Garden Delights

Thanks to P, we have enjoyed a vegetable garden in our backyard every year since we moved into our house.  P does all the work by himself – prepping the soil, planting, watering, weeding, building lattices for the taller plants.  We both enjoy the tasty harvest that arrives at the end of each summer. 

Each year the plants vary, but there is always a mixture of herbs, different tomato varieties and squash.  This summer the garden had a huge crop of tomatoes – everything from cherry to beefsteak varieties.  We’ve had fresh tomatoes incorporated into almost every dinner for the past two weeks.  So tasty! 

A few days ago Kona’s curiosity led her into the garden.  In the past she has focussed on the logs forming a retaining wall at the back of the garden, but this time some bright red tomatoes caught her eye.  She managed to sneak a bite when neither of us were looking and liked what she tasted.  Now all she wants to do in the backyard is search for tomatoes – she’s like a homing pigeon zeroing in on the vegetable garden!  

A quick internet search on “can dogs eat tomatoes” revealed that red tomatoes are safe for dogs, but green (unripe) ones are not.  According to several sources (including this one), tomatoes contain both atropine and tomatine.  The tomatine is poisonous, and while there is not enough of it to be harmful to humans, it can be toxic to dogs.  The levels of tomatine decrease as the tomato ripens, and is gone by the time they are red (ripe).  The green leaves and stems of the tomato plant also contain tomatine.  In fact, they are far more poisonous and should not be eaten by dogs. 

Luckily she didn’t express interest in the green tomatoes, but we will have to be on the lookout next year just to be safe.  As she is always keen to chew on plants, we will need to be very vigilant with her around the vegetable garden.

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