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Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? Are Tomatoes Safe For Dogs?

Nicole Cosgrove

Tomatoes are a common plant found in the average citizen’s garden and kitchen, and these sweet, round, shiny fruits are a tempting snack for your pooch. But can dogs eat tomatoes? Are they safe for dogs?

The short answer is yes, and if your dog manages to eat a few ripe tomatoes, there is no reason to panic and rush to the vet. Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and even have other potential health benefits for your pooch. While they are generally safe, there are a few risks.

In this article, we break down both the benefits and risks associated with feeding tomatoes to your dog.

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Can dogs safely eat tomatoes?

german shepherd with bag pixabay
Image Credit: skeeze, Pixabay

In short, whole, ripe tomatoes are perfectly safe for your pooch to snack on! While some dogs won’t at all be interested in eating a tomato, the small, sweet varieties are irresistible to some dogs, and they love the sweet flavor. Tomatoes are low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with moisture for added hydration. They are also loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K and contain beneficial minerals like potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.

Tomatoes also contain lycopene, a plant nutrient with antioxidant properties that give tomatoes their red color. While there is no available evidence of the benefits of lycopene in dogs, it has been linked to the reducing of heart disease and promoting bone health in humans.

Of course, if your pooch is eating a well-balanced diet, tomatoes are not necessary to their diet but can make great occasional treats if your dog enjoys them.

Potential risks of feeding tomatoes to dogs

tomatoes
Image Credit: Gajendra Bhati, Pexels

The tomato plant is a member of the nightshade family of plants, and green tomatoes and the leaves, stems, and vines contain a substance called solanine. This substance is also present in small amounts in ripe tomatoes, although there is nowhere near enough to cause problems for your pooch.

Green tomatoes and the tomato plant itself, however, can be dangerous to dogs, and you should keep our pooch away from any growing tomato plants. In most cases, dogs would need to eat a significant amount of these to have any negative health consequences, but some dogs are more sensitive than others, and it’s best to safe rather than sorry.

If your dog does manage to eat a large portion of a tomato plant or unripe tomato, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Listlessness
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Increased or irregular heartbeat
  • Lack of coordination

If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to a vet immediately.

Also, if you decide to give your dog a fresh tomato, make sure it is clean and free from any pesticides. Tomatoes grown in your own garden are best, but they should still be thoroughly washed.

What about cooked tomatoes?

There are a ton of products that contain cooked tomatoes, including sauces, soups, or juices, and these are best avoided. Most cooked tomato products will contain added preservatives, sugar, spices, and other harmful ingredients that may cause problems for your pooch. We highly recommend making your own products with cooked tomatoes, so you know what’s in them.

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Image Credit: volofin, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Tomatoes are perfectly safe to give your pooch occasionally, and they even have potential health benefits. Just be sure to keep your pooch far away from green, unripe tomatoes and the tomato plant itself, as these can be potentially toxic for your dog. Additionally, while the whole tomato fruit is perfectly safe, we recommend avoiding sauces and soups, as they often contain additional ingredients that can potentially cause harm to your dog.

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Featured Image: Suvan Chowdhury, Pexels

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.