Can dogs eat tomatoes?

Before you give your dog tomato, find out whether it is safe for them...

We like to treat our dogs as part of our family, including feeding them food that we humans enjoy. Regardless of what they have as their primary food source, one of the foods we like to share with our dogs is fruit and vegetables. So, how about tomatoes? Can dogs eat them? The answer is not a straightforward yes or no, so it needs a little more explaining.

As part of the nightshade famly of vegetables, tomato plants contain substances harmful to dogs. Found in the green leaves and stems of the plants and green tomatoes, Solanine is poisonous. Tomatine is another natural chemical found in tomato plants that can also be toxic. These toxins are found in higher levels in the green parts of the plants and in unripe, green tomatoes.

Ripe, red tomatoes are generally safe to be fed to dogs but only on occasion and in small quantities. They can cause stomach upsets, particularly for any dogs with a sensitive digestive system. Providing your dog quality, balanced food, specifically designed for dogs, will give them all the nutrition they need. Feeding treats, such as tomatoes, are just that. Treats! If your dog really loves tomatoes, there is no harm in giving them a little bit once in a while. Choose organic, if you can, as the tomato won’t have been sprayed with pesticides.

Can I feed my dog tomato sauces or tinned tomatoes?

Avoid feeding any tomato sauces, pasta sauces or tinned tomatoes to your dog. Additives added to manufactured foods, such as salt and preservatives, are not suitable for dogs. Many tomato-based sauces contain onions and garlic, which are particularly toxic for dogs.  

What should I do if my dog eats lots of tomatoes?

Should your dog decide to chew on your tomato plants, they can get tomatine poisoning, especially from the greenest leaves and stalks. Thankfully, this is rare. However, if you notice any of these symptoms, following a munch on a tomato plant, take your dog to your vet immediately:

  • Weakness
  • Tremors or lack of coordination
  • Sickness and diarrhoea (gastrointestinal upset)
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal heart rate

Suppose you are a green-fingered sort who grows tomatoes. In that case, it’s worth considering fencing off your plants if you know your dog likes to have a chew on anything available. Obviously, preventing your dog from becoming ill is most important. But, another bonus of fencing your plants means there will be more tomatoes left for you to enjoy!

With a Kennel Club Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.