Let’s face it; there’s quite a bit of controversy on how desirable is tomato as a food item in a dog’s diet? Many pet owners believe it’s fine, and there are others who consider it as bad as poison.
So, there’s clear disagreement on this topic, which explains why you are here, seeking an answer to this million-dollar question, —Can dogs eat tomatoes? Are they safe?
For those who don’t know, tomatoes are categorized as ‘nightshades,’ a family of flowering plants. Some dogs and even humans are sensitive to plants belonging to the ‘nightshades’ category.
Yes, some and not all dogs and humans can fall sick after eating this category of vegetable. This should tell you that there’s no simple answer to this question.
You will have to start off with a small quantity to see whether or not your dog has any negative reactions from tomato consumption. If there is a severe reaction, contact the dog’s vet immediately.
Needless to say, food items that contain tomatoes, such as tomato sauce, tomato juice, or soups, won’t sit well with dogs that do not have good tomato tolerance.
Some dogs may also be allergic to tomatoes. An allergic reaction of this nature can cause anaphylaxis, which can be a potentially life-threatening condition. Of course, you need to stop feeding tomatoes to such allergic dogs.
The usual allergic symptoms associated with tomato consumption are digestive issues like gas and diarrhea. Worse yet, some dogs may get itchy rashes on their skin.
It’s also important to know that there are a good number of references that point out that the green part of the tomato plant or unripe tomatoes is harmful, especially when consumed in large quantities.
Therefore, you shouldn’t let your pet dog eat any part of the tomato plant because parts of the plant contain solanine and tomatine, which are quite toxic in nature.
In other words, the stems and leaves can be a problem. However, a ripe tomato is safe for dog consumption. So, don’t let your dog eat a tomato off the plants.
While tomato toxicity is not very common, it can still occur. For those who don’t know, excess consumption of solanine and tomatine can cause the following issues.
Let’s Discuss the Downsides:
-Death (in a worst-case scenario)
Usually, one or more of these symptoms show up when our dogs consume a high concentration of solanine and tomatine.
To sum it up: Ripe/red or cooked tomatoes can be safely included in your dog’s diet.
Of course, moderation is the key as well. So, don’t give your pet access to the tomato garden. If your dog likes to chew on plants, create a fence around the plant, or keep the tomato plantations away from his/her reach.
Too many ripe tomatoes can also make your dog sick as tomatoes are quite acidic by nature. Keep in mind that ripe tomatoes are not completely solanine and tomatine free. They do contain a small amount of solanine and tomatine.
If consumed in large quantities, these toxic ingredients can sum up, causing health issues in the process. That said, a small number of ripe tomatoes will do no harm.
Let’s Discuss the Benefits:
Frankly speaking, your dog will receive the same benefit that we get from eating a tomato. As you might already know, a tomato is a low-calorie food that’s high in fiber content.
It also has lycopene in it, which is good for your dog’s heart-health. Not to mention that a tomato is a rich source of Vitamin A and C, which can boost a dog’s vision and improve his/her skin.
Additionally, the minerals present in tomatoes, like chromium, potassium, and folate, can strengthen your pet’s nerves and muscles. The minerals can improve your dog’s blood pressure too.
Final Verdict: Should you Give Tomatoes to your Pet?
If your vet approves it, feel free to serve tomatoes to your dog. Of course, watch out for any abnormal signs. Also, make sure to choose ripe tomatoes (red ones) with stems and leaves removed from them.
It helps to go slow by starting with a small bite or two, just like you would do when introducing any new food in your pet’s diet. This way, you will be able to see how your dog reacts to eating tomatoes.
If there are any allergic or negative reactions, stop feeding tomatoes and wait for the symptoms to subside. If they don’t, take your pet to the vet as soon as you can.
Generally speaking, mild to moderate gastrointestinal symptoms go away on their own. However, severe reactions would require veteran intervention for a full recovery.