I was making a sandwich the other day and couldn’t help noticing my dog drooling at the sight of my fresh ripe tomatoes. As crazy as it sounds, it seems like my dog wants to eat my tomatoes, can he? Are tomatoes safe for dogs?
As loving pet parents we always put our dog’s health at the forefront and seeing as tomatoes contain many nutritional health benefits for us humans will our furry buddies also gain some much needed healthy nutrients too?
The quick answer is YES, dogs can eat tomatoes, as long as they are ripe - but there are exceptions that must be avoided and can actually be detrimental to your dog’s health.
If you want to know the ins and outs of the benefits of giving tomatoes to your dog keep on reading - by the time you finish this article, you’ll hopefully have all the answers about feeding tomatoes to your dog, if not drop a comment below and I’ll make sure it’s answered.
What Are The Benefits Of Giving Tomatoes To Your Dog?
Tomatoes are packed full of goodness that will be beneficial to your dog’s health if consumed in appropriate quantities. Your dog’s digestion will benefit from the high fiber content and the lycopene can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and lycopene also helps to promote strong bones.
Tomatoes are also a rich source of beta-carotene, which can improve cognition, they contain vitamin C, which can be beneficial for your dog's skin, and vitamin A is also present which will help with vision deterioration especially in older dogs.
But that’s not all, tomatoes are also full of much-needed minerals such as potassium and folate both of which help with regulating blood pressure and can benefit your dog’s general muscle health.
Are Tomatoes Safe For Dogs To Eat? Can Anything Bad Happen?
Absolutely, tomatoes are perfectly okay, but the green, unripe parts of tomatoes including the stem and other parts of the plant can be toxic.
Tomatoes, especially the green parts contain a toxin called Tomatine (not to be confused with solanine, found in potatoes) which is toxic to dogs if consumed in large amounts. For many of you, this will not be an issue, you’ll most likely purchase your ripe tomatoes from the local store.
But, if you grow tomatoes in your garden there’s a chance that your dog could eat the plant and the green unripened tomatoes. If you have green fingers and enjoy growing tomatoes at home, make sure you keep your dog away from the plants - Tomatine poisoning in dogs is rare but not unheard of.
The risk of giving your dog tomatoes to eat is small and in some instances, your dog could simply be allergic to tomatoes so we always suggest that you introduce tomatoes to your dog’s diet slowly to see how they initially react to it.
If your dog has an adverse reaction after you have fed them a tomato typical symptoms can range from gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, drowsiness, and they may also have an abnormal heart rate.
If you notice that your dog’s mood has changed, they’re lethargic or just not themselves after eating a tomato it’s best to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out any potential problems.
Again, tomato poisoning in dogs is extremely rare but always play on the side of caution when introducing any new foods into their diet.
Can Dogs Have Green Tomatoes?
As I mentioned briefly above, green tomatoes will not be good for your dog because they contain harmful amounts of Tomatine which can cause health problems such as muscle dysfunction, heart disease, and digestion problems to name just a few.
If your dog jumps up and grabs a green unripe tomato from your hand and scoffs it down, this shouldn’t really be of concern - it’s a one-off.
Now if your dog regularly eats green tomatoes or has managed to get into your tomato garden and eats a large amount, I would definitely recommend that you take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Always give your dog deep red and fully ripe tomatoes.
How About Tomato Soup, Sauces Or Juice?
Okay, so you now know that giving tomatoes to your dog is perfectly fine - but, what about products that contain tomatoes such as sauces, soups or even juices?
This is a bit trickier to determine because almost all of these are meant for human consumption and they come loaded with artificial sweeteners and flavors, excess salt, sugar, and other ingredients that could be harmful to your dog; even though they are okay for humans.
… Let’s start with tomato soup.
Can Dogs Eat Tomato Soup?
Yes, giving tomatoes soup to your dog in most cases will be perfectly okay, but, make sure you read the ingredients list to ensure that the soup does not contain any additional ingredients such as garlic or onion or any others from this list.
To be 100% sure it’s probably best to make homemade tomato soup, that way you know exactly what’s in it.
Can my Dog Eat Tomato Sauce?
Just like soup you need to play on the side of caution, remember, it’s not the tomatoes that will be a problem it’s the other ingredients in the sauce that should be a cause for concern.
Is It Safe For My Dog To Drink Tomato Juice?
The problem with store-bought tomato juice is the high sodium content which will not only make your dog want to drink more water but it can also put a strain on your dog’s kidneys.
Now that doesn't mean you cannot juice up fresh tomatoes at home - again you know exactly what’s going into the juice - only then can you be 100% sure it’s safe for your dog.
Remember, it’s not the tomatoes but the other ingredients that can harm to your dog’s health.
Can Dogs Eat Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce?
The quick answer is NO... But
I do not recommend any processed “human foods” for your dog. Baked beans, for example, are loaded full of sugar, salt, and calories (not good if your dog has diabetes).
Beans are from the legume family which comes in different varieties such as chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. They're packed full of dietary fiber, protein, and other nutrients all of which can help to lower cholesterol and improve your dog’s immune system.
Beans on their own will not be a problem for your dog just like soups, sauces and juices it’s the other ingredients that can be an issue for your dog.
If you really want to give you dog baked beans, I recommend that choose the homemade route and make a fresh batch at home.
The Bottom Line Regarding Tomatoes And Dogs
Giving your dog a red, ripe fresh tomato as a treat occasionally will be perfectly okay, in fact, it will be beneficial. But, do not replace your dog’s regular diet with tomatoes or any other fruits or vegetables for that matter. Your dog still needs to have a high-protein, good quality wet or dry dog food diet.
When you're giving tomatoes to your dog for the first time don't go ahead and feed them a bucket load from the get-go, introduce tomatoes slowly into their diet. I recommend that you give them a small piece and see how they react - also if they don’t want it don’t try to force on them.
Remember, homemade will always be better than store bought - if you want to give your dog tomato soup, juice, or sauce spend a bit of time and make it yourself - only then will you have peace of mind that it will be safe for your dog.
If there’s one last piece of advice I can give that would be to double check with your veterinarian before you give any new foods to your dog. Some dogs may have underlying medical conditions, such as acid reflux or other gastrointestinal issues, that may be aggravated by tomatoes.
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