One of the best things about summertime in the northeast is tomatoes. We eat ripe juicy tomatoes on cheeseburgers, in salads, tossed with pasta and oil or even just plain. While our dogs might be interested in eating tomatoes just because they want whatever we have, should we share these juicy snacks?
Can my dog even have tomatoes?
In short, yes. In moderation, ripe tomatoes are a perfectly acceptable snack for you to share with your dog. Tomatoes contain vitamins and minerals and they are low in calories and high in fiber which can make them a healthy snack for both you and your dog. Additionally, tomatoes are known to contain lycopene, which is good for your dog’s heart and bones.
You do not just have to feed your dog raw tomatoes. You can cook the tomatoes for your dog as well. Just be careful of oils, salt or other spices that might not be good for your dog. Blanched or pureed tomatoes that are plain are just fine too!
Are there risks to sharing tomatoes with my dog?
Just like any other food, there are some risks when sharing tomatoes with your pet.
Tomatoes are classified as nightshades, a category of vegetables that also includes eggplant, peppers, and white potatoes. Some people (and dogs) are very sensitive to nightshades and can’t eat them without getting sick.
If your dog has never had a tomato before start with a small quantity to make sure your dog does not react. You also might want to make sure that it is the only new food you share with your pet so you can see how they react. For example, if your dog has never had tomatoes or strawberries before an outing, you don’t want to introduce both on the same day - that way if there is a reaction you’ll know what your dog is reacting to.
Another reason to be cautious with Tomatoes is that tomatoes and the plants they grow on contain a substance called Solanine. This is harmful to dogs in large quantities. Since solanine is mostly concentrated in the green parts of the tomato plant, you do not want to feed leaves, stems or young, green tomatoes to your dog. If you have a backyard garden, you’ll want to keep your pet from digging up and eating the tomato plants to minimize the ingestion of too much solanine.
If your dog loves eating the smaller varieties of tomatoes like cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, it is still important to make sure all the green stems are removed before you feed them. You also may want to cut these small, round tomatoes in half to prevent choking.
Signs of illness if your pet has eaten green tomatoes or the leaves or stems
- Gastrointestinal irritation (vomiting/diarrhea)
- Abnormal heart rate
If you see any of these signs, contact your vet right away and make sure your dog gets the appropriate treatment. While most dogs recover quickly, your pet must get treatment. Follow any post-treatment instructions from the vet carefully. This may include a few days of bland diet to help your dog’s stomach recover.
Dog-friendly tomato recipes
Looking for some fun ways to add tomatoes to your dog’s diet? Try these four recipes!
These cheesy tomato-basil dog treats are a fun and tasty snack to make. Be sure that your tomato paste is not sweetened, some pastes contain added sugar which is not good for your pet.
The Doggy Dessert chef shares a recipe for a creamy tomato chicken dog bone recipe that will have your pup begging for more. These treats add some additional protein from chicken and cream cheese.
If cooking is not quite your thing, an easier way to serve tomatoes is to chop them up with an herb like Italian parsley (as a bonus the parsley is great for freshening your dog’s breath) and put them on top of a store-bought dog biscuit, kind of like a puppy bruschetta! Avoid using olive oil or sea salt on the dog version - your pet doesn’t need it.
Note: once you’ve served your pet you can feel free to add some garlic, olive oil and sea salt to your own and serve over some crusty Italian bread - your dog shouldn’t have ALL the fun!
Looking for a fun appetizer for a doggie cocktail party? Scoop the seeds out of a small tomato (cherry or grape tomatoes are perfect) and fill the tomato with some cream cheese and/or shredded chicken. This makes a fun and nourishing snack and will make your pup feel extra fancy!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.