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Can dogs have tomatoes

A shared snack is one of the most precious bonding moments most dogs and their owners have always treasured from time immemorial. We all love enjoying scraps of whatever we are snacking on with our beloved pets; be it a chunk of hot dog, a slice of fruit or a tiny piece of chocolate. And no one has any right to blame us for doing so; especially since dogs have this incredible ability of adopting various numbers of sorrowful, heart-breaking expressions whenever they find us chewing on anything they think is worth sharing. It always makes us feel miserably selfish for not wanting to share. After all, sharing is caring, right?

Well, when it comes to a combination of you, the dog owner, your dog, and a tomato snack, sharing cannot exclusively be defined as caring. Tomatoes are a very popular snack for humans with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) estimating that each American consumes an excess of 22 pounds of tomato per year, mostly in tomato sauce and ketchup.  Tomatoes are, however, among a number of fruits and vegetables outlined by AKC (American Kennel Club) that are perfectly safe for humans to snack on but may pose certain risks to your dog if they happen to ingest them. These risks are not posed solely by these outlined fruits and vegetables but by most foods that are perfectly safe for humans. So, before you treat your dog to any scraps from whatever you just enjoyed, make sure the treats are perfectly safe for your pet. AKC has a goldmine of information you can use to determine what your dog can eat.

Now, back to our main question: can dogs have tomatoes? 

The answer to this question is both Yes and No. BUT, but before you proceed to pointing out the ambiguity of this answer, it is imperative you understand the composition of tomatoes in general. Tomatoes are classified in a family of vegetables called nightshade (spooky, I know).  As a result, tomato plants contain some components such as solanine and alpha tomatine that have proven to be harmful to some animals. Solanine for example, is a substance that is harmful in large quantities to dogs. This substance can be found in the leaves and stems of tomato plants and most other plants in the same family. Young, green tomatoes also contain much more concentration of Solanine than ripe tomatoes. 

Therefore you should always make sure your dog only enjoys the occasional ripe tomato and at no point gets a young, green tomato or gets the chance to waltz into your tomato garden to chew on the green tomato plants growing there.

You can also check out our article on how to choose healthy dog food to make sure your dog gets a healthy diet that’ll leave them strong, healthy and with more years to enjoy with you.

Can dogs have tomato soup

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Tomato soup isn’t particularly lethal to dogs especially if you have made the soup at home and you know the ingredients used. However, if you just purchased tomato soup, it is advisable to first check the list of ingredients used to ensure it doesn’t contain anything that can harm your dog. This is so because a  vast number of tomato soup varieties, sauces and juices are usually loaded with excess sugar, salt, flavors, artificial sweeteners and other additives and preservatives that may harm your dog.

So, in conclusion, if you want to feed your dog tomato soup, make something at home for it just to be on the safe side.

Risks associated with eating tomatoes

As we discussed before, tomatoes are harmful to your dogs if they consume a large amount of the green plants or the green unripe tomato fruit. These contain solanine which is a substance that is very harmful to dogs. This substance decreases quickly as tomatoes ripen.

When It Comes to Tomato Safety, Color Is Key

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This can’t be overemphasized- you should always check the color of a tomato before feeding it to your dog or letting your dog gorge itself to illness. Green parts such as stems, leaves and young fruits are poisonous in large amounts since they contain alpha tomatine and solanine which can be lethal to your dog if they are consumed in large quantities. So green tomatoes are a big NO!

The safest thing to do is wait for the tomato to turn a red shape that shows they are ripe and okay for your dog to consume.

However, tomatoes aside, other leaf greens such as lettuce are perfectly safe for your dog.

Nutritional Value of Tomatoes

Ripe tomatoes that are clean enough shouldn’t pose any amount of recognizable health concern to your dog as the Pet Poison Helpline clearly stipulates. Tomatoes contain a lot of nutrients that are beneficial for humans as well as dogs therefore a tomato now and then will actually do your dog better than harm.

One of the benefits of tomatoes to dogs is the promotion of smooth, regular bowel movements and healthy digestion from the high content of soluble fiber. This soluble fiber is present in tomato pomace which is the pulp, skin and crushed up seeds of tomatoes. Tomato pomace is usually present as a minor ingredient in some dog foods list.

Tomatoes also aid in the promotion of stronger bones and the reduction of heart diseases and stroke through their high lycopene content.

These vegetables also contain multiple vitamins such as Vitamin A and C. These are antioxidant vitamins and Vitamin A has great benefits for your dog’s vision.

Your dog’s blood pressure is also regulated by the potassium present in tomatoes and metabolic syndrome is prevented by the beta-carotene available.

Can dogs eat tomatoes sauce

Feeding dogs with food that contains tomato sauce isn’t encouraged not because of the tomatoes present but other ingredients present. Some of the ingredients used in red sauce such as chives, onions, and garlic can be detrimental to your dog’s health. You should especially avoid giving your dog pasta sauce at all costs. Ketchup too is discouraged especially if they are too spicy. Most kinds of ketchup have massive amounts of sugar which are unhealthy for dogs and xylitol, a sugar substitute used in some of these ketchup, is extremely deadly to pets.

Here is a screenshot of a list of other products that may be poisonous to your dog since they may contain varying quantities of xylitol.

Why is xylitol dangerous in dogs and safe in humans, you may ask? Well, here is the answer- xylitol in dogs is easily and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream therefore triggering the release of insulin fast. This release of insulin makes the level of blood sugar to take a profound nosedive which leads to a condition known as hypoglycemia. Hartogensis says that if this condition is untreated soon enough, it can be fatal in dogs.

Symptoms of tomatine poisoning/solanine poisoning in dogs

If you suspect your dog has been feasting on plants from the nightshade family, then the following common signs of toxicity will help you determine whether they are suffering from tomanine/ solanine poisoning or not.

  • Severe gastrointestinal upset
  • Dilated pupils
  • Depression
  • Excessive salivation
  • Slow heart rate 
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Loss of coordination and increased confusion
  • Appetite loss

You should also pay close attention to what your dog is allergic to since those allergic to tomatoes will react adversely even to ripe ones with such symptoms as diarrhea and gas.

Treatment of Tomato Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog has the symptoms we have outlined above, take them to the vet immediately or call the ASPCA as soon as possible.

If diarrhea and vomiting are the main signs of toxicity, your vet may start administering fluid therapy immediately. Fluid therapy includes electrolytes that help treat dehydration and enhance flushing out of toxins.

Any remaining pieces of tomato present in your dog’s stomach may also be expelled by the vet inducing vomiting in your dog. If no plant remnants are successfully expelled from your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, your vet may bind the remaining toxins before they are absorbed by the administration of activated charcoal.

If inducing vomiting is not possible, your vet may also turn to another form of treatment known as gastric lavage. This includes the pumping of your dog’s stomach by inserting a tube through their stomach in order to flush out toxins.

Conclusion

At this point, we can safely conclude that only green tomato plants and young, unripe tomato fruits are dangerous to your dog especially if they get the opportunity to ingest them in vast quantities. Why give them that opportunity in the first place? Prevention is better than cure anyway. So, if you have a patch where you grow tomatoes, make sure this patch is inaccessible to your pets otherwise the results may not be so pleasant at best and downright fatal to your dogs in the worst case scenario.

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