Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? The Good and the Bad

Aid Pets
Published in
6 min readJul 17, 2019


Our furry family members want to eat whatever we are eating. Whether it is a delicately seasoned fish or a juicy red tomato, your dog wants it too! Doggo will always tell you what he thinks is yummy, but as a fur-parent, it is your responsibility to put down what is right for him. Since most of our gastronomic encounters involve tomatoes — pizza, spaghetti, and hamburgers — it comes as no surprise when a majority of fur-parents ask, “Can my dog eat canned tomato or Sauce or soup ?” If you’re reading this article right now, then we are pretty sure you are wondering the same question.

So, read the entire article and learn whether or not dogs can eat tomatoes. Don’t be satisfied with a short answer because what comes after the “but…” is usually too important to miss!

Can dogs eat tomatoes
Photo by Alex Ghizila on Unsplash

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

Tu-mey-tow, tu-maa-tow? Regardless of how you pronounce it, this fruit has long been renowned for its health superpowers. Not to mention, it is the star ingredient in countless dishes. In most cases, the answer is YES. Dogs can eat tomatoes, whether it is a cherry or plum tomato you picked from your backyard or the grocery store. Veterinarians agree that vegetables have health benefits for our canine.

According to Dr. Pete Lands, the site owner of Pete’s Pet Facts, tomatoes are nontoxic and are beneficial when eaten in moderation or as an occasional snack. There are no reported cases of dogs suffering illness from eating tomatoes, says Dr. Marie Haynes, an Ontario-based veterinarian, and creator of Ask a Vet Question.

Tomatoes Can Hurt Your Dog, Beware!

The tomato plant is not an eat-all-you-can buffet for your dog. Have you seen that green elfish hat that tomatoes wear? That telltale hat is an indication that the tomato plant belongs to the Nightshade family, just like peppers and eggplants.

Nightshades are fruits, herbs, shrubs, vegetables, and vines belonging to the genus Solanaceae. These plants are mostly poisonous, although some bear edible fruit.

Tomatoes and the rest of the nightshade family contain compounds called glycoalkaloids. These are naturally occurring pesticides that defend the plants against bacteria, fungi, and insects. While these compounds are found throughout the plant, the highest concentrations are within the unripe fruit, leaves, and flowers. Explains why we stressed out that you should never settle on a “yes” or “no” when asking.

So, again: can your dogs have some tomatoes? Yes, but only the actual fruit and only when the fruit is ripe. Ripe fruits barely have traces of glycoalkaloids. If you grow tomato plants in your backyard, it is wise to fence them off NOW!

What are the Side Effects of Dogs eating Tomatoes?

If your dog chewed some tomato leaves by accident, he would most likely have diarrhea and vomiting. But if your dog develops dilated pupils and a slow heart rate, please call your vet straight away. Such are the symptoms of solanine poisoning.

Fortunately, these symptoms are rare, and as mentioned earlier, there are no documented cases of either tomatine or solanine poisoning in dogs. Your dog has to eat a basketful of unripe tomatoes before he gets a tummy ache. Still, this is a problem for those who grow tomatoes in their garden, especially if you have a greedy dog or an aggressive chewer.

How to Feed Your Dog Tomatoes

The preparation of tomatoes is straightforward, but if you are looking for a step by step process, then read on!

The tomato should be red, ripe, and juicy

Unripe tomatoes contain high amounts of glycoalkaloids, which we have discussed can pose harm to your dog’s health if ingested in large quantities. The key is to feed your pooch tomatoes that are only red, ripe, and juicy.

Wash the tomatoes thoroughly

Like with all other produce, wash the tomato thoroughly to remove residue pesticides and microorganisms that may harm your dog. It doesn’t matter if they are organic or not.

Cut off the green parts

Cut out the pieces not included in the fruit. These include that elfish green hat that nightshades sport.

Start with a few slices

If this is your dog’s first time to eat tomatoes, we suggest you start with just a few slices. If there are no changes in his stool, then you can give him more next time.

Can Puppies and Senior Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

If you still have a growing pooch, you may want to wait a little longer. Tomatoes are not generally recommended for puppies because a puppy’s stomach is much more sensitive than an adult dog. There is a chance your fur-baby may not be able to digest tomatoes properly. However, feel free to chop up some tomato slices for a senior dog. Tomatoes can help sharpen your dog’s eyesight and combat degenerative diseases.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Tomatoes?

You may have noticed your dog hovering by table on Spaghetti Day, and if that’s the case, you might be wondering, “Can dogs eat cooked tomatoes, like sauce and ketchup?” Sure, you can drizzle tomato sauce on your dog’s food but is the sauce homemade or store-bought?

Commercial tomato products are seasoned heavily with a bewildering list of additives and derivatives. Even if the product says “all-natural,” there are spices like chives, garlic, and onions in the blend. While garlic and onion are safe in small quantities, it is difficult for us to know how much garlic and onions manufacturers use in their products.

If your dog wants his tomatoes warm or a little bit on the side, then go ahead and give in to his demands. Just don’t add anything extra.

Tomato Health Benefits for Dogs

Here are the health benefits you are going to miss out if you don’t feed your dog tomatoes.

1. Tomatoes boost your dog’s immunity

Lycopene is the most abundant carotenoid in ripe tomatoes. This phytochemical has the highest concentrations in the fruit’s skin. However, there is more to lycopene than making fruits red.

Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that brings various health benefits, including sun protection, and reduced risk of cancer. Most importantly, it boosts your dog’s defenses against infectious organisms.

2. Tomatoes help for better eyesight

Got an aging dog who likes to stroll your backyard at night? Add some tomatoes to his diet to sharpen his vision. A lot of vision problems in dogs, such as cataracts and night blindness, are due to the lack of vitamin A in their diet.

Packed Tomatoes contain beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A, which converts into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A decreases eye-related problems and helps delay age-related decline, such as macular degeneration.

3. Tomatoes promote heart health

Tomatoes are rich in potassium. It is a mineral that lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Potassium also plays an essential role in maintaining your dog’s nerve health. Iron, which plays a vital role in healthy blood circulation, is also abundant in tomatoes.

4. Tomatoes help manage diabetes

Potassium in tomatoes also stabilizes neural function and regulates blood sugar. Therefore, a few slices of tomatoes may greatly benefit diabetic dogs.

5. Tomatoes make your dog look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed

Eating a few slices of raw tomatoes now and then provides your dog additional vitamin and mineral supplementation that could impact your dog’s looks. Vitamins A and C promotes healthy skin and coat. Tomatoes also preserve bone mineral density and muscle mass in adult and senior dogs.


So, can dogs eat tomatoes? Of course, they can! Tomatoes are a treasure trove of vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that contribute to our dog’s health. But like a double-edged sword, there are advantages and disadvantages to tomatoes.

The long and short of it is that tomatoes are beneficial to our dog’s health, as long as we serve the actual fruit. You should never give an unripe green tomato to your dog because of the nightmarish compounds it contains. Be sure to erect a fence around your garden if you have one so your dog can’t chew on the stem or leaves of the plant.

Lastly, don’t leave a half-eaten spaghetti or lasagna on the table. It’s terrible for your dog!

References and further readings:



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