Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? Effects of Tomatoes for Dogs as a Dog Food

can dogs eat tomatoes

Dogs can eat tomatoes safely, as long as the tomatoes are ripe. Ripe tomatoes are non-toxic to dogs. Dog owners can give dogs occasional ripe tomato treats, but they must avoid giving them unripe tomatoes and any parts of tomato plants because they are toxic to dogs. Tomatoes are very rich in nutrients and offer many health benefits for dogs.

Dogs can also benefit from the high levels of soluble fiber in tomatoes, as well as their low calories. An added dietary bonus for dogs is the powerful punch of lycopene, potassium, beta-carotene, and the antioxidants provided by high vitamin A and C levels.

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What are the Benefits of Tomatoes for Dogs?

The benefits of tomatoes for dogs are listed below:

  • Cardiovascular health: Tomatoes benefit a dog’s cardiovascular health. Tomatoes contain high potassium levels, a mineral that regulates dogs’ blood pressure levels and cholesterol. Potassium in tomatoes also regulates a pup’s blood sugar and stabilizes its neural function.
  • Blood circulation: A dog’s blood circulation benefits from the high levels of iron in ripe tomatoes. Likewise, the presence of the fat-soluble vitamin K in tomatoes promotes blood clotting.
  • Improved eyesight: Vitamin A in tomatoes plays a significant role in improving dogs’ eyesight. The abundance of vitamin A and beta-carotene in ripe tomatoes lower risks of eye-related issues in dogs and delay macular degeneration. Many vision problems in dogs, like cataracts and night blindness, result from insufficient vitamin A in canine diets. 
  • Healthy skin and coat: A dog needs vitamins C and A for healthy skin and coat. The powerful antioxidant Beta-carotene prevents oxidative damage and helps with maintaining healthy skin and coat.
  • Enhanced immunity: Tomatoes boost dogs’ immune systems. Ripe tomatoes are packed with a phytochemical, lycopene, primarily present in the skin of the tomato. This powerful antioxidant gives tomatoes the bright red color and plays a significant role in overall dog health. Lycopene also reduces stroke and heart disease risks and helps with strong bones and joints.

Along with these benefits, the soluble fiber in tomatoes helps keep dogs’ digestion healthy and bowel movements regular.

How Can Tomatoes Harm Dogs?

The harm tomatoes can cause to dogs are listed below:

  • Toxicity: Dogs who have access to tomato plants in the garden are at risk of being poisoned. The entire tomato plant, including unripe green tomatoes, contains a toxic substance, solanine, detrimental to a dog’s health. However, as the tomato ripens, the toxicity decreases. Once fully ripe and red, the fruit is safe for dogs to eat, but the green parts remain poisonous.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Some dogs have sensitivities to acidic foods. Dogs with gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux might have problems when they eat tomatoes. Discussing such matters with a vet is advisable before giving a pup new types of human foods.
  • Allergies: Feeding a dog human food will always include allergy risks. Even ripe tomatoes could trigger allergic reactions in dogs. It is not something to disregard because severe allergies could be fatal.

Will Tomatoes Upset a Dog’s Stomach?

Ripe tomatoes will not upset a dog’s stomach. They are not toxic, and as long as a dog does not overeat on tomatoes, there won’t be stomach upset issues. Tomatoes are acidic, and dogs with sensitive stomachs may experience abdominal problems.

Dog owners should always start by giving their dogs small portions of new treats and watch out for adverse reactions. Even when there is no problem, the 10/90 rule should be followed. Tomatoes are treats and not part of a dog’s overall diet, and treats must never exceed 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake.

When Should a Dog Eat Tomatoes?

Dogs can eat tomatoes at any time, regardless of the time of day, and at any age.

Puppies can benefit from the calcium necessary for strong bones and teeth, and potassium looks after bone density and muscle building.

Older dogs benefit from several nutrients in tomatoes that slow down cognitive decline and macular degeneration that affects older dogs’ eyesight.

Bedtime is a good time for tomato treats for all dogs. Red tomatoes contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid that increases the brain’s production of the super sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Calcium also plays a significant role in helping the brain with the production of hormones.

