A small dog looks at a cherry tomato held on a fork in front of themA small dog looks at a cherry tomato held on a fork in front of themA small dog looks at a cherry tomato held on a fork in front of them
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Can dogs eat tomatoes?

While some foods are toxic to dogs and should not be eaten, there are other foods like tomatoes that are a little more difficult to categorize. So you may be wondering, “Can dogs eat tomatoes?” The answer is Yes and No. Read on to learn more about this popular food topic with our Trupanion veterinarians.

Are tomatoes bad for dogs?

Tomatoes can be given to dogs as a treat but there are some risks for your best friend. The tomato plant contains small amounts of a toxin called solanine that is found in higher concentrations within the flowers, stems and leaves. Green tomatoes may also contain very small amounts of this toxin. If large quantities of the tomato plant are consumed, solanine can be harmful to dogs. As noted, it’s only found in the green parts of the tomato plant so as long as the tomato is ripe and the green parts are removed, tomatoes are generally safe for your dog to eat.

Are tomato plants toxic to dogs?

The green parts in tomatoes can cause a variety of symptoms in your furry friend. For example, the toxins in tomato plants can cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset which may include: vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. You could also see neurological signs such as drowsiness, dilated pupils, respiratory depression, ataxia, and hyperthermia.

  • This is less of an issue with ingesting fruit itself, although mild GI upset can still occur if the dog overindulges.
  • Toxicity is rare, as a relatively large volume must be ingested.
  • Consult your veterinarian if your dog is on a special diet before offering any new treats.
  • Along this same line, only one new treat should be offered at a time, preferably separated by 1-2 weeks so if your dog develops any negative side effects it is easier to determine what it is caused by.

So can dogs eat tomatoes? The short answer is yes, as long as they are ripe and fed in moderation. To help break things down, check out this information regarding the risks, how to moderate tomato consumption, and some delicious recipes to try out.

Common symptoms of tomatine poisoning

Accidents can happen. If you suspect that your dog has eaten the green parts of a tomato plant, then here are a couple of the most common signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Lethargy (weakness, fatigue)
  • Vomiting or diarrhea, usually a few hours after ingesting solanine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Confusion

If your pet is acting abnormal, please seek veterinary care. And: an even better reason to invest in medical insurance for your pet!

How to safely feed dogs tomatoes

As with most treats, tomatoes should be consumed in moderation. However, it’s also important to keep your dog away from the green parts of the tomato plant, so here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Keep gardening areas fenced off or otherwise inaccessible to your dog. This is because some dogs seem to enjoy eating tomatoes that aren’t fully ripe yet and this puts them at risk of toxicity.
  • Prepare tomatoes properly. Ensure that every tomato you feed to your dog has all of the green parts removed. When adding tomatoes to a recipe, make sure you slice the tomatoes to make them easier to eat.
  • Clean up while you prep. Puppies can be curious. You never know when your pup may try to jump on the counter or sneak a quick treat. While you prep the snack, consider cleaning as you go to help keep your furry family member safe.
  • Feed-in moderation. Make sure you don’t feed your dog too many tomatoes, as it can cause mild GI upset.
  • Always talk with your veterinarian. They can help determine which foods may be best for your pet’s overall health
  • .

Health benefits of tomatoes for dogs

Fruits and veggies can be a healthy snack for your pet, and tomatoes are no exception. For example, tomatoes are high in lycopene, which can help fight cancer cells, aid in eye health, and maintain healthy skin and coat for your pet. Other nutrients include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Low in calories
  • High in Fiber

For more on tomatoes and dogs, check out this video from Southern Living.

If you have any questions, consult with your veterinarian on what works best for your pet’s diet and overall wellness. For more on tomatoes for dogs, check out the FAQ below:

  • Can puppies eat tomatoes? Always make sure to supervise your puppy when they’re eating snacks. A ripe tomato or two may be okay for your best friend, but avoid any green parts of the tomato plant.
  • Can dogs eat cherry tomatoes? Ripe tomatoes are considered non-toxic to pets and can be eaten in moderation.
  • Can dogs eat tomato sauce? Be wary of tomato sauce as it may have an abundance of other ingredients like salt, onion, garlic, and preservatives. Consult your veterinarian before you give tomato sauce to your furry friend.
  • Can dogs eat canned tomatoes? Canned tomatoes can have additional additives or toxic ingredients for your furry friend. Talk with your veterinarian before giving your dog tomato soups, sauces, or canned tomatoes.

A white pit bull eats a whole tomato.

Tomato recipe for your dog

Here’s an idea for tomato-related treats that you can make and feed your dog.

Cheesy tomato dog biscuits

If your dog just loves dog treats and biscuits, then this homemade variety will win their hearts! You’re going to need:

  • 1 ¾ cup of flour (use whole wheat if possible)
  • ⅓ cup of low-fat or non-fat milk
  • One large egg
  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • A can of tomato paste
  • ½ cup of assorted cheese (mozzarella is a great choice!)
  • 2 teaspoons of your favorite Italian herbs (mix parsley, oregano, and basil)

Preheat your oven to 350ºF/180ºC and place baking paper over a baking tray. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to combine everything. Knead the dough into a large ball and roll it onto a floured surface until the biscuits are around ¼ of an inch thick. Cut with a cookie cutter into your favorite shape and poke holes into each biscuit. Bake for 10 minutes, cool, then place them in the fridge for storage.

The bottom line

Next time you go to make dinner, keep in mind what your best friend is eating. By talking with your veterinarian, monitoring your pet, and being mindful of snacks, a ripe tomato or two can be enjoyed in moderation.

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