Dogs and Tomatoes
Tomahto or tomato …however you say it, this fruit is GREAT! Eaten raw, sliced or whole, made into salads or sauces, into soups or drink, fried or baked…tomato is indeed a winner. Kids will be seen munching on tomatoes freshly picked from the vegetable garden. And what do you know…the pooch that is forever tailing the kids will be eating tomatoes too. Are tomatoes safe for dogs to eat?
Nutritional value of tomatoes
Tomatoes are widely consumed practically all over the world. Tomatoes are rich sources of vitamin C and vitamin A. This fruit is believed to have healthful benefits to the heart and to other organs because it contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. In humans, consumption of tomatoes was proven to decrease the risk of some types of cancer and the development of degenerative diseases.
Can dogs Eat Tomatoes
Dogs would eat just about anything. Dog owners may be aware of the common foods that have toxic effects on dogs but kids would think otherwise. Being a constant companion of kids, dogs would have a taste of the food being eaten by the young master. A kid that is raiding the tomato patch would share some of the fruits with the pet. Dogs would gain the healthful benefits humans gain from eating tomatoes but these pets should only consume the ripe fruits.
Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family and plants from this family are known to have some toxic effect when consumed even by humans. The tomato plant, the leaves and the green unripe fruits contain atropine and tropane alkaloids. These compounds have toxic effects when ingested. Tomatine, the alkaloid present in the tomato plant and in unripe tomato fruits is poisonous.
Signs of toxicity
If the dog that has been playing in the garden shakes like a leaf and pitifully whines because of abdominal pain, it is highly probable that the pet has ingested tomatoes and the tomatine content of the fruit is poisoning the dog. The dog will vomit and either be constipated or have diarrhea. The toxin in tomatoes will affect the dog’s cardiac and central nervous systems thus the dog will be noticed to have rapid heartbeats and breathing difficulties. Dilated pupils, muscle weakness and paralysis are signs of poisoning. The dog would seize. Coma and death are possible outcome of severe tomato poisoning.
Luscious ripe tomatoes
As mentioned, tomatoes contain the alkaloid tomatine. The level of tomatine is high in the leaves, stem and in unripe tomatoes. The level of toxicity is lessened when the fruit ripens as the tomatine is metabolized. Dogs can safely eat ripe tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes still contain a small amount of the toxic substance but a dog would need to eat large amounts of the ripe fruits before signs of toxicity would be seen.
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