Ripe tomatoes are safe for dogs to eat in small quantities but there are a few things you should be aware of before feeding your dog tomatoes. Like with other fruits and vegetables that can be fed to your dog safely, such as pineapples and cucumbers, feeding your dog tomatoes can pose potential health risks.. This makes it important to understand the different ways in which tomatoes can be consumed safely to protect your pet. Whether you want to feed tomatoes as a nutritious snack, or are just looking for peace of mind if your dog has scavenged a tomato from the street, here’s what you need to know about dogs eating tomatoes. As with feeding any human foods to your dog, it’s always a good idea to ask your vet beforehand.
Are tomatoes good for dogs?
A small quantity of ripe, red tomatoes can be good for dogs. In fact, many JAMES WELLBELOVED™ products contain small amounts of tomato pulp or ‘pomace’ which is cooked pulp and skin that can help improve your dog’s gut health. Whether or not tomatoes are beneficial does depend, however, on them being fully ripened and fed in moderation. With so many variations including cherry tomatoes, cooked tomatoes, canned or tinned tomatoes or even tomato sauce, it's important to know the facts as it’s not one rule that fits all. Ripe tomatoes contain high amounts of Vitamins A, C and K as well as antioxidants, potassium and fibre which support your dog’s digestive system. Tomatoes are also a great source of Vitamin B9 (also called folate) which aids healthy cell development and tissue growth. A dog’s immune system, skin, eyesight and heart will also benefit from a regular tomato snack. On a more cautious note, feeding your dog tomatoes can cause tummy upsets, or even toxic poisoning if they are unripe, eaten in large quantities or the leaves and stems are ingested.
Can tomatoes harm dogs?
Yes, there are several ways in which tomatoes can be detrimental to your dog, these include tomatine poisoning, allergies and choking hazards. Read below to find out how you can safely feed your dog tomatoes and what to do if you suspect your dog has been poisoned.
Are tomatoes poisonous for dogs?
Large quantities of tomatoes and unripe tomatoes contain a substance called tomatine which can be poisonous to dogs. A high level of tomatine is contained within the leaves and stems of tomatoes. Like other watch outs such as the requirement to remove the seeds in a watermelon before feeding to your dog, foliage on tomatoes must always be removed before feeding them to your dog. Although tomatine poisoning is a toxic condition, there are a number of supportive treatments available from your vet, so it’s good to be aware of some of the more obvious signs such as lethargy, confusion, sickness, diarrhoea and even seizures. Occasionally, dogs can also be allergic to tomatoes. If they have a flatulent or upset tummy, develop itchy skin, start to lick their paw pads, or have a rash in their ears after eating tomatoes, consult your vet immediately.
What are the symptoms of tomatine poisoning?Some or all of the following symptoms can be presented by your dog if they are suffering from tomatine poisoning after eating tomatoes:
- Lethargy and listlessness
- Drowsiness or confusion
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Lack of appetite
- Muscle weakness
- Tremors or seizures
- Reduced coordination
- Dilated pupils
- Excessively salivating
- Change in behaviour
- Abnormal heart rate
- Shortness of breath or gasping
What to do if you suspect your dog has tomatine poisoning?
If you suspect that your dog has tomatine poisoning from eating tomatoes, take them to the vet immediately so that their physical condition can be assessed. The vet will look for obvious signs of poisoning such as excessive drooling and drowsiness or dilated pupils. Any vomiting while your dog is being seen by the vet can be examined to see if tomato is present, or your vet may induce vomiting to reduce the risk of poisoning. A faecal sample can be taken to rule out other causes of illness such as parasites and bacteria. To indicate internal organ health, a full blood test may be required, while a urine test will tell the vet whether the kidneys are functioning normally too. Although tomatine poisoning is normally only serious when large quantities of tomatoes have been eaten (especially if they were unripe), even a small amount can be detrimental to a little dog or a vulnerable puppy so it is best to take suspected poisoning very seriously.
How to safely feed your dog tomatoes?
Your dog should only be fed the main body of a ripe tomato, with the stems and leaves removed. Unripe tomatoes contain a much higher amount of the toxic substance tomatine compared to ripe tomatoes, so should never be fed to your dog. It’s also important to wash the tomatoes before feeding, especially if they are not organic, as non-organic tomatoes may have been farmed using artificial chemicals which can be harmful to your dog if consumed. If you want to be extra safe, you can always peel the tomato before offering it up to your pampered pooch!
Can dogs eat tomatoes whole?
It’s best to cut tomatoes into small pieces when feeding them to your dog, as a whole tomato could get caught in their throat. Chopping tomatoes and cooking them down before feeding them to your pooch or adding them to their regular food is always the safest option, as this avoids them being a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs.
How much tomato can dogs eat?
When thinking about whether your dog can eat tomatoes, knowing the correct quantity is crucial. One or two small, ripe tomatoes per week is the right amount for most dogs. Tomatoes should be treated as an occasional snack rather than a regular dietary staple. If you have a very small dog, an older dog or a puppy, this amount should be reduced to around one ripe tomato a week but it’s best to ask your vet about the right quantity for your individual pet. When introducing new foods to your dog, try giving them a small amount to make sure there are no adverse health reactions before introducing it into their diet.
Dogs eating tomatoes: the FAQs
Can dogs eat cherry tomatoes?
Ripe cherry tomatoes can be consumed in moderation by dogs, as long as the stalks and any leaves have been removed, and you’ve given them a wash. No more than one or two per week should be given to your dog, depending on their size. It’s a good idea to cut them before offering them as a snack to avoid potential choking.
Can dogs eat canned tomatoes?
Dogs should only eat organic, non seasoned canned or tinned tomatoes. While canned or tinned tomatoes have the advantage of always being red and ripe, many will also have added herbs, sugar, salt and preservatives that are not good for your dog. An organic variety, with absolutely nothing else added and specifically no salt, is therefore the only possible option for your dog. It is a good idea to check the label in any case.
Can dogs eat cooked tomatoes?
Yes dogs can eat cooked tomatoes as long as they are ripe. Chopping and cooking them before adding a little to your dog’s regular dinner is the best idea as this avoids potential choking on chunks of tomato, while cooking them may also increase the level of beneficial antioxidants. When cooking the tomatoes, make sure that you don’t add any other ingredients at all such as sugar, salt, garlic or onions.
Can dogs eat tomato sauce?
Tomato sauce is toxic for dogs, so any kind of commercial tomato sauce - whether it is ketchup or pasta sauce - should not be fed to your dog. As well as sugar, salt and preservatives, it often contains onion and garlic which are toxic for dogs. Please avoid tomato sauce at all costs unless it is homemade and you can be sure that it is free of other ingredients. Find out more about exactly ‘What dogs can and can’t eat’ in our informative article that covers a host of foods and includes a number of surprises.
We also have lots of useful information around other types of foods your dogs may or may not be able to eat:
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