When it comes to fruits and vegetables, it can be difficult for us dog owners to remember what they can share with their doggy best friends and which ones could prove fatal. So, where do tomatoes come into this? Can dogs eat tomatoes? The answer is both yes and no, that’s a bit confusing, so let’s look init it in more detail below.
Tomatoes are in the nightshade family of vegetables, meaning the plants contain a few components that are harmful to certain animals, such as solanine. Solanine, a substance that is found in the stem and leaves of tomato plants and is harmful to dogs in large quantities.
Luckily for dogs that enjoy the occasional tomato, solanine is mostly concentrated in the green parts of the tomato plant. The leaves, stems, and young, green tomatoes contain higher amounts of solanine than ripe ones, meaning that ripe tomatoes are generally safe to feed to dogs in small amounts.
This is still concerning for those of us who keep a tomato plant in the garden, as we will naturally worry about our dogs eating green tomatoes or chewing on the stem and leaves.
If your dog has consumed the green parts of a tomato plant, watch them carefully for signs of tomatine poisoning. Clinical signs of too much tomatine include:
- Gastrointestinal (GI) upset
- Cardiac effects
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
The good news is that these symptoms are rare, and the prognosis for dogs with tomatine poisoning is generally good. You should call your vet right away if your dog exhibits these signs, as they can be a symptom of other serious health problems in addition to tomatine consumption.
So, can dogs eat tomatoes? The answer is both yes and no. Ripe tomatoes are considered nontoxic to dogs and can be fed in moderation as an occasional snack. Unripe tomatoes and tomato plants, should be avoided completely. It is probably a good idea to keep dogs away from tomato plants, either by fencing off your garden area or by supervising your dog carefully in the garden. Both your dog and your tomatoes will thank you. You have to be the responsible dg owner and weigh up the risks of feeding to the benefits.