Tomatoes are a delicious treat. Whether pureed into sauce, chopped up as a garnish, or enjoyed as a fresh snack, the tomato is a versatile fruit. But can tomatoes play a role in doggie diets? Are tomatoes good for dogs? Today we will uncover the truth about dogs and tomatoes.
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Tomato is a key ingredient in the greatest food known to humans: pizza. But can dogs enjoy tomatoes as well? After all, many lists of healthy fruits for dogs exclude tomatoes.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) does approve certain tomatoes as a safe occasional dog treat as long as dog owners understand the risk of the fruit. A good rules of thumb is to never blindly feed your pup a food item. Before serving tomatoes up as a snack or slipping a slice to your dog under the table, there are some things to know.
Doggie Diets: Nightshade Knowledge
Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family. Other nightshade produce products include eggplants, potatoes, peppers, and goji berries. Nightshades contain elements that are dangerous for some animals.
The stem and leaves of the tomato plant contain solanine. This nightshade-specific compound is harmful to dogs when they ingest it in large quantities.
Solanine largely concentrates in the greener parts of the tomato. It is therefore safe for dogs to eat fully ripened red tomatoes in small servings. However, home gardeners should be careful about their dogs sniffing around unripe tomatoes, stems, and leaves.
How Do Tomatoes Harm Dogs?
The AKC warns that consuming the green part of the tomato can lead to tomatine poisoning. Symptoms of tomatine poisoning include stomach (GI) upset, muscle weakness, tremors, seizures, loss of coordination, cardiac effects, drowsiness, confusion, and weakness.
Luckily, these symptoms are rare. Dogs who do experience tomatine poisoning are also likely to make a full recovery. However, the risk shouldn’t be taken lightly. If your dog displays any of these symptoms after consuming tomatoes, call your vet right away.
Overall, it is likely a safe bet to feed your dog plain, ripe tomatoes with the leaves and stem removed. However, things might get dangerous if your dog finds his way into a tomato garden. Be sure to keep raw tomatoes away from your pup.
To play it safe, don’t feed ripened tomatoes to your puppy. Wait until your dog’s immune system has matured at around one year to begin to introduce the fruit if you decide to.
Are Tomatoes Good for Dogs?
You may find yourself wondering why you would even risk giving tomatoes to your dog in the first place. Are tomatoes good for dogs? It turns out tomatoes are a very nutritious fruit option.
Tomatoes are full of nutrients that can benefit dogs. Tomatoes earn points for being low in calories and high in fiber. Their high amounts of beta-carotene and the carotenoid lycopene are known help the body and fight off diseases.
Lycopene is also known to reduce the risk of heart disease and strengthen bones, while beta-carotene improves cognition.
Tomatoes also contain a number of antioxidant vitamins, including vitamins A, B12, and C. They also have many minerals, as well as folate, potassium, and chromium. The nutrients found in tomatoes help to improve vision, benefit skin, aid with blood pressure, and help muscle health.
Overall, tomatoes can be a very beneficial fruit choice due to their many positive attributes.
How to Serve Tomatoes to Dogs
The only form of tomatoes that is safe for dogs to eat are red, ripened tomatoes. Once again, other elements of the tomato should be kept away from dogs at all times. This means no leaves, stems, roots, or unripe tomatoes.
To safely feed your dog some tomato, thoroughly wash the fruit and remove the skin. Organic tomatoes are the best choice, since they are free of chemicals. Removing the skin takes an extra precaution to keep the treat free of unknown toxins that could potentially harm your dog.
You can then feed your dog a few tomato slices. If you take these precautions, tomatoes are a safe snack for dogs. Just remember to serve them in moderation and not too frequently. Fruit should never be a meal substitute for dogs.
To sum it up, are tomatoes good for dogs? The answer is both yes and no. To recap, never feed your dog immature green tomatoes, stems, leaves, or roots. These are all very dangerous to dogs. However, ripened tomatoes do contain many beneficial nutrients that can aid dog health.
Overall, there are definitely safer fruits on the market, but ripened tomatoes are an approved doggie snack. To read about safe and beneficial fruits for dogs, check out can dogs eat apples.