Tomatoes are fruits that are used as vegetables because of their savory taste. These can be used fresh in salads or your favorite BLT sandwich, or soups, sauces or ketchup.
Everyone knows that tomatoes are very healthy for humans. However, most of us don’t know whether this phenomenal fruit and plant are good for our cats or dogs, or not.
Before you treat your favourite pets with some bites from your delicious food, please read this article.
It is not recommended for cats and dogs to eat any part of the tomato plant and not even the fruit. So, let’s see why is it toxic and what are the symptoms, also, what to do if your pet ingested these plants.
Why are Tomato Plants Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
The scientific name of the tomato plant is Lycopersicon spp. and is part of the Solanaceae family.
While ripe tomatoes are not doing any harm to cats and dogs, maybe an upset stomach, the green tomato fruits, the tomato plant’s leaves and stems can be toxic for them.
The green parts of the tomato plants and fruits contain solanine and alpha-tomatine. These are poisonous to cats and dogs if ingested in large quantities.
Ripe tomatoes contain less of these substances; therefore, it is safe for your pets, however, it is not recommended because these can be difficult to digest for a few of the pets, and some cats can be even allergic to tomatoes.
If you see your cat or dog is eating the tomato plant, you should try to remove it from their mouth and keep them monitored for any symptoms.
Symptoms of Tomato Plant Poisoning in Cats and Dogs
Usually, if a cat or dog eats tomato plant or green tomato, are not dying. But there can be severe symptoms, which untreated, can be lethal.
So, if you are not sure that your pet has eaten from a tomato plant, you should look for these symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme stomach upset
- Behavioral changes
- Central nervous system depression
- Physical weakness
- Cardiac effects
- Dilated pupils
If you see any of these symptoms on your pet, you should seek a vet’s assistance to help in getting better quicker. Also, you should ensure that they eat and drink, so they don’t get dehydrated.
Treatment of Tomato Poisoning in Cats and Dogs
There is no antidote for the tomato plants’ poison. So, if your cat or dog indigested leaves or stem of the tomato, please, take it to the veterinarian.
Don’t try to treat this at home. What you can do, is to ensure that the animal is eating and drinking. But if the symptoms are severe, take it to the doctor.
The veterinarian will usually begin with the administration of fluids with electrolytes, so your pet will not get dehydrated.
Then, depending on their symptoms, their heart will be monitored. If there is any malfunctioning in the pets’ hearts, the veterinarian can administer the needed medication.
Inducing vomiting to clean out the pets’ stomach is not unusual either. The vet can also administer some activated charcoal which will bind any remaining toxin in the gastrointestinal tract of the pet.
Recovery of Tomato Poisoning Cats and Dogs
Tomato plants’ toxicity is considered mild to moderate; therefore, the prognosis of full recovery is good. Most of the pets intoxicated with tomato plants are fully recovered in few hours.
However, as soon as you notice that your pet indigested any part of the plant, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
With activated charcoal and lots of fluids, your pet will recover quickly, however, if the symptoms are severe or the pet is acting abnormally, the vet will need to make other interventions as well.
Once the pets’ body emptied all the toxins, these should recover without any remaining side effects.
Can Cats or Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce?
Tomato sauce is made out of ripe tomatoes. As I mentioned earlier, ripe tomatoes are not dangerous for pets.
However, tomato sauce can contain lots of salt, preservatives and other different ingredients, like garlic, onion powder, etc., which can be harmful to cats and dogs.
Also, other products made out of tomato, like ketchup, tomato soup and tomato juice are not recommended for your pets.
All these products can contain lots of salt. Salt can cause many issues in cats’ and dogs’ digestive system. These can become very thirsty and can urinate in excess, also, may occur seizure and sodium ion poisoning.
If you grow tomatoes indoors or outdoors, make sure your cat or dog cannot reach them. If your tomato plants are in pots, put them away from your pets, or if the plants are in a garden, put a fence, or just simply don’t let the animals enter your garden.
Toxicity is rare; however, it can still happen. Especially if your pet is curious.
Kittens and puppies are like kids. They love to explore and they might chew on your tomato plants. The smaller the animal is, the more dangerous the toxin.
So, while you cannot treat tomato poisoning, you can easily prevent it by keeping away the temptation from your cat or dog. This is the best thing you can do for your pets.