Dogs like to eat anything on their owner's plate. It is tempting to hand over a few bites or put the plate down for your dog after the meal. Most veterinarians advise dog owners to avoid table scraps, although some foods are okay — many dogs like tomatoes or dishes made with tomatoes.
Tomatoes are known as a very healthy food for humans, but are tomatoes safe for dogs? The answer to that question isn't quite as simple as yes or no. Tomatoes are safe for dogs, but proper care and precautions are necessary.
Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family of vegetables. They contain solanine and tomatine, which are both harmful to dogs. Solanine and tomatine are found mostly in the green parts of a tomato plant such as the stems and leaves. Unripe green tomatoes contain more solanine and tomatine than ripe tomatoes.
Tomatine is a glycoalkaloid that causes vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort in dogs. Symptoms of tomatine poisoning include upset stomach, cardiac effects, muscle weakness, loss of coordination, tremors, and seizures. Fortunately, tomatine poisoning is rare, and the prognosis is usually good. Take your dog to a veterinarian if they show signs of poisoning.
Solanine can cause severe effects in large quantities. Symptoms of solanine poisoning include drowsiness, depression, confusion, or weakness. The dog may also develop a slow heart rate and dilated pupils. Tomatine and solanine are found in the same parts of the tomato plant, so dogs usually show signs of poisoning from both substances simultaneously.
Ripe tomatoes do not contain very much solanine or tomatine. Wash ripe tomatoes and cut them into sections, making sure to remove the stems, for dogs. Many people enjoy growing tomato plants in the garden. Dogs usually do not have much interest in tomato plants or tomatoes on the vine. Keep gardens fenced in and supervise dogs while they are outside.
Dogs can safely eat tomatoes in sauces, but most prepared sauces contain onion and garlic. Onion and garlic can be deadly if dogs consume too much of them. Dog owners must use caution when giving their animals tomato sauce, and it is best to avoid prepared sauces entirely. Do not give dogs dishes topped with tomato sauce unless it is homemade and the ingredients do not contain harmful seasonings. Salt and pepper are not harmful in moderation.
Dogs love pizzas, as most dog owners have already figured out. This recipe is safe for dogs, and it is quite tasty for the humans in the house too. The ingredients include:
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Mix the flour and herbs in a bowl, then whisk an egg in a separate bowl with water or broth. Combine the wet and dry ingredients into the dough. Roll the dough until it is smooth, and place it onto a well-oiled baking sheet. Spread the tomato sauce over the dough and add toppings. Bake for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. and place parchment paper over a baking tray. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until they have a doughy consistency. Knead the dough into a ball and roll on a floured surface to form ¼-inch thick biscuits. Use cookie cutters and poke holes in each biscuit. Bake for 10 minutes and store in the refrigerator.
Tomatoes contain many nutrients that are good for humans and dogs. Lycopene reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. Lycopene also contributes to strong bones and help prevent cancer. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure as well as nerve and muscle health. Tomatoes are full of fiber that acts as a digestive aid and prevents constipation for humans and dogs.
Dogs need most of the same vitamins that are recommended for humans. Beta-carotene is good for metabolism, vision, and cognition. Tomatoes are high in vitamin A and vitamin C. Both vitamins are essential for the immune system, healthy skin, cardiovascular health, and wound healing. Vitamin A is known for promoting eye health and vision as well. Tomatoes are full of vitamin K, which promotes strong bones and cardiovascular health.
If a dog shows signs of illness or discomfort after eating tomatoes or dishes containing tomatoes, the culprit may not be toxic substances. Dogs can experience heartburn and acid reflux after overindulging in tomatoes or tomato-based foods. Dogs can also develop allergies. Allergy symptoms include coughing, sneezing, scratching, and hives. Do not feed more tomatoes to dogs that develop minor symptoms. Repeated exposure to allergens can have serious complications.
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