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  • Can Dogs Eat Grapes or Raisins? No! They can Cause Illness, Even Death

    by Lindsey Hawkins September 20, 2020 5 min read 0 Comments

    Can Dogs Eat Grapes or Raisins?

    Ingestion of grapes or raisins are extremely harmful to your dog. These fruits are toxic to canines and can lead to kidney failure and can even be fatal, if not treated immediately. If you know your dog has eaten any of these fruits or is showing any symptoms, immediately contact your veterinarian.


    What Types of Grapes or Raisins are Toxic to Dogs?

    There is no such thing as a dog-safe grape or raisin. All varieties of grapes ranging from commercial seedless grapes to homegrown or organic grapes have proven to be toxic to dogs.¹ All varieties of dried grapes, otherwise known as raisins, sultanas or Zante currants, are also harmful for your dog to consume.


    What is the Toxic Dose?

    Currently, there are not clear findings as to what the toxic dose is for grape or raisin ingestion.

    The specific number of ingested grapes or raisins that leads to toxicity is still unknown. But even small doses can be fatally toxic to dogs.² Additional factors such as size and the amount eaten also play a role in how toxic the substance is to your dog.³

    Studies have found that the kidneys can enter the renal failure stage after a dog consumes just 2.8 g/kg (0.1 oz/kg) of raisins. For grapes, the kidneys can enter this stage with dosages as small as 19.6 g/kg (0.7 oz/kg) are consumed. However, clear relationships between dosage and toxicity are still unclear.⁴ Making it important to take caution if your dog has consumed any amount of these fruits.


    Why are Grapes and Raisins Toxic for Dogs?

    What makes these foods toxic to dogs is still unknown.

    It is suspected that dogs are unable to break down certain parts of grapes and raisins.¹ Another possible cause may be from mycotoxin, a poison that coats grapes and raisins. Studies have shown that kidney cells in dogs are very sensitive to mycotoxin.³

    Because the exact reason why these fruits are toxic to dogs is still unknown, it is best to treat any sign of ingestion or toxicity very seriously.


    My Dog has Eaten Grapes or Raisins. What can I do?

    If you are positive that your dog has eaten any of these fruits and you are unable to seek immediate care, you should induce vomiting to prevent toxins from being absorbed. Contact your vet or poison control to seek assistance when inducing vomiting.⁵

    Do not induce vomiting if your dog:

    • Is unconscious
    • Having difficulty breathing
    • Has already vomited on their own
    • A previous attempt to induce vomiting was not successful

    You should always first contact your veterinarian or poison control hotline if you suspect your dog has eaten any of these fruits. It is always best to follow the advice of your veterinarian.

    Be prepared for your vet to ask questions such as breed, age, weight, as estimate of how many of the fruits your dog has eaten, and if your dog has any underlying health conditions.


    What are the Symptoms of a Grape or Raisin Poisoning? How is it Diagnosed?

    Symptoms typically develop within 12-24 hours. The first symptom will likely be vomiting. Other initial signs can be:

    • Lack of appetite
    • Lethargy or weakness
    • Diarrhea

    Acute kidney failure can begin within 24-48 hours. More severe symptoms and signs of possible kidney damage or failure are:

    • Nausea or dehydration
    • Foul breath
    • Abdominal pain
    • Seizures or coma

    If you suspect your dog has ingested any of these fruits, it is best to call your veterinarian immediately. Because ingestion of these fruits can lead to kidney failure and possibly death, it is advised to have your pet looked at by a professional as soon as possible.² ⁵


    How is a Grape or Raisin Poisoning Treated?

    The earlier ingestion of these fruits is diagnosed, the better.

    • Vomiting can be induced within the first two hours if your canine has eaten any of these fruits.
      Vomiting will remove the fruits from your dog's stomach and prevent any further toxins from harming your pet. It is advised that you call your veterinarian prior to inducing vomiting. Your vet may also give your pet charcoal after induced vomiting, to prevent any further absorption.³, ⁵
    • Intravenous (IV) fluids may be given to flush out any remaining toxins
      The fluid process will prevent any further damage to the kidneys. Your dog may be hospitalized overnight to receive constant fluids and monitoring. Your vet may also administer medications to help with blood circulation to the kidneys and reduce any further vomiting.⁵
    • Blood and urine tests to evaluate kidney function
      Blood work will help determine how much kidney damage has resulted from ingestion. Your veterinarian will monitor blood levels to ensure the kidneys are functioning correctly.⁵


    What is the Prognosis Following a Grape or Raisin Poisoning?

    The prognosis is dependent on the amount of fruit ingested, size of pet and how quickly treatment began after eating any of these fruits.

    If ingestion has been identified within two hours of eating any of these fruits, the success rate of removing the fruits and flushing the stomach of any remaining toxins is high.

    When kidney damage and possible kidney failure is present, the chances of recovery decline rapidly. Because the kidneys do not have the ability to repair themselves, it is likely that the result will be fatal if there are signs of advanced kidney damage.⁵


    How can I Protect my Dog from a Grape or Raisin Poisoning?

    • Never give any of these fruits to your dog, even in small amounts or as treats
    • Store these fruits in a safe place that is out of reach of your dog
    • Keep in mind that some food items like cakes or trail mixes may contain raisins
    • Provide dog sitters or walkers with information regarding which foods you should not give your dog


    In Short

    Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs. The best practice is to prevent your dog from having the chance to ingest grapes or raisins in any situation. If you suspect your dog may have eaten any amount of these fruits, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not wait until your dog shows first signs of a poisoning. The success rate of treatment increases the quicker your dog is being helped.

    How do you protect your dog from toxic substances in your apartment or house? Has your dog ever been poisoned? If yes, how did you deal with the situation? Please comment below. We’d love to hear your story!