Tomatoes are a misunderstood fruit that is rumored to be toxic to dogs. That is not entirely true, but it’s also not false.
Like eggplant, tomatoes are part of the family of vegetables called nightshades, which also include tomatillos, potatoes, and peppers. Nightshade vegetables contain an alkaloid called solanine, which can be poisonous in large doses.
The toxic solanine is concentrated in the leaves and stem of the plant, so dogs should never eat the core, leaves, or stem of tomatoes. They should also never eat an unripe tomato, as the solanine dissipates as the tomato ripens.
If you grow tomatoes, it is important to keep your dogs away from the plants. Chewing on the leaves or vines can be hazardous. If you suspect your dog has eaten or chewed any parts of your tomato plants, look for these symptoms:
- Cardiac effects
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
These are serious symptoms and if you see them you should contact your veterinarian immediately about a suspicion of tomatine poisoning.
Many experts suggest avoiding tomatoes completely, especially if you plan to grow your own. Tomatoes are a hazard to dogs during the growing process and the fruit itself is a hazard until it is ripe. If your dog chews on the vines, leaves, or unripe tomatoes, they could get very ill.
Store-bought tomatoes that a fresh right out of the bag can be a relatively safe alternative.
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