Dog Eats

Can Dog Eat Tomato

My husband and I were having an in-depth discussion about whether or not our little Jack Russell could actually consume a whole raw tomato. He’s been known to nibble on one here and there when we’re cooking dinner, but no one was sure how much he’d be able to handle without gagging.


We wanted his belly full, but we didn’t want him overindulging after all, it wouldn’t take long for us to notice that he had eaten something other than food. We decided to call up some of our favorite chefs, like Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay, who have both admitted to feeding their pets raw tomato slices.


They assured us that they would never let their precious pooches near anything as yummy as a whole raw tomato. But we weren’t so confident. Could a big dog really digest a tomato? Was there a chance that this tiny pup might get sick from eating a large amount of raw tomatoes?


As you may already know, dogs aren’t meant to consume raw fruits and vegetables, nor are they designed to process the nutrients found within. Raw foods contain more enzymes, vitamins and minerals than cooked ones because they haven’t gone through the pungent juicing process.


The same is true of raw meat. So don’t worry too much about your pet consuming a raw tomato slice. It won’t hurt them, and they’ll love the extra crunchy goodness! But while you don’t need to fret about your dog chomping down on the entire fruit, there are still things you must watch out for before serving your animal a juicy red snack. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind when preparing a nice, bite-size tomato treat for Fido.


The Nutritional Value of Tomatoes

Just like humans, dogs also require certain nutrients in order to live healthy lives. Tomatoes provide these essential elements, including vitamin A (a powerful antioxidant), iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Unlike many other types of produce, tomatoes offer the highest level of beta carotene of any food source. This nutrient helps protect against cancer and heart disease by neutralizing free radicals produced during metabolism.


However, there are two things to consider when deciding if you want to feed your pet a piece of fresh tomato. First, you should make sure that any tomato you give your pet falls into the category of “dessert” tomatoes. These include Roma, plum, beefsteak and paste varieties.


You will find that most canned tomatoes fall under this category as well. If you’re looking for some tasty ideas for homemade treats, try incorporating tomatoes in recipes such as salsa, sauces, soups, salads and even dips.


Second, always remember that your dog doesn’t chew its way through a tomato seedling for fun. Like human children, small dogs often swallow seeds accidentally, which can lead to digestive problems later on. To avoid choking hazards, cut off the stem end where the actual tomato grows and trim away any green tops until the flesh is exposed. Then remove the pit, which is located at the center of the tomato.


Also, be aware that many people choose to pickle their tomatoes. Although the practice does help preserve the flavor and texture of the fruit, it can introduce harmful chemicals into the tomato, which can affect your pet’s health.


Because of this, you should only pickle the cherry variety of tomato the least likely to cause choking issues. Additionally, you should use caution when using any type of vinegar, which contains acetic acid, a natural ingredient used to fight bacteria and viruses. Vinegar is also acidic, which can burn the inside lining of a dog’s mouth and stomach.


Can Dogs Eat All the Parts of the Tomato Plant?


It depends on what kind of dog you own. In general, yes, dogs can eat everything on the tomato plant, although they probably won’t enjoy every part. For example, you shouldn’t serve your dog pieces of stems and leaves unless you’re pretty comfortable with your canine palate.


Even then, you might want to start low and gradually add new ingredients over time. And if you’re unsure, ask around among your friends and family members. They’ve probably encountered similar situations themselves.


In addition to avoiding the tough outer skin of the tomato, it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on inside. Some of the softer parts of the tomato plant, such as blossoms and flowers, may smell sweet and delicious to your pet, but they’re filled with germs called glucosinolates.


These substances are toxic to animals, especially those that are young or ill. Dogs that ingest high amounts of glucosinolates can develop severe diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

You can tell if a particular part of the tomato plant has been chewed upon simply by sniffing the area. If the scent is strong or sweet, it’s safe to assume that someone’s eaten it. However, if you detect a bitter taste, steer clear of the area and consult your veterinarian immediately.


What About the Stem and Leaves?


While the stem and leaf portions of the tomato plant are generally safe for dogs, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid giving them to your pet entirely. Just like the blossom-filled flowers, the leaves of the tomato plant contain toxins that are dangerous to dogs. Avoid letting your pet munch on either stem or leaf sections of the tomato plant.


How do I know if my dog has eaten any ‘tasting’ parts?


If you’re worried that your pet ate an edible part of the tomato plant, look for signs of discomfort and illness. If your dog appears to be lethargic, uncomfortable or experiences persistent nausea, diarrhea or vomiting, seek medical attention right away. Signs of kidney failure, internal bleeding and difficulty breathing may also indicate that your pet consumed a poisonous substance.


Even though you can’t see the effects of a potential toxin until it’s too late, you can prevent your dog from getting into trouble by making sure to clean up any fallen chunks of the tomato plant. Don’t leave plants sitting around waiting to be munched on. Throw them away immediately and wash your hands thoroughly after handling them. Also, try to limit your pet’s access to areas containing the tomato plant. So What Should I Do With the Rest of the Tomato Plant?


Although your dog’s taste buds don’t care about the nutritional value of the tomato, you should still dispose of the remaining parts properly. Never compost tomatoes since doing so releases the toxins contained within into the soil. Instead, you should place them in a plastic bag and throw them away in the trash.


Final Word

Pets don’t necessarily need to eat veggies to stay healthy, but sometimes they do. Vegetables contain fiber, which promotes digestion and keeps your pet feeling fuller longer. But vegetables also contain sugars, fats and proteins, which can upset your pet’s digestive system if they consume too many. Always consult your vet before adding any new types of food to your pet’s diet.