While tomatoes are a nutritious and delicious fruit that offers several health benefits to dogs, some parts of the tomato plant, including the stem and leaves, contain toxins that are dangerous for dogs.
Careful selection and preparation of tomatoes are required to turn them into safe dog treats. Learn about the risks and benefits of feeding tomatoes to your dog.
Are tomatoes bad for dogs?
Tomatoes are a part of the nightshade family and contain around 5% of tomatine. Tomatine is a poisonous compound that is found in other nightshade plants, including eggplants and green potatoes. While it may sound alarming, ripe tomatoes are safe for dogs and rarely cause poisoning.
Another toxic compound found in tomatoes is solanine. The green parts of the tomato plant, including the vine, stem, and leaves, have the highest solanine content. Young, green tomatoes are full of solanine as well.
It’s important to choose ripe tomatoes and remove their vines, stems, and leaves. When it’s snack time, tomatoes should only be served in small amounts.
What are the benefits of tomatoes for dogs?
Tomatoes are a healthy fruit option for your pup. It is full of nutrients and minerals that provide several benefits.
Here are some of them:
High in fiber
Tomatoes are packed with soluble and insoluble fiber, which encourages regular bowel movement and healthy digestion. Pomace, a mix of crushed-up seeds, skin, and pulp of raw tomatoes, contains more fiber than whole tomatoes.
High in lycopene
Lycopene in tomatoes helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in dogs. It also keeps their bones strong and healthy.
High in beta-carotene
Beta-carotene is a plant pigment that gives red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables their vibrant color. It is converted to vitamin A. As an antioxidant, beta-carotene helps protect against free radicals that can cause chronic diseases.
Contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
Tomatoes contain vitamins A, C, and K and minerals such as potassium. As a result, they boost the immune system, regulate blood pressure, maintain good eyesight, and helping shield the body from various diseases.
Can dogs have tomatoes?
Some dogs should be kept away from tomatoes as they may trigger allergies. If it is your dog’s first time eating tomatoes, make sure not to mix it with other foods that are new to him.
Watch out for signs of allergic reactions such as:
- Constant licking
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Itchy ears
- Reddish and irritated skin
- Difficulty breathing
Stop feeding your dog tomatoes and bring him to the vet if he shows any of these symptoms. A diagnosis will be made to determine the cause of his allergies. If it is indeed due to tomatoes, don’t include them in the pet food.
If your dog is not allergic to tomatoes, be sure to feed him moderately. Avoid excessive consumption of tomatoes as it can lead to severe tomato poisoning.
What are the signs of tomato toxicity?
Excessive consumption of tomatoes can result in tomato toxicity. It is an uncommon occurrence in dogs. However, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the most common symptoms of this condition:
- Abdominal pain
- Dilated pupils
- Abnormal heart rate
Tomato toxicity is harmful to dogs but rarely fatal. With that said, a lack of proper treatment can lead to severe progression of the poisoning. Therefore, if you notice these signs in your dog, call the pet poison helpline or contact the vet immediately.
How to diagnose tomato poisoning in dogs
Tomato poisoning diagnosis will begin with the vet performing a physical examination to check for abnormalities in your dog. It also helps rule out other possible causes and determine the root of the symptoms.
Other tests may be required to get an accurate result. These include:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Chemistry panel
- Packed cell volume (PCV)
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Treatment of tomato poisoning in dogs
The vet may induce vomiting in your dog to remove the toxins from his body to treat tomato poisoning. Your dog may also need to undergo fluid therapy.
The treatment involves pumping electrolytes and fluids into his body. This helps in flushing out toxins.
Another way to treat tomato poisoning is through gastric lavage. A tube will be placed through the stomach to flush out toxins.
How to prevent tomato toxicity in dogs
As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. Here are some handy tips to protect your pooch from tomato toxicity:
If you have a garden, fence it off. This will keep your dog from eating the tomatoes, especially the unripe ones.
Choose organic ripe tomatoes as they have low exposure to chemicals and pesticides, making them a healthier and safer option for your dog.
Bacteria and chemicals stick to the tomato skin, so make sure to wash it thoroughly.
Keep in mind that most of the toxins are concentrated in the green parts of tomatoes. So be sure to remove them when preparing a tomato dog treat.
Giving your dog large amounts of tomatoes should be avoided. Always remember to feed in moderation to prevent tomato toxicity.
Can dogs eat tomato leaves?
No, the parts of a tomato plant that should be avoided are the leaves, stem, and vine, which are high in solanine. Consuming a small amount of these parts rarely leads to severe conditions, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid giving them to your dog altogether.
If your dog accidentally ate any part of the tomato plant, he would most likely have a mild stomach upset. But to be safe, it is better to keep the tomato plant away from your dog.
Can dogs eat tomato sauce?
Dogs can eat tomato sauce, but it is not recommended. Tomato sauce and other tomato-based products like ketchup contain unhealthy ingredients for dogs, such as preservatives, artificial flavors, chives, onion, garlic, salt, sugar.
However, a small amount of tomato sauce or other tomato-based products may not greatly affect your pet.
Can dogs eat tomato soup?
Avoid feeding store-bought tomato soup to your dog as the ingredients found in tomato soup may be toxic for dogs. Garlic and onions are added to tomato soup, which should not be given to dogs.
If you plan to feed tomatoes to your dog, opt to use fresh ones and not processed tomato products.
Home-made Tomato Dog Treats
Some dogs love tomatoes, while others don’t find them enticing. Here are two tomato dog treat recipes that your dog will truly enjoy.
Tomato Herb Biscuit
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 5 ounce can evaporated milk
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl one by one. Make sure to knead well after each addition.
- Knead the dough into a ball. Roll it on the floured surface until it is 1/4 inch thick.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes from the dough. Poke it with a fork to keep bubbles from forming.
- Place the dough on your prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Allow it to cool and serve it to your dog. Place leftover biscuits in a Ziploc bag or an airtight container and store them in the fridge.
- A handful of mini tomatoes
- 1/2 tablespoon of gelatin
- 1/2 cup of hot water
- Place all the mini tomatoes in the mixer and puree them for around 10 seconds.
- Transfer the pureed tomatoes to a bowl.
- Pour it into an ice cube tray.
- Put it in the freezer until it’s frozen. Then serve it to your dog.
- Store leftovers in a resealable bag or airtight container. Then place them back in the freezer.