How Many Tomatoes can a Dog Eat per Day?

The amount of tomatoes a dog can have per day depends on the dog’s size, age, and overall health condition. The general rule is that smaller dogs should eat fewer tomatoes than a large dog and that a tomato treat should not exceed 10% of the pup’s daily calorie intake.

How to calculate a safe daily portion of tomato for a dog

Approximate Daily Caloric Needs for Average Dogs

Dog’s Weight

Total Calories per day – including treats 

Allowed Calories of all Treats per day

10 lbs.

200 to 275 calories

20 to 27 calories

20 lbs

325 to 400 calories

32 to 40 calories

50 lbs

700 to 900 calories

70 to 90 calories

70 lbs

900 to 1050 calories

90 to 105 calories

90 lbs

1100 to 1350 calories

110 to 135 calories

A medium-sized tomato (about 4 ounces) contains 18 to 20 calories

Using this table could help dog owners determine how to ensure treats are healthy additives for their dogs and not just ways to spoil a dog and possibly cause weight gain or other health problems.

Even though ripe, red tomatoes are packed with nutrients that can benefit a dog, giving them to the dog for the first time requires caution. Test the dog’s reaction, and if the dog has no adverse reactions, a weekly tomato treat might be beneficial for a dog’s health.

Which Nutrients in Tomatoes are Beneficial for Dogs’ Health?

The nutrients in tomatoes that are beneficial for dogs’ health is listed below:

  • Vitamin C: Dogs benefit from the vitamin C in tomatoes in several ways. Vitamin C is a significant antioxidant that tracks molecules of free radicals to eliminate them before they can damage the dog’s healthy cells. Vitamin C also helps support the immune system, reduces inflammation, slows down cognitive aging, and fights some cancers.
  • Synthesized Vitamin C: A dog’s liver synthesizes vitamin C naturally, but the process could be jeopardized if the dog has high activity or anxiety levels. If the liver is not doing that job properly, a tomato treat could give the pup’s liver the necessary boost of vitamin C to support liver synthesis.
  • Vitamin A: Tomatoes contain high levels of beta-carotene, which promotes dogs’ eyesight and healthy vision. Once beta-carotene enters the dog’s body, it changes into Vitamin A to support a dog’s cell function, immune and reproductive system. 
  • Lycopene and beta carotene: These are carotenoids that are invaluable for a dog’s health. They are most concentrated in the skin of ripe tomatoes, giving them a bright red color. When dogs eat ripe tomatoes, these powerful antioxidants help prevent cell damage by free radicals. Lycopene and beta carotene are also believed to reduce stroke and heart disease risks in dogs.
  • Potassium: A dog’s heart and kidney functions will benefit from the potassium in tomatoes. Further benefits of potassium include regulated fluid levels, bone density, and muscle development.
  • Dietary Fiber: Fiber is essential in a pup’s diet to ensure regular bowel movements. While helping things move along in the dog’s digestive system, fiber keeps a dog feeling full longer after eating, helping to maintain a dog’s weight. One more fiber-related benefit for dogs is how it slows digestion to prevent sudden dropping or spiking in blood sugar. 

A nutritional profile of a 4-ounce tomato is listed below:

  • Calories 18
  • Calcium 0.2 grams
  • Protein 0.9 grams
  • Sugar 2.6 grams
  • Carbs 3.9 grams
  • Fat 0.2 grams
  • Fiber 1.2 grams
  • Water 95%

What Nutrients in Tomatoes are Harmful to Dogs’ Health?

The harmful contents of tomatoes that can be fatal for dogs are listed below:

  • Tomatine: Green, unripe tomatoes are poisonous for dogs. Tomatine is an alkaloid that can cause the death of dogs. As the fruit ripens, the toxic tomatine metabolizes, and by the time the tomato is ripe, it is safe for a dog to eat.
  • Solanine: Dogs who ingest even a small piece of the green parts of a tomato plant could become ill due to solanine poisoning. Solanine is a glycoalkaloid with a bitter taste that is a part of the plant’s defense mechanism. 
  • Atropine: Tomatoes also contain a lesser toxin called atropine, which can adversely affect a dog’s health. Atropine causes heart arrhythmias, tremors, and dilated pupils. The stems and leaves of the tomato plant contain the highest concentrations of atropine, with lower levels in green, unripe tomatoes.

