Healthy dogs can eat tomatoes, as long as the green leaves and stems of the tomato plant are removed as these parts contain toxins. Just like all human foods that dogs can eat, tomatoes do not provide dogs healthy, balanced nutrition and should be shared in limited portions, occasionally.
Dogs and tomatoes: Health benefits
Pet parents often ask, can dogs eat tomatoes? The simple answer is yes, but how often, and whether tomatoes provide any benefits depends on how they are included in a dog’s diet.
A slice or two of a ripe, raw, mature tomato that is served in moderation is ok for dogs. In fact, some dog foods include these juicy, red vegetables as part of a healthy, wholesome recipe as they offer an excellent source of minerals and vitamins that can be beneficial.
Raw tomatoes include the following antioxidants and vitamins:
- Vitamin A
Found in liver and fish, vitamin A supports healthy eyes, immune system, strong bones, good muscle development, and healthy skin and coat
- Vitamin C
Supports a dog’s immune system and promotes joint health.
- Vitamin K
An important fat-soluble vitamin that helps clot the blood.
A powerful antioxidant, beta-carotene fights free radicals that damage cells and supports healthy eyes, skin, and coat.
Protects cells such as lungs, heart, blood, muscles, nerves, and organs, and fights off free radicals.
Which parts of the tomato are bad for dogs?
While only the mature, ripe vegetable can be eaten, since the plant is officially part of the Nightshade family, your dog may not understand the difference between a tomato and the rest of the plant. Pet parents that grow fresh tomato plants at home, which dogs have easy access to, should be particularly aware of the risks.
Some tomatoes can be toxic for dogs if consumed in large amounts. Keep the following parts of the tomato plant and tomato foods out of your dog’s reach to avoid ingestion that could make him sick.
- Green tomatoes
- Unripe, green tomato
- Leaves on the vines
- Flowers on the plants
- Any tomato sauce that goes on pizza or in pasta
- Tomato juice
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Canned tomatoes
What are the toxicity side-effects or signs?
Tomatoes belong to a family of plants known to be highly toxic to pets. Green tomatoes, as well as any green leaves or stems, contain concentrated amounts of solanine and tomatine (only present in immature plants).
There is no imminent danger if a dog consumes some of the plant however, large amounts of solanine ingestion leads to side-effects of toxicity. Only a ripe, raw, slice of tomato is ok for dogs to eat.
If you notice behavioral changes that you suspect are related to tomato ingestion, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible for advice.
Look out for the following tomato toxicity signs in dogs:
- Gastrointestinal disruption, which may cause vomiting and diarrhea
- Slow heart rate
- Appetite loss
- Muscle trembling
- Seizures in severe toxicity cases
What to do if a dog eats tomato
Ripe tomatoes are ok for dogs in small portions, occasionally, but they are not recommended as a regular treat. If unsupervised, dogs may be prone to eating food not intended for them, as they experience the world through their noses and mouths.
If you suspect your dog has eaten a slice or even a whole large or cherry tomato for the first time, there is likely little cause for worry. However, if you note any changes in behavior or are concerned, contact a veterinarian.
Learn more about caring for your dog