Tomatoes are at the center of human nutrition, they are palatable, juicy and especially in summer they are often on our plates but…. can we share this superb fruit with our dogs?
The right answer is yes and no. Of course dogs can absolutely have the tomato fruit, if you want to give them small amounts on the fleshy parts of a fresh red fruit won’t hurt them but dogs should never, never, never eat tomato leaves, stems and green, unripe tomatoes, either.
Tomatoes are in the nightshade family and some other members of this family are known to be very toxic because parts of them contain substances that are dangerous in high amounts. Poisoning from overeating tomatoes is pretty rare in dogs but if your dog is used to get into gardens with unripened tomatoes it could happen.
Tomatine is a potentially toxic substance found in tomatoes and it can be very harmful when consumed in large quantities. Anyway ripe tomatoes contain such a small and trifling amount of tomatine, we can consider it non significant.
Unripe tomatoes contain more tomatine but we can find the highest concentration in the tomato plant itself (leaves, stalk, stems and flowers).
So… tomatoes are not poisonous to dogs and can absolutely be good for our furry friends, in fact a lot of pet food manufacturers use them in their formulas because they are rich in nutrients that are good if consumed in appropriate quantities. They’re low in calories and high in soluble and insoluble fiber, which is good for digestion.
In tomatoes we can find lycopene, which promote strong bones and may reduce the risk of heart disease; beta-carotene, which is very important for cognition; vitamin A, which gives a hand with vision and immune function; and vitamin C, which is important antioxidant and can help reduce inflammation and cognitive aging.
They also have minerals such as folate and potassium, which help with nucleoprotein synthesis, homocysteine metabolism, cellular division, neural development, and the synthesis of neurotransmitters.
In our houses we can also easily find products that contain tomatoes such as soups and sauces, they often contain salt, sugar, artificial flavors, or other ingredients that are unhealty for your dogs. Please avoid giving your dog these products, I’m sure your vet agrees.
In conclusion, ripe tomatoes are generally considered safe for dogs but has to be fed in moderation. Unripe tomatoes and tomato plants and parts has to be absolutely avoided.