Can Dogs Have Tomatoes?
First, if I said no, Dexter would have a meltdown. So, the answer is yes, but with some common sense. Okay, Dexter, you can settle back down.
Is Tomato Bad for Dogs?
Yes and no. As with a lot of “people foods” that are deemed unsafe for pets, the tomato sometimes gets a bad rap. Tomatoes contain a substance called solanine. In large amounts, solanine can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and even be toxic. However, large amounts is the key here. The red and ripe pars of tomato plants contain only tiny amounts of solanine. Most solanine is found in the unripe or green parts of the tomato plant such as the leaves and stems.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene. Antioxidants help protect your dog’s body against free radicals. Free radicals produce oxidative stress in your dog’s body and is linked to various diseases such as diabetes, memory loss, and cancer.
Tomatoes are a nice source of vitamin C, K, potassium, and folate. They are also a good source of insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps your dog’s gut, promoting healthy bowel movements. It’s particularly helpful during constipation as it attracts water to the bowel, making your dog’s stool softer.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, tomatoes are cooling in nature and, due to their 95% water, tonify Yin. Tomatoes are also used to promote digestion, detoxification, and fluid production.
Feeding Your Dog Tomatoes
Before feeding your dog a fresh tomato, make sure you are using a bit of common sense. As I mentioned earlier, red not green parts should be fed. Please ensure the tomato is the right size for your dog. A dog can eat cherry tomatoes, but, if whole, they cause a choking risk. Slice the tomato in bite-sized bits before feeding to your dog. As always, organic is always best.
A little goes a long way. If your dog is new to eating fresh foods, start with ½ tablespoon’s worth. Too much of a good thing can cause an upset stomach and even diarrhea or vomiting. Dexter, who loves his tomatoes, may get a few tiny bites here and there. If I’m incorporating the tomato as part of his nutrition, he may get an entire cherry tomato sliced into 4 pieces.
The next time you are harvesting your organic tomatoes from your garden, slice a bite for your dog. He may be a tomato lover like Dexter.
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