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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 not. Gastrointestinal upset is the most frequently seen symptom of tomato poisoning in dogs. If you witness your dog eat a green part of this plant, 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 toxicity have a good 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 an unripe tomato or any foliage, he can develop symptoms of toxicity. If you know your dog ingested any green part of the tomato plant, contact your veterinarian.

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.

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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. If the vomit is clear and unsuccessful at producing any plant remnants, she may 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 to moderate, prognosis of a full recovery is good. 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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Golden Retriever

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Fifteen Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Laying Around In Other Room Away From Us Which Isn’T Normal

Eat a half rotten tomato yesterday has eaten today

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If she is eating and drinking normally, and just seems a little quiet, she may be fine after 24 hours. If she is vomiting, having diarrhea, or doesn't want to eat, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as some of the toxins in rotten food can be quite hard on the GI tract. I hope that she is okay.

July 29, 2020

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Labrador Retriever

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2.5 Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Moody, Not Eating

Might have eaten a leaf from my tomato plant was vomiting last night. Won’t eat today but drinks water

July 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. While I am not sure that one tomato leaf would cause those kinds of signs in your dog, she is apparently not feeling well for some reason. If she continues to not want to eat, or is lethargic, or is vomiting or having diarrhea, then it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. There are number of reasons that this might be happening, and a veterinarian will be able to look at her, see what might be going on, and give you the best options for treatment. If this is a short-term problem, and she feels better soon, then that is great. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 23, 2020

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Pit Bull

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One Year

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Has Symptoms

Bad Breath

I suspect my puppy has fully eaten 1 unripe cherry tomato, and then chewed on another and a leaf from a heirloom tomato plant in the last day. She is a bit more lethargic then normal, skin gets red (she’s a white dog easy to see when she’s having a reaction), her breath smells fishy and her gum around one tooth bleeds once and a while. Today is the second day she’s been like this. Her stole is normal and her appetite is fine. Should I be worried?

July 16, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello Cherry tomatoes are ok for dogs but the vines can cause GI upset. It is recommended that you take your dog to a veterinarian for an exam. They will check her out and get her vitals and make sure she's ok. Good luck.

July 16, 2020

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minature pincher

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Five Years

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Has Symptoms

Little Spit Up Clear Mucus

we have a tomato plant in back yard with grape tomato, two months, are dog loves the tomatoes, she picks them eats them, we noticed she is not as active, but she eats well, drinks water, goes to bathroom solid. the last two days she spit up clear mucus at night. she loves going on walks, she seems ok but does sleep more. We called vet we cannot get appointment until July 29. Any ideas what we can do?

July 14, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. She may have upset her GI tract, and a few days of a bland diet of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice may help settle her stomach. If she is still vomiting after that, having her seen by a veterinarian would be best. I hope that all goes well for her!

July 14, 2020

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Molly

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Schnoodle

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8 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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Mild Lethargy
Off Food

Hail storm knocked some small green tomatoes *smaller then cherry. Dog has eaten a few I'm guessing. She is kinda off her food...which for her is very strange as she is food orientated. No vomiting or any other symptoms. Should I be worried.

Aug. 15, 2018

Molly's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Unripe tomatoes will contain solanine which may result in some gastrointestinal symptoms including loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea; however when large amounts are consumed increases in heart rate, depression and dilated pupils may be seen. If there is no improvement or you’re generally concerned visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 16, 2018

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Dallas

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Labrador Retriever

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Salivation

I had noticed my dog snooping around in the garden, but thought he was chasing grasshoppers. He has been salivating, licking his chops more than normal, and vomited once, but there was nothing obvious in the vomit. Then today I saw several whole green cherry tomatoes (and ripe tomato skin) in his poop. Otherwise, it was a normal consistency. Now I'm not really sure how many he's eaten. Behavior and appetite are normal.

Tomato Poisoning Average Cost

From 350 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400