Understanding which human foods are OK for your furry best friend to eat can be confusing, especially when they stare at you with puppy dog eyes.
However, you must understand which foods are poisonous for dogs and which are not because it can be a matter of life and death.
For some foods, there is no straight yes or no, for example, tomatoes.
Read this article to discover when it is safe to give your pup a tomato.
What are tomatoes?
Tomatoes are a versatile cooking ingredient, but there is a classic debate over whether they are a fruit or vegetable.
The botanical classification says fruit. From a culinary perspective, however, they are most often used as vegetables.
Tomatoes contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The fruit provides health benefits like improving skin and reducing heart disease and cancer risk. They also include:
- Vitamin C: An antioxidant that helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals.
- Potassium: Helps maintain normal levels of fluid inside our body cells. It also helps muscles contract and supports normal blood pressure.
- Vitamin K: Helps make various proteins needed for blood clotting and building stronger bones.
Can dogs eat tomatoes?
Now that we know tomatoes are an excellent option for humans, what about dogs? The answer is both yes and no; it depends.
If you give your dog a small amount, it will be very beneficial to its health. It is suggested that you only give your dog red tomatoes. Problems can arise when your dog consumes too many tomatoes or tomatoes that are not ripe.
If you are growing your tomatoes, keeping your dog away from the plant is essential. The tomato is a part of the family of nightshade plants that includes eggplant, potatoes, and peppers.
You need to be cautious of the green parts of these plants, including the stem, leaves, and unripe green coloring. The toxins solanine and tomatine are included in the green details, which cause tomato poisoning.
What is tomato poisoning?
Tomato poisoning is the over-ingestion of toxins in some tomatoes, called Solinanine and tomatine.
Although limited studies have been conducted, tomatine does not seem to affect humans, only animals. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, solanine is a toxic glycoalkaloid that, if ingested, may cause poisoning in humans and animals.
This poisoning is more often found in potatoes than in tomatoes. However possible, it would take a large consumption of these toxins to get sick; it is not something ubiquitous for humans to contract.
If you have a small dog, though, it is essential to be on the watch because they will be affected by a smaller quantity.
How to know if your dog is in danger
If you have a suspicion that your dog may have tomato positioning, look out for these symptoms:
- Severe gastrointestinal upset
- Dilated pupils
- Slow heart rate
- Loss of appetite
What to do if your dog has tomato poisoning
Fortunately, the effects of tomato poisoning usually go away and are not fatal. If you believe they have tomato poisoning, take them to the vet. Your veterinarian can run complete body tests and assess what to do from there.
Depending on the consumption level of solanine and tomatine, the vet may monitor them or induce vomiting. The poisoning should pass, and your dog should feel as good as new in a couple of days!
How to puppy-proof your home
It can be stressful having to worry about what your dog may get into when you’re not looking. Unripe tomatoes are only one of the various things a dog could eat, potentially making them sick or worse. Especially while training your dog, it may be helpful to “puppy proof” your house and yard.
Avoid feeding them any human food in the beginning. This way, it can help you be sure what you give them is safe. If you have a garden, build a fence to separate your dog from the plants.
Tomatoes are not utterly off-limits for your dog. Like many other foods, you must limit the amount you give them.
Make sure always to check if the tomatoes are ripe. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your dog may have tomato poisoning.
Alana Redmond is a content writer that specializes in law and consumer safety. She also works with Lynch, Traub, Keefe & Errante, a personal injury law firm specializing in dog bite injuries and accidents.