Tomatoes are an important part of cuisine. You can find them in sauces, salads, chili, soups, salsa, and ketchup! With tomatoes in our gardens and on our tables, you might wonder if they are okay for dogs to eat.
The good news is that tomatoes in moderation are healthy for most dogs. But there are a few things to be wary about.
If you would like to learn more, here, we go over the best ways to give your dog tomatoes, as well as what you need to be careful of.
What Are the Problems With Dogs and Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are members of the nightshade family. Nightshade is notorious for being poisonous, so understandably, people might believe that tomatoes might not be good for dogs.
The substance tomatine is found in tomatoes, which can be harmful if eaten in large enough quantities. But a ripe tomato contains only a minimal amount, so even if your dog eats too many tomatoes, there is nothing to worry about with respect to toxicity. Unripe tomatoes contain a little more tomatine but are still not enough to prove fatal.
However, all the green parts of the tomato plant, which include the flowers, stems, leaves, and the stalk, have much greater amounts of tomatine, as well as solanine, but it isn’t likely that a dog would eat enough of the plant to be affected by it.
Symptoms of tomatine poisoning are:
- Loss of appetite
- Excess drooling
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Dilated pupils
- Stomach pain
- Stomach upset
- Heart issues (beating too fast or irregular heartbeat)
More than likely, the only outcome might be minor stomach upset, but if your dog seems to have ingested a significant amount of a tomato plant, see your vet.
The only other issue with tomatoes is that tomatoes are relatively high in acidity. This could cause an upset stomach, particularly for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Dogs having an allergic reaction to tomatoes isn’t common, but it is possible. Symptoms can include:
- Difficulty breathing
If you believe that your pup might be having an allergic reaction, see your vet.
How Are Tomatoes Good for Dogs?
Tomatoes have been used in the manufacturing of dog food as they offer dogs great nutritional value.
They also have a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, K, and A, as well as potassium and folate, which aid in cell function and tissue growth.
How Do You Give Tomatoes to Your Dog?
Speak to your vet about adding tomatoes to your dog’s diet beforehand, but ensure that you only use ripe, red tomatoes, with no part of the plant still attached.
Only give your dog fresh tomato and nothing with seasonings, like salt, or other ingredients, such as garlic, onions, oils, or butter. Garlic and onions are particularly toxic to dogs, and oils, cheeses, and butter can lead to obesity.
Ensure that the tomatoes are appropriately washed to eliminate any pesticides or other chemicals, and dice them into small chunks. Remember to only give your dog a small amount to avoid any gastrointestinal upset.
Basically, red, ripe tomatoes are good, and green plant material from tomatoes is bad. As long as you only feed your dog a moderate amount of fresh tomato once in a while and provided that your dog doesn’t have any stomach issues or food allergies, they will only gain the nutritional benefits.
Avoid any tomato-based products made for people. All the added salt and other ingredients could be quite harmful to your dog. Speak to your vet about what kind of food your dog should be eating and whether adding a few tomatoes to your dog’s diet is recommended.
Some dogs will enjoy the addition of tomatoes to their diet, and with approval from your vet, tomatoes can definitely be tasty and healthy treats.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay