Last summer, I caught my golden retriever Bailey red-pawed in the vegetable garden munching on ripe tomatoes! I panicked at first, wondering can dogs eat tomatoes or would they make her sick?
As a dog owner, you may have similar concerns about tossing your pooch the occasional tomato snack. Tomatoes offer some nutritional benefits for dogs but also potential risks.
Read on to learn more about feeding tomatoes to dogs safely and in moderation.
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? The Short Answer
The short answer is yes, dogs can eat tomatoes, but only ripe, red tomatoes should be fed to dogs in small amounts.
Green tomatoes, leaves and stems of the tomato plant contain solanine toxins and can be dangerous.
Are Tomatoes Good or Bad for Dogs?
Tomatoes offer some key vitamins and antioxidants that can benefit dogs, but they can also pose risks for some pups.
According to the AKC’s advice on fruits and veggies for dogs, tomatoes should be fed as an occasional treat.
Tomatoes’ Nutritional Value for Dogs
The main nutritional benefits of tomatoes for dogs include:
- Vitamin C – supports immune system
- Vitamin A – important for vision and coat health
- Lycopene – antioxidant that may reduce cancer risk
So, tomatoes can provide some great vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for dogs. However, they should be fed in moderation due to some possible risks.
Potential Benefits of Tomatoes for Dogs
In summary, potential benefits of tomatoes for dogs can include:
- Immune system support from Vitamin C
- Healthy vision and coat from Vitamin A
- Cancer prevention from lycopene antioxidant
These nutrients and antioxidants are certainly valuable additions to your dog’s diet. Just be sure to introduce tomatoes gradually and watch for any adverse reactions.
Read More: Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Potential Risks of Tomatoes for Dogs
While tomatoes do have nutritional value for dogs, they can pose some risks including:
- Solanine poisoning – the green parts of the tomato plant contain toxic solanine. Make sure to only feed ripe, red tomatoes.
- Acid reflux – some dogs may experience reflux or upset stomach after eating tomatoes. Introduce slowly.
- Allergies – while rare, some dogs may be allergic to tomatoes. Watch for reactions.
It’s important to be aware of these potential downsides before feeding your dog tomatoes. Monitor your dog closely when first introducing this snack.
Rules for Feeding Tomatoes to Dogs
When feeding tomatoes to your dog, follow these rules to avoid problems:
- Only feed ripe, red tomatoes – never green or leaves/vines
- Introduce slowly and watch for reactions
- Feed in moderation – occasional small treat
- Avoid seasoning or cooking tomatoes
- Monitor for signs of reflux or allergies
Following these simple guidelines will allow you to safely incorporate tomatoes as a healthy snack into your dog’s diet.
How Much Tomato Can Dogs Eat?
As with any treat for dogs, tomatoes should only make up a small portion of your dog’s diet – no more than 10% of their total daily calories. Follow this tomato serving size guidelines based on your dog’s weight:
- Small dog (5-10 lbs.): 1-2 spoonful finely chopped tomato
- Medium dog (20-50 lbs.): 3-4 spoonful diced tomato
- Large dog (50+ lbs.): 5-6 spoonful chopped tomato
From Garden to Dog Bowl: Can Pups Eat Tomatoes Safely?
We learned the benefits and risks of feeding ripe tomatoes to dogs and how to do it safely. Now let’s explore what to do if your dog eats too many tomatoes.
Signs of Tomato Toxicity in Dogs
While rare, it is possible for dogs to eat enough tomatoes to cause signs of toxicity, including:
- Vomiting, diarrhea
- Dilated pupils
- Breathing issues
- Lethargy, weakness
These symptoms may occur after a dog consumes green tomatoes, vines or leaves which contain the toxic alkaloid solanine.
If you see any of these tomato toxicity signs in your dog, contact your vet immediately.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Too Many Tomatoes
If your dog ate a large quantity of tomatoes and shows symptoms of toxicity:
- Call your veterinarian or pet poison control right away
- Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so
- Monitor breathing closely – seek emergency vet care for breathing issues
- Withhold food for 12-24 hours
- Provide plenty of fresh water
With prompt veterinary treatment, most dogs recover fully after over-indulging in tomatoes. Always supervise your dog when feeding high-risk foods.
Whip Up Some Safe, Dog-Friendly Salsa
If you want to safely incorporate tomatoes into your dog’s diet, try making this nutritious salsa recipe using all dog-safe ingredients:
- Diced tomatoes
- Chopped carrot
- Sliced cucumber
- Canned green beans, drained
- Pineapple tidbits
Mix together and let your dog lick up this flavorful treat! It offers antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Just monitor portions to avoid overfeeding.
While tomatoes can be a healthy occasional snack, they do carry some risks for dogs. Feed only ripe, red tomatoes in moderation.
Seek prompt vet care if your dog eats too many tomatoes and shows signs of toxicity. With careful feeding, you can safely share tomato treats with your pup.