Round, red, juicy, delicious; Tomatoes are packed full of vitamin C, which may leave many of us dog owners wondering – can dogs eat tomatoes? There’s no wonder humans eat tons of them, literally: according to the Department of Agriculture, each person eats about 88 lbs of tomatoes per year in the U.S. Considering how many Americans have dogs, and how often we share some of our human foods with our dogs, you have to imagine people are tempted to share their tomatoes with their pets. But should we be sharing this delicious red fruit with our dogs?
Yes, dogs can eat tomatoes. Snacking in small quantities on the fleshy parts of a fresh red tomato isn’t going to hurt your dog. But dogs should never eat tomato leaves or stems, and they can’t have green, unripe tomatoes, either. Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family, which means they contain a substance called solanine in the stem and leaves of the tomato plant, which is also present in the fruit before it ripens and turns red. Solanine is dangerous for dogs in large amounts, but once the fruit ripens, the levels of solanine found in the flesh of tomatoes are no longer toxic.