Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? (Nutritional Guide)
Many of us find it quite normal to feed dogs from our plates and letting them enjoy the leftovers of our meals, but before you do, you should make sure that the food is safe. After all, our dogs’ digestive systems are different from our own. In this blog post, we are going to focus very specifically on tomatoes to find out the effects they may have, both positive and negative.
If you are looking for a short answer, tomatoes are generally safe for dogs, but you should ensure that they are ripe, and you don’t offer too much. However, the potential for poisoning is still there are they are part of the nightshade family. But we will get into this later in the article.
Are Tomatoes OK for Dogs?
In general, dogs are fine to enjoy tomatoes in small quantities. Indeed, many pooches love the taste of a fresh tomato. While they are not toxic themselves, you should still only offer them in small quantities to avoid digestive upset. This is a good rule of thumb for anything that you give to your dog. Always monitor them for any unusual changes. If your pup has a sensitive stomach, you should be especially careful as this acidic fruit could be aggravating. Tomatoes are part of the nightshade vegetable family which contain potentially toxic elements. We will talk more about what this means in the next section of the post.
Are Tomatoes Poisonous for Dogs?
There are potentially poisonous substances known as tomatine and solanine, which could be harmful if eaten in large quantities. However, ripe tomatoes don’t contain very much of these at all. Even if your dog eats a lot of tomatoes, it is highly unlikely that they are going to get poisoned. As for unripe tomatoes, they contain a little more tomatine, but the difference shouldn’t be enough to worry about massively. However, you should be more wary of the amount of tomatine contained in tomato plants themselves. The flowers and small stems contain a lot, and it is also within the stalk and leaves. Still, the odds of your dog eating enough of the plant to cause themselves serious harm are long. Generally, it is likely to cause mild stomach upset. However, if you are concerned about your dog getting into your tomato plants, you should get in touch with your vet. Look out for diarrhea, vomiting, an abnormal heart rate, and drowsiness.
Are Dogs Allergic to Tomatoes?
As with pretty much every food stuff, there is always going to be the risk that your dog is allergic. In rare cases, this could be life-threatening, so you should never ignore the warning signs. Look out for coughing, sneezing, hives, difficulty breathing, and anything else that is out of the ordinary for your dog. Other dogs may not be allergic, but they may have conditions that are aggravated by tomato consumption such as gastrointestinal problems or acid reflux. Stop feeding your dogs tomatoes if you notice anything wrong and get in touch with your vet in more serious situations.
Do Tomatoes Have Health Benefits for Dogs?
Tomatoes can be beneficial to dogs, which is why they are included in the formulas of many pet foods. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps to support healthy digestion and keeps your dog’s blood sugar levels steady. They also contain antioxidants and a few essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Some of the benefits that your dog can receive include improvements in vision and skin. The amount largely depends on the quality of the fruit that you are offering to your dog. Tomatoes are also low in calorie, so they won’t add much to a pooch’s expanding waistline.
How Should I Feed Tomatoes to My Dog?
If you decide to give tomatoes to your dog, you should do so in the right way. First of all, you should choose the ripe, red fruit with no leaves, stems, and vines. Keep them fresh and don’t add anything potentially harmful like salt. Ensure that you wash tomatoes to get rid of any herbicides or pesticides that may be lingering. Cut them into pieces that can be easily eaten by your dog, reducing any possible choking risks. If you are going to offer any tomato-based products like soup or sauce, you should check the ingredient list closely for anything that may be harmful. Often, these contain sugar, salt, and artificial flavors, so the best course of action may be to avoid them entirely.
Can Dogs Eat Cherry Tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes are generally best avoided as they contain both solanine and tomatine, which cannot be digested by dogs. If you are going to offer any to your dog, you should ensure that they are ripe, and you remove any seeds, stems, vines, and leaves.
Can Puppies Eat Tomatoes?
With younger dogs, you are better off sticking with pre-approved dog food to start off with. However, as your pooch gets older, you can start introducing things like tomatoes into their diet. At this stage in life, there is still a lot of experimentation to be done to work out what your dog will enjoy and what they will react well to. Speak to your vet if you are worried and want to be especially sure on this issue.
In general, tomatoes are fine to give to your dog, but you should ensure that they are fresh with no vines, leaves, or stems. However, you should only start offering them in small quantities, monitoring your pooch for any issues. Consult with your vet for further information. If everything seems okay, tomatoes are a fine and healthy snack to offer from time to time. And this is the way to treat them – as an occasional treat rather than food that you will make up a big part of their diet.
- Growing fruits and vegetables for your dog – Michigan State University