It’s always tempting to let your Frenchie eat something from your plate, and we will often let Claude have the odd veggie or piece of fruit when cooking. However, there are certain food types you should avoid completely, with tomatoes being of particular concern.
After Claude ate a tomato last week, I decided to research on vet websites to see whether tomatoes are bad for French Bulldogs. Here’s what I found out…
Can French Bulldogs eat tomatoes? French Bulldogs can have tomatoes, but you need to be very careful. There is a toxic substance found in the stems, leaves and plants of tomato which can be poisonous to dogs in large quantities. The occasional tomato is fine, just make sure it’s ripened and not green.
That sounds kind of confusing, and you’d be right. The reason being, there is a lot of misinformation online about feeding dogs tomatoes safely, so in this guide I’ve referenced what professional vets say. Here’s the full verdict:
Can Frenchies eat tomatoes safely?
French Bulldogs can have tomatoes safely as long as their owner understands the potential risks involved… which is where the toxic elements come in.
Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family of plants. Because of this, tomato plants have some harmful elements in them called solanine and an alkaloid called tomatine. Without getting into the specifics too much, these can be fatal to dogs.
These toxic elements are found in the leaves and stem of tomatoes, so whilst not something your Frenchie is likely to eat, there is still an element of danger. In other words, if you find your Frenchie munching on tomato plants in your garden, that’s when you need to worry.
However, tomatoes themselves don’t contain as much toxicity as they lose the poison as they ripen. This means that ripe tomatoes as a standalone food, should not be toxic at all.
It’s only the green parts of the tomato plant that carry the solanine and tomatine, making ripe tomatoes generally safe for Frenchies to eat – not unripe green ones!
Vets recommend you only let your dog eat a small portion of tomato, providing it’s ripened and with no other additives, sauce, or seasonings.
Disclaimer: I am not a vet. If you want to feed your Frenchie tomatoes, please consult with your own vet first to get professional advice.
The 90/10 diet rule
But what does a small portion of tomato mean exactly? Well, to make things easier for you, simply follow the 90/10 rule. This means any snack or treat amounts should only account for 10% of your Frenchie’s daily calorie intake.
Any vegetables and fruit should be considered a treat, tomatoes included.
In reality, that means you should limit your Frenchie’s snack intake to just 10% of their overall food each day. So, any ripe tomatoes you let your French Bulldog eat, should be tallied up with any other snacks to not exceed the 10% amount.
Would I feed my own French Bulldog tomatoes?
Based on what I learned, I prefer to stay on the safe side of cautious. Whilst I am not going to panic if a piece of tomato falls on the floor and Claude eats it; I won’t be deliberately feeding him tomatoes from now on.
The same goes for any type of tomato; for example, I won’t let my Frenchie eat cherry tomatoes either, despite them being smaller than the standard size.
There are plenty of other alternatives which can be safer and healthier.
If you want to give your Frenchie the benefits of fruit and veg, or are possibly exploring a raw diet plan, read these guides below for different options:
- My thoughts on the Frenchie raw diet plan
- List of safe veggies that Frenchies can eat
- List of safe fruit that Frenchies can eat
To be completely honest, if your Frenchie is being fed a vet-approved dog food, and quality kibble, there is no need for you to feed them anything that is meant for human consumption. Most high quality dog foods have all of the nutrients and goodness in them that your dog needs.
What are the health benefits of tomato?
Whilst ripe tomatoes are safe for Frenchies in small quantities, you wouldn’t let your dog have one unless there were some health benefits to doing so. According to research I found on Heathline.com, tomatoes have the following positives:
- Rich in nutrients
- Low in calories – can be good for overweight dogs
- High in fiber – can be good for digestion
- Contains vitamins A for vision, and C for skin
- Contains folate and potassium for blood pressure and muscles
However, those are the health benefits that tomatoes offer humans, so we need to take a big leap of faith to apply these positives to dogs. As far as I can tell, there has been no scientific research into tomatoes and dog health.
How to prepare tomato for your Frenchie
If you do decide your happy with this food, then here’s some advice on how to prepare it before letting your Frenchie have it.
- Only choose fully ripe and red tomatoes.
- Only buy organic tomatoes that don’t risk exposure to herbicides and pesticides.
- Remove any stems, leaves, and vines, plus the green part on the top.
- Serve without any additives such as seasoning, salt, herbs, or spices.
Whilst reading online vet journals and research into dogs eating tomatoes, I stumbled across a few additional questions posed by pet owners. I thought these are worth mentioning too if you decide to go ahead and feed them tomato.
Do tomatoes kill dogs?
It’s unlikely for a tomato to kill a dog, unless they have eaten a large quantity of green, un-ripened tomatoes, the leaves, and the plant.
What happens when a dog eats tomatoes?
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, when a dog has tomato poisoning they will exhibit any or all of following symptoms (view source):
- Breathing trouble
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Dilated pupils
- Heart problems
- Tremors and seizures
It can possibly lead to a coma, and even death.
What about other tomato-flavored foods?
We’ve established that tomatoes can be bad for French Bulldogs if served incorrectly, but what about other tomato-based foods and ingredients? Should you be cautious with those?
The quick answer; be very, very careful and do not let your Frenchie eat anything with tomato in it, primarily due to what food companies add in for flavorings and preservatives.
Tomato ketchup or sauce
I do not recommend you let your French Bulldog eat tomato sauce or ketchup. Ketchup has no nutrition in it so there will be no health benefits. More importantly though, tomato ketchup will often have sugars in, which is bad for overweight or diabetic dogs. There are also concerns over salt content.
But the biggest issue would be the spices that manufacturers add to the sauce; onion and garlic. Onion and garlic are part of the Allium family of plants and are known to be extremely toxic for dogs. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
The same goes for tomato puree and passata.
Whilst tomato juice tends just to be pulped ripe tomatoes, there is the added elements of salt which commonly makes up a large proportion of the juice.
Salt will dehydrate your Frenchie so he will drink more and possibly become ill. Leave tomato juice off their diet completely.
From what I have researched, Frenchies can eat tomatoes as long as you know the potential risks. You should certainly avoid letting your dog anywhere near tomato plants or any green element such as leaves and stems.
For this reason alone, I won’t be letting Claude have tomato in his diet as I prefer to be completely safe.
As with anything you add to your dog’s diet, always check with your vet first.