Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

Just the other day I got an email from a reader who was panicking after their dog managed to sneak in a few slices of tomato into their belly and they were very worried about something bad happening to their dog.

So, if you were in a similar situation, this article is for you. Are tomatoes bad for your dog? Do you have anything to worry about? Or could you safely feed your dog tomatoes?

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? The Short Answer

The short answer to this question is, YES, you can feed your dog tomatoes.

There really is no big deal when it comes to feeding your dog tomatoes, they aren’t bad for your dog like some people make them out to be.

Rare are the cases where someone has reported a dog suffering from toxicity or problems after eating tomatoes. Some dogs might experience a little bit of stomach upset after eating tomatoes, but that’s really the worst that could happen in normal circumstances.

How Should Dogs Eat Tomatoes

This section is VERY important if you are to feed your dog tomatoes, so read carefully.

Tomatoes contain a substance called alpha-tomatine, which is found mostly in the tomato leaves and stem.

This is why if you ask a professional, they will tell you that all the parts of the tomato plant are toxic to eat, except the tomato itself.

What does this Tomatine do, you ask. Well, for starters, it can cause heart problems in your dog. However, rest assured that for that to happen, you would have to feed your dog a whole lot of tomatoes (much more than they could ever eat, really) before they run that risk.

And, add to that the fact that the intestinal tract of dogs doesn’t adsorb Tomatine very well, you don’t have a lot to worry about.

Just know that Tomatine exists and know what risks it poses on your dog’s health under what circumstances.

Giving your dog commercially grown tomatoes bought from the supermarket is the best choice you can make, as these tomatoes will have very little and insignificant amounts of tomatine in them.

Why? Because these tomatoes (from the time they are picked to the time they are shipped out and arrive at different supermarkets) have plenty of time to ripen. And, the more ripe a tomato, the less Tomatine it contains.

How Much Tomatoes Can Dogs Eat?

As long as you feed your dog normal and reasonable amounts of tomatoes, you’re fine and have nothing to worry about.

However, feeding your dog huge amounts of tomatoes will put them at risk of getting heart and nervous system problems due to the chemicals they ingest in the tomatoes.

How To Tell If Tomatoes Intoxicated Your Dog

Here are some symptoms that dogs show when they get intoxicated from eating too much tomatoes:

  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Having a hard time breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • And in the worst cases when it’s too late and the intoxication is heavy, death.

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes From Gardens?

When it comes to tomatoes, and if you have a garden your dog could roam free in, you might be asking yourself whether or not tomatoes from the garden are bad for your dog, and if there’s anything you have to worry about if your dog eats tomatoes directly from the garden.

And the answer is yes, there are things you have to worry about when it comes to growing tomatoes in your garden and having your dog around.

As we established above, there are harmful chemicals present on the tomato plants in your garden, most importantly of which is Atropine.

Atropine is found in abundant quantities on the tomato plant and leaves.

but if your dog roams free in your garden, happens to be hungry and eats away at those tomato plants like there;s no tomorrow, you have to worry about them getting atropine poisoning.

Here are some of the symptoms you have to look out for:

  • Excessive sleep
  • Weakness
  • Shakiness
  • Paralysis
  • Cardiac arrest.

If you want to rest easy and not get too worried and worked up about this, the best thing you can do (for the sake of this topic and many more) is to keep your dog out of your garden.

Why Should Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

Dogs should eat tomatoes because they:

  • Contain lycopene, a very important antioxidant
  • Reduce risks of degenerative disease
  • Reduce risks of cancer
  • Are rich in vitamin A
  • Are rich in vitamin C

Can Dogs Have Tomatoes? The Conclusion

To sum it all up, when it comes to tomatoes and your dog, sticking to small quantities is fine.

It’s when your dog starts to consume large quantities of tomatoes that they run the risk of being intoxicated because of chemicals in the tomato.

If you suspect they’re intoxicated because they started showing some of the symptoms above, immediately contact your veterinarian and seek professional help.


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