Thursday, 1 December 2022

Lycopene Rich Foods for Dogs


Lycopene rich foods for dogs

★ 4 min read

In this article:

  1. What is lycopene
  2. Health benefits of lycopene for your dog
  3. Lycopene rich foods for dogs
  4. How to include lycopene rich foods in your dog's diet

What is Lycopene

Lycopene is a naturally occurring plant-based pigment that gives some fruit and vegetables their orange, pink and red color. As a pigment, lycopene helps protect plants from oxidative stress caused by photo-sensitization.  

Lycopene is a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, carotenoid that cannot be made by the body (dog, human, etc.).  It must be obtained by eating lycopene rich plant material.

After ingestion lycopene enters the lymphatic system, then moves on to organs such as the adrenal glands, colon and liver. The skin only absorbs a small part of ingested lycopene.

Once consumed, lycopene enters the lymphatic system, then moves to various locations where it is stored. These locations include:

- Adrenal glands

- Brain

- Liver (the primary storage location) 

- Kidneys

- Lungs

- Ovaries

- Prostate

- Skin 

- Testes


Health Benefits of Lycopene For Your Dog

Lycopene plays an important role in disease prevention and treatment.

Lycopene rich foods in your dog's diet can help prevent and treat inflammatory issues and disease, including:





Atopic dermatitis

Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH)

Bone loss due to osteoarthritis


Lycopene is an anti-carcinogenic, anti-proliferative, anti-apoptotic. Lycopene helps protect healthy cells, assists in stopping the spread of cancer (matastasis), inhibits tumor growth and helps kill cancerous cells.

Lycopene fights a wide variety of cancers, including:

- Brain cancer

- Cervical cancer

- Colon cancer

- Kidney cancer

- Liver cancer

- Lung cancer

- Lymphoma

- Mammary (breast) cancer

- Oral cancers

- Ovarian cancer 

- Pancreatic cancer

- Squamous cell carcinomas

Cardiovascular issues and disease


- High blood pressure

- High cholesterol


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD, chronic bronchitis)


Diabetes Type II

Complications including:

- Insulin resistance

- Kidney issues (nephropathy)

- Neuropathy

Immune system support

Immune mediated diseases

Kidney damage

Liver damage and disease

Metabolic    Syndrome

Neurological issues and disease


- Cognitive decline

- Degenerative Disk Disease

- Dementia

- Epilepsy

- Seizures

- Spinal cord injury

Oral health issues


Skin Issues

 - Atopic dermatitis

- UVA radiation damage, lycopene is a natural sunscreen

- Melanoma

-  Psoriasis


From synthetic chemical substances, and natural substances, including:

- acetaminophen and other conventional medications

- aluminum

- aflatoxins

- bisphenol (BPA)

- chemotherapy

- fluoride

- heavy metals

- pesticides

- phthalate

- radiation

Lycopene Rich Foods for Dogs

A dog's species appropriate diet includes a small amount of fresh plant material: vegetables, fruit, herbal plants, seeds and nuts.

Refer to the list of lycopene fruit and vegetables further below, and the general guideline for including vegetables and fruit in your dog's diet.

Offer your dog the items from the list and allow her to self-select the lycopene fruit and vegetables she prefers. 

  • Never force your dog to eat items she does not want. 
  • Read about self-selection here.
  • Once you know your dog's preferences, you can add the items to your dog's diet, directions provided further below.


Richest Sources of  Lycopene Fruit and Vegetables for Dogs


Tomato-rich lycopene sources for dogs and cats

Lycopene per 100g of tomato product:

Sundried tomato provides more than 3x the lycopene found in tomato sauce. Choose organic sundried tomatoes. See the lycopene comparison below: 

Sundried tomato – 45.0 mg per 100g 

Tomato paste – 28.7 mg per 100g 

Tomato sauce – 14 mg per 100g 

Steamed tomato – 3 mg per 100g 

Raw tomato – 2.5 mg per 100g


Canned Tomato Products

I don't recommend using canned products as part of a dog's daily diet due to the toxic exposure from cans and can-linings. 


