Yes and no. Dogs can eat tomatoes in moderation, but only ripe ones. Don’t offer your dog tomatoes in large quantities or frequently and make sure to avoid feeding them green tomatoes as they contain substances that can be harmful to them.
Tomatoes are in the nightshade family and natural chemicals called solanine and tomatine are found in young, green tomatoes, particularly in the stems and leaves of the plant. Both of these can be harmful in large quantities, and it is best to avoid feeding your pet anything other than ripe fruits.
If you grow tomatoes in the garden, your dog may try to nibble on green tomatoes or leaves, stems, and vines, so it’s always a good idea to keep these fenced off or inside a greenhouse that they can’t access.
Are Tomatoes Good for Dogs?
Ripe tomatoes are non-toxic, so they aren’t poisonous to dogs. In fact, the many health benefits that tomatoes offer are why they are often included as an ingredient in pet food.
Tomatoes have a lot of fiber, which helps support your dog’s digestion. They also have antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K, as well as folate (vitamin B9), which helps with tissue growth and cell function.
How to Safely Share Tomatoes with Your Dog
Although the stems and leaves of tomatoes are bad for dogs, ripe tomato flesh is actually considered non-toxic. So don’t worry if your dog sneaks a tomato out of your salad—it’s perfectly safe for them to snack on a ripe tomato! Tomatoes are chock-full of fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C, and can even be a digestive aid—as long as they’re ripe.
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, diarrhea, 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.
How many tomatoes can dogs eat?
When it comes to green, unripe tomatoes, dogs shouldn’t eat any at all. This is because the higher concentration of solanine could cause your furry friend to become unwell.
Although ripe tomatoes contain a small amount of solanine, they are likely to be safe for your dog to eat occasionally, in small portions.
Be aware, though, that large amounts of tomatoes, even if they’re ripe, could cause tomato poisoning. One to two cherry tomatoes a couple of times a week is unlikely to cause harm to most dogs.
If you choose to feed your dog some cooked tomato, make sure any other ingredients aren’t toxic. You should also avoid using any seasoning or spices. Onions and garlic are particularly problematic since they can cause your dog to become anemic, as well as vomiting and diarrhea.
How should you feed dog tomatoes?
Experts say you should prepare tomatoes for dogs the same way you would for humans. That means washing the tomatoes, removing any green parts such as the stems or leaves, and cutting them up into bite-sized pieces to avoid the risk of choking.
“Wash all fruit before eating,” Klein says. Organic fruit may have residue from organic fertilizers, which may have fecal debris, he notes, while non-organic fruits may contain pesticides or other harmful chemical residues. He adds that it’s best to chop fruits into chewable pieces relative to the size of the dog.