We’ve recently been asked questions about the safety of tomatoes and other nightshade vegetables (eggplant, bell peppers, etc.) for dogs. The answer is yes and no.
The toxic concern with tomatoes is alpha-tomatine content. Fully ripened tomatoes and ripe tomato products are perfectly fine for dogs in moderation, because there are only minuscule amounts of alpha-tomatine and it’s poorly digested. Green tomatoes, leaves and stems, however, contain a higher level of alpha-tomatine and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depressed nervous system, lethargy, weakness, behavior changes, central nervous system depression, pupil dilation, reduced heart rate and heart damage. Green tomatoes and foliage can also harm grazing animals like cows or horses.
Eggplant, Bell Peppers, and other nightshade vegetables are usually tolerated well by dogs, but they should only be given in small amounts at first so you can watch for a reaction. They’re highly nutritious and are a healthy addition to your dog’s diet if he tolerates them well. Potatoes, another nightshade vegetable, are high in starch so we suggest avoiding or limiting them regardless. All of these foods are known to be highly contaminated with pesticides, so we recommend organically grown.
Nightshade vegetables like Eggplant could be inflammatory in large amounts. You may want to avoid them if your dog has a condition with inflammation as a symptom (such as arthritis or inflammatory skin conditions). Doctors have stated that the theory of nightshade vegetables causing arthritis is a myth.
We strongly advise veterinary consultation prior to making any changes in your pet’s diet.
??? Have you given tomatoes, eggplant or other nightshade vegetables to your dog? Please share your experience in the comments below.
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