While most food companies have replaced toxic BPA can linings with acrylic and polyester linings, toxic chemical contamination of canned food is still an issue. Non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) present in the can, and can lining migrate (leak and move), into the food.


Metal can and lining migrates to food include:

  • Acrylic resins
  • Amino resins (plastic polymers made with aldehyde)
  • Catalysts
  • Esters, organic and inorganic
  • Epoxidized edible oils (plasticizers)
  • Lubricants and waxes of various type and origins
  • Metals
  • Oligomers (a type of polymer present in acrylic and polyester)
  • Reaction accelerators to remove oxygen from canned food


Research has shown that even short-term feeding of canned food products increases the concentration of toxins in a dog’s body.


Use products sold in glass bottles, rather than canned products.

How About Tomato Pomace in Pet Food Products?

Tomato Pomace used in pet food products is not a source of lycopene.  Tomato pomace is made from the waste and effluent (by-products), left over from processing tomatoes for other purposes. The pomace goes through two intense processing procedures that destroy any remaining nutritional value.  The tomato pomace used in pet food is derived from tomatoes grown using a wide-range of synthetic-chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. The toxic residue remains in the pomace after processing. Read more about the issues with tomato pomace in pet food here.

 Guava, Papaya, Red Grapefruit and Watermelon

 Guava (pink guava), fresh - 5 mg lycopene per 100g 

Watermelon, fresh - 4.5 mg per 100g 

Papaya, fresh - 1.8 mg per 100g 

Grapefruit, fresh - 1.4 mg lycopene per 100g


Fruit sources rich in lycopene for dogs and cats

Summary List of Lycopene Fruit and Vegetables for Dogs

Richest sources:

- Gac fruit

- Guava

- Papaya

- Red Grapefruit 

- Watermelon

- Tomato

Good sources:

- Apricots

- Cantaloupe and other orange melons

- Carrot

- Cranberry

- Peach

- Persimmon

- Pomegranate 

- Pumpkin

- Red bell pepper

- Red cabbage

- Rosehip

Minor source:




How To Include Lycopene Rich Foods in Your Dog's Diet

How Much Vegetables and Fruit To Include in Your Dog's Diet

General guideline for including vegetables and fruit in a species appropriate diet:

Vegetables, leafy greens: 

  • 7% to 10% of the daily food intake, but can be more depending on the individual dog's situation.


  • 1% to 3% of the diet, but can be more depending on the individual dog's situation.


How to Prepare Vegetables and Fruit to Include in Your Dog's Diet

Follow the instructions provided in this article.  

The article also provides an extensive list of appropriate vegetables and fruit for dogs.

Maximize the Bioavalability of Lycopene

Lycopene is a fat-soluble carotinoid, this means it should be consumed with a good-source fat to ensure bioavailablility of the lycopene. Include at least one good-quality, species appropriate fat with the lycopene rich food you'll be adding to your dog's meal.  

Examples of  dog appropriate fats to serve with lycopene rich foods are listed below.  

Click the link for each item for: dosing guidelines, serving recommendations, health benefits and other important information.



Coconut oil

Flax seed oil

Hemp seed oil

Krill oil 

Wild-caught fatty (oily) fish  

Sardines and other small fatty (oily) fish



Supplemental forms of lycopene:

Concentrated lycopene supplements, e.g. synthetic lycopene supplements, encapsulated lycopene supplements, lycopene softgel supplements, etc. should not be given to dogs. 

Concentrated lycopene supplements can lead to excess intake of lycopene which can cause lycopenemia (discoloration of the skin), gastrointestinal issues. Concentrated lycopene supplementation can cause birth of underweight puppies and/or premature labour in pregnant dogs.

Lycopene should be obtained by including an appropriate amount of lycopene rich fresh food in the diet. Refer to the section above 'How Much To Include in Your Dog's Diet'.

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Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Practitioner – Dogs and Cats
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer