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.

Marie Haynes, DVM
Andrew Weil, M.D. Toxic Tomatoes?
Reinagel, Monica. The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan


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8 thoughts on “Can I Feed Tomatoes and Other Nightshade Vegetables to my Dog?

  1. The pups here will do pretty much ANYTHING for sweet bell peppers. They love them. We’ve never had tummy upset because of them, but we’re also pretty careful to make sure they don’t get a ridiculous amount of them.

  2. I believe in feeding real food so my dogs and other animals have a lot of different vegetables. My cats hunt a lot (I’m on a farm) & I never give them vegetables.

  3. I’ve never eaten eggplant so my dog hasn’t either. He sometimes gets the other nightshade vegetables you talked about but he doesn’t like green peppers much.

  4. I came in from Pinterest and I’m so glad I did. What a fantastic pet site! Great information like this is tough to find. Thanks for your effort and dedication to pets.

  5. We’re big eggplant fans so our dogs have always eaten some in leftovers. They have guts of iron I guess! The only thing that bothers them is milk.

  6. Our dogs get tomatoes often and green peppers sometimes and I’ve never noticed them strugling with it. Good to know for sure.

  7. Finally a definitive answer! I don’t know how many times people have jumped all over me on forums for giving eggplant or tomato to my dogs. It’s never bothered them a bit and they’re always complimented at the vet.

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