Yes. Dogs can eat tomatoes!
Dished up in moderation, tomatoes make a nutritious and delicious snack for your pup. We spoke with Dr. Amanda Williams, Chief Veterinarian and Medical Director of Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic & Ranch, to get all the facts about tomatoes, including what types of tomatoes they can eat, how much you should feed them, and how to know if your dog is allergic to tomatoes.
Benefits of Tomatoes for Dogs
Fresh from the garden, farmer’s market or grocery store, or even canned, ripe tomatoes are a treat that can give a nice nutritious lift to your pup’s diet.
- Loaded with potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins, A, C, and K.
- Beneficial to dog’s eyesight, skin, immune system, cardiovascular health, muscles, and more.
- Contain lots of soluble and insoluble fiber which can helps to support healthy digestion and maintain your dog’s steady blood sugar levels.
What to Know About Feeding Tomatoes to Your Dog
While ripe, red fruits are good for dogs, the green leaves and stems of a tomato plant and green portions of fruits can cause some issues if consumed by your dog. Tomatoes are in the nightshade family of vegetables, which means the plants contain solanine which is found in the stems, leaves, and green parts of the fruits and tomatine which is concentrated in the stems and leaves. So, while your dog can eat tomato fruits, be sure to avoid those that are unripe as well as leaves and stems.
Although tomatoes can be a healthy treat or a yummy kibble-topper, Dr. Williams shares a few things you should know about feeding your dog tomatoes.
- Red ripe tomatoes are the best option. If serving fresh tomatoes, be sure to remove any vines, stems, or leaves before giving your dog a tomato. Organic fruits, grown without the use of synthetic chemical, are the best choice, but either way, always rinse fruit before your dog — or you — eat it. Plain canned tomatoes are more likely to just be ripe, red fruits.
- If it’s the color green, don’t feed it to your dog. In addition to leaves and stems of the plant, do not serve green, unripe tomatoes and be sure to carve away any green sections on an otherwise ripe, red fruit. Eating large amounts of the green stuff can lead to tomatine poisoning. Small dogs (under 15 pounds), puppies less than a year old, and senior dogs are more likely to experience tomatine poisoning. If your pup experiences any of these symptoms, call your vet.
- Upset stomach
- Racing heartbeat
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Seizures, tremors
- Smaller dogs should get smaller servings. One large or two small ripe red tomatoes per week is OK to feed your dog, but you should start with an even smaller amount to see if your dog has a negative reaction.
- Some dogs are allergic to tomatoes. If, after eating tomatoes, your dog starts to lick their feet, get itchy, develop a hot pink or red rash in their ears or on their skin, vomit, have diarrhea, become gassy, or have a growling stomach, they might be allergic. Consult your vet.
How to Feed Tomatoes to Your Dog
You should always consult with your vet before serving tomatoes to determine the right portion size for your dog. Even a healthy treat like tomatoes should be factored into your dog’s optimum daily balanced diet.
- Washed well, then sliced or chopped into bite-sized pieces (smaller pieces for smaller dogs please to avoid any choking hazards).
- Chopped and cooked down and then mashed-up or pureed and added to your dog’s regular food. Cooked tomatoes can be even more beneficial than raw tomatoes because the antioxidant lycopene is more easily digestible.
- Canned tomatoes without seasonings or added salt are fine to serve to dogs.
- Never feed your dog prepared tomato sauces or even canned tomatoes made with onions or garlic as these can be toxic and also cause stomach upset.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:Can dogs have tomato juice?
A:Yes and no. If the tomato juice is made using pure, ripe tomatoes, and not loaded with salt, it’s generally safe for your pup. But serving size matters. A couple of licks will suffice.
Q:Can dogs eat raw tomatoes?
A:Yes, but make sure they are ripe red tomatoes.
Q:Can dogs eat cooked tomatoes?
A:Yes, if the cooked tomatoes are ripe red tomatoes. Just make sure not to add any salt, seasonings like garlic or onion, or other ingredients that could be unsafe for your pup.
Q:Can dogs eat tomato sauce?
A:Homemade tomato sauce is your best bet. Jarred and canned sauces and soups often contain preservatives, additives, sugar, salt, and other seasonings that are not good for dogs.
Q:Can dogs eat ketchup?
A:A dollop of ketchup probably won’t cause your dog to get sick, but you really should try to avoid feeding it to your dog. Many ketchup condiments are far from being just pureed tomatoes. They contain things like onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, vinegar, sugar, salt, and, sometimes, xanthan gum, none of which are good for dogs. Also be on the lookout for ketchup packets that come with your takeout meal. Some dogs will swallow them whole, plastic and all! If that happens, call your vet immediately.
Q:Can dogs eat the stem and leaves of tomato plants?
A:No. If it’s green, your dog shouldn’t eat it. Home gardeners might want to consider erecting a fence around the garden or keeping the plant out of reach if in a container.
Top Dog Food & Treats with Tomatoes
Purina Beneful IncrediBites With Salmon, Tomatoes, Carrots & Wild Rice Canned Dog Food, 3-oz, case of 24
This wet dog food is made with chunky ingredients you can actually see, including nutritious tomatoes. You can feed your dog a can as a complete meal or add a little to their dry kibble to please even the pickiest pups.
Some dry dog foods, like this one, contain dried tomato pomace, which contains more fiber than a whole tomato and is good for dogs’ digestion and blood sugar level, Dr. Williams says.
These rawhide-free treats are just as fun to chew on, but much easier to digest than typical rawhide. And they contain real ingredients like chicken, sweet potatoes, soybeans, peas, kelp, and tomatoes for an irresistible treat.
These soft treats contain real beef and tasty tomatoes, so they might almost taste like spaghetti Bolognese to a dog! They come in two other flavors, as well: chicken and tomato or salmon and tomato.
Before incorporating any new foods into your dog’s diet, always consult with your veterinarian to make sure it’s a safe addition to your pet’s diet given their health, diet needs, and current medications. Your vet will tell you if your dog can eat tomatoes and the appropriate serving size. If you suspect your pet is sick, please call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your regular veterinarian when possible as they can make the best recommendations for your pet. (If you need help finding a vet near you use this link.)
Expert input provided by Dr. Amanda Williams, Chief Veterinarian and Medical Director, Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic & Ranch in Jupiter, Florida.