Dogs love to eat whatever they see their owner eating. They just can’t help it. All they want is to share your meal and help you finish it. However, it is not recommended to feed our pet everything it demands, as some foods may cause allergy or stomach ache. A dog’s diet should be highly nutritious and packed with protein. High-quality and energetic food is necessary for a dog’s proper mental and physical development, but you can occasionally feed it human food too. It’s completely OK if you want to mix some human food with your dog’s kibble or just give it some portion of what you’re eating.
Can I give my dog a tomato?
Tomatoes are one of the healthiest fruits, and many dogs love biting into a big, juicy tomato. So let’s come to the question, can dogs have tomatoes? When it comes to dogs and tomatoes, the important thing to consider is the part of the tomato. Some parts of a tomato plant are safe to be given to a dog, while others are not.
You should never give your dog the stems, leaves, and roots of a tomato plant. Tomatoes contain tomatine, which is a type of solanine. Solanine is a poison that is present in most nightshade plants. The immature and green tomatoes and other parts of tomatoes such as stems, roots, and leaves contain this toxic substance up to a concentration of 5%.
The ripe tomatoes are safe to be given to a dog because they only contain traces of tomatine, which is not harmful. However, just to be on the safe side, you shouldn’t feed the ripe, red tomatoes to puppies as their immune system has not developed properly.
Health benefits of tomatoes
You must be thinking not to feed your dog tomatoes, but let me tell you that ripe, red tomatoes can be of benefit to your dog. Your vet might recommend you not to give tomatoes to your dog, but no nutritionist can deny the health benefits of this fruit either. Following are the health benefits of tomatoes:
- Tomatoes are high in fiber which eases the process of digestion and improves the gut health. Fibers are also necessary for the dog’s body to improve the metabolism system of the body.
- They are packed with anti-oxidants such as vitamins C, A, and B12. These vitamins are essential as they reduce the effects of the harmful radicals in the body. These antioxidants maintain a healthy immune system and are usually not present or are in fewer amounts in dog foods. The vitamins C and A support the wound healing process and promote healthy skin.
- Red fruits such as papaya, watermelon, and tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene improves the heart health and fights various diseases. It reduces the risk of stroke and cancer.
- Beta-carotene present in tomatoes improves the health in many ways. It is beneficial for the eyes, skin, mucous membranes, and the whole immune system. Beta-carotene also reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome by improving cognition.
- Tomatoes are also packed with minerals such as potassium, chromium, and folate. Potassium promotes healthy nerves, muscles, and blood pressure.
No doubt, tomatoes are extremely beneficial for a living being, but that doesn’t mean that you should feed tomatoes to your dog all day. You can give it tomatoes once in a while as dogs have special dietary requirements. They need foods that are rich in protein and high in calories, but tomatoes have a low caloric content.
Can dogs be allergic to tomatoes?
Some dogs can be allergic to tomatoes. If you want to rule out any allergy in your dog, observe its behavior carefully. Feed your dog tomatoes and then, wait for about 30 to 60 minutes for any signs of allergy. If your dog is allergic to tomatoes, it will show one of the following symptoms:
- Itchy skin
- Licking feet
- Skin rashes
- Red ear skin
- Growling stomach
These are the symptoms of a tomato allergy and should not be confused with tomato poisoning. Tomato poisoning is caused by tomatine, as mentioned above, and has the following symptoms:
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Dilated pupils
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Behavioral changes
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty in breathing
I know this is a scary list, but you must know all the possible symptoms if your dog is facing tomato allergy or poisoning. Hence, if you see any symptoms of tomato poisoning or even allergy, you should immediately rush to a vet.
Things to consider before giving tomatoes to your dogs
Now, you must be clear on the question “can dogs have tomatoes”. You still need to consider some things. While there is no particular rule of feeding tomatoes to your dog, if you’re giving one for the first time, just offer the dog one or two slices of a tomato. If your dog is completely OK with it, you can give it one whole ripe, red tomato once a week. Always cut the stems and leaves and cut the tomato into pieces before feeding your dog. A weekly treat of one tomato for your dog is perfectly fine.
As long as the tomato is red and ripe, it doesn’t matter whatever form you feed it to your dog. You can safely give beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and even cooked tomatoes to it. Cooked tomatoes help absorb the nutrients, so they have many nutritional benefits. Canned tomatoes and tomato sauce are perfectly fine as well if they are obtained from ripe tomatoes, but if you aren’t sure whether these products are from ripe or raw, green tomatoes, you should avoid feeding them to your dog. Canned tomatoes are also not very beneficial as they may contain preservatives and additives. Tomato soup also contains additional ingredients such as spices and sauces which may be harmful to the dog, so you should avoid giving tomato soup as well.