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Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce? Vet-Verified Risks & Safety Tips

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce? Vet-Verified Risks & Safety Tips


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs like to snack on their owners’ leftovers and will even beg for table scraps, which causes many people to worry if tomato sauce is dangerous for canines. While plain tomato sauce is safe for dogs, commercial brands of tomato sauce often contain many additives that can make it unsafe, so it’s better to avoid giving your dog tomato sauce. Keep reading for a list of the pros and cons of letting your dog have tomato sauce, healthy alternatives, and other interesting facts.


Dangers of Feeding Tomato Sauce to Dogs

Onions and Garlic

One of the biggest problems with tomato sauce is that many recipes include onions or garlic, which are toxic to dogs and can lead to hemolytic anemia, a condition that destroys red blood cells. Even small amounts of onions or garlic can be harmful, so avoiding tomato sauce with these ingredients is important.

tomato sauce with garlic and basil in a wooden bowl
Image by: AS Foodstudio, Shutterstock

High Sodium Content

Many commercially available tomato sauces have high sodium content, which is harmful to dogs when consumed in large quantities. Excessive sodium can lead to salt poisoning, causing signs like vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive thirst and in severe cases, seizures or coma. Always check the labels and avoid brands with high sodium levels.

Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners

Tomato sauces may contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which can harm dogs. Sugar can lead to obesity and dental issues in pets, while xylitol is highly toxic and can cause rapid insulin release, leading to hypoglycemia and potential liver failure. Find a brand that states that it has no added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

closeup of a saucepan with tomato sauce
Image by: nito, Shutterstock

Spices and Seasonings

Some tomato sauce recipes contain spices and seasonings like pepper, chili, or other hot spices that can irritate a dog’s digestive system and cause discomfort. Always choose a plain brand to minimize risk.


Benefits of Feeding Tomatoes to Dogs

Although tomato sauce is generally not recommended for dogs due to the potential risks, plain, ripe tomatoes can be a healthy addition to their diet when offered in moderation. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber. These nutrients can contribute positively to a dog’s overall health. Tomatoes are also a good water source and help keep your pet hydrated.

Bichon Frise dog eating from the bowl
Image by: mikeledray, Shutterstock

Alternatives to Tomato Sauce

Fresh Tomatoes

Wash and slice fresh tomatoes into small, manageable pieces, offer them as occasional treats, or mix them into your dog’s food to add variety.

Cooked Tomatoes

You can give your pet small pieces of plain tomatoes cooked without any seasonings, onions, garlic, or other harmful ingredients as occasional treats.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

If you have your heart set on sharing tomato sauce with your pet, consider making a homemade version. Use fresh, ripe tomatoes, and avoid adding salt, sugar, onions, and garlic.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

You can give your dog plain, ripe tomatoes in moderation. These are a source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber, which can benefit a dog’s health. However, always remove the stems, and avoid offering green or unripe tomatoes, as they are less safe to consume.

fresh ripe cherry tomatoes
Image by: ignartonosbg, Pixabay

What Should I Do If My Dog Accidentally Eats Tomato Sauce?

If your dog accidentally eats tomato sauce, especially one with harmful ingredients, monitor them closely for any signs of distress or illness. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice unusual behavior, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or other signs.

Can Dogs Develop Allergies to Tomatoes?

Yes, theoretically dogs can develop tomato allergies, though it would likely be relatively rare. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, such as itching, skin redness, hives, or gastrointestinal issues, after your dog consumes tomatoes, consult your veterinarian for further evaluation.

dog scratching
Image by: schubbel, Shutterstock

Is Ketchup Safe for Dogs?

Ketchup is a type of tomato sauce that shares many concerns with traditional tomato sauce. It often contains added sugars, salt, and spices that can harm dogs. Therefore, it’s best to avoid feeding ketchup to dogs and stick to whole fresh tomatoes.

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Plants or Leaves?

You should prevent your dog from consuming tomato stems or leaves. The tomato plant, including the leaves and stems, contain solanine, which can be toxic to dogs when ingested in large quantities and may lead to signs like gastrointestinal upset, drooling, lethargy, or even more severe reactions in some cases. Therefore, keeping dogs away from tomato plants in gardens or other areas that they can access is a good idea.



You shouldn’t give tomato sauce to your dog because it usually contains added ingredients that can make it dangerous. The biggest problems are garlic and onions, as these are extremely toxic to dogs and common in tomato sauce. It can also contain added sugars, which might lead to weight gain, or even worse, artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which could be deadly. Tomato sauce also usually has high amounts of sodium. Choose fresh, clean tomatoes to give to your dog instead, or make a sauce from scratch using dog-safe ingredients.

Featured Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

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