Studio4/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
There’s nothing like a juicy, ripe tomato to add color and flavor to your sandwich or salad. Even canned tomatoes seem to find their way into nearly every kind of recipe you can think of. But what about our canine companions—can dogs eat tomatoes, or should they steer clear?
Good news: When fed in moderation, dogs can eat ripe tomatoes safely. The keyword is “ripe,” because young, green tomatoes can be harmful to dogs. So if you’re growing tomato plants in the garden, keep Fido from munching on any unripened tomatoes as well as the stems, since those (and the tomato plant itself) can make them sick.
Here’s what you need to know about safely sharing tomatoes with your dog.
Are Tomatoes Good for Dogs?
As a low-calorie, nutrient-rich food that offers several vitamins and minerals, tomatoes can be good for dogs when offered in moderation. Here are a few benefits dogs can derive from the trusty red tomato:
Vitamins A and C, which support immune health
Potassium, which is essential for proper muscle function
Antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of illness
Tomatoes are not toxic and therefore are not poisonous to dogs. The myth that tomatoes are harmful stems from confusion around tomatine, a natural chemical found in tomatoes that can make you sick if you have too much. But the amount of tomatine in ripe tomatoes is not significant enough to cause harm to your pet.
Can Tomatoes Be Bad for Dogs?
As with any kind of people food—even non-toxic ones like ripe tomatoes—be careful not to overdo it. Not all kinds of tomato products are safe for pups, either. Soup, salsa, and sauce made with other ingredients like garlic or onion should not be shared with your pooch.
While tomatoes are generally safe for dogs, don’t let your pup eat the stems or leaves of the tomato plant. There is a higher concentration of tomatine in the plant than in the fruit, and that can be toxic if consumed in large amounts. It’s unlikely that your pup would want to eat these parts, but make sure they avoid them nonetheless.
While tomatoes are generally safe for dogs, don’t let your pup eat the stems or leaves of the tomato plant. These can be toxic if consumed in large amounts.
How To Safely Feed a Dog Tomatoes
As with any new food, moderation is key. You can incorporate small amounts of fresh, ripe tomato into your dog’s diet as a fresh food topper or tasty treat.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when offering tomato to your dog:
Choose ripe tomatoes: They contain less tomatine and are easier for dogs to digest.
Remove stems and leaves: These parts of the tomato plant contain the highest concentration of tomatine. Be sure to remove them before sharing with your dog.
Cut into bite-size pieces: Cut the tomato into small, manageable pieces to avoid risks of choking.
Limit portions: As with any new food, start small to see how your dog’s digestive system responds. Once you’ve seen that there are no adverse effects, it’s OK to gradually increase portions up to the recommended amount for your dog’s size.
Monitor for any reactions: Watch for signs of digestive problems (such as diarrhea or vomiting) and stop feeding tomatoes if your dog experiences either. If you see any signs of allergic reaction, such as itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing, call your vet right away.
How Many Tomatoes Can Dogs Eat?
Even though ripe tomatoes are fine to offer your dog, your pup should have only very small quantities—especially if they have not eaten tomatoes before.
As with any treats, remember the 10% rule: Treats (including fruits like tomatoes) should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. The rest should come from a well-balanced dog food.
Extra-small dog (2–20 pounds) = up to two ½-inch cubes of tomato
Small dog (21–30 pounds) = up to three ½-inch cubes of tomato
Medium dog (31–50 pounds) = up to four ½-inch cubes of tomato
Large dog (51–90 pounds) = four or five ½-inch cubes of tomato (or less)
Extra-large dog (91+ pounds) = five or six ½-inch cubes of tomato (or less)
What Other Fruits Can Dogs Eat?
Generally speaking, the following fruits are safe for dogs to eat in moderation. As with any new food—even the safe, healthy kinds—you should introduce fruit to your dog’s diet slowly and watch for any signs of digestive upset.
Always talk to your vet before introducing a new food to your dog’s bowl, as they may have recommendations that take into account your pet’s health, age, and weight.
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes FAQs
Can dogs eat cherry tomatoes?
Dogs can safely eat cherry tomatoes, just like other varieties of tomatoes. However, as with any food, moderation is key—too many will give them an upset stomach.
Can dogs eat tomato sauce?
Don’t let your dog eat tomato sauce. The high sugar and salt content is not good for them, and the addition of seasonings and spices like garlic, onion, or herbs can lead to digestive issues or even toxicity.
Can dogs eat tomato soup?
Don’t feed your dog tomato soup. Similar to tomato sauce, tomato soup often contains additional ingredients such as onions, garlic, or spices that can be harmful to pets.
Can dogs eat ketchup?
While a small amount of ketchup likely won’t harm your dog, it’s not necessarily something they should have. Most store-bought ketchup includes additives that aren’t good for pups. Some low-sugar ketchups may even have artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
Help us make PetMD better
Was this article helpful?