It's always tempting to let your Frenchie eat something off your plate, and we often leave Claude with the odd veg or piece of fruit to cook. However, there are certain food types that you should avoid entirely, with tomatoes being a particular concern.
After Claude ate a tomato last week, I decided to research vet websites to see if tomatoes are bad for French bulldogs. Here's what I found out...
Can French Bulldogs Eat Tomatoes?French bulldogs can have tomatoes, but you have to be very careful. There is a toxic substance in the stems, leaves, and plants of the tomato that can be poisonous to dogs in large quantities. The occasional tomato is fine, just make sure it's ripe and not green.
That sounds kind of confusing, and you're right. This is because there is a lot of misinformation online about feeding tomatoes to dogs safely, so I've referenced what professional vets are saying in this guide. Here's the full verdict:
Are French people safe to eat tomatoes?
French bulldogs can safely have tomatoes as long as their owner understands the potential risks involved... and that's where the toxic elements come in.
Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family. Because of this, tomato plants contain some harmful elements called solanine and an alkaloid called tomato. Without going into too much detail, these can be fatal to dogs.
These toxic elements are found in the leaves and stems of tomatoes, so while your Frenchie won't eat anything, it is still an element of danger. In other words, if you find your Frenchie chewing tomato plants in your yard, you have nothing to worry about.
However, tomatoes themselves do not contain as much toxicity as they lose the poison as they ripen. This means that ripe tomatoes, as a food in their own right, shouldn't be poisonous at all.
It's only the green parts of the tomato plant that contain the solanine and the tomato, making ripe tomatoes generally safe for the French - not unripe green ones!
Veterinarians recommend that you only let your dog eat a small portion of tomatoes, provided they are ripe and free of other additives, sauces or condiments.
Disclaimer:I'm not a vet. If you are considering feeding your Frenchie tomato, please consult your own veterinarian first for professional advice.
The 90/10 diet rule
But what exactly does a small portion of tomato mean? To make it easier for you, just follow the 90/10 rule. This means that snacks or treats should only make up 10% of your Frenchie's daily caloric intake.
Any vegetable and fruit should be considered a treat, including tomatoes.
In reality, this means that you should limit your Frenchie's snacking intake to just 10% of their total food per day. Therefore, any ripe tomatoes that you let your French Bulldog eat should be added up with all other snacks so as not to exceed the 10% amount.
Would I Feed My Own French Bulldog Tomatoes?
Based on what I've learned, I'd rather stay on the safe side of caution. While I don't panic when a piece of tomato falls on the floor and Claude eats it; From now on I will no longer consciously feed him tomatoes.
The same goes for any type of tomato; For example, I don't let my French eat cherry tomatoes either, even though they're smaller than the standard size.
There are many other alternatives that may be safer and healthier.
If you're looking to give your Frenchie the benefits of fruits and veggies, or possibly exploring a raw food plan, check out these guides below for different options:
- My thoughts on the Frenchie raw food plan
- List of safe vegetables the French can eat
- List of safe fruits for French people to eat
In all honesty, if your Frenchie is fed a vet-approved dog food and high-quality kibble, you don't have to feed them anything intended for human consumption. Most quality dog foods have all the nutrients and goodness your dog needs.
What Are the Health Benefits of Tomatoes?
While ripe tomatoes are safe for Frenchies in small amounts, you wouldn't allow your dog any unless it had health benefits. According to research Ifound on Heathline.com, Tomatoes have the following positive properties:
- Rich in nutrients
- Low in calories - may be good for overweight dogs
- High in fiber - may be good for digestion
- Contains vitamin A for vision and C for skin
- Contains folic acid and potassium for blood pressure and muscles
However, these are the health benefits that tomatoes offer to humans, so we have to take a huge leap of faith to apply these beneficial properties to dogs. As far as I can tell, there hasn't been any scientific research on the health of tomatoes and dogs.
How to prepare tomatoes for your Frenchie
If you're happy with this meal, here's some advice on how to prepare it before you let your Frenchie do it.
- Choose only fully ripe and red tomatoes.
- Only buy organic tomatoes that do not risk exposure to herbicides and pesticides.
- Remove all stems, leaves, and tendrils, as well as the green part at the top.
- Serve without any additives such as spices, salt, herbs or spices.
While reading online vet journals and researching dogs eating tomatoes, I've come across a few additional questions that pet owners have been asking. Thought these are worth mentioning too if you decide to go ahead and feed them tomatoes.
Do tomatoes kill dogs?
A tomato is unlikely to kill a dog unless they've eaten a large quantity of green, unripe tomatoes, the leaves, and the plant.
What happens if a dog eats tomatoes?
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, when a dog experiences tomato poisoning, it will show one or all of the following symptoms (Show source code):
- difficulty breathing
- diarrhea or constipation
- Dilated pupils
- heart problems
- tremors and seizures
It can potentially lead to a coma and even death.
What about other tomato flavored foods?
We've found that tomatoes can be bad for French Bulldogs if served incorrectly, but what about other tomato-based foods and ingredients? Should you be careful with that?
The fast answer; Be very, very careful and don't let your French eat anything with tomatoes, especially due to what food companies add for flavors and preservatives.
Tomato ketchup or sauce
I do not recommend letting your French Bulldog eat tomato sauce or ketchup. Ketchup contains no nutrients, so there are no health benefits. More importantly, tomato ketchup often contains sugar, which is bad for overweight or diabetic dogs. There are also concerns about salinity.
But the biggest problem would be the spices that the makers add to the sauce; onion and garlic. Onion and garlic belong to the Allium family of plants and are known to be extremely toxic to dogs. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
The same goes for tomato puree and passata.
While tomato juice is typically just crushed ripe tomatoes, there are the added elements of salt, which commonly make up a large part of the juice.
Salt will dehydrate your Frenchie, causing them to drink more and possibly get sick. Eliminate tomato juice from your diet entirely.
From my research, French people can eat tomatoes as long as they know the potential risks. In any case, you should avoid letting your dog near tomato plants or green elements such as leaves and stems.
For this reason alone, I will not allow Claude to have a tomato in his diet as I prefer to be absolutely safe.
As with anything you add to your dog's diet, always check with your veterinarian first.