Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce? Is It Safe?

There is only one thing in a tomato that is toxic or harmful to dogs, but it’s no concern until unripe tomatoes or a large amount of ripe tomatoes are consumed, however, tomato sauce should not be given to dogs.

Tomato sauce has many more ingredients including onions and garlic, which are toxic to dogs. So next time you have spaghetti, it’s not a good idea to let your dog lick the bowl.

Risks Of Your Dog Eating Tomato Sauce

There is a toxin in tomatoes called alpha-tomatine, this toxin is only a concern in unripe tomatoes but ripe tomatoes do have it. A dog would have to consume a large amount of ripe tomatoes before even a slight poisoning from alpha-tomatine.

Although tomatoes are not a concern for dogs, the stems and leaves are. Tomatoes are in the solanaceae family and possess dangerous alkaloids in their leaves and stems. If your dog eats from a tomato plant and consumes steams and leaves the side effects can be;

  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Paralysis
  • Dilated pupils

Tomato sauce is a problem for dogs because of the other ingredients in it such as; garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper (usually with seeds), basil, parsely, along with other potential flavorings.

Garlic and onions belong to the allium family and pose a threat to canines. In small quantities, (less than 0.5% of their body weight) it’s really nothing to worry about, but in bigger quantities it can cause red blood cell damage and result in anemia.

The main cause for concern in becoming anemic is the thiosulfate in onions and garlic. Harmless to humans, but this can pose deadly to canines if too much is consumed.

Japanese dogs such as; shikoku, akita, kishu etc… are more susceptible to allium poisoning, so be extra careful if you have any garlic and onions around. Always keep them out of your dog’s reach.

Alternatives To Tomato Sauce For Dogs

If you happen to be set on giving your dog tomato sauce, the best option would be to make your own. This way you can account for all the ingredients and know for sure there is nothing toxic in the sauce.

As long as you remove most of the onions and garlic, it will be much more safe for dogs. Don’t give them too much though, just because it’s safer doesn’t mean they can have extra.

Signs That Your Dog Ate Tomato Sauce Or Similar Food

The side effect from allium poisoning is anemia, which you can tell by;

  • Lethargy/ weakness/ depression
  • Pale mucus membranes
  • Elevated respiratory rate
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling of face or jaw

If you have any reason to suspect your dog ate a large amount of tomato sauce, or you caught him eating it and these symptoms arise, contact a vet immediately.


The flesh part of a tomato is relatively healthy for dogs, still not recommended as a food to give him consistently, though. Try your best to keep your dog away from tomato plants themselves, as the stems and leaves are very dangerous.

Tomato sauce is also not safe to feed your dog, unless of course, you make your own sauce from scratch. Still, it’s not necessary to do so as there isn’t enough benefit from tomatoes in general to warrant the potential for weight gain and/or other side effects down the road.

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