We’ve probably all dropped a cherry tomato from our salad and – poof, the next thing you know, Buddy’s picked it up and eaten it.
Will your pup’s taste for tomatoes end up in a trip to the vet? Is this a perfectly safe, occasional treat?
Read on to learn more about whether tomatoes can be useful for your dog.
So, Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Tomatoes?
What Are The Concerns About Tomatoes?
Tomatoes fall into the category of foods okay as treats, in moderation. Many dog owners don’t realize that tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, and parts of the tomato plant contain a compound called solanine that can be hazardous.
Solanine is usually contained in the stems, flowers, and leaves, as well as growing tomatoes that are still green. You don’t need to worry about solanine quite as much when feeding ripe tomatoes.
As a precaution, make sure the leaves and stems have been completely removed. If you grow tomatoes in your garden, use dog-proof fencing to keep your pup from helping themselves to a potentially toxic treat.
What Is Tomatine Poisoning?
If your dog’s gotten too much solanine after eating a tomato plant or green tomatoes, he or she might get tomatine poisoning. Some of the symptoms you need to watch for include:
- Tremors throughout the whole body
- Weak muscles and lethargy
- Drowsiness and overall fatigue
- A loss of coordination
- Heart-related symptoms, including irregular heartbeat
- Gastrointestinal upset, including stomach pain
- Diarrhea that occurs a few hours after ingestion
- Vomiting, also usually a few hours after ingestion
Reading this might scare you, but there’s good news: tomatine poisoning usually has an excellent prognosis with prompt treatment, and symptom severity is relatively rare.
Seeking veterinary attention after tomatine poisoning is always a good idea. Even though vet care is still a reasonable precaution, getting help is also an excellent way to rule out medical conditions causing similar symptoms.
Nutritional Benefits That Tomatoes Offer
When eaten in appropriate amounts, tomatoes have nutritional value for dogs. The amount of fiber they offer is great for your dog’s digestion, ad they’re low in calories.
Another benefit that fiber offers is more stable blood sugar levels. If your dog has weight issues or is a breed prone to diabetes, the fiber will likely decrease their diabetes risk.
Some of the vitamins and nutrients tomatoes offer for dogs include:
- Vitamin C, which improves skin health
- Vitamin A, which helps vision
- Vitamin K
- Beta carotene, which preserves cognitive function
- Lycopene, which increases bone strength and reduces cardiovascular disease risk
- Potassium and folate, both of which help maintain muscle strength and healthy blood pressure
The quality of the tomatoes will have a more significant impact on their nutritional value. The riper the vegetables are, the higher the benefits will likely be.
Products That Contain Tomatoes As An Ingredient
Many products contain tomatoes as an ingredient, such as vegetable juice, soup, or sauce. However, these products aren’t right for your furry friend, because they might also have artificial ingredients, sugar, or salt, which aren’t ideal for dogs.
These types of ingredients aren’t usually hazardous in and of themselves; however, it’s not a good idea to intentionally give them to your pooch. I wouldn’t worry about your dog licking up tomato sauce spilled on the floor, just don’t make it a regular addition to his or her meals.
When Tomatoes Are Particularly Unhealthy
There are some medical conditions that tomatoes can aggravate. Gastrointestinal conditions, such as acid reflux, can be easily upset with the ingestion of tomatoes.
In some rare cases, your dog might be allergic to tomatoes, with the potential for anaphylactic signs including:
- Breathing difficulties
If you observe any of these symptoms, seek your veterinarian’s assistance as soon as possible.
A Popular Dog Food And Treat Ingredient
Small amounts of tomato at first are a good idea to see whether your dog has any adverse reactions to ingesting this new food. If your dog is going to get an upset stomach, it’s better to learn about it before they’ve had very much.
Ripe, cooked tomatoes that have had all the green parts removed and been chopped up make a tasty treat for your dog. Dogs are likely to love this type of treat enough to enjoy the taste of tomato in their dog food.
The first time you give your dog tomatoes or foods containing tomatoes, wait for one to two weeks before feeding them again. Spacing the feeding of these treats out will help you spot any problems ahead of time.
If your dog has special dietary needs or is on medication, it is a good idea to ask your vet before introducing something new. You don’t want the tomatoes to interact with any medicines or special diet ingredients.
A popular ingredient in many dog foods is tomato pomace. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s a byproduct with the seeds, pulp, and skin of tomatoes. The addition of this ingredient helps add the nutritional benefits of tomatoes to any food.
Preparing Tomato Treats For Your Dog
There are fun treats containing tomatoes that your dog is likely to enjoy. Dog biscuits with a cheesy tomato flavor from natural tomato paste and enhanced with mozzarella, basil, oregano, and parsley are a good choice.
You might also want to consider making a pizza using a natural sauce and the herbs used in biscuits. Add some uncured meats and vegetables with cheese, and your dog will have a treat that they’ll love.
Tomatoes are a nutritious treat that your dog will enjoy. Understanding what parts of tomatoes are best avoided is a great way to ensure that your dog gets the most out of this food.