Our canine buddies are always interested in foods we eat but as a vigilant owner, it is our responsibility to only feed them canine safe foods. It is a common every day practice to feed furry buddies table scraps which are although not recommended by vets, but some human foods are fine to give occasionally and in moderation. What about a very common household fruit and a vegetable, can dogs eat tomatoes? Used in a variety of everyday food items, are tomatoes safe for dogs? Let’s dig it!
Can I give tomato to my dog?
Tomato, like many other Solanaceae or nightshade plants which contain over 3000 species most common included peppers, potatoes, eggplants, ground cherries, and tomatillos, has solanine and alkaloid tomatine (present in the unripe fruit of the plant) which are believed to be toxic for canines. These substances are present in the stems, vines, leaves, and green unripe fruit of the tomato plant. Ripe mature tomatoes do not contain any detectable amount of tomatine and therefore are generally considered safe for dogs. So, yes you can give a ripe red tomato occasionally and in moderation to your dog.
How can I give tomato to my dog?
Before feeding tomato to your pooch, select a red, ripe mature one and prepare it for smooth and easy digestion. In case it’s inorganic, wash the tomato thoroughly with water to remove any pesticides or harmful chemicals as these toxic substances are never safe for us and our pets. Once washes cut the tomato into smaller pieces and serve them fresh.
You can also cook the tomato (plain) which is though much better option as cooked tomato provide lycopene in a form much easier for the body to absorb. Avoid adding any flavorings, or additional ingredients when serving cooked as sodium, or any other additives can be harmful and not healthy as plain cooked tomatoes.
Remember, any food you feed your pooch, moderation is the key. Avoid overfeeding especially if you are introducing something new. Give a small quantity and monitor your dog for the symptoms of ill health like indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you see any of the symptoms, stop feeding right away. But if your dog is all good, then you can feed it to your dog in moderation. Some human foods like grapes, raisins, chocolate are absolutely unsafe and should always be avoided. However, some others like apples, oranges, strawberries, and tomatoes can be fed occasionally as a treat or a reward.
Can a dog eat raw tomatoes?
Mentioned already raw tomatoes are not a safe food to feed your pooch. Raw, green and unripe tomato contains a great amount of tomatine and solanine which can invite a host of problems for your buddy including heart diseases, muscle dysfunction, and problems related indigestion. So better not to feed raw or green tomato to your dogs in any amount and instead go for fully ripe and red tomatoes.
Benefits of feeding tomatoes to dogs
Are tomatoes good for dogs? Well, ripe tomato does not contain tomatine in an amount that is dangerous or unsafe for canines. Therefore you can feed your pooch a ripe juicy tomato as a treat occasionally and it’s healthy too. Some of the health benefits of tomato include:
- Tomato contains a high amount of vitamins and antioxidants that are beneficial to a dog’s overall health.
- Tomato is a great source of vitamin C, which your dog’s food may lack, so compensating this essential vitamin in the form of tomato is well justified.
- Long term but moderate consumption of tomato is good for preventing certain types of cancers and degenerative diseases.
- Tomato contains “lycopene” which is believed to promote a dog’s health and help prevent certain diseases.
Can a dog eat tomato sauce?
Plain cooked tomatoes are actually good than raw form due to easy absorption of the nutrient lycopene but tomato sauce should be avoided as it contains onion, garlic and other additional ingredients, additives and preservatives which are not canine safe.
Can a dog eat tomato soup?
Well, tomato soup like tomato sauce contains additional ingredients which are not so good for canines. So plain cooked tomato is the best option to feed your dog tomato with all its health benefits.
What if my dog has eaten tomato plant?
If you have grown tomato plants in your home chances are that your dog can revel in a dangerous treat any time out of your sight. A tomato plant including leaves, stems and unripe fruit is not in any way safe for canines. If ingested in large amount could be dangerous and toxic for a dog. If you think that your dog has consumed these parts look for the following symptoms of tomato toxicity in your dog.
- Difficulty breathing
- Elevated heart rate
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Pupil dilation.
- Upset stomach
If you see any of the symptoms get your dog to the vet right away. Although it takes large amounts of the unripe green tomato or the plant to cause any real harm but keep in mind there are cases of tomato poisoning which cause severe risks such as coma and death. Hence, it is always wise to visit your vet if you find that your dog has ingested unripe tomatoes, stems, vines, or bark of the plant.
How to keep dogs away from tomatoes in the garden?
Dogs and tomato plants is not an easy hard battle to fight especially with tomato plants in your house. If you have grown tomatoes in your garden and concerned about how to keep your dog away from tomatoes, these tips would help you. Contain your tomato plants with fences that your dog can’t jump over. You can use pet deterrents like motion-sensing sprinklers or motion-activated devices to scare your pooch away from the garden. Another way is to disperse crushed red peppers around the area where you have grown tomatoes. Also, spread coffee grinds which will not only serve as a dog deterrent but as a great fertilizer for your plant.
Tomato poisoning in dogs although not common but is a serious threat which should not be overlooked. If a dog consumed a large amount of tomato stem, leaves or unripe fruit, it can develop symptoms of tomato toxicity and in rare cases, coma and death too can occur.
So, can dogs eat tomatoes? Yes, but only red, ripe mature tomato and in moderation. Never feed your pooch any food you are not sure about; no matter how much it is healthy and nutritious for you, can be downright poisonous for your dog. It is true that incorporating canine safe fruits and vegetables is beneficial as it neutralizes the alkalinity and acidity of the diet which is important to a dog’s health and also contain essential nutrients and minerals which nourish and boost the immune system but cannot be a replacement for a good quality dog food. Feed your dog a high quality food specifically designed for dogs, regarding their age, as puppies have different food requirements and needs than older dogs. Remember pet lovers, our naïve pets are unaware about the potential threats around them in the form of foods, they take no time diving into whatever comes to them. It is our utmost responsibility as vigilant owners to protect them from things unsafe for them. Keep an eye if you have grown a tomato plant in your backyard or you have some pots around, as a tomato plant, except the ripe fruit, contains the toxic substances.