Can I Give My Dog Tomatoes?

Can I Give My Dog Tomatoes?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.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan July, 2016

I have a Chihuahua and she has eaten people food since she was born. She loves all kinds of fruit (no grapes) and what ever we have for dinner. After what I’ve heard they put in dog food, I will stick to the people food. I manage her food to a lesser amount than dog food and she is doing just fine.


John S May, 2016

I was yelled at for giving our dog so called people food. In this case, a tiny bit of a red ripened tomato. I checked here first and it’s great to hear that it is okay. I took the details to the person yelling at me and said, “it’s not like giving her ketchup where there’s all kinds of processed junk, spices and preservatives.” I use this site all the time and it’s great!


Sam March, 2016

We have tomato plants at my house and my dog is in love with them. Often we see him scavenging around looking for a fresh ripe one to eat. It has had no bad effect on his health and he’s looking as healthy as ever!


Jerri February, 2016

Our last dog, a Cocker Spaniel named Sugar, always flew to the garden when she knew the tomatoes were ripe. She only ate the ripe ones. She lived till 18, so they must not have hurt her. She never even touched the plants themselves, though. I still miss that pooch!


Terry November, 2015

I have 2 dogs of my own and I also foster several others. Every night I have a salad and it has become part of meal time that each of the dogs also has tomatoes and cucumbers. If I don’t give them their salad, they noisily let me know that they want theirs also. None of the dogs have had any adverse problems. Most of them prefer tomato over a regular dog treat.


Elizabeth August, 2015

My 4 year old Maltese and Poodle mix has been eating my tomatoes right off the plant this season. He hasn’t had any of the side effects that you have mentioned but he seems to have an incontinence issue every night while he’s sleeping. It seemed to have started shortly after my tomato plants began producing. Could the tomatoes be the cause? He has been to the vet and they can’t find anything wrong and it only happens during sleep.


John S May, 2016

I am not a vet but I did a little research. Consult with your vet because there could be a hormonal imbalance or urinary stones. It could also be a kidney infection or even a prostate disorder. Only your vet knows for sure and a urinalysis may be in order to find out why this is happening. My 15-year old Poodle had a situation similar to this.


Brenda July, 2015

My dog became very fussy about eating. I kept changing his diet to tempt him. He’d eat for a few days then stop. Finally, someone who ran kennels told me to put a tiny amount, half a teaspoon, of tomato juice on his food. Now he wolfs down his food! Now I worry that he’ll die from tomato juice if I continue giving it to him. But otherwise, he may die of starvation!


Donna October, 2015

I’m sure he won’t die from tomato juice. You just want to make sure it is pure tomato juice, or that any other items in there won’t hurt him. If there is garlic or onions in it then don’t use it because those are bad for dogs. The ASPCA posts a good reference on foods that are hazardous to dogs on their website. Good luck!


John S May, 2016

Hi Brenda. Our Dachshund-terrier started fussing over dry food and our vet said to mix in a finely chopped apple. Now she gobbles it right down. You have to get creative with these fussy-pants doggies.


Shirley May, 2015

Our little dog is a very picky eater, but he loves tomatoes or any tomato-based food or sauce. Is it okay to feed him a little ketchup or spaghetti sauce mixed with his dog food?


Tai July, 2015

Ketchup and pasta sauces contain a lot of other ingredients and are often high in sugar and/or sodium, among other things. You’re better off getting crushed or strained tomatoes that only contain tomato. Also, as the article said, only give them in small amounts. I had a 12 pound Shih Tzu that loved pasta, he grew up in an Italian family before I got him. I used to put a teaspoon of plain sauce on his food and he never had any problems.


Donna October, 2015

Tai is right on point. Crushed tomatoes, in small amounts and not all the time, should be fine. But when you buy tomato spaghetti or pizza sauce, it contains onions and garlic which can be very dangerous to dogs. So just use plain tomatoes which could be mixed with ground meat like turkey, chicken or beef (although beef can be harder on the tummy).


Mercedes March, 2016

No! Ketchup and spaghetti sauce contain onions which will damage the kidneys. Your dog could even die. Even if your pet survives, his/her kidneys will be damaged!


Barbara March, 2015

My big Rough Collie ate just two little cherry tomatoes that I left on a plate. She was seriously ill for four days, diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy. I was really worried. She’s okay now. Be careful with tomatoes and dogs.


Leo February, 2015

Fantastic article! Thank you for clearing this up. Dogs love tomatoes which provide them with endless health benefits primarily due to the high levels of antioxidants, especially lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamin C and phenols. One thing I wanted to add is that Tomatine and Solanine are naturally occurring alkaloids.

Thankfully, alkaloids exist in all plants. They are defense mechanisms existing in all parts of the plant to protect against certain animals, insects, fungi, viruses and bacteria. Alkaloids are healthy, in moderation, as with anything else. I have always fed my dogs tomatoes and they have all lived long, happy and healthy lives.

The only dangerous substances that poses a threat to our dogs are GMOs, byproduct and man-made chemicals that are pumped into commercial dog food. Thanks for the info and please continue to shine light on similar topics!


Jules August, 2015

GMOs are perfectly safe for dogs and humans. We’ve been consuming them for years. I agree this is an excellent article and much appreciated. Our dog keeps sneaking into our garden and eating them. We’ll have to do a better job of keeping him out as I’m sure he’s not choosy about whether they’ve been sufficiently ripened!


Butch January, 2015

I slit open a ripe grape tomato and insert whatever pill my Betty needs to take. Very easy administration.


Bob October, 2014

We had a chocolate lab who would go into our garden and take cherry tomatoes right off of the vine. Not enough to cause a problem, maybe two or three tomatoes per day during tomato season. Green beans too! She passed away at 15.5 years old so I think it didn’t hurt her. God we loved that dog.


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