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can my dog have tomatoes

📸 by Lars Millberg

The essentials

  • Tomatoes can be safe for pups — However, dogs can only have ripe tomatoes without stems or leaves.
  • Green tomatoes can be toxic — Dogs may get tomato poisoning from the high concentrations of tomatine and solanine in unripe tomatoes.
  • Feed your dog tomatoes in moderation — To keep your pup safe, keep tomato portions minimal with no added ingredients, like salt or sugar.

It’s easy to want to share the best parts of life with your pup — a long walk on the beach, an afternoon lying in the sun, and a bite of the first ripe summer tomato. But when it comes to sharing human foods with your pet, things can get a bit dicey. Some human foods are safe for dogs while others can be toxic — some even fall somewhere in between. As it turns out, tomatoes are the latter, and everything from the ripeness of a tomato to how it’s prepared can determine whether it’s safe or dangerous for dogs.

Are tomatoes safe for dogs?

A fresh, ripe tomato is safe for dogs. But, if there’s a tint of green, don’t feed it to them. As part of the nightshade family of vegetables, green tomatoes, as well as tomato stems and leaves, have high concentrations of tomatine and solanine. These chemicals are toxic to dogs.

However, ripe tomatoes with the stem and leaves removed can be a healthy treat in small quantities for some dogs. Still, if they have any gastrointestinal problems, such as gastroenteritis, don’t give them any tomatoes — ripe or otherwise.

Additionally, while ripe tomatoes are okay for most dogs, don’t start forking over the spaghetti sauce just yet. Tomato products or prepared foods with tomatoes include additives that aren’t safe for dogs. For example, many soups and ketchups have added sugar or large amounts of sodium. Soups and sauces may also contain onions or garlic, part of the Allium family of plants, which are toxic to dogs.

Tomato nutritional facts

Although tomatoes are 95% water, they can offer some potential health benefits to your dog’s health like a boost in fiber and vitamin C. A small tomato is about 100 grams and has 18 calories, 3.9 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.6 grams of naturally occurring sugars. According to Healthline, a small tomato provides about 1.2 grams of fiber.

On the other hand, green tomatoes, while tasty when fried for human palettes, are less nutritious for dogs. In fact, unripe tomatoes, as well as stems and leaves, contain tomatine and solanine which are toxic to dogs.

How to safely feed tomatoes to your dog

While you’re prepping a BLT for lunch, your pup can enjoy a bite or two of a ripe tomato, too. Just make sure to follow some safety tips to prevent any serious health issues, like gastrointestinal upset or heart problems. As with any human food, tomatoes are a treat, so feed them to your dog in moderation.

Choose ripe tomatoes — Unripe tomatoes have higher concentrations of tomatine and solanine, which can be toxic to dogs.

Opt for cooked tomatoes without additives — Salt and sugar are common additives in cooked tomato products, and too much of either in their diet is unhealthy. Garlic and onions, both toxic to dogs, are also commonly found in marinaras, so avoid those ingredients at all costs.

Chop tomatoes into smaller bites — Smaller pieces of tomato are easier for dogs to swallow, so minimize choking risks by chopping tomatoes in half.

Supervise your dogs with tomatoes — Whether you’re giving a tomato as a treat or you have tomatoes growing in the garden, keep an eye on your dog around this veggie. Make sure they don’t eat the green parts of the tomato plant, and watch them while eating a ripe tomato to avoid choking.

Remove stems and leaves — Tomato leaves and stems are rich in tomatine and solanine as well, so remove these parts of a tomato before giving any to your dog.

Enjoy in moderation — Keep tomato treats to a once- or twice-a-week occasion. Large quantities can make your dog sick.

👉  Remember, treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.

Signs of tomato poisoning in dogs

If dogs eat this unripe fruit or have too many red tomatoes, they can consume too much tomatine or solanine. This may lead to tomatine poisoning which is also known as tomato poisoning. If your dog shows any of the following symptoms or has a change in behavior after eating tomatos, take them to the vet immediately. Tomato poisoning can cause gastrointestinal or heart problems in dogs.

  • GI upset. Tomato poisoning may cause stomach pains for your dog as well as vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Drowsiness. Your dog may appear drowsier or more lethargic than normal if they consume unripe tomatoes, stems or leaves.
  • Weakness. Similar to drowsiness, your dog may show signs of muscle weakness if they have tomato poisoning.
  • Loss of appetite. Your dog may not eat their usual food if they have tomatine poisoning.
  • Hypersalivation. Excessive drooling may indicate nausea and is a possible sign of tomato poisoning.

Frequently asked questions

What should I do if my dog eats a tomato?

A ripe tomato is okay for your dog to eat. If your dog has gastrointestinal issues or shows signs of an allergic reaction, like sneezing or difficulty breathing, take them to the vet immediately. Also, if they manage to eat a whole tomato plant from the garden or consume a lot of tomatoes at once, contact your vet for advice.

Can dogs eat cherry tomatoes?

Dogs can have a small amount of cherry tomatoes, but make sure to remove any stems and leaves. Also, be aware that these smaller tomatoes can spoil quickly, so always check them closely for mold or other signs of spoilage before feeding them to your dog.

While it can be tempting to use these bite-size tomatoes as rewards for training, opt for blueberries or healthy treats formulated for dogs. High quantities of tomatoes can be unsafe for pups.

How many tomatoes can a dog eat?

When it comes to tomatoes, stick to small amounts for dogs. About one to two ripe, average-sized tomatoes per week are an okay treat.

Are cooked tomatoes OK for dogs?

You can share cooked tomatoes with your dog, as long as they are plain. Don’t give your pup cooked tomatoes if you’ve added any ingredients like onion, garlic, sugar, or salt.

Can tomatoes harm my dog?

Green tomatoes, or unripe tomatoes, can make your dog sick. If your dog gets hold of the entire plant, the stems and leaves of ripe or unripe tomatoes can also cause GI upset or even heart problems. If your dog consumes a large quantity of tomatoes, processed tomato items like soup or tomato sauce, the stem or leaves of a tomato, or green tomatoes, contact your veterinarian for advice.