Owner feeding dog a slice of tomato while prepping food

Key takeaway

Dogs can eat ripe tomatoes, but not green or unripe tomatoes. Unripe tomatoes include the compounds solanine and tomatine, both of which can be hazardous to dogs if taken in high amounts. Tomatine poisoning can be caused by eating an unripe tomato.

Picture this: You’re making a salad for lunch and one of the tomatoes you’re chopping up falls onto the floor. You don’t think twice about it until Scrappy comes running out of nowhere and swallows the entire tomato whole. You suddenly start to panic and think to yourself: Can dogs eat tomatoes?

The answer is yes and no. Dogs can eat ripe tomatoes but they shouldn’t eat green, unripened tomatoes. Unripened tomatoes contain the chemicals solanine and tomatine, which can both be toxic to dogs when consumed in large quantities. Eating an unripe tomato can lead to symptoms of tomatine poisoning.

If you have ripe, red tomatoes laying around the house, those are okay for your dog to eat, as long as it’s in moderation. But you have to be especially careful if you have a garden that grows tomatoes. Solanine and tomatine are most prevalent in the leaves and stems of tomato plants, so if you have a dog, you have to be extra careful about letting them roam around in your garden.

Dogs don’t know what they should and shouldn’t eat, so as a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to protect them from eating toxic foods. In this article, we’ll be answering important questions about feeding dogs tomatoes, like “can a dog eat tomatoes?” and “what types of tomatoes can dogs eat?”. So the next time you're making dinner and drop a tomato on the floor, you can know whether or not it’s safe for your pup to eat.

List of tomato varieties dogs can eat

What Types Of Tomatoes Can Dogs Eat?

So, we know that dogs can eat tomatoes, but now you may be thinking, “can dogs eat cherry tomatoes?”. There are various types of tomatoes, but only certain kinds are safe for dogs to eat. Dogs can only eat ripe, red tomatoes. Some of the varieties of tomatoes that are safe for dogs to eat include:

  • Cherry
  • Grape
  • Beefsteak
  • Red Heirlooms
  • Roma

Before feeding your dog any kind of tomato, make sure to completely remove any vines, stems, or leaves. Be sure to always thoroughly wash the tomato and cut it up into smaller pieces if you’re feeding it to a small dog who can choke.

If you’re wondering “can dogs eat tomato soup?” or “can dogs eat tomato sauce?”, the answer is no1 Canned tomato sauces and soups will often contain other ingredients, like garlic and onion, that may not be safe for your pup to consume. They also can be high in sugar and salt, which aren’t great for a dog's overall health. So if you want to feed your dog tomatoes, stick to fresh, ripe tomatoes, rather than something from a can.

Tomatine Poisoning

Tomatine can be toxic to dogs when consumed in large quantities, which is also why it’s so important to only feed your dog tomatoes in moderation. But the reason why ripe tomatoes are safe for dogs to eat is that tomatine levels are much lower in them. Tomatine levels are higher in unripe tomatoes, as well as the stems and leaves of tomato plants.

Signs of tomatine posioning

Puppies and older dogs are also more likely to experience tomatine poisoning, so you should be extra careful with them if you have a garden. If your dog is suffering from tomatine poisoning, they may experience the following symptoms2:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hypersalivation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cardiac effects

Are Tomatoes Good For Dogs?

Tomatoes can be a very healthy treat for dogs, but only when given in small amounts. Tomatoes are high in soluble and insoluble fiber, which are great for your dog’s digestion and can help them maintain steady blood sugar levels. They’re also loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. Tomatoes also contain folate, which is necessary for tissue growth and cell function.

Feeding your dog tomatoes can benefit their eyesight, immune system, skin, muscles, cardiovascular health, and more, so it’s definitely something some pet parents want to incorporate into your dog’s diet. You just have to do it in the right way. That means only giving them ripe, red tomatoes and feeding them in moderation so they don’t get sick.

If your dog is a particularly big fan of tomatoes, you can even use them as a healthy alternative to dog treats during dog obedience training. So when you’re trying to teach a dog to shake, you can reward them with a nice cherry tomato instead of a dog treat.

When Should Dogs Avoid Tomatoes?

It’s generally safe to feed your dog tomatoes, but there are certain instances when dogs should avoid eating them, like if they aren’t ripe. Dogs should also avoid tomato plants because the leaves and stems contain tomatine, which is toxic for dogs to consume.

Before feeding your dog any new food, it’s also a good idea to bring them to the vet, just in case they have a food allergy. Some of the most common signs of food allergies in dogs are vomiting or diarrhea. If your dog has any negative reaction to eating tomatoes, bring them to the vet immediately so they can get checked.

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes: Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if a dog eats a tomato?

If your dog eats a ripe, red tomato, nothing will happen! In fact, ripe tomatoes can actually be quite healthy for a dog to consume because they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals that are great for a dog’s overall health. However, some dogs have allergies or sensitivities to tomatoes, so make sure to watch your pet closely after feeding them a tomato for the first time.

Keep in mind, if a dog eats an unripe tomato or the leaves of a tomato plant, they can get very sick. This is because unripe tomatoes contain tomatine, which is toxic for dogs to consume in large quantities. If your dog has tomatine poisoning, they may experience gastrointestinal upset, loss of coordination, loss of appetite, and muscle weakness. If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, bring them to the vet immediately so they can get prescribed the necessary treatment.

How many tomatoes can a dog eat?

While it might be okay to feed your dog tomatoes, that doesn’t mean they should be chowing down on them for every meal. Human food should only be given to your pup as a special treat every once in a while, not as an everyday thing! One or two ripe tomatoes per week is plenty to give your dog. However, it’s a good idea to start with a smaller amount at first, just so you can see if they have a negative reaction.

Why can’t dogs eat tomato plants?

If you have a garden, you have to be very careful about letting your dog out because tomato plants can be very toxic for dogs to consume. Tomato plants contain solanine and tomatine, which are found in the leaves and stems of tomato plants and can cause a host of health issues in your pup, like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and even seizures. If you see your dog eating tomato plants or exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should call your vet immediately.

Dog standing next to basket of tomatoes

Final Notes

Dogs may love to eat our scraps, but that doesn’t mean our scraps are safe for them to eat. While there may be a lot of human food that dogs can eat, there’s also a lot of food that they can’t eat. We’ve discussed that it’s safe for dogs to eat ripe tomatoes, but you now may be wondering what dogs can’t eat.

There are a variety of different foods that can be toxic for dogs to consume, such as grapes, chocolate, onion, garlic, and milk. But if you’re ever unsure of what dogs can and can’t eat, all you have to do is give your vet a call. Or, you can contact a vet through Dutch.com.

Dutch.com is an online pet telehealth service that connects pet owners with licensed veterinarians. Dutch is a convenient solution for pet care that all pet owners can access. With Dutch, you can get answers to any pet questions you have, like “can dogs eat chocolate?” or “can dogs eat grape tomatoes?”. Whatever your question may be, Dutch vets will be there to help.

To get started with Dutch, all you have to do is sign up online and you’ll be connected with a licensed vet who will walk you through every step of the way and prescribe you the necessary medication your dog needs to get better. Sign up on Dutch today and watch us handle pet care in a whole new way.

References

  1. “Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? Read before You Feed.” Purina, https://www.purina.co.uk/articles/dogs/feeding/what-dogs-eat/can-dogs-eat-tomatoes.

  2. Burke, Anna. “Tomatoes for Dogs: What's Safe and What's Not.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 28 Feb. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-tomatoes/#:~:text=Ripe%20tomatoes%20are%20considered%20nontoxic,bell%20peppers%2C%20and%20blueberries.