Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Yes, dogs can eat tomatoes. Tomatoes are barely poisonous and are generally pretty safe to feed dogs. Most dogs don’t ingest enough tomato plants to cause a problem.
As humans, we are aware of the health benefits of tomatoes and the importance of having it as a part of a well balanced diet. Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene – known to lower the risk of degenerative disease and some types of cancer. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin A and C. But it seems that a dog’s digestive, urinary and nervous system does not need nor react to the benefit of tomatoes as humans. In fact, it can have a very negative effect. Some would say that tomato sauce would kill any toxins by the heat of cooking; but just like some humans, tomato sauce contains a lot of acid for sensitive stomach.
Sometimes when dogs have an upset stomach, it is recommended to feed them little bits of tomato but not too much.
Precautions When Feeding Dogs Tomatoes
That being said, tomato PLANTS are fatal for dogs. Tomato plants are in the Nightshade family and contain tomatine. Tomatine is found in concentrations of up to 5% in the leafy greens, the fruit blossoms, and in small green tomatoes; this concentration rapidly decreases as the tomato ripens. When stems, vines and green fruit are ingested, clinical signs can include gastrointestinal irritation, ataxia, and weakness. Treatment is purely supportive with an overall good prognosis.
Symptoms of tomato toxicity can include: vomiting; excessive drooling; constipation or diarrhea; central nervous systems shut down; muscle weakness; dilated pupils: breathing difficulty. This ingested toxicity is not properly absorbed by the dogs intestines and at the very least causes stomach upset and intestinal distress.
Tomato plants also contain atropine, which can cause dilated pupils, tremors, and heart arrhythmias. The highest concentration of atropine is found in the leaves and stems of tomato plants, with less in unripe (green) tomatoes, and even less in ripe (red) tomatoes.
This means that if you have a garden full of tomatoes, it is very important to watch your dog and make sure that he or she is not able to get into it! One way you can do this is by keeping them out of the garden unless you are going to go in there with them. Another thing to do would be to always be alert as your dog is near the plant or sniffing them. This way, you can let them have a sniff without actually trying to eat the tomato plant.
To cause heart arythmia your dog would have to eat either the vine or like a whole barrel of tomatoes. A few pieces of tomato are not going to hurt a dog in the slightest. Almost ANY food can become toxic at a certain amount. Many good dog foods contain tomatoes.
This would only happen if you leave the tomatoes that you bought from the market out and the dog is somehow able to get to it. Be careful of tomatoes rolling down the counter top and being on the ground. Most dogs do not have much sense of what is good and what is bad for their health (although they will tell you when they don’t like the taste of something!). They might eat all the tomatoes if they are on the ground and in front of the dog’s face.
Also, be careful of the bigger and taller dogs because they have the ability to be able to reach the countertops.
How to Feed Your Dog Tomatoes
For a dog to safely eat tomatoes; they should be ripe and not consumed in large quantities. An occasional cherry tomato will cause no harm if your dog enjoys it, and of course is not allergic to that particular fruit. Large amounts of healthy red ripe, non-toxic tomatoes can cause a rapid heart rate and/or tremors in your dog.
There are too many variables and risks on the table regarding feeding this particular fruit to my “best friend”. It is highly suggested to keep your curious canines away from your vegetable garden with a gate or keep your vegetable patch away from an area that your dog has access to.
As usual, our take is that given there are so many fruits, vegetables and snack items in the market for your dogs that you can buy and also make it home, it makes no sense to try to feed your dog tomato. If, however, you still feel the need to do so, please proceed with caution.