Can Tomatoes Affect a Dog’s Mood?

Yes, tomatoes can affect a dog’s mood. Tomatoes contain high levels of tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that dogs cannot produce themselves. When dogs eat tomatoes, the tryptophan will promote serotonin production. Serotonin is a mood-boosting hormone. 

Can Baby Dogs (Puppies) Eat Tomatoes?

Yes, puppies can eat tomatoes, but in small portions. Their immune systems are still developing, and puppies are more susceptible to gastrointestinal issues. Tomatoes can help a puppy build a healthy body but use caution when introducing a puppy to tomatoes.

Puppies might take time to get used to the texture of tomatoes, and they might turn away from a fresh tomato treat. Nevertheless, the benefits of extra fiber, minerals, and vitamins in tomatoes for baby dogs can be equally valuable if the tomato treats are mixed into their food.

Puppies are explorers, and dog owners who grow tomatoes in the gardens must take precautions to prevent the pups from getting to taste the tomato plants because it could cause their death.

Can Old Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

Yes, older dogs can eat tomatoes. Several of the nutrients in tomatoes are particularly beneficial for senior dogs. Vitamin C in tomatoes optimizes the immune systems of dogs and reduces inflammation risks. Additional vitamin C benefits for old dogs include fighting some cancers and slowing down cognitive decline.

Senior dogs can further benefit from the vitamin A in tomato treats. Many older dogs experience macular degeneration, which affects the retina’s central area. Aging dogs could experience mild vision impairment, night blindness, and even complete loss of vision. However, vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant in tomatoes that could prevent or slow down macular degeneration in old dogs.

Can Different Dog Breeds Eat Different Amounts of Tomatoes?

All dog breeds can eat tomatoes in amounts to suit their size and health condition. Too many tomatoes could cause gastrointestinal problems in any breed of dog. 

A small butterfly-eared Papillon dog weighing 10 pounds or less can have one 4-ounce tomato, which is about 20 calories.

Border Collies weighing about 50 pounds can eat three to four medium-sized tomatoes totaling 60 to 80 calories.

A Bernese Mountain Dog weighing about 90 pounds can safely eat six to seven 4-ounce tomatoes.

It is crucial to ensure dogs eat red, fully ripe tomatoes only.

For Which Dog Breeds are Tomatoes More Beneficial?

Tomatoes are not more beneficial for some dog breeds.

For Which Dog Breeds are Tomatoes Less Beneficial?

Tomatoes are not less beneficial for some dog breeds.

Which Tomato Recipes and Parts can be Eaten Safely by Dogs?

Dogs can eat the entire tomato fruit, including the skin, but only if ripe and red. In contrast, unripe green tomatoes are highly toxic to dogs. Furthermore, the entire tomato plant, including stems and leaves, could cause life-threatening tomatine poisoning, and dogs must not have access to tomato plants in the garden.

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Skin (Ripe and Unripe Tomato)?

Dogs can eat the skin of ripe tomatoes, but not green tomatoes. Green tomato skins are toxic to dogs. Tomatoes contain poisonous substances like solanine, tomatine, and atropine, which metabolize as the tomatoes ripen. Most of the nutrients of tomatoes are concentrated in the skin, making the skin of red tomatoes beneficial for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce Safely?

No, dogs cannot eat tomato sauce or ketchup safely. Tomato products in cans and jats typically contain multiple additives that could be detrimental to a dog’s health. Along with preservatives, tomato sauce typically contains salt, sugar, and some potentially toxic ingredients like onions and garlic.

Can Dogs Eat Cherry Tomatoes Safely?

Yes, dogs can eat cherry tomatoes, as long as this juicy treat is ripe and has a bright red color. This tomato variety’s small size might pose choking hazards, so chopping it in half might be wise.

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Soup Safely?

No, dogs can’t eat tomato soup safely, except when the dog parent cooks the soup with no additives, specifically for the dog. Canned tomato soup is dangerous because it typically contains preservatives and flavorings that could be harmful to dogs. Salt, spices, garlic and onions are all ingredients that dogs can’t eat safely.

