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can my dog have tomatoes

📸 by Lars Millberg

The essentials

  • Tomatoes can be safe for pups, in some cases — 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 and plain. Avoid feeding your pet any tomato products, which could come with added ingredients, like salt or sugar.

Dogs can eat tomatoes in moderation, so long as they are ripe. However, you should always avoid green tomatoes or green parts of the plant as these can be toxic to dogs. You also shouldn’t feed them tomatoes in excessive amounts or they could experience stomach upset or gas.

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 (like eggplants and bell peppers), green tomatoes — as well as tomato stems and leaves — have high concentrations of tomatine and solanine. These chemicals are toxic to dogs.

Additionally, if your dog is experiencing any gastrointestinal problems, (such as gastritis), it’s not a good idea to give them any tomatoes — ripe or otherwise. Tomatoes can further aggravate your pup’s already upset stomach. 

🚨 While tomatoes can be safe for dogs, you should never feed tomato products like spaghetti or ketchup to dogs as these include additives that aren’t safe for your pup.

Are tomatoes good for dogs?

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. 

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

It’s best to avoid feeding tomatoes as treats and find an alternative that’s safer for your pup.

How to safely feed tomatoes to your dog

While you’re prepping a BLT for lunch, know that 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. 

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 it’s best to avoid those ingredients at all costs.

Chop tomatoes into smaller bites — Smaller pieces of tomato are easier for dogs to swallow. You can minimize choking risks by chopping tomato slices or pieces 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 minimize their choking risk.

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 tomatine poisoning in dogs

If dogs eat this unripe fruit or have too many red tomatoes, they can consume too much tomatine or solanine. This can lead to tomatine poisoning, which is also known as tomato poisoning. 

If your dog shows any of the following symptoms or has a negative reaction after eating tomatoes, take them to the vet immediately. Tomato poisoning can cause gastrointestinal or heart problems in dogs.

Here are a few signs of tomatine poisoning to watch for if your dog gets into the tomatoes: 

  • GI or stomach 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, such as struggling to stand up or move around, 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. 
  • Cardiac effects. While rare, cardiac effects such as arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat could indicate tomatine poisoning.
  • Loss of coordination. If your pup seems disoriented, unable to walk properly, or showing other signs of incoordination, this could be a warning sign of toxicity. 
  • Seizures and tremors. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate tremors in dogs from seizures, as both involve abnormal muscle contractions. If your dog experiences either, call the vet immediately.

Many human foods make the list of safe for Fido. However, tomatoes are not always one of them. While dogs can have tomatoes, they are not a staple part of a dog’s diet — and should only be fed in moderation and certain forms. 

If you’re going to give your pup the cherry tomatoes as a treat from your salad bowl, make sure you remove any seeds from the tomatoes and only feed them ripe, red variations. As pet parents, if you’re ever unsure if your dog can have a certain type of tomato, consult your vet for further advice.

Frequently asked questions

Can dogs eat tomatoes with skin?

The skin of ripe, red tomatoes is safe for dogs to eat. However, don’t feed unripe or green tomato skin to your dogs, as these can contain toxins.  

Can dogs eat tomatoes and cucumbers?

Yes. Dogs can eat both tomatoes and cucumbers. Unlike tomatoes, cucumbers are a super safe, hydrating, and nutritious snack for your pup. As a result, they can be fed in much larger quantities than tomatoes typically can be.

Can my dog have tomato seeds?

No. Just like unripe tomatoes and tomato stems, the seeds are off-limits for your dog. Seeds contain a compound called solanine which is toxic to dogs. 

Can dogs eat canned tomatoes?

No. Dogs should never eat canned tomatoes. Tomato products like canned tomatoes can contain preservatives, salt, and added ingredients like onions and garlic — which are toxic for your dogs. Similarly, you should never feed pasta sauces,  tomato sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, or tomato juice products to your pup. 

What are the signs of tomato poisoning in dogs?

If your dog has tomato (tomatine) poisoning, you may notice the following symptoms: 

  • GI upset
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hypersalivation
  • Cardiac effects
  • Loss of coordination  
  • Seizures and tremors
  • Difficulty breathing

If you notice any or all of these signs after your pet has eaten a tomato, call the veterinarian immediately. They may need to treat your dog for tomatine toxicity. 

How many tomatoes can a dog eat?

It’s best to offer your dogs tomatoes in moderation. About one to two ripe, average-sized tomatoes per week are an okay treat for most pets — but always ask your veterinarian for tailored nutritional advice before feeding.

Can tomatoes harm my dog?

Green tomatoes or unripe tomatoes can make your dog sick. The plant can make your dog sick as well if they get ahold of the greens or roots. Side effects of tomatine poisoning include GI upset and heart problems, as well as neurological events (like seizures). If your dog consumes a large quantity of tomatoes, processed tomato items, or tomato plant parts, contact your veterinarian for advice.