Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce?

Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce Feature Image

It’s true that dogs can eat human foods but not everything that they want to eat is actually good for them. 

Although tomatoes are safe for dogs, it’s not advisable that you feed your dog tomato sauce. Fresh and ripe tomatoes are not harmful to dogs, however, the sauce prepared from them, especially the ones found in the market (red pasta sauce, ketchup, etc.) are not nutritious at all. 

This is mainly due to the high acidic content in tomato sauces excluding other artificial additions together with salt and sugar to which most dogs are sensitive. 

While offering their dogs sardine, many people might choose the ones dipped in tomato sauce that is not healthy compared to the ones dipped in water which have a low salt component.

In this post, we’ll talk about the questions, ‘Can dogs eat tomato sauce?’ ‘Is tomato sauce safe for dogs to eat?’ and everything you need to know about dogs and tomato sauce.

Are Tomatoes Bad for Dogs?

So, can dogs eat tomato sauce? Is tomato sauce bad for dogs? Is tomato harmful to dogs? Let’s find out below.

A tomato is part of the nightshade family of vegetables. This plant, including eggplant, peppers, and potatoes, contains potentially poisonous substances but still bears edible parts. 

That means although tomato fruits are actually nutritious for your dog and can be served as an occasional snack, the rest of the tomato plant can be toxic. 

Alpha-tomatine is the toxic element found in tomato plants that are linked to solanine, the poisonous substance in other nightshades. When ingested in large quantities, it can be deadly for your dog.

Tomatine is concentrated in the green parts of the plant, specifically the small stems and flowers. Many veterinarians views that while your dog would require to digest large amounts of tomato plants (including the green portions) for the toxin to cause risks such as drowsiness, slow heart rate, and dilated pupils. 

It’s possibly best to refrain from feeding it to your dog and contact your vet if you notice these symptoms. The small quantity of tomatine that is present in ripe tomatoes, however, is known to be safe for dogs.

Can I Feed My Dog Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

When Can Dogs Not Have Tomato Sauce?

Is tomato sauce ok for dogs to eat? Well, yes and no. Most tomato sauces from the store contain other ingredients besides the tomato that could be harmful to dogs such as garlic, chives, onions, and certain spices.

As mentioned, tomato sauces aren’t necessarily toxic, but they can include ingredients that are. Onion, garlic, pepper, salt, oregano, red pepper, basil, and sugar are spices that are used to flavor tomato sauces.

Thus, it’s best to check the label to see all the ingredients used. Onions and garlic are the most concerning as they can be toxic to dogs–particularly when eaten in large quantities or for small dogs.

Of the same plant family, onions and garlic contain thiosulphate, which can damage the red blood cells of the dog, leading to anemia or death. If swallowed, immediate symptoms might include diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, and abdominal pain

Is it Okay for Dogs to Have Tomato Sauce

All dogs are sensitive to sodium and too much of it can lead to salt poisoning and kidney problems. Two or four legs, too much sugar isn’t good for anyone as well and can lead to health problems and obesity. 

As with ketchup, some ketchup varieties also include spices and flavorings. It’s even toxic to dogs to have the artificial sweetener xylitol as it can be lethal–even in small amounts.

Another one to watch out for is the crushed red pepper, primarily because its spiciness can cause an upset belly for your dog. 

Again, as with ketchup, if your dog consumes some tomato-based spaghetti sauce with toxic spices, it might not be an alarming situation. 

But keep in mind that when it comes to pasta, some dogs are allergic to wheat. Thus, it’s best to not serve tomato sauce for dogs.

Toxicity levels are also dependent on the amount ingested and the dog’s size. Large dogs are unlikely to develop any serious side effects from consuming a tiny bit of tomato sauce, while smaller breeds–particularly under 10 pounds–may become sick even in a slight amount [1]. 

If your dog ate a large amount for his size, it would be wise to call your vet to have them seen or to see what symptoms to watch out for.

Can I Share My Tomato Sauce Pasta with My Dog

When Can Dogs Have Tomato Sauce?

Can dogs have tomatoes sauce? Are tomatoes good for dogs? Is okay to give dogs tomato sauce? The answer to these questions is yes.

However, if you want to feed your dog tomato sauce, it’s best to avoid commercial ones, no matter how your dog begs you when you’re savoring some pasta or anything else that is made with tomato sauce. 

If you’re purchasing a plain tomato sauce that is purely made of tomatoes and probably has a pinch of salt, that would also be fine for dogs to eat.

The safest way to give your dog tomato sauce is to make a homemade sauce since you know all the ingredients used and you’re certain there are no more than a pinch of garlic or no onions in it. 

But make sure to feed your dog in small amounts. Do keep in mind that some pets that are prone to seizures seem to be sensitive to rosemary, which is sometimes included in a homemade tomato sauce. 

Thus, it’s best to leave the rosemary out of any sauce and avoid any heavy seasoning to the sauce that your dog might consume later.

Is it Safe for a Dog to Eat Tomato Sauce Pasta

What are the Benefits of Tomato?

Now, is tomato sauce good for dogs? The answer is yes. In fact, ripe, red tomatoes are perfectly safe for dogs to eat in moderation. 

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that works against oxidative stress, cancer, and other diseases in humans and dogs. Tomatoes also contain healthy doses of vitamins A, B3, B6, C, manganese, potassium, and phosphorus–all of which aid in proper bone health for both dogs and humans.

Moreover, if you look at the ingredient lists of some dog foods, you’ll discover that some of them use “tomato pomace” as a source of fiber. 

Tomato pomace is the mixture of tomato pulp, skin, and crushed seeds that remain after the juicing process for tomato juice, ketchup, and soup. Nutritional science claims that tomato pomace is also filled with nutrients for dogs like soluble fiber.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can tomato sauce kill a dog?

Yes, tomato sauce can kill a dog, especially if you’re not aware of its ingredients. As mentioned, tomato sauce can contain additional ingredients like garlic and onions, which are considered toxic to dogs. Tomatoes also contain an alkaloid called tomatine, which can be fatal to dogs, while the atropine substance in tomatoes can cause tremors, dilated pupils, and heart arrhythmias.

What do I do if my dog eats tomato sauce?

As stated above, unless your dog eats a large number of tomato sauce, he’ll probably be just fine and be very happy for the tasty treat. However, if it’s his first time to get a taste of it, watch out for any unusual symptoms. 

Generally, the larger the dog, the more tomatoes he’ll be able to ingest before showing any adverse effects. If you observe any gastrointestinal problem, you can feed your pet a bland diet of plainly cooked meat (such as ground beef or chicken) and white rice over the next day until the GI symptoms disappear.

What sauce is safe for dogs?

To entice dogs to eat their kibble with sauce, you can add unsalted broth or dog food broth with no onion and garlic along with unhealthy ingredients. Some owners say that this works very well, for the most part. Some veterinarians also recommend putting some dog gravy to entice dogs to drink their water and enhance their meals.


The straight answer to “Can dogs eat tomato sauce?” is yes, as long as it’s plain sauce without tons of garlic, onions, and heavy seasonings. The longer answer is unless you know what ingredients are in it with certainty, don’t give your dog tomato sauce.

Be careful about the tomato sauce you serve your dog and only feed him a plain sauce with tomatoes and maybe a little salt and pepper. And, as with tomatoes, if your dog swallows the green parts, such as the leaves and stems of the tomato plant, watch out for any symptoms and contact your veterinarian immediately.