that it doesn’t have to be raw; you could cook it if you want.

But in any case, blanched or pureed tomatoes would do just fine, no need for salt or oil.

And while you’re at that, you can consider the following recipe suggestion to spice up your dog’s appetite:

Cheesy tomato-basil dog treats. Only be sure that your tomato paste is not sweetened. 

Alternatively, you could simply chop or dice the ripe tomato with an herb like Italian parsley and serve them to your dog along with a dog biscuit. 

For something totally awesome, you can scoop the seeds out of a small tomato and fill the tomato with some cream cheese or shredded chicken.

This will be one of the most delicious, fun snacks your dog will ever have!

Although the stems and leaves of tomatoes are bad for dogs, the ripe tomato flesh is actually non-toxic. It’s perfectly safe for them to snack on a ripe tomato! 

Can I Give My Dog Tomato Sauces And Soups?

tomato cans

Yes, you can. However, you must be sure the sauce or soup was made using fully ripe tomatoes. 

Also, you must be sure there’s no salt or oil in the sauce or soup.

These substances are not good for your dog’s health and could cause complications you didn’t bargain for.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Tomatoes?

tomatoes in a bowl

Of course, your dog can eat cooked tomatoes. But you should be sure about the other ingredients that were used in the cooking process.

 They may contain substances harmful to your dog[5] in the long run.

Avoid garlic and onion, which are commonly added to sauces, or cooked foods seasoned with spices, like salt and pepper, which could give your pup an upset stomach.

This point should be taken to heart because some dogs often show more interest in tomato foods like tomato sauce.

But the downside is that such processed foods (tomato sauce) contain additional ingredients like garlic and onions, which can cause an upset stomach for your dog.

 So if you’re going to feed your dog tomatoes, it would be best if you just do small pieces of the whole, ripe tomatoes and leave the sauce out altogether.

Common Symptoms of Tomatine Poisoning

Tomatoes are classified as nightshades, a category of vegetables that also includes eggplant, peppers, and white potatoes.  

They contain an alkaloid known as Tomatine[6], which can be fatal to dogs in extreme cases. 

However, this substance (tomatine) is mostly concentrated in the green parts of the tomato plant and becomes harmful to dogs if ingested in large quantities.  So if your dog has never had a tomato before, start with a small quantity to make sure your dog does not react.  

If you suspect that your dog has consumed raw tomatoes, including stems and leaves, watch out for the following warning signs:

  • Cardiac effects (such as arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeats)
  • Gastrointestinal upset (an upset stomach)
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Tremors
  • Lack of coordination
  • Uncontrollable heartbeat
  • Gastrointestinal irritation (vomiting/diarrhea)
  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Abnormal heart rate

Fortunately, poisoning is rare and treatable. Some dogs may show an allergic reaction to tomatoes (hives, coughing, wheezing, swelling, difficulty breathing).

Any of these reactions warrant a call to the vet, just to be safe.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Unripe Tomatoes Or Tomato Plants

tomato plants

You must ensure that you have a barrier in your backyard garden to prevent the dogs from playing around the tomato plant or eating unripe tomatoes.

So if your dog somehow manages to get some unripe tomato or tomato plant into its system and you note any of the signs above, contact your vet right away and get the dog treated. 

The Bottom Line

If you have to feed your dog fresh, raw tomato right from the garden, do ensure it’s properly washed.

If the tomato has fertilizer or pesticides on them, you know that can make your dog really sick!

Also, remember that even though fully ripe tomatoes are safe for your dog to eat, they shouldn’t become a staple or be used to replace their regular ration.

Tomatoes should only be given to dogs as an occasional treat, not regularly as a substitute for their normal meals.

Photo of author
Larissa Musangu

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