Does Your Dog Eat Tomatoes?
So, do dogs eat tomatoes? Of course, they do! Tomatoes are an incredible treasure trove of nutrients, minerals, and natural compounds which all contribute positively to canine health. However, like a double-sided sword, there are both benefits and drawbacks to tomatoes. The short and the long of it is this: while tomatoes are highly beneficial to canine health, they are also a risky proposition, especially if given to an animal that has a suppressed immune system. So if you’re going to give your dog a slice of pizza or a slice of tomato pie, be sure to go easy on the tomatoes!
If you were to ask ten veterinary doctors and veterinary scientists the most common question they would answer, it would likely be “do dogs eat tomatoes”? The short answer is a resounding no, but the long answer is a complicated one. To begin with, tomatoes, like other fruits and vegetables, carry with them both good and bad substances. One of the most common “good” substances found in tomatoes is lycopene, which is a naturally occurring chemical that is commonly referred to as a “cancer fighter”. While this is true, it must be understood that whilst lycopene can help to ward off cancer, it is toxic to dogs, and may cause adverse symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or liver problems.
One of the other chemicals that can be found in tomatoes, along with lycopene, is solanine, which can have potentially dangerous affects to dogs, particularly in the context of dietary supplementation. Solanine is a compound formed when processing tomatoes (which is why it’s commonly added to processed foods). While it seems harmless on its own, it can actually have an adverse affect on dogs’ sodium levels, which can lead to high blood pressure, seizures, and kidney malfunction.
So can dogs eat tomatoes in large quantities? The answer depends on the size of your dog, as well as its digestive system. Dogs do not require large amounts of tomatoes in their diet, instead relying mainly on red tomato leaves, which provide a number of essential vitamins and minerals in small quantities. Red tomatoes are easily digested, and because their flavor helps to mask any bad tasting compounds in the plant, it isn’t necessary to increase the amount of tomatoes in a dog’s diet to compensate for the solanine in the plant.
As a rule, if your dog likes red tomato sauce and will eat a few cups of that, you’re going to want to give him small quantities of that, mixed into his regular meal. You’ll want to increase the amounts gradually, to ensure that your dog doesn’t become overwhelmed and have an allergic reaction to the red tomato sauce. It’s important to note that the red tomato sauce should not be given to puppies while they are in the process of drinking liquid; it could cause serious problems. If your pup is drinking plain water, however, you’re free to give your pup a couple of cups.
While the debate continues over whether or not dogs eat tomatoes, it’s safe to say that they can’t really avoid them. If you’re worried, it’s important to keep your dog’s meals simple and nutritious. Many dogs won’t notice the difference between canned tuna and soup, and the bulk of the nutrients will come from the protein source in the meat, so make sure you make a good protein source part of every dog’s meals. A small bit of red tomato juice may be all that your dog’s need to be safe and happy!