Dogs are supposed to eat dog food, right? RIGHT! Of course, we can’t always control what falls on the floor. Now we are in no way, shape, or form encouraging feeding dogs table food.
In fact, they should stick to dog food or a diet formulated by a veterinary nutritionist. However, in today’s world, we are picking much healthier, formulated options when it comes to feeding our furry pets.
Tomatoes are generally safe for our pets and can be healthier alternatives to a treat, but there are some limitations. Read further to learn about some.
Can Dogs eat Tomatoes?
Unfortunately, this answer isn’t a simple yes or no. It’s both. Have you ever heard everything is fine in moderation? Well, that saying rings true when it comes to tomatoes and your dog.
Dogs can have small amounts of tomato. Fully ripe, red tomatoes are perfectly acceptable for your dog to indulge in every once in an. This doesn’t mean that your dog can join you in pasta and tomato sauce dinner. It means they can enjoy a little tomato treat every now and then.
How are tomatoes good for my dog?
It is no secret that tomatoes are healthy food. So is it the same for your dog? Yes! Quality farmed tomatoes are packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and antioxidants like lycopene and fiber.
Fiber is essential for a healthy gut. It keeps things moving along and takes unhealthy bacteria with it. It keeps your dog’s stool from being too watery by absorbing water and also bulks it up, so it’s easier for your dog to pass. Lycopene is what gives tomatoes their red color. It is also known to have anti-neoplasia agents as well as improve heart health.
Why do people think that tomatoes are toxic to dogs?
Tomatoes are highly acidic. Even for humans, they can cause some gastrointestinal upset when ingested in large amounts. Acid reflux is an unpleasant burning sensation when stomach acid burns the esophagus.
As stated, it is not fun, so it wouldn’t be fun for your dog either. Also, tomatoes are in the nightshade family. If you ever watched the Adams family, you are aware of “deadly nightshade,” and it’s toxic spooky traits. Let’s break down why nightshade gets a bad rep. Plants in the nightshade family contain a poison called solanine.
Other plants that are in this family that contain this poison are potatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Tomatoes, however, contain a less toxic substance called Tomatine. Do not fear though a large quantity of Tomatine has to be ingested for your dog to become physically ill. Still, it is not wise to give your dog an entire barrel of tomatoes and hope for the best.
Spotting Tomatine poisoning in dogs
There are a few physical signs to look out for with Tomatine poisoning. They are listed below:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle tremors
- Dilated pupils
Of course, like with any toxicity, contact your veterinarian as early as possible and give an entire history of ingestion and the amount consumed. Luckily, this type of poisoning is treatable and usually curable with the help of a veterinary professional.
The course of treatment will be determined on your dog’s clinical signs and how many tomatoes he/she has ingested. Fluid therapy is usually the treatment of choice, along with treating the clinical signs. If timing plays out correctly, your dog can be induced to vomit to avoid the absorption of the toxin.
Which Parts of a Tomato are Dangerous for Dogs?
Tomatine is most concentrated in the tomato plant itself. Therefore, if you have a garden, try not to let your dog out to enjoy a buffet on it. Put up a fence, or monitor closely when your dog is playing outside.
Also, make sure you remove the leaves and stem before feeding tomatoes to your dog. The amount of Tomatine is the highest in unripe tomatoes. So make sure the tomatoes you’re picking and feeding to your pup are a bright red color vs. green. Green would indicate an immature tomato that is not ready to be eaten.
Can dogs eat Tomatillo, Tomato Sauce, and Ketchup then?
So dogs can have tomatoes, we answered that question. Now let’s discuss tomato products like tomatillo, tomato sauce, and ketchup. It’s important to note when talking about tomato products that they are products that contain other ingredients.
This deems them unsafe for dogs to ingest. Take tomato sauce, for instance. It often has many other ingredients in the sauce, such as onions and garlic. Both of these are unsafe for your dogs and can cause issues like anemia and gastric upset.
Ketchup is a little less lethal but has a lot of unwanted sugar that is unnecessary for your pet to consume. Also, some kinds of ketchup are sugar-free and contain Xylitol, which is an extremely toxic sugar substitute that causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in dogs.
Tomatillo is also part of the nightshade family, so its leaves and stems should be avoided. It should also not be ingested if it is not ripe for the same reasons as tomatoes.
How can I feed my dogs tomatoes in a safe manner?
So you want to give your dog a tomato snack? Make sure to avoid any green (leaves, stems, unripe tomato) color. Cut the tomato to prevent a choking hazard and allow your dog to take it gently from your hand or the ground.
Some dogs will smell it, even chew it and spit it out. Others will enjoy the fruity, tasty snack. Luckily for those tomato-loving dogs, we have gathered lots of information, and we now know the specifics of safe ingestion.
As always, our world is neither black nor white but grey. Therefore knowing more is key to keeping our canine friends’ eating habits healthy and safe.
Be sure to closely monitor your pet for any signs of distress or toxicity when eating tomatoes. Tomatine toxicity tends to be rare but is not unheard of, so knowing the basics is of utmost importance for a good prognosis. So be not afraid if you drop a red, round, piece of fruit and allow your dog to scurry to get it.
Jaclyn is a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) who has a bachelors degree in journalism. Combining her two interests of writing, and veterinary medicine is a true passion. Jaclyn has already created her own blog called The Four Legged Nurse (@thefourleggednurse) and looks forward to contributing to I Love Veterinary! Jaclyn is blessed with two children, a wonderful husband, and four devoted fur babies. In her free time she loves spending time with her family, reading, and riding horses.