August 2, 2016

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? There Is No Simple Yes/No Answer

According to the ASPCA and the Pet Poison Hotline tomatoes can be both considered toxic and non-toxic to dogs. This depends on what part of the plant they consume, how ripe the tomato is and how much your dog eats.

​Red, ripe, tomatoes, for example, are generally not toxic in smaller amounts, but can cause some stomach issues in larger amounts. This means it is not advisable to feed very many tomatoes to your dog.

On the other hand, green tomatoes and parts of the tomato plant such as the leaves and stems are poisonous to dogs, yet are generally taste bad to them and don't absorb very well. Because of this, it is unlikely a dog would eat enough to be toxic to them.

Additionally, while it is unlikely that you would feed enough of a tomato product such as ketchup to your dog to be toxic because of the tomato content alone, there could be enough of some other toxic ingredients such as garlic or onion to make that item poisonous to your dog.

This does not mean that tomatoes are not toxic. Yet it is unlikely that your dog would eat enough to get poisoned by tomato products or plants. However, if your dog has ingested tomatoes or tomato products, you should be prepared to call an animal poison control hotline or go to your local vet.

Are Tomatoes Dangerous To Your Dog?

can dogs eat tomatoes

Whether or not tomatoes are dangerous often depends on what it is that your dog ate. One or two red cherry tomatoes, for example, are most likely harmless to a dog. However, a green tomato, a tomato plant or tomato leaves would likely be somewhat toxic. This is due to chemical compounds that are found there called tomatine or solanine.

Additionally, small amounts of ketchup, tomato soup or tomato sauce may not be completely toxic to your dog if they only contained tomatoes, but other ingredients in those items besides tomatoes, such as onion or garlic, may make those foods toxic.

It is best to err on the side of caution and to understand the symptoms that you should look for if your dog ate a toxic amount of tomatoes so that you know when it is time for veterinary intervention such as tiredness, vomiting or diarrhea.​

Your Dog and Red Tomatoes

Generally, the consensus seems to be that plain, red tomatoes are not harmful to dogs in smaller amounts. Red tomatoes still contain the chemical tomatine, however. This can lead to digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea when found in larger amounts in sensitive dogs.

While there may be some experts who say that there are some health benefits to some tomato products, such as the benefits of lycopene and other vitamins not normally found in dog foo d , it is the advice of the Pet Poison Helpline and many other experts that, while small amounts of red tomatoes are not toxic, they should be avoided in large amounts.​

can dogs eat tomatoes

In general, a small amount of tomatoes, such as one small tomato or a few cherry tomatoes, will probably be fine for your dog. Larger amounts, though, may cause some issues that will be unpleasant, but not life-threatening.

The redder the tomato, the less tomatine it will contain according to the site Can I Give My Dog? , meaning that the redder and riper a tomato is, the less toxic it will be for your dog.

In the end, it all probably depends on the dog when it comes to whether a dog can eat tomatoes or not. Some dogs may be able to tolerate tomatoes, or even like them. Others may end up with an upset stomach or diarrhea because of eating a tomato. It is most likely best to be cautious if you want to feed your dog tomatoes.

You should also understand what their tolerance may be before trying to feed them large amounts, keeping in mind that most experts say you should avoid it.​

Your Dog and Tomato Plants and Green Tomatoes

While red tomatoes may not be entirely harmful to your dog except in large amounts, it is an entirely different story with green tomatoes and parts of the tomato plant such as the stems, vines, and leaves. can dogs eat tomatoes

The tomato is part of the nightshade family , which includes other vegetables such as potatoes, peppers, and eggplants and plants such as tobacco. Tomatoes have a similar compound that is found in many of those plants called solanine that can cause a variety of symptoms if ingested excessively including gastrointestinal distress .

Solanine is found in high amounts in the plant part of a tomato, such as in the vine, along with the green tomato fruit. Solanine is tastes pretty bad to dogs. This means that it is unlikely that they would eat enough to be that toxic to them. In fact, it is much more likely that larger animals, such as cows and horses, would get solanine poisoning from tomato plants, simply because they eat a lot more in one sitting.

Additionally, dogs' intestines do not absorb more than a small amount of solanine when it is digested. This would mean that a dog would have to eat a huge amount of green tomatoes and tomato plants to even get a toxic level of solanine. Considering that solanine tastes so bad to dogs, it seems unlikely that this would happen. It seems increasingly unlikely that a dog would eat enough green tomatoes or tomato plants to do this much damage.

​Solanine poisoning is not impossible, however, and it is always something to be aware of when your dog, especially a puppy that may get into lots of things, begins to act sick. Keep a special eye on your garden to make sure that your dog does not accidentally ingest plants or tomatoes that would still have a high amount of solanine in them.

