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Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes & Are Tomatoes Safe for Dogs - We Answer Your Questions

Updated: Jun 13

Tomatoes are a staple ingredient in many dishes including salads, sandwiches and sauces and who doesn’t love a juicy ripe red tomato on their plate! From salad, to pasta sauce to ketchup, tomatoes play a huge role in our daily eating habits but can dogs safely enjoy these plump, red nutrient powerhouses safely?

In this article we take an indepth look at tomatoes, their safety for dogs and what you need to be aware of if you are planning on feeding your dogs tomatoes. So, read on to discover the pros and cons of tomatoes for your dog.

Can dogs eat tomatoes?

Can dogs eat tomatoes

Tomatoes are a double edged sword when it comes to your dog's diet, potentially being both a healthy snack while at the same time posing a risk to your dogs well being if not administered correctly. On one hand, juicy, ripe tomatoes are considered safe for dogs to consume in moderation, providing a non-toxic, nutrient dense treat that can be incorporated into their diet from time to time. These red and ripe parts of the tomato, including tomatoes that are orange or yellow, are mostly free from toxic substances and can offer variety in a dog's feeding regimen.

Things change when we take a look at the green parts of the tomato plant, including leaves, stems, flowers, stalks, and unripe green tomatoes. These can contain compounds known as solanine and tomatine, naturally occurring chemicals that are found in the nightshade family to which tomatoes belong. Both chemicals are particularly prevalent in the green parts of tomato plants and can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large quantities, leading to symptoms including stomach upset, loss of coordination, tremors, seizures, and muscle weakness.

Considering the potential risks, dog owners are advised to exercise caution when it comes to tomatoes in their dogs diet. While the fully ripe fruit poses little danger and can be incorporated as a tasty treat in your dog's diet, it's super important that you ensure that your dog does not have access to green tomatoes or any part of the plant's foliage or flowers. Being aware of the symptoms of tomatine poisoning is vital, as early detection and seeking the advice of your vet can minimise the effects of any accidental ingestion. So, while tomatoes can safely be part of your dog's diet in controlled, ripe portions, vigilance against the hazardous parts of the plant is essential to prevent harm and ensure the well-being of your canine companion.

Can dogs eat cherry tomatoes?

Can dogs eat cherry tomatoes?

Cherry tomatoes are, well, very small cherry sized tomatoes and, just like their larger friends, are fine for dogs to eat when they are fully ripened. Cherry tomatoes are the perfect snack sized treats for dogs when halved and fed in moderation.

Are tomatoes toxic for dogs?

Fully ripe and red tomatoes are generally fine in moderation but unripe, green or immature tomatoes can contain the compounds tomatine and solanine which can be toxic for dogs.

Did You Know?

Did you know that ethylene gas, a naturally occurring plant hormone, is often used to ripen green tomatoes after they have been harvested? This method is widely used in the agriculture industry to ensure that tomatoes reach the market in the perfect state of ripeness. Tomatoes are picked when they are still green and firm, which makes them easier to transport without damage. Once they arrive at their final destination, the tomatoes are exposed to ethylene gas in a controlled environment. Ethylene triggers the ripening process, causing the tomatoes to turn red, soften, and develop their full flavor and aroma, making them ready for consumers to enjoy. 

Can my dog eat tomato sauce and tomato soup?

Feeding your dog tomato sauce or tomato soup is generally safe as most soups and sauces are made using fully ripe tomatoes. While ripe tomatoes themselves are fairly safe for dogs in moderation, many tomato-based soups and sauces can often contain additional ingredients that could be potentially toxic for dogs. These include:

  • Onions and garlic: Both onions and garlic are toxic to dogs and commonly found in tomato sauces and soups. Even small amounts can lead to potentially toxic reactions including hemolytic anemia which can be serious.

  • Salt: Many commercial soups and sauces can contain high levels of sodium and are not generally healthy for dogs and can lead to dehydration or sodium ion poisoning.

  • Sugar: Added sugars can contribute to obesity and dental problems in dogs.

  • Spices and herbs: Certain spices and herbs including chives, leeks, and nutmeg sometimes used in these products can be harmful for dogs.

Although tomatoes themselves are generally safe when used in soups or sauces, because of the potential for there to be other ingredients that are not as safe for dogs, it's generally not a good idea to feed your dog tomato sauce or soup, especially as a regular part of their diet. Even if the specific product does not list toxic ingredients, the potentially high salt and sugar content often found in these foods can lead to health issues.

If you want to share a tomato based sauce with your dog, it's safest to prepare a simple, dog-friendly tomato only version at home with just ripe tomatoes and no added ingredients. 

Can dog eat tomato sauce and tomato soup?

Can dogs eat sardines in tomato sauce?

Feeding your dog sardines in tomato sauce is not generally not recommended due to the additional added ingredients that can be harmful to dogs. While sardines themselves can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and other nutrients for dogs, the tomato sauce can often contain spices and additional ingredients like garlic, onions, and salt, which, as discussed previously, are not suitable for canine consumption. 

