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Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat tomatoes?

No (unripe tomatoes, stems and seeds are off-limits, too).

You are working in your garden when your pup tries to grab at a juicy tomato. If your first instinct is to intervene, you are doing the right thing. Despite how much they drool over your homegrown plants (and try to sneak bites), this is one veggie your best friend needs to avoid. Tomatoes (especially unripe ones!) and tomato plants are not safe for your pup to eat at all.

(Tomatoes aren't safe for your dog — contact a vet or poison control if your pet accidentally eats one.)

Are tomatoes good for dogs?

There are several reasons your pup should steer clear of tomatoes. The vegetable’s stems and seeds contain a compound called solanine, which is toxic to dogs. The good news is that toxicity in dogs is rare because a large amount of seeds or stems need to be eaten to cause a problem. If you think your pup ate either the stems or seeds, contact your vet and watch out for these signs:

• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Lethargy
• Weakness

Unripe tomatoes contain tomatine, a chemical also found in the tomato plant's leafy greens and veggie blossoms. As the tomato ripens, the amount of tomatine in the veggie quickly decreases. Tomatine can negatively affect dogs and cause:

• Upset stomach
• Loss of coordination
• Heart issues
• Weakness in muscles
• Tremors
• Seizures

RELATED: Can dogs eat bread?

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What to feed your pet instead of tomatoes

Although only certain parts of tomatoes can cause your dog to feel sick, it is best to keep this veggie out of your pup's diet altogether. But, if you're looking for a juicy, sweet snack as an alternative, feed them watermelon — just avoid the seeds and rind, as they could cause a painful blockage that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite and lethargy. Not only is generally watermelon safe for dogs, but it's low in calories and high in vitamins A, B-6 and C.

What to do if you think your dog ate a tomato

If you think your dog ate an unripe tomato or the leaves, seeds or stem of any tomato, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) for advice. In case of an emergency, it is best to have a plan in place, so you can act fast and get your pup the help they need. Here are some quick steps to get you started:

• Write down the address and phone number of your nearest animal emergency room.
• Keep a pet first aid kit in your car and house.
• Organize all of your pets' medical records and vaccination cards.

Responsible snacking

Keep tomatoes and tomato plants out of your pup's reach so they can keep being their happy, healthy selves. When it comes to treats, there are a lot of other delicious snacks they can safely enjoy.

We're confident that tomatoes aren't the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series "Can dogs eat ... ?" to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what's fair game.

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