Round, red, juicy, tasty; Tomatoes are packed with vitamin C, which has many of us dog owners wondering: Can dogs eat tomatoes? It’s no wonder people eat literally tons of them: according to the Department of Agriculture, each person in the United States eats about 88 pounds of tomatoes a year. Given how many Americans have dogs and how often we share some of our human food with our dogs, you have to imagine that people are tempted to share their tomatoes with their pets. But should we share this delicious red fruit with our dogs?
Can dogs eat tomatoes?
The answer is yes and no. Chewing small amounts of the fleshy parts of a fresh red tomato will not harm your dog. But dogs should never eat tomato leaves or stems, or green, unripe tomatoes. Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family, which means they contain a substance called solanine in the stem and leaves of the tomato plant, which is also present in the fruit before it ripens and turns red. Solanine is dangerous to dogs in large amounts, but once the fruit ripens, the levels of solanine present in the pulp of tomatoes are no longer toxic.
Because solanine is most abundant in tomato stems and leaves (the green parts) and in unripe fruits before ripening, dog owners with orchards should take care to keep their dogs away from tomato plants. Exposing or eating green tomatoes, their stems and leaves can be dangerous.
That doesn’t mean you have to hide the tomatoes from your dog. Just keep them out of reach. And if you’re tempted to share a bite of tomato with your dog, make sure the tomato is fully ripe and the stem and leaves have been removed.
The nightshade family also includes tomatillos, potatoes, eggplant, peppers and hot peppers, blueberries and goji berries. To learn more about this family of plants and how to keep your dog safe with these foods, read our guides here:
Some parts of the tomato are dangerous for dogs
Although the red flesh of a tomato, when ripe, is safe for your dog to eat in small amounts, you should never give your dog:
- unripe green tomatoes
- Tomato plant leaves
- stems of tomato plants
Symptoms to look out for
The good news is that solanine poisoning in dogs is rare. If you suspect your dog has eaten raw tomatoes, including the stems and leaves, look out for the following symptoms:
- Effects on the heart (such as arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat)
- Gastrointestinal complaints (stomach ache)
- loss of coordination
- muscle weakness
Happily, this type of reaction is rare, and the poisoning is treatable. Your dog would likely need to eat large amounts of tomato stalks and leaves to become seriously ill. However, mild symptoms, including gastrointestinal upset, can also occur in small amounts. If your dog has eaten unripe tomatoes or tomato leaves or stems, especially in large quantities, keep an eye on them and call your vet to be sure. And if your dog shows any of the above signs, get to the emergency vet right away.
Some dogs can exhibit an allergic reaction to tomatoes, but again, this is fairly rare. An allergic reaction may include hives, coughing, wheezing, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Any of these reactions warrant a call to the vet just to be sure.
How to safely share tomatoes with your dog
Although the stems and leaves of tomatoes are bad for dogs, the flesh of ripe tomatoes is actually considered non-toxic. So don’t worry if your dog picks a tomato out of your salad, it’s perfectly safe for him to nibble on a ripe tomato! Tomatoes are packed with fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and can even be a digestive aid when ripe.
Many dogs don’t even like tomatoes because of the texture (and because it’s not a juicy steak). But if your dog is curious, you can offer him a bite of ripe tomato. Or try popping a grape or cherry tomato in your mouth. Some dogs love sweet, juicy fruits and vegetables, and others, like me, will spit them out and walk away.
A word of warning: some dogs may show more interest in tomato-based foods, such as: B. Tomato sauce, probably because they often come with a delicious paste (which is often fed to dogs in some European countries). However, tomato sauce contains additional ingredients like garlic and onions that can also upset your stomach. When feeding tomatoes to your dog, it’s best to stick with small pieces of whole, ripe tomatoes and skip the sauce.
If your dog shows interest in a garden or a tomato plant, it is best to make sure he cannot access the plants or pick up the unripe tomatoes or green parts of tomato plants. If you have an outdoor garden, consider fencing it. If you grow your tomatoes indoors, make sure they are where your dog can’t reach them. If your dog accidentally wanders into the yard, watch him for the symptoms listed above and call your vet if you have concerns.
For more informations
We have a collection of articles on healthy and unsafe foods for dogs, ranging from grains to fruits and vegetables. You may also be interested in reading “Can my dog eat potatoes?”
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Source : rover.com
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