There is no bigger reward in this life than having a dog pet to come home to every time you finish work. The joy in his eyes when he sees his human companion, the sweet and long doggy face he makes every time you have to go in the morning – these are all truly heartbreaking moments for all dog owners.
Moreover, dogs are truly a man’s best friend, so it is only natural you want the best for them. However, looking after a dog could become pretentious, especially if you do not have too much time for their education.
Bear in mind that dogs are very active and social beings, thus they must be constantly surrounded by other people and dogs, as well as their masters, in order to learn about discipline and a good behavior around the house.
Apart from walking and training them daily, dogs must be attended with much love and affection, as well as with a healthy diet. And, speaking of a balanced diet, dogs are mainly omnivorous animals, meaning they can eat almost everything a human eats, including fresh fruits and vegetables like lettuce. Sure, since all dog breeds do have wolves as ancestors, it comes as no surprise that they will prefer meat and meat-based products in the detriment of fruits and veggies, but too much meat consumption could become toxic to your dog’s health. This is why, it is best to feed him the proper amount of food, on regular portions and at the same approximate hours, in order to help him make a balanced eating schedule.
However, there are still a lot of aliments some consider poisonous, toxic or mainly avoidable when dealing with pooches. This is also the case of tomatoes, which some consider as being toxic.
What are tomatoes?
Tomatoes are members of the nightshade fruit family, along with potatoes, eggplants, chili peppers and bell peppers. They represent a high source of vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants, being one of the most popular vegetables found in human foods.
Literally, tomatoes go with everything – from delicious soups to ketchup sauces, salsas, salads, burgers or cooked dishes. Some types of tomatoes are extremely sweet and can grow as big as one kg per tomato, depending on the seeds.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, biotin, vitamin A, dietary fibers, copper, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins B6 and E, as well as folate and niacin. Some of these vitamins and nutrients are not usually provided by your regular dog foods, thus introducing some natural vitamin supplements could help with a healthy grow and a luscious fur on your fellow pawed friend. So it comes as no surprise you would naturally want to feed your pooch a deliciously juicy tomato once in a while.
Are tomatoes safe for dogs?
There are numerous persons claiming that tomatoes are actually toxic for dogs, because they contain two substances named tomatine and solanine, which are, indeed, harmful for dogs. However, these substances are found in the plant itself, as well in leaves and stem.
In fact, all parts of the tomato plant, except for the fruit itself could be dangerous to your canine friend, so watch out if you cultivate them in your backyard. However, the fruit itself contains little to no amounts of these substances, making them safe for dog ingestion. Tomatine is usually harmful for the heart and the intestinal tract, but your dog would have to eat massive amounts of unripe tomatoes or green ones in order to experience these nasty side effects. Keep him away from the tomato plant itself and the fruits will actually have some benefits on your dog.
Some adverse reactions
Although tomatoes are normally considered safe fruits for your dogs, some pooches can have more sensitive stomachs, meaning they can easily become bloated or suffer from diarrhea. Thus, before letting your dog eat an entire juicy and red tomato, you might want to start with small amounts and monitor his body’s reaction. If you see no signs of ache, bloating or diarrhea, it is safe to your dog and can enjoy tomatoes every now and then, especially if he really likes them.
However, if your dog accidentally ingests the green parts of the plant, he might suffer from other health problems, including upset stomach, muscle weakness, vomiting, increased heart rate, lack of coordination, breathing difficulties or dilated pupils. Again, there should be high amounts of the plant ingested for these side effects to occur, but, if your dog has accidentally gone near the plant itself, it is best to consult your vet on this matter.
Benefits for dogs that eat tomatoes
Ripe tomatoes contain a small amount of tomatine, which makes them safer to your dog. On the contrary, green, small or unripe tomatoes are richer in the toxic substance, thus should be avoided. Before feeding your dog tomatoes, bear in mind the slogan “red, ripe and right” and you will encounter no problems.
Moreover, due to its high amount of vitamins and natural antioxidants, tomato fruits could actually benefit your dog’s health. Studies in the field suggest that by ingesting a moderate amount of tomatoes on the long term, dogs are less prone to develop cancer and other degenerative diseases. This is due to an enzyme called lycopene, which is usually found in other red-colored fruits such as papayas or watermelons. This carotene substance can promote your dog’s good health and prevent a high range of diseases. However, it truly depends on your dog’s eating habits and preferences as well.
Some dogs might have a sweet tooth for veggies or fresh fruits, while others can be truly junk food addicts, just like their masters. And, even though dogs can pretty much eat anything their owners eat, this does not mean all foods are safe for them.
How to feed your dog tomatoes?
If your dog enjoys the sweet-salty tasty of a juicy tomato, it is best to serve him the real deal. This means you only have to make sure to wash tomatoes thoroughly to avoid any pesticides or harmful substances left. Peeled tomatoes are usually tastier, but it depends on your dog’s tastes as well.
Your dog can also eat tomatoes from salads or tomato soups, should he like that. Salsas, ketchups and pizza sauces should be avoided because they contain other ingredients as well, which can be harmful for your dogs. If you decide to make your own salsa at home and decide to give your pooch a taste of your magical potion, make sure it is not too spicy.
Dogs, just like humans, can have sensitive stomachs and could suffer burns due to the spiciness found in peppers or chili. Again, too much salt, spices or sugar is not recommended for your dog. The best way to feed your dog tomatoes is the actual whole fruit, washed and chopped in smaller pieces.
It is safe to say your dog can eat tomatoes, especially if he enjoys them. Avoid the green parts of the plant itself, including the green, small tomatoes, and this should suffice.
There is nothing wrong with giving your dog a taste of an organic, juicy tomato once in a while, especially if he really likes eating them.