The answer to this simple question is not that simple. Tomatoes are a little difficult to categorize. They are known to be very rich in nutrients that are good for both human beings and dogs. But, one more thing a whole tomato plant is precious in is solanine, which when consumed in large quantities can be harmful to your dog, however, not in all cases.
Which Tomatoes Are Safe?
Tomatoes belong to the nightshade vegetable family and contain solanine and alpha tomatine, both of which are toxic. Among the two, solanine is mostly concentrated in the green parts of the plant like the stems, vines, leaves, and even the tomato itself when it is unripe and green.
As the tomatoes ripen, the level of solanine decreases rapidly, which makes it safe for the consumption of dogs. Therefore, before you feed your dog, a plant makes sure it is ripe and devoid of anything green. The color green, which usually means ‘Go,’ is an absolute ‘No’ when it comes to your dog and tomatoes.
Tomato Sauces and Ketchup
Dogs want to eat anything they see we are eating, no matter what. But it is your responsibility to put down the right thing for him.
When it comes to tomato sauces or soups, the answer is ‘No.’ Especially pasta sauces and red sauces (including tomato soups), which contain many ingredients that can be harmful to your dog’s health.
However, if talking about tomato ketchup, going simple is the best. Spicy ketchup is not suitable for your dog’s health, but plain tomato ketchup usually is safe.
Side Effects of the Wrong Tomatoes
If your dog consumes unripe tomatoes or any green part of the plant, he is most likely to start vomiting and have diarrhea. In extreme cases, he can have a slower heart rate and dilated pupil. In such cases, it’s best to get him a vet right away. However, you will see these symptoms only when your dog has consumed a large number of tomato greens.
Other symptoms of solanine poisoning to look out for are:
- Loss of Appetite
- Lack of Coordination
Some dogs can also be allergic to even ripe tomatoes. Such dogs tend to develop digestive problems or get itchy rashes. If you suspect your dog of being allergic to plants, you need to stop feeding him tomatoes and check if the symptoms still subside.
Health Benefits of Tomato
Tomatoes contain a lot of nutrients which are suitable for your dogs, provided that it is consumed in appropriate quantities. They are low in calories and rich in fibers and help indigestion.
Besides toxins like solanine and alpha tomatine, tomatoes contain elixirs like lycopene, which helps in reducing heart risks and strengthens bones; vitamin A, which improves vision; vitamin C, which is good for your dog’s skin; and beta-carotene, which helps in improving cognition.
Tomatoes also contain minerals like folate and potassium that helps with muscle health and blood pressure.
Did you see why the question is not that simple? The answer can be both yes and no at the same time. Hence, you should try your best to keep your dog away from tomatoes and feed them plants only when they are ripe and don’t have any green part left on it.