Signs Of Tomato Poisoning In Dogs

Tomatoes are among the most popular edible plants grown in people’s gardens, greenhouses, patios, and homes. They are also the basis of various dishes, beverages, sauces, and other food products.

But while fully ripe and red tomatoes are safe for dogs, tomato poisoning can occur if the green parts, such as the leaves and stems of the plant or unripe green tomatoes, are ingested by them.

In most mild cases, you can expect your pup to suffer from some gastrointestinal upsets after eating some green tomatoes or tomato plants. But there are, unfortunately, other more severe adverse effects that can occur due to the toxins found in the tomato plant.

The good news is that if you act quickly and provide your pet the care it needs, the prognosis for a full recovery is usually extremely good.

Suppose you see or suspect that your four-legged companion has consumed a significant amount of green tomatoes or foliage. In that case, we recommend that you call your veterinarian immediately for instructions.

The Most Common Signs Of Tomato Poisoning In Dogs

The symptoms of tomato toxicity in canines can differ depending on your dog’s size, ingested amount, and other factors, such as the pup’s overall health and age.

Some of the most common symptoms you can expect to see if your dog has ingested green tomatoes or plants include:

  • Gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive drooling (hypersalivation)
  • Confusion
  • Sudden changes in the behavior
  • Dilated pupils
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depression
  • An abnormal heart rate, such as arrhythmia or other cardiac issues
  • Tremors or seizures

The more severe symptoms typically occur when substantial amounts of the toxin have been ingested. Or when the dog is small-sized or a small puppy and has consumed a significant amount of the green tomatoes or foliage.

The Different Tomato Types

Cultivated by the Aztecs, tomatoes were first introduced to Spain and Europe and then to the rest of the world in the 16th century during the so-called Columbian exchange.

Today, there are countless varieties of these berries from the Solanum Lycopersicum plant, commonly known as a tomato plant.

While there are different colored tomatoes and different sorts and sizes, they are usually used for food only once the berries or tomato fruits have ripened.

All kinds of tomatoes can be toxic to dogs, cats, and horses if eaten unripe or if the green parts of the plant are consumed.

What Makes Tomatoes Toxic?

Tomatoes contain two potentially toxic substances for dogs and other animals. These are solanine and tomatine.

Solanine is predominant in the green parts of the plant, as well as in unripe green tomatoes. It is a substance that acts as a defense mechanism for the plants against deer, rabbits, insects, birds, fungus, and other predators that like to eat them.

As the tomato fruit itself ripens and becomes red, the amount of solanine in it drops drastically, so it is safe to eat.

How Is Tomato Poisoning In Dogs Diagnosed?

If you find the plant from which the dog ate, take a sample with you to the veterinarian. This will allow for additional analysis of the exact type of poisoning that needs to be addressed. It is possible but not guaranteed that chemicals like herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides can be detected with the plant’s identification.

The vet will ask you about your dog’s age, health issues, and the approximate amount and types of tomatoes ingested. They will perform a thorough physical examination and can run some blood and urine analysis tests. An ECG may also be done to determine whether there are heart rate irregularities.

Examination of your pup’s vomit or feces may also be necessary to determine which toxin is causing the symptoms and whether there are bacteria or parasites that can be causing them.

The blood work can include a complete blood count and a chemistry panel. A test of the hydration status of your pup may also be performed to determine the need for IV fluid treatment.

Your vet may also perform a urinalysis to determine whether the animal’s kidneys are functioning properly.

How Is Tomato Poisoning In Dogs Treated?

The veterinarian will probably induce vomiting and give the dog some activated charcoal. This will help the organism neutralize and flush away as many toxins as quickly as possible before they have been completely digested.

If it is already vomiting and has diarrhea, then IV electrolyte fluid treatment may begin immediately to prevent dehydration and to stimulate the quicker flushing out of the toxic substance.

Your pet’s vital signs, including heart rate, will be continually monitored by the doctor so that any abnormalities may be addressed immediately.

Your vet may also administer various other medications to relieve the different symptoms that your pet is displaying.

In case the dog is experiencing behavioral changes, they will place it in a safe and quiet place to prevent accidental harm due to excitement.

Your furbaby may need to stay at the clinic for 24-48 hours for IV infusions, further treatment, and monitoring by the veterinarian.

What If You Cannot Afford The Treatment For Tomato Poisoning?

Veterinary care, especially emergency care, can be quite expensive. This is why we strongly recommend that pet parents consider buying pet insurance. This will give you peace of mind in times like this.

What Is The Prognosis For Full Recovery After Tomato Poisoning?

Thankfully, tomato poisoning is relatively mild compared to other types of dog poisoning.

Unless the dog is very small or has eaten a huge amount of foliage and green tomatoes, chances are that if you take action as soon as possible, it will recover completely without any long-term effects on its health.

The best way to keep your beloved furry friend safe is to keep it away from any tomato plants or green tomatoes in your home or garden. Prevention is the best cure, so if you have tomato plants, either fence them or put the pots out of reach from your pup.

Some dogs, especially young puppies, love to munch on anything they can get a hold of out of curiosity. So be especially careful with puppies and tomatoes or other potentially toxic plants in your home.

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