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Cores Safely?

Yes, dogs can eat tomato cores safely. The core of a tomato is the center shaft of the fruit, which is typically removed when making stuffed tomatoes. Many dog parents wonder whether they can use the tomato cores as treats for their dogs. The answer is yes; as long as the tomatoes are ripe, the cores can make healthy treats for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Tomatoes Safely?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked tomatoes safely. The dog’s body absorbs some of the beneficial nutrients like lycopene, the powerful antioxidant in tomatoes, easier if they are cooked. However, the poisoning risk remains. Even one partially ripe or unripe tomato cooked with the ripe tomatoes could cause the entire batch to be toxic. Likewise, any added salt, sugar, spices, garlic, or onions could cause health problems for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Green Tomatoes Safely?

No, dogs can’t eat green tomatoes at all. Unripe, green tomatoes, and the entire tomato plant contain solanine, a dangerous toxin for dogs. The poison metabolizes as the tomato ripens, and by the time the fruit is ripe and bright red in color, only trace amounts of solanine remain. However, even when the tomatoes are ripe, the stem, vines, and leaves of the tomato plant remain toxic and extremely hazardous to the health of dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Tomatoes Safely?

Yes, dogs can eat raw tomatoes safely, but only when they are bright red and ripe. Even the little stem and leaves on tomatoes can cause tomatine poisoning in dogs. 

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Paste Safely?

Yes, dogs can eat tomato paste safely. The primary concern should be what other ingredients are in the tomato paste. Pure tomato paste with no salt, sugar, spices, or flavorings like garlic and onion could make a healthy treat for dogs, but always in moderation.

Which Dog Food Brands Add Tomatoes to their Dog Foods?

Several dog food brands add tomato Pomace to their dog food recipes. Tomato Pomace is the crushed-up tomato seeds, pulp, and skin of tomatoes. The reason for adding tomato pomace is its rich soluble fiber content and other beneficial nutrients for dogs. Soluble fiber is a rich antioxidant that plays a significant role in a dog’s healthy digestion. It reduces inflammation risks and improves a dog’s stool quality. 

Examples of dog food brands with tomatoes added to their dog foods are listed below:

  • Taste of the Wild Kibble for Dogs: Our dry and wet dog food formulas contain tomato and tomato pomace, which provides soluble fiber, vitamin C, and a powerful antioxidant, lycopene, for immune-boosting and overall dog health.
  • Fromm Canned Dog Food: Canned Lamb & Sweet Potato Pâté for Dogs– Finely minced lamb, cooked in lamb broth with tomato paste, potatoes, lentils, and carrots.
  • Fromm Dog Treats: Oven-baked dog treats — Chicken with Peas and Carrots, containing dried tomato pomace.

Can Eating Tomatoes Cause Diseases in dogs?

Yes, tomatoes can cause adverse health to dogs, not necessarily diseases. The common adverse reactions are listed below:

  • Puppies are prone to stomach upsets if tomatoes are not gradually introduced. Young dogs’ immune systems take time to develop, and they could experience gastrointestinal problems.
  • Dogs with gastroenteritis or other GI problems should not receive tomato treats that can aggravate stomach sensitivity until they have recovered.
  • Although dogs can only eat ripe tomatoes safely, they should not eat overripe tomatoes. As tomatoes break down, they ferment, and giving dogs blistered, soft, and rotting tomatoes could cause intestinal health issues.
  • Dogs with sensitive guts could have stomach problems due to the high acidity of tomatoes.
  • The leaves and stems of tomatoes contain oxalates, which, if eaten by dogs, can cause bladder stones and, even more severe, acute kidney failure. 

Allergies: Rarely, dogs have allergic reactions to tomatoes, even after eating ripe tomatoes. When that happens, the dog owner should immediately stop giving the dog tomatoes because severe allergies can lead to anaphylaxis and possible death. Hives, swelling, and breathing difficulties could lead to anaphylaxis.

Other less severe symptoms of tomato allergy are listed below:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • Gas,
  • Stomach upset
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

To ensure a dog’s safety, owners must introduce tomatoes gradually and be vigilant for any reactions. Furthermore, tomatoes should be regarded as occasional treats and not form part of a dog’s overall diet.

