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Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? | BetterVet

Are Tomatoes Toxic or Not? 

Tomatoes belong to the Solanaceae or Nightshade family, a large family of plants that include bell peppers, chili, and eggplants. This tasty and versatile fruit is a firm favorite in the human diet and can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried. Tomatoes are a year-round staple on most plates, so it’s natural to wonder if dogs can eat tomatoes too. Although people can eat tomatoes without issues, the same cannot be said for our furry friends. This difference between people in dogs is common across many food types, so it’s always helpful to research whether a food is safe before feeding it to your dog. 

Are Tomatoes Good for Dogs? 

Tomatoes belong to the Nightshade family. Plants in the nightshade family contain a compound called solanine, a glycoalkaloid. Solanine is toxic to dogs. The good news is that large amounts of solanine must be eaten to cause toxic signs. This is important to know because the quantity of solanine present in the tomato plant varies between the different parts of the plant.

The green leaves, stems, and unripe green tomatoes contain the highest concentration of solanine, so they should never be fed to dogs. Ripe red tomatoes will contain tiny amounts of solanine, so they are safe to feed in small quantities.  All variants of the red tomato (such as cherry tomato, for example) can be provided to dogs in small amounts as long as they are not mixed with other ingredients that may be toxic, such as onion and garlic. 

Tomato fruits contain an abundance of health benefits and are known for the following properties:  

  • High in fiber 
  • Contain vitamin C and K 
  • Source of potassium and folate
  • Contain antioxidants such as lycopene 
  • Source of narniogen, a natural anti-inflammatory polyphenol

While there may be many health benefits for dogs to eat ripe tomatoes, not all dogs will want to. Some dogs will not enjoy the taste or texture of tomatoes. If your dog does not like fresh chopped tomatoes, you can offer them in different forms, such as grilled or roasted. If your dog does not like tomatoes, do not try to force your dog to eat them, as there are many other foods your dog may enjoy instead. 

What are the Signs of Solanine Toxicity? 

Solanine has toxic properties, and if enough unripe tomato or tomato plant parts are eaten, signs of toxicity can be seen. The signs can be mild such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. If solanine toxicity progresses, you will notice severe vomiting and diarrhea, dilated pupils, disorientation, and poor balance. In people, solanine can cause hallucinations and dysphoria, and may cause the same effects in dogs too. 

If you think your dog may have solanine toxicity, a call to your veterinarian is advised. They can give medications like activated charcoal and intravenous fluids to help your pet recover from their poisoning. Thankfully solanine toxicity is rare, and most often treatment results in a full recovery. 

Feeding Dogs Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be a good addition to any homemade or raw feeding program. To make sure your meal plan is balanced and meets all of your dog’s nutritional needs (including vitamins and minerals), book a nutritional consultation with one of our mobile veterinarians. They can check the composition of your diet, and recommend food sources to supplement if there are any vitamin deficiencies, for example. (Comment from Dr. Goodknight: In my experience, most general practitioners are not qualified to provide a nutritional consultation. This falls to Veterinary Nutritionists who have undergone additional training). 

Growing Tomatoes

If you grow tomatoes in your backyard, it is important to remember that while ripe red tomatoes are safe, green tomatoes, the leaves and vines are all considered toxic to dogs. 

If you have a tomato garden, it’s important to keep your dog away in order to stop accidental ingestion. Dogs are curious about their surroundings and will often nibble or taste things in the garden. Large whole tomatoes, especially if unripe and green, can pose a choking hazard to your dog, and you may not be around to help.

Keep your tomatoes behind a net or fence to protect your dog from poisoning, tummy upsets and choking hazards. If you have an abundance of tomatoes from your garden, make sure they are stored out of reach of your dog or in a sealed container to reduce the risks of accidents. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat cherry tomatoes? 

Yes, dogs can eat ripe (red) cherry tomatoes in small amounts. Do not feed cherry tomatoes if they have been mixed with garlic, onions, chives or salt. 

Can dogs eat overripe tomatoes? 

No, as overripe tomatoes can be moldy inside and cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. 

Can dogs eat tomato paste? 

If the paste has no toxic additives such as garlic, a small amount of tomato paste can be added to food. However, tomato paste is a concentrated form of the tomato, and too much can lead to tummy upset. 

Can dogs eat sun dried tomatoes? 

Sun dried tomatoes that have not been preserved in oils, or mixed with flavor enhancers like garlic and onion can be fed in small amounts. Try chopping the sun dried tomatoes thinly and adding them as a meal topper. 


To summarize, dogs can eat red tomatoes in small amounts, but should avoid green tomatoes, the vines, and the  leaves of the tomato plant, as they can cause toxicity in dogs. Tomatoes can be a nutritious, healthy snack or meal topper for your dog. Avoid feeding tomatoes mixed in sauces such as pasta or curry mixes, as the tomato-based sauces are often mixed with other flavorings that can be toxic to dogs. If you are unsure whether you can feed your dog a specific food item, or want help creating a diet plan for your dog, reach out to your veterinarian for guidance. 

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