Have you ever wondered if dogs can eat tomatoes as your pet pooch, lips salivating, eyes up the delicious cheese and tomato sandwich you are eating? Maybe you’re enjoying the sandwich too much to part with a morsel or perhaps you’re simply worried that tomato might be harmful to him?
Of course some human foods are poisonous to dogs and others can prove fatal so it’s vital that you know what these foods are.
Let’s start by reassuring you that dogs can eat tomatoes provided they are ripe and in moderation as an occasional treat. Given in this way tomatoes are NOT harmful to your dog!
The Nightshade Family
Nutritionists think of tomatoes as vegetables but botanically they are fruits since all fruits start with a flower that develops into a fruit. Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and aubergines (eggplant) belong to the same family, commonly known as nightshade. All members of this family contain alkaloids called solanine and tomatine.
Every part of the tomato plant contains solanine and tomatine including the tomato itself. However both are more concentrated in the leaves and stems of the tomato plant and in the tomatoes themselves when they are still green.
Some dogs clearly like tomatoes and in fact a friend’s black lab called Diesel has a habit of stealing the juiciest red tomatoes from his tomato plants. So my friend,Tom, needs to keep a watchful eye on him or the only tomatoes he is likely eat will be harvested from Sainsburys!
Safeguarding Your Dog
To be on the safe side dog owners who grow tomatoes should ensure their dogs do not have access to their plants by growing them under glass or in cages. If you suspect your dog has eaten any green parts of your tomato plant including green tomatoes these are the symptoms of solanine/tomatine poisoning to look out for:
Call your vet if you see any of these symptoms and suspect your pet has eaten any part of a tomato plant.
Dogs Can Eat Tomatoes Safely
Dogs can eat tomatoes when the tomatoes in question are red and ripe – just how my friend’s black lab Diesel likes them! Just make sure your tomato plants are protected from marauding black labs otherwise you may have more to worry about than the damage caused by pests such as slugs and snails!