Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce?

Who can resist the comforting smells of a perfectly seasoned tomato sauce? It’s perfect on pizza, pasta, or used as a dip for breadsticks. This pantry staple is a common component of many people’s diets. But, is it safe for our canine friends? Can dogs eat tomato sauce?

The quick answer would be no, tomato sauce is not okay for dogs to eat. The main problems is that some popular tomato sauce ingredients are not safe for dogs. Additionally, tomato sauce is too acidic for dogs and would be likely to upset your pet’s stomach. It’s definitely for the best to leave tomato sauce out of your dog’s diet.

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce? Why Tomato Sauce Is Not Safe for Your Dog

Besides tomatoes, tomato sauce also contains flavoring ingredients. Garlic, onion, and spices, such as salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, basil, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, and sugar are often used to add flavor to tomato sauce. To determine the health risks of tomato sauce to a dog, we need to consider each element individually.

Tomatoes Are Not Safe for All Dogs

It's not a good idea to share tomato sauce with your dog. It's too acidic for canines and is likely to contain toxic ingredients.

It’s not a good idea to share tomato sauce with your dog. It’s too acidic for canines and is likely to contain toxic ingredients.

Tomatoes are the main ingredient in tomato sauce. They considered a safe and healthy fruit that can be given to dogs in moderation. However, tomatoes are not suitable for everyone. They are known to cause inflammation in some humans and animals. If your dog has arthritis or another condition that may be exacerbated by inflammation, avoiding tomatoes is a good idea.

Dangerous Tomato Sauce Ingredients for Dogs

The most dangerous components in tomato sauce are onion and garlic. Both onion and garlic are toxic to dogs[1]. They contain thiosulphate, which can destroy red blood cells in a dog’s bloodstream, leading to anemia or death. A dog that has ingested onion or garlic may show immediate symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weakness. Some signs may not be observed until up to four days later, such as pale gums, weight loss, and lethargy. It is important to note that garlic and onion are toxic in different amounts, with garlic being the more poisonous of the two substances.

Ingredients that pose less of a threat are salt, sugar, and crushed red pepper. Dogs are sensitive to sodium intake and too much salt can lead to sodium poisoning, which can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.

Some tomato sauces list sugar as an ingredient. Sugar itself is generally harmless,  but dog owners should be aware that xylitol is a common sugar substitute that is highly toxic to dogs. Even small amounts, such as that found in a stick of gum, can be deadly.

Finally, crushed red pepper, which is common in spicy or “arrabiata” varieties of tomato sauce, is problematic as well. Ingesting red pepper is likely to lead to an upset stomach in dogs and other pets alike.

What If My Dog Already Ate Some Tomato Sauce?

It is important to note that just because an ingredient is toxic to dogs that accidental ingestion may not be cause for alarm. Toxicity is dependent on a few factors, including size of the dog and the amount of toxin consumed.

Tomatoes, the main ingredient of tomato sauce, are harmless to our four-legged friends. Other ingredients are only present in limited quantities. Large dogs are not likely to develop any serious side effects from eating a little bit of tomato sauce.

However, smaller dogs, especially those less than 10 lbs, may become sick from even a small amount of tomato sauce. For this reason, it is recommended not to feed your dog any tomato sauce.

If your dog has consumed tomato sauce, which contains dangerous ingredients, then it would be for the best to contact a veterinarian. A large-sized dog is likely to be okay, but if your four-legged buddy is rather small, then she might need veterinary care. Either way, calling the vet is the right thing to do.


The answer to the question “can dogs eat tomato sauce?” is definitely no. Tomato sauce is likely to contain garlic and onion, which are toxic to dogs. And even if a tomato sauce does not contain these dangerous ingredients, it would still be too acidic for your dog to enjoy without problems.

So, if you have some leftover pasta with tomato sauce, just put it in the fridge and eat it yourself the next day. Giving it to your dog would cause more harm than good.

By the way, ketchup too is not safe for dogs.


  1. Onion Poisoning.” Pet Poison Helpline. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.


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