Can dogs eat tomatoes?
They may be number one in the homegrown garden, but can we share the many benefits of this popular and versatile fruit with our canine companions? Can dogs eat tomatoes? The simple answer is yes; dogs can eat the ripe fruit in moderation.
Nutritional benefits of tomatoes
Tomatoes are widely known for their antioxidant properties. Since there are hundreds of varieties to choose from and easy to grow, it’s no surprise that they are a popular choice for the home vegetable garden.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and folate. They are also one of the major sources of the antioxidant lycopene, linked to the reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. Not only that, but they are a good source of fiber that supports a healthy digestive system.
With so much going for it, it’s no wonder we want to share the benefits of tomatoes with our dogs.
How to feed tomatoes to your dog
Many dogs love tomatoes and will happily eat them raw. However, cooked tomatoes are also fine for dogs. As with any food, though, if you haven’t given your dog tomatoes before, start with a small amount. Monitor your dog for any reactions before increasing the amount or frequency.
The good news is that allergic reactions to tomatoes are infrequent. The most common issue is a gastrointestinal upset caused by the increase in fiber. However, look out for any of the following symptoms ;
- Excessive licking
- Hot or red ears
Tomatoes the risks
Despite being used primarily as a vegetable, the tomato is actually a berry and is therefore classified as a fruit. It belongs to the nightshade or Solanaceae family of plants along with potatoes, peppers, and eggplant. The nightshade family of plants has a reputation for being harmful to dogs, and this status is well deserved as many of them do contain dangerous toxins.
The tomato plant is no exception. While the fruit is fine to feed your dog, the rest of the tomato plant isn’t ok for dogs to eat.
Tomatoes contain two main alkaloid toxins, solanine and alpha-tomatine. These toxins are primarily concentrated in the stems, leaves, and green tomatoes. Still, they can be found in other parts of the tomato and act as natural defense mechanisms against pests and disease.
Tomatoes have a pungent smell that is off-putting and prickly hairs cover the leaves and stems, making them unpalatable to most animals. However, you should still be cautious as it’s not safe for dogs to ingest any part of the plant, so if you grow them at home, never leave your dog unsupervised or with unrestricted access.
In reality, it would be rare for your dog to experience problems from eating a tomato plant as the amount that they would need to ingest is quite large.
What are the signs of tomato poisoning in dogs?
Solanine poisoning is rare. Dogs would need to eat large quantities of the tomato’s toxic parts for it to cause more than a stomach upset. However, it’s always best to be on the safe side and keep your dog away from tomato plants.
If you’re worried that your dog has eaten a lot of green tomatoes or ingested parts of the plant, they shouldn’t then lookout for any of the following symptoms:
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of coordination
Can dogs eat tomatoes?
The good news is that you can feed your dog ripe tomatoes in moderation. The nutritional benefits are huge, and the risk of your dog experiencing any issues is small.
Of course, if you have a dog that will eat anything, the prickly leaves of a tomato plant won’t deter them. Ensure that you supervise your dog in any vegetable plot, as tomatoes aren’t the only plant with a toxic defense system.
If you want to give your dog a special treat, then why not try one of these fantastic recipes from the Doggy desert chef and Dog treat kitchen.
Cheesy tomato dog treat recipe.
- 1 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/3 cup Milk
- 1 Egg
- 5 tablespoons Butter
- 1 (6 ounces) can Tomato Paste
- 1/3 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried Parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients stirring well.
- Knead dough into a ball and roll onto a floured surface 1/4 inch thick, and cut with the cookie cutter of your choice.
- Use a fork to poke holes in the tops of the biscuits to prevent them from puffing up.
- Place on your prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
- Cool and refrigerate. Makes 3 to 4 dozen Biscuits.
Pizza dog treat recipe.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup water
Ideas for Toppings:
tomato paste pepperoni mozzarella cheese bacon, cooked and crumbled grated carrot
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- In a large bowl, whisk together the wheat flour, dried basil, and oregano.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and stir in the milk.
- Make a well in the dry mixture and pour in the milk mixture. Stir together until combined.
- Knead the dough into a ball. Use more flour if needed to reduce the stickiness.
- Roll out to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut into circles.
- Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place the unbaked pizza crusts on the baking sheet. Top your pizzas with the desired toppings.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
Grain and gluten-free tomato spinach dog treat recipe
- 1 (6-ounce can) Tomato Paste*
- 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
- pinch Parsley
- 1/4 cup shredded Cheese
- 1 cup Potato Flour
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients one at a time, kneading well after each addition.
- Knead dough into several balls and roll onto a floured surface 1/2 inch thick.
- The dough is very thick and a little difficult to roll. Cut with the cookie cutter of your choice.
- Place on your prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cool and refrigerate. Makes 2 to 3 dozen rounds.