Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? Health Benefits and Risks
For the most part, we know the food our dogs shouldn't eat. Chocolate, onions, and nuts are among the foods we should never give to our furry companions. But, can dogs eat tomatoes? Simply put, yes! You can feed your dog tomatoes.
You may be wondering if offering this vegetable is a good idea, given its acidic nature. However, as long as they’re ripe and free of stem and leaves, tomatoes are a good snack for your dog. But, before you change your dog's diet or give them human food, it's best to consult with your veterinarian.
So, are tomatoes really bad for dogs? Here, we’ll uncover the health benefits and risks of feeding your dog tomatoes.
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are safe for your dog to eat and there are several well-known health benefits of eating tomatoes for both dogs and humans.
These nutritious snacks are rich in fiber and minerals (like potassium and folate), which aids in digestion, muscle and bone health and blood pressure. There are plenty of health benefits that tomatoes offer to provide whole-body wellness.
Other nutrients in tomatoes include:
● Beta-carotene: Supports cognition and aids in metabolism
● Vitamin A: Promotes healthy eyesight
● Vitamin C: Provides faster healing responses and healthy skin and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
● Fiber: Aids in digestion
● Lycopene: Helps in multiple areas such as reducing risks of stroke and heart disease, promoting bone health, and preventing cancer.
● Potassium: Supports muscle and nerve health while also encouraging good blood pressure
In order to be safe when introducing any new food into your dog's diet, it's best to feed your furry friend tomatoes in moderation.
Are Tomatoes Bad for Dogs?
Your dog can safely eat tomatoes, but there are times when they can pose a threat. Let's talk about the few ways tomatoes can be a harmful snack for your dog.
Tomatoes are part of the vegetable nightshade family. This type of veggie contains two compounds that can be harmful to dogs: solanine and alpha tomatine. Other nightshade veggies contain these substances, like green potatoes and eggplants.
The leaves, vine, and stem contain higher amounts of solanine and alpha tomatine than the tomato itself. However, unripe tomatoes have a fair amount of these compounds too. As the tomato begins to ripen, these two substances decrease dramatically, making them ready for safe consumption.
So, if you want to give your four-legged friend a tomato snack, make sure it’s completely ripe. Do not give your dog any green parts of the tomato. Giving your pet an unripened tomato could lead to gastric distress, acid reflux, or an allergic reaction. Note that your dog could become allergic to or sick from ripe tomatoes, so make sure to talk with your veterinarian before feeding your dog tomatoes.
Health Benefits & Risks
Your dog can safely enjoy a tomato as a healthy snack. And, now that we know more about tomatoes, we’ll highlight the health benefits and risks.
Here are some health benefits of giving your dog tomatoes:
Healthy Skin and Coat
The coat and skin is the largest organ in dogs. It’s important to maintain such a big part of your dog’s health. Tomatoes contain both vitamin A and C, which promotes a healthy coat and skin by providing enhanced responses to dogs’ healing processes.
No matter how young or old your pup is, it’s always a good time to maintain their heart health. Tomatoes contain potassium, promoting stable blood pressure, cholesterol, cognition, and blood sugar. They also have iron and vitamin K, both of which promote good blood circulation.
Promotes Good Eyesight
We often joke about eating carrots to improve good eyesight, but did you know that tomatoes contain tons of vitamin A, a proponent of healthy vision and eye function? Vitamin A, in combination with beta-carotene, provides antioxidants that prevent damage to eyes, coats, and skin.
As we mentioned above, lycopene is a phytochemical that is responsible for making tomatoes red. This substance wards off free radicals in multiple places of the body, such as the lungs, heart, blood, muscles, and nerves. It also promotes heart and bone health and reduces the chance of stroke and heart disease.
Overall, are tomatoes good for dogs? Yes, but only if they’re ripe and in moderation.
What Kind of Tomatoes Do Dogs Love/Hate the Most?
Just like humans, each dog has their favorite snack. And just like with other treats, dogs can sometimes favor one type of tomato for another, especially if we prepare them differently.
Here are tomatoes dogs can eat and enjoy:
If you’re enjoying a few grape tomatoes, it’s perfectly fine to share one with your pup. But, make sure it’s completely ripe and doesn’t have any leaves or stems attached. Please note that grape tomatoes are, in fact, tomatoes and not related to grapes whatsoever. Dogs love these tomatoes because they’re easy to eat.
So, can dogs eat cherry tomatoes? Yes! Just like grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes are fine to share with your dog. Always be mindful of how ripe it is. Other varieties, like beefsteak tomatoes, are also okay to share with your dog. If they’re larger, cut one in half before feeding it to your dog. These are also a great choice of tomatoes since they’re easy to consume as well.
Little do most people know, cooked tomatoes offer more nutritional benefits compared to raw, ripe tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes release larger amounts of lycopene, an antioxidant that aids in heart and bone health and reduces the risk of cancer. Making cooked tomatoes for your dog once in a while is okay, but always be sure to remove any green parts of the tomato.
Just like other forms of tomatoes, canned tomatoes are safe for your dog to consume as long as they don’t contain green parts and come from ripe, red tomatoes. However, canned tomatoes can be high in salt and contain other ingredients that are unsafe for your dog, like garlic salt, onion powder, or preservatives.
Similar to canned tomatoes, tomato sauce can contain high amounts of sodium. They could also include preservatives, spices, or onions that can be dangerous for your dog. If you offer tomato sauce to your dog, you might opt for a homemade alternative instead.
Each dog is different and will enjoy different types of tomatoes. Find out what kind of tomato your dog enjoys best and offer them some once in a while.
So, can dogs eat tomatoes? Tomatoes are safe to share with your puppy and offer many health benefits. Be aware that your dog might be allergic to tomatoes, even if they’re red, ripe, and free of green parts. If you’re worried about feeding your dog tomatoes, check with your veterinarian to see if this is okay for your dog’s health.
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