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Can dogs eat tomatoes?

Is it safe to feed your dog or puppy red or green tomatoes?
Can dogs eat tomatoes?

Our dogs are part of the family and as such, we like to treat them as one of us! This includes feeding them food that we, as humans, enjoy. One of the non-traditional dog food categories we like to share with our canine friends is fruit and vegetables. Some are highly toxic to dogs and must never be fed to them. Others are a sweet and tasty treat, filled with fibre, vitamins and minerals.

So, what about tomatoes? Can dogs eat them? The answer is not a straightforward yes or no. Let’s find out more.

Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family of vegetables and the tomato plant contains substances that are harmful to dogs. Solanine is found in the green leaves and stems of the plants as well as in green tomatoes. Tomatine is another natural chemical found in tomato plants that can be toxic. These toxins are found in higher levels in the green parts of the plants and in unripe tomatoes (green ones).

Ripe tomatoes, the red ones, are generally safe to be fed to dogs but only in small quantities. On occasion, they can cause an upset stomach, particularly for any dogs with a sensitive stomach. Stick to feeding your dog a quality, balanced food specifically designed for dogs.

If your dog likes tomatoes, a little bit of red tomato, once in a while, won’t do any harm. Choose organic as it won’t have been sprayed with pesticides.

What about tomato sauces or tinned tomatoes?

Don’t feed your dog any tomato sauces, pasta sauces or tinned tomatoes. There are likely to be additives added to these manufactured foods, such as salt and preservatives, which are not healthy for dogs. Many tomato-based sauces contain onions and garlic. They are toxic for dogs. 

What should I do if my dog eats lots of tomatoes?

Should your dog decide to munch down on the green part of a tomato plant, they can get tomatine poisoning. Luckily this is very rare but if you notice any of these symptoms following a tomato plant chewing session, take your dog to your vet straight away:

  • Weakness
  • Tremors or lack of coordination
  • Sickness and diarrhoea (gastrointestinal upset)
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal heart rate

If you grow tomato plants in your garden and know your dog likes to chew on anything available, you may want to consider fencing your plants. Apart from preventing your dog from getting ill, another upside of fencing your plants is that more tomatoes are left for you!


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