There are some common myths about what foods should be fed to a dog, and tomatoes are at the center of some of them. The common belief is that tomatoes are dangerous to dogs in any portion, but what is the truth?
Raw and cooked red tomatoes are perfectly safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. In fact, tomato pomace, which is made from the skin, pulp, and crushed seeds of raw ripened tomatoes, is a common ingredient in dog food. Green tomatoes, tomato plants and processed tomato products are a no-no.
Today, the goal is to look at what is and is not safe for your dog to eat, including tomatoes. Learn more about the health effects of tomatoes on dogs and what to do if your dog eats a tomato.
When are tomatoes OK for dogs? When are tomatoes bad for dogs? Here’s a helpful table to refer to.
|Tomatoes on the vine
|Cooked (red) tomatoes
|Tomato pasta sauce
|Tomato soup (store-bought)
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Can dogs eat red tomatoes? Ripe red tomatoes are not bad for dogs to eat in small amounts.
Can dogs eat cooked tomatoes? Cooked tomatoes are equally safe for dogs.
The belief that tomatoes are dangerous for dogs came about because they belong to the nightshade family of plants, which have been known to make dogs sick if eaten.
Tomatoes contain a substance called tomatine that can be toxic in large quantities, but the amount of tomatine in tomatoes is too small to cause any health concerns. Along with tomatoes not being unhealthy for dogs, they contain nutrients that can benefit a dog’s health if consumed in small amounts.
In terms of tomatoes, dogs can safely eat most natural forms, such as ripe tomatoes, cooked tomatoes, and even tomato paste. Can dogs eat tomato sauce? Can dogs eat tomato soup? Not really. It is important to keep any additives in mind when feeding a dog tomato paste and other cooked and processed forms tomato like sauce and soup.
Benefits and Nutritional Value
Tomatoes can be eaten, but should they? The answer is yes, in small amounts.
When I am preparing a salad for lunch, I will slip my dog Kola one ripened cherry tomato quartered.
Overall, ripe and cooked tomatoes will provide more benefits to a dog’s health than anything else. However, the same cannot be said for other tomato products, such as ketchup or pasta sauce, which often contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs.
Ripe, cooked, natural tomatoes have several health benefits for dogs, including:
Tomatoes are full of nutrients, including lycopene and beta-carotene, which are antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage.
Tomatoes contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps support healthy digestion and maintains steady blood sugar levels.
Vitamins and Minerals
Tomatoes contain potassium and vitamins A, C, and K, which are important in maintaining the overall health of a dog.
Best Way to Serve Tomatoes for a Dog to Eat
The best way for a dog to eat tomatoes is in a raw or pure, cooked form. Though, there is a chance that cooked tomatoes also contain ingredients harmful to dogs.
If a dog has never eaten tomatoes, starting with a small amount to make sure they do not have an adverse reaction is a good idea.
You can also chop up tomatoes with some parsley for your dog or add tomatoes to store-bought dog biscuits.
For a healthy snack, mix together red tomatoes with slices of carrot, cucumber and green beans.
What Can’t They Eat
When are tomatoes bad for dogs? Tomatoes that are not ripe, and the stem, flowers, and green parts of tomatoes, contain a toxin called solanine that can be harmful to dogs.
Additionally, products that are tomato-based but contain other ingredients can be harmful to a dog as well. Some examples of tomato-based products that a dog should not eat include…
Often contains ingredients such as onion, garlic, salt, and sugar, all of which can be bad for dogs. It can also contain a sugar substitute called xylitol, which can be fatal if ingested by dogs.
The garlic, chives, and onions usually found in pasta sauces can be harmful or poisonous to dogs.
Tomato soup can also contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs, including salt, sugar, and other artificial flavors.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to what tomato-based products a dog can eat is to avoid them entirely. Can dogs eat onions? Onions alone, even in small amounts, can be harmful to dogs, so it is best if dogs avoid any food that could potentially contain such ingredients.
What Happens If a Dog Eats a Tomato They Shouldn’t?
There are clear, identifiable signs that will occur if a dog eats a green tomato, parts of the tomato plant or processed tomato-based products we discussed in the last section.
If your dog eats a tomato that they should not have, they will begin to show symptoms of gastrointestinal irritation or poisoning, which can be serious and may need immediate treatment.
Symptoms of poisoning
In dogs, symptoms of tomatine poisoning, which is possible if a dog has eaten a large number of unripe tomatoes or tomato stems and leaves, include:
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive drooling (hypersalivation).
Some of the more serious symptoms include loss of coordination, weakness, and confusion. Regardless of the symptoms, it is important that any dogs affected by tomatine poisoning are treated immediately.
How to treat poisoning in your dog
The first thing to do if you suspect your dog is experiencing poisoning is to contact your vet immediately.
You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 for advice and information on the proper steps to take.
While contacting your vet or poison control center, it is important to keep your pet calm and keep the source of poisoning out of their reach.
If your dog has ingested something tomato-related that is causing poisoning symptoms, make sure you know what it is so that your vet can determine how best to treat the situation.
In some cases, a veterinarian can guide you through the process of poisoning treatment in your pet at home.
If vomiting needs to be induced and can be done safely, your vet will walk you through the steps to do that. Do NOT induce vomiting unless expressly instructed to by your vet, as it can do more harm than good in certain situations. The video below discusses when to and when not to induce vomiting.
According to 1-800-Pet-Meds, 25% of poisoned pets recover within two hours.
Initial and follow-up treatment will be determined by your vet, so it is important to contact your vet if there is a chance that poisoning has occurred in your pet.
When to go to the vet
Knowing when to take your dog to the vet is an important part of being a pet owner and maintaining the health of your pet. There are several signs that indicate it might be time to take your dog to the vet:
- Odd eating habits
- Drinking too much or too little
- Difficult or rapid breathing
- Stool changes.
Any signs of distress in a dog can be signs of poisoning, including a lack of energy, whining, or difficulty moving around. If your dog is acting strangely, do not hesitate to act.
What Happens If Poisoning Is Left Untreated?
Put simply, if poisoning in any pets, including dogs, is left untreated, it can and often is fatal. Know the signs and symptoms of poisoning, and if you notice any of these signs in your dog, contact your vet or a poison control hotline immediately.
It is especially important to remember that the sooner you treat poisoning, the better your pet’s chances of recovering. So even if you are not sure, reach out and ask someone for help.
Can dogs eat cooked tomatoes?
Dogs can eat cooked tomatoes in small quantities provided they are red, ripened tomatoes au naturelle with no seasoning or onions.
Can dogs eat cherry tomatoes
Yes, dogs can eat raw cherry tomatoes in small quantities.
Can dogs eat green tomatoes?
No. Dogs can only eat red, ripened tomatoes.
Can dogs eat cucumber?
Can dogs eat peppers?
We’ve dedicated a whole article on this topic.