Dogs and humans share a special bond. Canines are with us in every activity, even during our meals. With dogs’ love for treats, it can be tempting to share with them food from our dinner tables.
One of the foods that we commonly want to give to dogs are tomatoes, which can be a tasty treat for any pup. Like many other snacks, we can only give a certain amount of tomatoes to dogs. And although tomatoes contain plenty of nutrients, there are also things that you have to know before feeding them to your dog.
Why Do People Think Tomatoes Are Poisonous to Dogs?
Ripe red tomatoes are the safest ones you can give to your dog. This juicy fruit belongs to the nightshade family of plants, which have compounds that are toxic to dogs. The toxins in nightshade plants could be dangerous for your pet when ingested in large amounts.
To keep your pet safe, keep unripe tomatoes, stems, and leaves away from your dog as these could be harmful to them. It is best to watch your dog’s activity if you grow tomatoes around your home.
Toxic Tomatine in Tomato Plants
PetMD explains that tomatoes contain a toxic substance called tomatine, which is potentially dangerous for your dog when taken in large amounts. Tomatine is present in unripe tomatoes, stems, and leaves. When your dog ingests tomatine, they could experience gastrointestinal problems.
Do Tomatoes Have Benefits for Dogs?
Tomatoes are known to be one of the healthiest fruits available on the market. The red, dewy produce is not only beneficial to humans but also to our furry friends.
Here are some of the health benefits tomatoes offer to dogs.
- Tomatoes have antioxidants. These antioxidants destroy free radicals in the body and combat eye problems, so an occasional tomato snack could be great for aging dogs. They also help fight off some chronic diseases.
- Tomatoes contain lycopene. This compound supports overall health. Although lycopene is not an essential nutrient for dogs, it could still benefit their body. Lycopene can help prevent severe diseases like cancer.
- Tomatoes support the generation of bone tissue. With the help of vitamin K and calcium in tomatoes, bone tissues get an extra boost that is good for your dog’s strength. This is perfect for aging dogs and those who are playful and active throughout the day.
- Tomatoes have a beneficial effect on vision. The significant amount of vitamin A present in a single tomato could help your dog fight “night blindness.” This nutrient is extremely beneficial for dogs who are experiencing impairments in their vision.
- Tomatoes promote heart health. The potassium and vitamin B that comes with every serving of tomato is good for your dog’s heart. It lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Plus, a great source of potassium and vitamin B helps prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other heart-related diseases.
Some Parts of the Tomato are Dangerous for Dogs
Not all parts of tomatoes can be fed to dogs. Some parts are potentially toxic and should be kept away from them at all times. You should never feed your dog:
- Unripe tomatoes
- Tomato stems
- Tomato leaves
Although the chance of severe poisoning is low, it is still necessary to take safety precautions.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
What happens if your dog ingests a large amount of tomatine? These are the symptoms you need to monitor if you feel that your dog could be experiencing tomato poisoning:
- Cardiac effects. These include irregular heartbeats, also called arrhythmia.
- An upset stomach. Your dog may experience gastrointestinal issues.
- A loss of coordination. You may see your dog looking clumsy and confused.
- Muscle weakness. Your dog might appear weak and unable to move.
If you notice these symptoms, immediately bring your dog to the vet for the proper care. Tomato poisoning is treatable, and deadly effects can only happen when toxins are consumed in large quantities.
Some dogs also have allergic reactions to tomatoes. We suggest looking for possible dog allergy symptoms like coughing, sneezing, or swelling. In some cases, your dog may experience difficulty breathing.
How to Safely Share Tomatoes with Your Dog
Dogs can definitely enjoy tomatoes from time to time. However, there are things to remember to ensure you are safely feeding your dog tomatoes.
You cannot give them unripe tomatoes. Make sure that stems and leaves are removed before sharing them with your dog. These parts contain tomatine that is harmful to your dog’s health. What you can give your dog are red, ripe tomatoes.
When serving tomatoes to your dog, it’s best if they are free from additives and harmful chemicals. Do not add salt, seasonings, or spices. Feed your dog plain, chemical-free tomatoes.
If you’d like to switch it up a bit, perhaps serve tomato soup to your dog, but check the label first. You want to know that it doesn’t contain any ingredient that is not good for your dog. To be 100 percent safe, it is best that you prepare the food yourself. This way, you can ensure that only food with the right ingredients is provided to your dog. While preparing the soup, remember to remove the stems and leaves and only use ripe tomatoes.
Tomatoes can be a great snack for your dog. It is also noteworthy that they can offer a ton of nutrients for your dog’s health. But when you give them incorrectly, your dog may experience discomfort from the toxins found in the fruit. Always remember to follow the safety measures if you’d like your dog to enjoy juicy tomatoes.