Tomatoes are one of nature’s most popular and healthy foods. So it’s no surprise that dog owners wonder about the safety and appropriateness of occasionally feeding their furry friends this red berry-like fruit.
Most dogs enjoy biting into a juicy tomato and you’ll be happy to know that Fido can benefit from the many nutritious aspects. That said, you also have to consider that nightshade fruits can sometimes be poisonous to pets.
These facts seem to be quite contradictory, creating canine consumption confusion concerning tomatoes. We will be weighing all the pros and cons, so you will have a clear understanding about this juicy topic for your dog’s sake.
Can I Give My Dog a Tomato? Answer: Yes, ripened only
There is nothing harmful about occasionally feeding them in ripe form. Just do so in moderation.
Some ripe tomato consumption could actually help your dog live a happier and healthier life. This assumes they do not have any issues afterwards. Dogs that experience either an allergic reaction or, more commonly, digestive problems such as diarrhea after eating tomatoes should probably steer clear going forward.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes could be of benefit to dogs by providing a defense against cancer and many other degenerative diseases. Just like other reddish colored fruits like watermelon and papaya, tomatoes contain lycopene. Research shows that this wonderful carotene promotes good health and there’s no reason why this can’t work, at least in theory, for your dog as well.
Tomatoes are also a great source of vitamins, especially vitamin C, and a variety of important antioxidants. These elements may be lacking in the dog food you are providing on a regular basis. This is not to say you should be feeding your dog tomatoes all the time, but occasionally doing so may make sense.
Nightmares About Nightshade
Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family but only the tomato plant is dangerous for dogs. Tomatine and Solanine, both of which are found in the plant itself, are toxic for canines. Any part of the plant can be harmful for them! For this reason, never let your dog eat anything other than the tomato. This could have implications for the garden in your yard and how you manage it.
As with all human foods, learn as much as possible before feeding them to a beloved dog. Some foods are truly harmful, even fatal, and the only way to protect your pet is by doing research and taking preventative measures as a result of that knowledge.
Bad K9 Reactions to Tomatoes
There are symptoms to watch for in cases of accidental indigestion of the actual tomato plant. They can include upset stomach, vomiting, muscle weakness, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, drooling, dilated pupils and a lack of coordination. That is quite a scary list but it’s likely the amount eaten needs to be significant to seriously harm your dog.
Consult with a vet if you are concerned following a tomato incident.
Remember Red & Ripe is Right
The truth is that all tomatoes contain a degree of potentially harmful components. Your best bet, if you want to feed your dog this fantastic fruit, is to give them one that’s deep red-colored. Such ripe tomatoes contain a lessor concentration of Tomatine making them generally safer for dogs. Those small green tomatoes are usually not yet ripe. The motto “Red, ripe, right” makes sense.
Conclusion on Tomatoes
Tomatoes are safe for a pet dog to consume in moderation, but only after they’ve been ripened. Know that the plant which includes vines, leaves and even stems are always off limits. This fact is the source of doubts among those questioning this healthy food for dogs. Always question other ingredients, that go with tomatoes, before feeding them to a dog. For example, Fido probably shouldn’t be eating any of your pizza because it can complicate matters.