Tomatoes are a staple for many of us. On a daily basis, this versatile ingredient forms the base of several meals from a pasta sauce to a healthy salad. You might also have noticed tomatoes listed as an ingredient in some dog foods, but can dogs eat tomatoes when they’re fresh? Are canned varieties good for them?
At Purina, we care about giving your dog the best possible nutrition, so our pet experts have created this guide all about dogs and tomatoes. Keep reading to find out if tomatoes are good for dogs and when to avoid them entirely.
Can dogs eat tomatoes?
Yes and no. Dogs can absolutely eat ripe, red tomatoes, in moderation. However, tomatoes are in the nightshade family and natural chemicals called solanine and tomatine are found in young, green tomatoes, particularly in the stems and leaves of the plant. Both of these can be harmful in large quantities, and it is best to avoid feeding your pet anything other than the ripe fruits.
If you grow tomatoes in the garden, your dog may try to nibble on green tomatoes or leaves, stems and vines, so it’s always a good idea to keep these fenced off or inside a greenhouse that they can’t access.
Are tomatoes good for dogs?
Tomatoes can make a good occasional, relatively healthy treat, but too much can cause stomach upsets. It’s important to note that tomatoes shouldn’t be added to your dog’s diet on a regular basis as your dog will already be getting all the nutrients they need from a complete and balanced diet. It’s fine to offer some pieces of tomato as a snack on occasion.
If your dog has gastrointestinal issues like gastroenteritis, it’s better to avoid tomatoes altogether as they may aggravate a sensitive stomach.
When are tomatoes bad for dogs?
In some cases, when too much of the green parts of the tomato have been consumed, dogs may get tomatine poisoning, but this is very rare. Some of the symptoms your dog will display if they have this will include:
If you notice your dog displaying any of the symptoms listed above, contact a vet immediately.
Can I give my dog tomato sauces and soups?
If you’re wondering if dogs can eat tomato sauces and soups, the answer is no. Always avoid jars or canned tomato sauces and soups as generally, these will contain additives which may be harmful for your dog. These types of prepared foods will likely have sugar, salt and even potentially harmful ingredients such as garlic and onions. We also recommend avoiding canned tomatoes as sometimes these will contain preservatives.
How can I feed tomatoes to my dog?
Make sure you only choose organic (these won’t contain pesticides), fresh tomatoes which are bright red in colour. Prior to feeding ensure you remove any of the green bits including the stem, leaves and vines. Once you’ve done this, wash them before serving to remove any potential dirt. Initially, only offer your dog a small amount to see how they react – it’s not uncommon for most dogs to dislike the texture and taste of tomatoes though, so don’t be surprised if they just spit it out!