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes When Sick?

Yes, dogs can eat tomatoes when they are sick, except if their illness is gastrointestinal. Moderation in tomato treat portions is crucial for sick dogs.

Can An Anemic Dog Eat Tomatoes?

No, anemic dogs cannot eat tomatoes. A dog with anemia needs iron, and tomatoes contain almost no iron. Tomatoes actually make it harder for an anemic dog’s body to absorb iron from other foods.

Can Dogs With Kidney Disease Eat Tomatoes?

No, dogs with kidney disease cannot eat tomatoes. Never feed tomatoes to dogs with kidney disease, gastric reflux, bladder stones, or inflammatory bowel disease.

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes to Help With Diarrhea?

Yes, dogs can eat tomatoes to help with diarrhea. Although some raw vegetables and fruit could worsen stomach problems, the same is not valid for cooked produce. Cooked ripe tomatoes contain high potassium levels, which can help settle an upset stomach.

Can a Nursing Dog Eat Tomatoes?

Yes, a nursing dog can eat tomatoes. The acidity in tomatoes can’t affect the mamma dog’s milk. However, some puppies might be sensitive to some of the proteins that reach them through the milk, but tomatoes are safe treats for nursing dogs.

When Are Tomatoes Toxic to Dogs?

Tomatoes are toxic to dogs when they are unripe and green. When they are green, they contain poisonous substances, tomatine, solanine, and atropine. Green tomatoes can cause solanine or tomatine poisoning that could be life-threatening. The toxins reduce to trace amounts as the tomato ripens, mitigating the risk of poisoning when dogs eat ripe tomatoes. However, only the ripe fruit is safe, and all the green vines, stems, leaves, and other plant parts are always toxic.

What are the Signs of Tomato Poisoning in Dogs?

The signs of tomato poisoning are listed below:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Lethargy or drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Dogs that get into a tomato plant and eat the stem, leaves, roots, or an unripe tomato will show the following symptoms to indicate a toxic level of solanine or tomatine.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Unripe Tomatoes or Tomato Plants?

If a dog eats an unripe tomato, the most important thing to do as soon as any telltale signs appear is to contact the vet immediately. If treated promptly, the prognosis for tomatine or solanine poisoning would likely be good.

What Else can Dogs Eat together with Tomatoes?

Some of the people food that is often shared with dogs are listed below:

Cucumbers 

Cucumbers are safe for dogs to eat. Add cucumber to a tomato doggy treat for a crunchy, low-calorie snack. Cucumber slices are very low in fat and sodium and only have about 8 calories per 1/2- cup. In contrast, one medium Milk-Bone biscuit treat has 40 calories.

Onions

Onions are toxic to dogs. Every part of it must be kept away from dogs, including the juice, leaves, and flesh, cooked and raw. The same is valid for processed onion powder, which is typically more potent.

Lettuce

Lettuce contains 90% water, and the rest of it has nothing that could harm a dog. Added to a cherry tomato, it could make the perfect treat for a dog with weight problems.

Avocados

Avocados are highly toxic for dogs. The fruit, leaves, pits, and plants contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. A dog that eats avocados could experience vomiting, diarrhea, and it could even be fatal.

What are the Dog Food Recipes Containing Tomatoes?

Use only ripe, red tomatoes well rinsed to ensure they are free of pesticides.

Easy tomato ice cube treat

Puree a handful of ripe cherry tomatoes. Mix ½ cup of hot water with ½ tablespoon gelatin, add tomato puree and freeze in a silicone ice tray.

Fun appetizer for a doggie cocktail party

Scoop the cores out of cherry tomatoes. Mix the tomato flesh with low-fat, unflavoured cottage cheese and scoop the mixture back into the tomato “shells.” Feed in moderation.

Tomato cookie treats (Bulk baking)

Mix 16 ounces of fresh pureed tomatoes with 2 ½ cups of whole wheat flour and 1 ½ cups of rolled oats. Shape cookies on a lined baking tray and bake for 25 minutes at 350 F.

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.