Can dogs eat tomatoes? Feeding a dog is a big job. Deciding what you want to eat is hard enough. Let alone making that choice for your dog. On top of that, there are a lot of health concerns about feeding a dog. Some of the foods we can eat easily are poisonous to dogs. People often ask if their dog can eat tomatoes. What are the side effects of a dog eating tomatoes or does it hurt a dog to eat tomatoes?
To answer this we have to go to the chemical makeup of tomatoes and then we can decide. Tomatoes are a wonder food for humans, so why shouldn’t my dog eat them? Will your dog experience side effects?
The Tomato Plant
There are two parts of the tomato plant. The green stem and leaves and the actual tomatoes themselves. Both parts of the tomato plant contain a chemical called solanine. Solanine is a poison found in the nightshade family. Which you guessed it, tomatoes are from. Other common fruits and vegetables that contain solanine are eggplants and potatoes. Solanine is a natural pesticide, it keeps the bugs away! Solanine can be found in the roots, the tubers (the potatoes) and the fruit.
In tomatoes, the solanine is found in the chemical compound tomatine. In tomatoes the concentration of tomatine in the stems are leaves is up to 5%. This doesn’t sound like a lot but at concentrations this high, it is poisonous to dogs. Luckily, in the fruit of the tomato, the concentration of solanine is much lower. It is only found in trace amounts. This means the concentration of tomatine (the poison) in the fruits is barely present. This is good news for your dog. The more ripe and redder the tomato, the less tomatine that is present in it.
Tomatine and Solanine Poisoning and Side Effects
Symptoms of tomatine and solanine poisoning include:-
- Loss of Appetite
- Gastrointestinal (stomach) upset
Generally, a large dose of tomatine or solanine must be ingested to experience such symptoms. Especially in the case of a human. However, a young puppy could experience such symptoms after only eating a few tomato leaves or unripe tomatoes. If you believe that your dog is experiencing these symptoms contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. It is always better to have a false alarm. The Veterinarian will keep your dog hydrated and give them electrolytes to attempt to flush out the poison. Once the poison is removed your dog will return to full health.
Tomatoes and Dogs
Since the concentrations of the poison are so low in very ripe tomatoes it is ok to feed your dog tomatoes. It is a good idea to only feed them to your dog rarely though. Although the concentrations are low eating a lot of tomatoes could cause tomato poisoning in your dog. The plant and its stems and leaves are off limits for your dog. They can cause tomato poisoning quite quickly. This is a problem if you plan to grow your own tomatoes. Make sure you put up a fence to keep your pooch safe.
Can I Feed My Dog Tomatoes?
Yes, you can. It is important to keep it in moderation and continue to feed your dog a balanced diet. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and are full of antioxidants. The dog food you currently use may lack these. Beta-carotene is also found in tomatoes and this promotes good health. So next time you need a healthy treat for your dog. Reach for a Tomato.