If you suspect that your dog did eat the green part of a tomato plant or a green tomato, you need to call your local animal poison control center or your vet right away so that you can avoid serious medical complications. Be aware of the symptoms of solanine poisoning, especially vomiting, diarrhea or tiredness, so that you know what to do if your dog gets into trouble.​ can dogs eat tomatoes

What About Foods With Tomatoes in Them?

There are many types of food with tomatoes in them that you may also be wondering whether those are also poisonous to dogs. Such foods include ketchup, tomato sauce or tomato soup. While the main ingredients of these items are tomatoes, it is not advisable that you feed any of these to your dog in more than a very small amount. This is because of the other ingredients that are usually found in these products that could be toxic to your dog.

Ketchup , for example, may be mainly a tomato product, but there are many other ingredients in it that make it toxic to dogs in more than a very small amount. Some examples of ingredients that are in ketchup that could be potentially harmful include onions, garlic, and xanthan gum. Ketchup also happens to have a high salt content, which should never be given to dogs. A small amount, such as a dab of ketchup on a French fry may not be harmful. A large amount, however, such as an entire packet from a fast food restaurant, could be dangerous and require you to monitor your dog's health.

There could be similar issues with tomato sauce, such as on pizza or spaghetti, or tomato soup. Small amounts may be alright, but there would be other ingredients in both of these things that would be poisonous to dogs in large amounts. This would include, once again, onion or garlic. Your dog eating a slice of pizza may not expose them to a huge amount of toxins from regular tomato sauce, but having that same dog eat a bowl of spaghetti with meatballs,= could be toxic. This is due to the exposure risk to toxins from other ingredients. It is not simply about the tomatoes in tomato products, but what those products are made up of as well. can dogs eat tomatoes

Plain tomato sauce , with no additional ingredients in it besides tomatoes, may not prove to be toxic to your dog since there would be little else that could affect them. Additionally, some experts believe that cooking tomatoes down into tomato sauce can help eliminate some of the poisonous compounds from it. Without the addition of toxic items such as garlic, tomato sauce may be a way to give your dog the healthy vitamins some experts believe they can have from tomatoes without the same risk.​

What to Look For if You Suspect Your Dog Ate Too Many Tomatoes

According to the Dogster , when tomatoes or tomato plants are eaten by a dog, there is rarely toxicity, especially in the case of red tomatoes, which contains tomatine, which is only toxic in large amounts.

can dogs eat tomatoes

Additionally, according to the ASPCA , the solanine that is found in tomato plants is toxic to dogs, cats and horses and could cause many types of health issues. There are some things that you should look for when you suspect that your dog has eaten tomatoes or tomato plants, however, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Upset Stomach
  • Slow Heart Rate
  • Behavioral Changes
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Constipation

​If you see any of these symptoms, you need to call an animal poison control hotline or your vet right away so that you can be sure that you treat any potential tomato toxicity. Failure to get proper treatment could ultimately lead to the death of your dog, even though the chances of that happening are small. can dogs eat tomatoes

can dogs eat tomatoes

While poisoning by red tomatoes, green tomatoes or tomato plants is rare, your vet is the best one to determine what the best course of action should be and if your dog was exposed to enough tomatine or solanine to be toxic to your pet.

Some Final Points about Dogs and Tomatoes


  • Red tomatoes are generally not harmful, but do contain the compound tomatine
  • Green tomatoes and plants contain solanine, which is toxic to dogs
  • Products made out of red tomatoes may still have toxic ingredients such as onions or garlic
  • You should know the signs of tomato toxicity, even though rare so that you know when to contact your vet

If there is one thing to remember when it comes to dogs and tomatoes is that the redder the tomato the better. There are chemicals in red tomatoes that could prove to cause some stomach upset to a dog. It is unlikely red tomatoes are toxic unless it is in high amounts.

When it comes to tomato products, however, the other ingredients in those products could prove to be harmful, especially onion or garlic.

On the other hand, when it comes to green tomatoes, tomato plants, and tomato stems, there is a different chemical that can be quite toxic to dogs. Poisoning is rarely seen since it does not taste good to them and does not absorb well, though. The best bet if you suspect your dog is symptomatic because of eating tomatoes or plants is to call an animal poison control hotline or your vet immediately. Some of the most common symptoms of poisoning by tomatoes include diarrhea, vomiting, and sluggishness. can dogs eat tomatoes

What do you know about what foods are bad for your dog? Leave your comment below.

Do you have friends with dogs? I'd love it if you shared this article with them over social media so we can all be informed about safe doggie feeding. I'd also love to connect with you on Twitter. You can follow the page at @lovablepawclaws. Once we are connected, you can send me your comments about this article. I look forward to hearing from you.


Lauren is a young woman with a true passion for animals. She has kept many pets over the years and has intimate knowledge of their needs both emotionally and physically. She loves that her dogs keep her so active and satisfy her desire to spend lots of time in nature.

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