You would like to eat your meal in peace, but you can’t because your dog or little puppy is staring at you, begging for one bite. Most dogs would love to try what their human parents are eating. And this is regardless of whether it is meat or a juicy tomato. It is not recommended to treat your dog with scraps from your table. There are, however, some foods that you should share with your pet from time to time. What about a tomato? Can dogs eat tomatoes?
A few words about tomatoes …
Tomatoes belong to the nightshade vegetable family. They contain several harmful ingredients, including glycoalkaloid tomatine or Lycopersicon and small amounts of solanine. Solanine is found in the stems and leaves of tomatoes as well. This substance, in large quantities, is harmful to dogs. Therefore, if your furry friend loves this vegetable, you should choose ripe, strongly red tomatoes for them. Do not give your dog the leaves or the stem. For people who grow this vegetable in their backyard, it can be challenging to keep a pet from eating the green parts of the plant, but you must prevent that from happening no matter what.
So, to sum things up, dogs must not eat unripe tomatoes or any green part of tomatoes, including the stem and leaves. Mainly unripe tomatoes contain harmful glycoalkaloids, i.e., tomatine and solanine. Consuming them in large amounts can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and general abdominal discomfort.
If your dog has eaten an unripe green tomato or leaves or stems, you must watch them closely. The following symptoms of poisoning can occur:
- confusion / loss of coordination,
- a slower heartbeat
- dilated pupils,
- epileptic seizures.
Symptoms of poisoning are rare, and dogs that suffer from tomato poisoning have a good prognosis overall. However, if you notice any of the above symptoms, visit your veterinarian with your pet.
Can dogs eat tomatoes?
Back to our main point, can dogs eat tomatoes? Dogs may occasionally consume fresh ripe, red tomatoes. Such tomatoes are considered non-toxic. Before giving your pet this vegetable, it is recommended to wash it first (this also applies to other vegetables and fruits). As long as your pet is NOT eating unripe tomatoes or the green parts of this vegetable, you have nothing to worry about. In addition, you can also give your dog tomato sauce. However, beware of any added spices.
Read also: Can dogs eat grapes?
The 3 most significant antioxidants found in Tomatoes
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, a plant pigment found in most fruits and vegetables. Also, it is an antioxidant that fights free radicals. But that’s not all it can do. Beta-carotene also helps with….
- Immune system functions
- Cognitive function
- Sun protection
- Cancer prevention
- Beta-carotene is also a provitamin A. It is converted into vitamin A in the canine’s body, essential for healthy skin, muscles, and nerves.
Lycopene is also a carotenoid responsible for tomatoes and other fruits’ pink and red colors. In general, the redder the tomato, the greater the presence of lycopene.
A study conducted on humans confirmed that when participants ate tomato products, after 10-12 weeks, they were less sensitive to sunlight. This means that this can be an effective way to protect your dog from sunburn.
Tomato lycopene can also lower blood pressure. This can be useful for dogs suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure).
Studies also link a higher risk of heart attack and stroke to low lycopene levels.
Vitamin C is the last antioxidant we will talk about. Vitamin C not only helps prevent chronic diseases but also:
- repairs damaged tissue
- strengthens the immune system
- supports proper adrenal function
- helps with the absorption of calcium and iron
- reduces allergy symptoms
Unlike humans, dogs can make their own vitamin C, but sometimes they need an extra boost. If your dog suffers from allergies or you think he needs antioxidant or immune support, vitamin C is a great choice.
TIP You should boost your dog’s diet with vitamin C if they are older than 7 years. This is because dogs have difficulty producing vitamin C as they get older.
Your furry friend should receive higher doses of vitamin C during stress, which they need to produce anti-stress hormones. However, if a dog is stressed, it may not have enough of this vitamin left in its body.
The most common stressors include:
- new places
- new routines
If your dog is experiencing these conditions, consider vitamin C supplements using foods such as tomatoes. Although you can give your dog vitamin C, these are synthetic vitamins. As a result, the dog’s body does not absorb them as well as the natural ones.
Read also: Can dogs eat avocado?
Tomatoes as a source of fiber
Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber that a dog needs for a healthy life. There are two main types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber is prebiotic, meaning that it travels to the large intestine, supporting the bacteria that live there. This helps maintain a healthy microbiome and improves your dog’s immune system.
After all, almost 90% of the immune system is in the gut.
The second type of fiber is insoluble, representing 87% of the fiber in tomatoes. It is not a prebiotic, but it helps regulate bowel movements by adding volume to the stool. It also helps restore and strengthen the cells that line the dog’s intestines. This is an essential step in preventing diseases such as bowel leakage.
How to serve tomatoes to your dog?
When serving tomatoes to your dog, you will want to look for ripe and red tomatoes (cherry tomatoes and other varieties are acceptable) after completely removing all the stems, leaves, and vines. When buying from a grocery store, you should prefer organic types to avoid the harmful effects of pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides.
While many people prefer salted tomatoes, they can be very harmful to your dog. So, small pieces of smooth, thoroughly washed tomato – preferably with skin removed – are always the safest way to serve them to your pet. As a general rule, feeding slices of one red, ripe tomato as a weekly treat will ensure that your dog reaps the nutritional benefits without being exposed to the dangerous effects of tomatoes.
Is your dog a tomato gourmet?