If you would like to include sardines in your dog's diet as a source of protein and omega-3’s, it's best to choose plain sardines packed in spring water or sunflower oil without any added salt or spices. 

Can dogs eat baked beans in tomato sauce?

While haricot beans can be a good source of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, due to the potentially high salt and sugar content of baked beans along with the potential for the inclusion of other potentially toxic ingredients, it is generally best not to feed them to your dog.

Can dogs eat tinned tomatoes?

Dogs can eat tinned tomatoes in moderation as they generally contain fully ripened tomatoes, but there are a few important considerations to keep in mind to ensure it's safe for your pet. Plain canned tomatoes without any added salt, spices, garlic, or onions can be a safe addition to your dog's diet in small quantities. However, many canned tomato products include additional ingredients that could be harmful to dogs so reading the list of ingredients is important when choosing tinned tomatoes.

Can dogs eat tomato ketchup?

Can dogs eat ketchup? The simple answer is no. 

Although ketchup is generally made from fully ripened tomatoes, the added ingredients in ketchup can make it a no go food for dogs. Most leading brands of ketchup contain around 30g of sugar per 100g of ketchup along with added salt, spices and herb extracts making ketchup an unsuitable addition to a dogs diet.

What are tomatine and solanine?

Solanine and tomatine are glycoalkaloid compounds that are  found in members of the nightshade family including tomatoes. Both compounds act as natural defense systems for the plants and offer protection against insects, fungi, and herbivores with both being toxic to dogs and humans if ingested in large enough quantities. Tomatine and solanine are found in tomatoes, with concentrations being significantly higher in the green and unripe parts of the plant, such as the leaves and stems, as well as in the green and unripened tomatoes.

Tomatine poisoning in dogs

Tomatine poisoning symptoms in dogs

Thankfully, tomatine poisoning in dogs is relatively rare and is usually not fatal, but it does occur if a dog consumes large quantities of the green parts of the tomato plant or unripe tomatoes. Symptoms of tomatine poisoning in dogs can include upset stomach, loss of coordination, lethargy, tremors and increased heart rate.

Did You Know?

Did you know that tomatine, the alkaloid compound found in tomatoes, is not only a natural defence mechanism and pesticide but also has shown promising implications for human health? Research has discovered that tomatine has the ability to lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, and even exhibit anti-cancer properties by inhibiting the growth of certain cancer cells.

How to safely feed your dog tomatoes

If you are planning to safely feed your dog tomatoes, always ensure that you only ever feed them fully ripe, red tomatoes and only in moderation. It is essential that you avoid all green parts of the plant, including leaves, stems and green tomatoes, due to the potential tomatine content. 

Start by washing your tomatoes thoroughly to remove any pesticides or chemicals, and then cut it into small, manageable pieces to prevent choking. Like any other new food, always introduce tomatoes into your dog's diet gradually to monitor for any adverse reactions or allergies such as gastrointestinal upset. 

As outlined above, it is important to always avoid processed tomato products like sauces or soups, which can potentially contain harmful additives like onions and garlic or excessive ingredients like sugar and salt.

How to safely feed your dog tomatoes

What to do if your dog eats too many tomatoes

If your dog has accidentally eaten too many tomatoes, especially if they have eaten parts of the plant that are high in tomatine like the leaves, stems or unripe tomatoes, it's essential to monitor them closely for signs of gastrointestinal upset or tomatine poisoning. If you notice any unusual symptoms or if your dog has consumed a significant portion of a tomato plant, contact your vet immediately for advice.

Can I grow tomatoes in my garden if I have a dog?

Dog owners can safely grow tomatoes in their gardens by taking some simple precautions. Always use barriers or fencing to keep your dog away from the tomato plants, always supervise your dog when they are in the the garden, train them to avoid the area where tomatoes are being grown, and consider planting your tomatoes in raised beds or containers to make them less accessible to your dog. Keep the growing area clean of fallen tomatoes or plant debris to reduce risk of accidental ingestion and make sure that all family members are aware of the importance of preventing the dog from accessing the tomato plants and monitor for any signs of ingestion.

Can I grow tomatoes in my garden if I have a dog?

Can dogs eat tomatoes - Conclusion

In conclusion, dogs can safely eat fully ripe tomatoes in moderation as a treat, but it's vitally important to avoid feeding them any of the green parts of the tomato plant, including leaves and stems, and most importantly the unripe green tomatoes due to the presence of tomatine, which can be toxic in large quantities. Ripe tomatoes can offer health benefits for your dog due to their vitamin, mineral, and fiber content, but should only be given as a small part of a dog's daily diet. So, next time that you are enjoying a nice fresh salad, feel free to toss your dog a slice of ripe tomato so that they can enjoy the taste and nutritional benefits.



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