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What is Tomato Poisoning?

The tomato is commonly found in many homes and gardens. It is an ingredient in many of the foods we eat which leads us to develop a false sense of security of the safety of the plant. While the red, ripened tomato is indeed safe for dogs, any part of the plant that is green is potentially not. Gastrointestinal upset is the most frequently seen symptom of tomato poisoning in dogs. If you witness your dog eat a large quantity of unripe tomatoes or the stem and leaves,  consult with your veterinarian. Upon arrival at the veterinarian’s office, supportive therapies will be administered to your pet in accordance with his needs. Most cases of tomato ingestion have an excellent prognosis for a full recovery.

Many people assume the tomato is safe for their dog to eat since it is safe for humans to eat. This is not true. While the ripe tomato is considered safe, if your dog eats a large amount of an unripe tomato or any foliage, he can develop symptoms of toxicity. If you know your dog ingested lots of unripe tomato or the green parts of the tomato plant, contact your veterinarian.

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Tomato Poisoning Average Cost

From 350 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Tomato Poisoning in Dogs

The amount of the tomato plant your dog ingests will affect the rapidity of the onset of toxicity symptoms. Symptoms include

  • Hypersalivation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Behavioral change
  • Weakness
  • CNS depression
  • Dilated pupil
  • Abnormal heart rate

Typically, a large amount of the green parts of the tomato plant needs to be ingested to cause toxicity symptoms. However, if you have a small dog or puppy, it may only take a small amount to result in toxicity.

Types

There are different species of tomatoes, but all are similar in appearance. Tomatoes belong to the Solanine family and the genus Lycopersicon. People can grow their own tomatoes in a home garden, in a large field, or greenhouses. Tomatoes are used in many recipes, but usually the ripened fruit is used, not the green unripe fruit. If you plant the tomato in your garden, you will have to ensure your dog does not have access to the growing plant.

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Causes of Tomato Poisoning in Dogs

The tomato plant produces the toxin solanine. Solanine mainly causes irritation of the stomach and intestinal lining resulting in gastrointestinal upset. The highest potency of the toxin is found in the unripe tomato and any part of the green foliage.

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Diagnosis of Tomato Poisoning in Dogs

Your veterinarian will begin by performing a physical examination on your dog. This will allow her to assess his symptoms at present and note any abnormalities of his vitals. If your dog is drooling excessively or displaying other symptoms of oral pain, the veterinarian will take special care when examining his mouth to note any abnormalities. If your dog vomits while at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine the contents for any evidence as to what he ingested. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, a fecal sample may be taken and tests performed to rule out internal parasites or bacterial overgrowth. 

Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are functioning. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment. A packed cell volume (PCV) may also be performed to determine hydration status. If your veterinarian feels it is necessary, she may also perform a urinalysis for further evaluation of kidney function. 

If your dog is experiencing some type of cardiac related symptom, she may perform an ECG or to get a current reading of your dog’s pulse and to ensure each part of the heart is functioning properly. If you believe or witnessed your dog eating this plant, take a piece of it with you to the veterinarians. This will allow for proper identification of the plant your dog consumed and the toxin it contains.

If your dog is showing severe signs of toxicity, consider if the tomato was treated with weed killer or fertiliser, or if perhaps the dog has ingested something else which is more toxic.

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Treatment of Tomato Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog is vomiting and having diarrhea, the veterinarian will begin administration of fluid therapy with electrolytes. This will treat any dehydration and prevent it from becoming more severe. It will also help the body flush the toxin out quicker.

Your dog will be kept on monitoring equipment until his heart returns to its normal function. This will provide the veterinarian with a constant display of his vitals, including his pulse, and will allow for quick intervention if his heart rate were to suddenly change. If your dog’s heart rate is abnormal or part of his heart is malfunctioning, the veterinarian may administer medications to counteract these abnormalities. 

Your veterinarian may induce vomiting in your dog to get him to expel any remaining pieces of the tomato plant from the stomach. She may also administer activated charcoal to bind any remaining toxin in the gastrointestinal tract before the body absorbs it. If your dog is experiencing any type of behavioral or mood change, the veterinarian will keep him in a quiet place to keep him calm. This will avoid any unnecessary excitement or accidental bodily harm.

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Recovery of Tomato Poisoning in Dogs

If you believe your dog ingested any green part of the tomato plant, alert your veterinarian as soon as possible. Since tomato plant toxicity may be considered mild, prognosis of a full recovery is excellent. If your dog experiences the most commonly seen symptoms related to gastrointestinal upset, he will recover very well with the addition of supportive therapies such as fluids. If your dog is experiencing more severe symptoms or acting abnormally, veterinary intervention is needed. Once the toxin from this plant makes its way out of your dog’s system, he should recover without long term side effects. 

If you are growing the tomato plant anywhere in or around your home, keep it away from your dog. If it is in a pot, keep it off the ground and out of the reach of your dog. If you are growing this plant in your garden, put fencing around it so that your dog is not tempted to chew on it. While toxicity is rare, it can still occur, especially if you have a puppy or curious dog that likes to chew on foliage. Keeping the temptation away from your dog and preventing toxicity from occurring is the best thing you can do for him.

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Tomato Poisoning Average Cost

From 350 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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Tomato Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My baby got a neighbor's tomato plant through our chain link fence. He ate some small tomatoes. I caught him but not sure if he got the plant. It was dark. Now he's vomiting. He vomited twice. He had a heave like he has something caught in his throat or chest. He's laying in my lap, although that's normal for him, he's acting a little strange. He seems calm now but I'm concerned. Is there anything I can give him to settle his tummy. I don't have the funds for a vet visit.

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I hope that he is back to his normal self and feeling better.

Oct. 8, 2020

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Maltese

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Blowed Stomach

I gave my dog some spaghetti and now his stomach is blown up

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If you are concerned that he is bloated, it would be best to have hi seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as they can examine him and see what might be going on. If he looks like he ate too much, taking him for a walk may help.

Oct. 9, 2020

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Tomato Poisoning Average Cost

From 350 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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