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It may seem that no matter what you feed your dog, he still wants whatever you’re eating most. From sniffing around while you prepare a meal to begging at the dinner table, it’s hard to resist the urge to give your pup a small treat.
However, despite being man’s best friend, dogs cannot always eat the same foods that we enjoy. Their digestive systems are different than ours, and feeding them table food can lead to upset stomachs. In severe cases, feeding dogs harmful human foods can lead to pancreatitis, kidney failure, obesity, and more.
While this may seem scary, not all human foods are harmful to dogs. Letting your dog indulge in some peanut butter, honey, or bread can make for a special reward without causing harm. The healthy fats, protein, and vitamins in peanut butter can help give your dog a shiny coat when given in moderation.
It may seem hard to keep track of which foods you can share with your dog, like can dogs eat tomatoes? The short answer is yes, but you shouldn’t feed them to your dog too often. Here we explain why you should only feed your furry friend tomatoes once in a while.
Types of Tomatoes
Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, along with peppers, eggplant, and potatoes. They contain two compounds that can be poisonous to dogs, solanine and alpha tomatine. It all comes down to color when determining if you can give your dog a tomato.
Green Unripe Tomatoes
Young, green tomatoes contain more solanine than ripe tomatoes making them more toxic to dogs. If you are gardening or cooking with green tomatoes, it is best to wait until they are ripe to share them with your furry companion.
Red Ripe Tomatoes
Once a tomato has matured, it has a lower concentration of the chemical compounds that make them toxic to dogs. However, this does not mean that you should feed a lot of tomatoes to your dog at once. Also, make sure that you properly clean or skin the tomato treat, especially if they are not organic and treated with pesticides.
If your dog is generally healthy, then feeding them the occasional tomato will not cause harm. Still, it is crucial to monitor your dog and look out for any allergic or adverse reactions. Some reported reactions to tomatoes include:
- Upset stomach or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle weakness or lack of coordination
- Dilated pupils
Fortunately, severe reactions are not common. If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, or they begin to worsen, call your vet immediately.
The health risks may seem daunting, but giving your dog the occasional tomato treat can benefit their health by supporting their immune system and boosting bone tissue. Tomatoes contain vitamins and beneficial compounds that can prevent diseases, including cancer.
Tomatoes contain antioxidants that aid in the prevention of serious diseases like cancer. Lycopene is a red-colored phytochemical and type of carotenoid that has been researched as a significant compound in cancer prevention. This antioxidant is prevalent in tomatoes and can benefit you and your pooch alike.
Immune System Support
Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, which can improve cardiovascular health and immune system deficiencies. We generally associate vitamin C with cold and flu season, but taken regularly, they can support your dog’s natural defenses against degenerative diseases and support heart health.
Eating treats like tomatoes can help supplement vitamin nutrition that dog food alone may not provide. They are high in vitamins B6 and B3, which supports their energy levels and immune system.
Skin and Eye Health
While beta-carotene is most commonly associated with carrots, this antioxidant is also in tomatoes. Like in our bodies, dogs can convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, which can improve skin and eye health. While it may not improve your dog’s vision, it could prevent night blindness.
Bone and Teeth Support
Some dog breeds are more susceptible to dental issues than others, but it is still important to take preventative measures for your dog’s bone and tooth health. Tomatoes contain high levels of manganese, potassium, and phosphorus, supporting healthy bones and teeth.
As long as you give tomatoes in moderation, they can help your dog live a long, healthy life. The skin, eye, and immune support they provide us can also benefit your dog.
Dog-Friendly Tomato Treats
If your pup won’t leave your side while you’re in the kitchen, try incorporating tomatoes with some foods you’re cooking with as a special snack.
Slice tomatoes, and place them on a dog biscuit. This simple treat gives your dog something crunchy to bite into when they are trying a tomato. You can also garnish it with some fresh parsley. Parsley is also non-toxic to dogs and can improve their breath!
If you’re making a salad with cherry or grape tomatoes, try scooping the middle out and giving it to your dog. For added flavor, stuff it with plain, shredded chicken or some cheese. This easy-to-prepare treat can become a fancy, flavorful appetizer for your furry friend.
If you’re feeling more adventurous in the kitchen, combine tomato paste with ground turkey, rice, and parsley to make dog-friendly meatballs. If your dog likes cheese, add in some mozzarella for extra flavor.
While preparing any dog-friendly recipe, be sure you exclude ingredients like onion or garlic that may be tasty to you but are toxic to your pup.
The Bottom Line
Can dogs eat tomatoes? Yes, they can, but they should not eat them too often. While other fruits and vegetables like bananas, blueberries, and carrots make tasty everyday snacks for your pup, give tomatoes and other nightshade vegetables more sparingly.
Whenever you add something new to your dog’s diet, it is important to introduce it in small, gradual amounts and monitor their reaction. Determining whether dogs can eat tomatoes often comes down to a combination of allergies and your canine’s personal preference. While you may find that your dog enjoys tomatoes, make sure you feed them a balanced diet full of healthy and pup-safe foods.