When it comes to whether or not your dog is allowed to share your food, the answer is typically simple: yes or no. With tomatoes, however, things aren’t so straightforward. Ripe tomatoes served as a treat can be beneficial to your dog because they are high in antioxidants and fiber, both of which your dog requires. Green tomatoes, on the other hand, (together with tomato stems and leaves) are a different story. These could poison your dog if he gets into them.
Today I’ll discuss how to feed tomatoes to your dog and what to do if he eats any green parts by accident. But first, let’s explore why tomatoes are beneficial to your dog.
Tomatoes Are Full Of Antioxidants
Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade vegetable family along with …
Ripe tomatoes are safe to consume for dogs and are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are necessary for keeping free radicals in balance and preventing oxidative stress in your dog. Free radicals are damaged cells found in your dog’s body. They destroy healthy cells in an attempt to reassemble themselves. This damages healthy cells, resulting in the production of even more free radicals. Your dog will suffer from oxidative stress if the amount of free radicals in his body grows out of control. Premature aging, cancer, and other disorders could occur as a result of this.
Free radicals are a natural byproduct of everyday function within your dog’s body. They’re also a result of the following:
Antioxidants are produced internally by your dog’s natural defensive systems. However, he occasionally requires an antioxidant boost to help him combat free radicals. Dietary antioxidants can help with this.
Beta-Carotene for Overall Health
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid – a plant pigment found in most fruits and veggies. It’s also an antioxidant that fights free radicals. But that isn’t all it can do. Beta-carotene helps with:
- Vision health
- Immune system function
- Cognitive function
- Sun protection
- Cancer prevention
Beta-carotene is also provitamin A. That means it converts to vitamin A in your dog’s body. Vitamin A is necessary for healthy skin, coats, muscles and nerves.
Lycopene for Blood Pressure
Lycopene is also a carotenoid. It’s what gives tomatoes their pink and red hues, as well as other fruits and vegetables like watermelon. The higher the content of lycopene in a tomato, the redder it is in most cases.
After 10 to 12 weeks in human tests, people who ate tomato products were less susceptible to the sun’s rays. This means it could be a good approach to keep your dog from becoming sunburned. Particularly when combined with other protective measures.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which lowers systolic blood pressure. (The top number in blood pressure readings is systolic.) This could make it beneficial for dogs with hypertension (high blood pressure).
Low levels of lycopene have also been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in studies. Experiments demonstrate that taking lycopene supplements can help reduce the risk of strokes.
Vitamin C for Allergies or Chronic Illness
Vitamin C not only helps prevent oxidative stress and chronic illness, it’s also needed to:
- Grow and repair tissue
- Boost the immune system to fight off infection
- Help the adrenal gland function properly
- Form calcium and iron
- Reduce allergy symptoms
Dogs, unlike humans, can synthesize vitamin C on their own, although they may require supplemental vitamin C in their diet. Vitamin C is a wonderful choice if your dog has allergies or if you think he needs an antioxidant or immune boost. If your dog is older than 7, you should also include vitamin C-rich foods to his diet. This is due to the fact that as dogs age, they have difficulty generating vitamin C.
Finally, during times of stress, your dog should consume more vitamin C. Vitamin C is required for the production of anti-stress hormones in your dog. As a result, if your dog is physically or mentally stressed, he may not have enough of this vital nutrient to perform other essential processes.
Common sources of stress for your dog include:
- High-intensity exercise
- New places
- New routines
If your dog is suffering from any of these symptoms, consider supplementing with vitamin C from whole foods like tomatoes. While you can buy a vitamin C supplement for your dog, keep in mind that these are synthetic vitamins. The body of your dog will not absorb them as well as natural vitamins obtained from entire foods.
Tomatoes Are Full Of Fiber
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which your dog requires. Soluble and insoluble fibers are the two basic forms of fiber. Soluble fiber is prebiotic, meaning it travels to the colon and nourishes the bacteria that live there. This strengthens your dog’s immune system and maintains a healthy microbiota. After all, his gut houses approximately 90% of his immune system.
Insoluble fiber, which makes up 87 percent of the fiber in tomatoes, is the second type. It isn’t prebiotic, but it does add bulk to your dog’s stool, which helps to manage bowel movements. It also aids in the renewal and strengthening of the cells that line your dog’s digestive tract. This is a crucial step in preventing disorders such as leaky gut syndrome.
Stems, Leaves And Green Tomatoes Are Toxic
A nice ripe red tomato can be very good for your dog. But anything green could make him very sick because of a substance called tomatine.
If you know your dog has eaten the stem, leaves or a green tomato, contact your holistic vet.
How To Prevent Tomatine Poisoning
The best way to prevent tomatine poisoning is to make sure your dog can’t get hold of any of the following:
- Green tomatoes
Refrigerating tomatoes isn’t for everyone because it can alter the flavor and texture. Even if they’re ripe, you’ll want to take some extra measures if you prefer to leave them at room temperature. While ripe tomatoes aren’t harmful to your dog, they may include hazardous leaves and stems.
The first step is to get rid of as much of the stems and leaves as feasible. If your dog does manage to obtain the tomato, the risk of poisoning is reduced. Leaves and stems should be disposed of in a dog-proof garbage pail or compost bin. Consider keeping your rubbish or compost in a closet or cupboard if your dog can get into it.
If there are any remaining stems or leaves (or if the tomato is still green), place them out of reach of your dog. If you’re growing your own tomatoes, make sure they’re out of reach of your dog or fence them in. Indoor plants should be kept in a room that you can seal off or high up and out of your dog’s reach.
How To Feed Tomatoes To Your Dog
To get the most out of tomatoes, serve them raw. Always buy organic tomatoes when you’re shopping for them, and try to buy local wherever possible.
As tomatoes ripen, they release natural ethylene gas. To extend their shelf life, many tomatoes are plucked before they are fully ripe. They’ll be treated with synthetic ethylene gas to help them turn red before being sold.
The issue is that selecting green tomatoes and treating them with ethylene gas might change the flavor and texture. And, tomatoes that have been allowed to ripen on the vine have more nutrients than those that have been ripened with synthetic ethylene gas, according to studies.
Most local farmers don’t use the same practice, and instead let the tomato ripen naturally. This means their tomatoes are free of synthetic ethylene gas and more nutritious.
Once you have your tomatoes and are ready to share them with your dog, you want to remove the skin and seeds. While there’s more lycopene in the skin, the skin (and seeds) also contain lectins that can be harmful to your dog.
Before serving, make sure the tomato is ripe and red, and remove the stems and leaves. If at all possible, offer tomato alongside a source of healthful fats. Fat will aid in the absorption of lycopene by your dog.
Dogs That Shouldn’t Have Tomatoes
Ripe tomatoes are safe for most dogs, though some dogs may have allergies. If you see allergy symptoms soon after giving your dog tomato then you will want to put it on the “no” list. Allergy symptoms include:
- Itchy skin
- Difficulty breathing
You also don’t want to feed tomatoes to dogs who have acid reflux. Tomatoes may aggravate these conditions.
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are high in antioxidants and fiber, both of which are good for your dog. Before feeding a tomato, ensure sure the leaves and stem have been removed and the tomato is ripe. Otherwise, your dog may become poisoned by tomatine.
If your dog does manage to eat a green tomato or the leaves and stems, watch for signs of poisoning. Give your vet a call at the first sign of any symptom.