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Grape and Raisin Poisoning in Dogs

 

Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

 

Grape and raisin (dried grapes) toxicity is well documented in dogs.* Although the exact substance that causes the toxic reaction is not yet known, dogs should not eat grapes and raisins because even small amounts can prove to be fatally toxic for a dog.

 

Dogs of any age, breed, or gender may be affected. Grapes and raisins are bad for dogs because one of the most serious complications of grape/raisin toxicity is they can cause severe kidney damage leading to acute (sudden) kidney failure with lack of urine production (anuria). However, kidney failure is not seen in all dogs after ingestion of grapes or raisins, and again, the reason why some dogs are affected excessively, while others are not, is still being studied. 

  

Symptoms and Types

 

Grape and raisin poisoning will usually cause dogs to develop some combination of the following symptoms:

 

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea – often within a few hours of ingestion. Vomit and fecal contents material may contain pieces of grapes or raisin.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy, weakness, unusual quietness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Oliguria (passing only a small amount of urine)
  • Anuria (complete cessation of urine)
  • Foul breath
  • Oral ulcers
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

 

Causes

 

Grape and/or raisin ingestion – even small amounts can be toxic for some dogs while other dogs can ingest relatively large amounts without developing obvious symptoms. The toxic agent has not yet been identified but appears to be associated with the flesh of the fruit. In other words, peeled and/or seedless grapes are still toxic.

 

Immediate Treatment

 

This is an emergency, needing immediate treatment. If you are positive that your dog ingested grapes or raisins within the last two hours, you will need to induce vomiting as soon as possible, before all the toxins in the fruit can be absorbed.

 

However, do not induce vomiting if your dog is:

  • Unconscious
  • Is having trouble breathing
  • Is exhibiting signs of serious distress or shock
  • Or if you are unsure of what your dog may have eaten. 

 

If your dog has already vomited, do not try to force more vomiting. Call your veterinarian for advice. If he or she recommends that you induce vomiting at home, use the following method:

 

  • If the dog has not eaten within the last two hours, offer him a small meal. This makes it more likely that the dog will vomit but is not essential if the dog is uninterested in food. 
  • Measure 1 milliliter (ml) of 3% hydrogen peroxide per pound of the dog’s weight, using either a syringe (no needle) or teaspoon (one teaspoon is approximately five ml). The maximum amount of hydrogen peroxide to be given at any one time is 45 ml, even if a dog weighs over 45 pounds. 
  • Squirt the hydrogen peroxide into the back of the dog’s mouth using a syringe (no needle) or turkey baster.
  • If vomiting does not take place within fifteen minutes of the first administration, you may try again, using the same amount. This method should not be used more than two times, spaced apart at fifteen minute intervals.

 

If your dog has not vomited after the second dose of hydrogen peroxide, do not use it, or anything further, to try to induce vomiting. Do not use anything stronger than hydrogen peroxide without first talking to your veterinarian. 

 

Whether your dog vomits or not, after the initial care, you must rush him to a veterinary facility immediately. Your veterinarian may need to perform a gastric lavage and/or administer activated charcoal to deal with any toxin that remains in your dog’s stomach, as well as institute treatment to protect your dog’s kidneys.

 

Comments  12

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  • My dog loves grapes....
    11/25/2015 09:26pm

    ...I guess there is no difference to humans loving alcohol and tobacco. My 60lb Australian Shepherd/Cattle dog ate about 1lb of Black Seedless Grapes and had zero complications. He even really seemed to enjoy them. I busted him in the act and realized how much he ate and followed him around for a few hours and all was normal even still a few days later.

  • 07/26/2016 09:36pm

    I'm glad your aussie didn't die after eating a ton of grapes but the fact of the matter is, allowing your dog to eat grapes untreated is akin to playing russian roulette. The mechanism for toxicity isn't understood so who knows if its ok for your dog to eat grapes today and not eat grapes tomorrow.

    It's also worth noting that the window to take action and protect your dog from acute kidney failure is very narrow. Once that window passes and the grapes are absorbed into the blood stream there's a odds of treatment working start decreasing and the cost of care shoots through the roof.

  • 08/11/2016 05:13pm

    Exactly! For all we known, the Mendelian trait that determines toxicity to grapes may be genetic, that is, inheritated among certain species/"family trees" of dogs.

  • Well documented
    09/11/2016 08:57pm

    "Well documented in dogs" how? What studies show this connection?

  • My dog loves grapes too
    09/22/2016 01:09am

    We give grapes and raising to our 70 lb. dog all the time. All. The. Time. Because of the warnings we are careful not to overdo it; we aren't dog abusers, tempting fate, or trying to prove anything. But people who should know better and still promote hysteria by not quantifying their warnings do the public a disservice.

    We've had similar experiences with hysteria over chocolate and pork. We avoided letting our dogs touch chocolate until one day, to our amazement, a trainer gave one of our dogs an Oreo cookie. That prompted us to look up just how much chocolate was toxic to dogs. It turns out the toxicity level is approximately 2 oz. per lb. of body weight. That meant our dog would have to have eaten about two pounds of pure chocolate to experience distress! Clearly this means that dogs and chocolate should be separated, but who in their right mind would feed their dog such an amount of chocolate? Meanwhile, people are freaking out if their dogs gobble up a few grains of chocolate cereal their kids spill onto the floor.

    Another of our dogs gobbled up a raw, 1" thick pork chop I had set aside as I was carrying it to our outdoor grill. Having been advised never to feed dogs any amount of pork, much less raw, I panicked and took her to an emergency clinic. I left with advice not to worry about it and a $150 bill (this was after hours on a weekend). Thanks for the hysterical, unquantified advice, folks. I know you think you're doing a service than that it's better to be safe than sorry, but you can't stop at the qualitative, "any is bad" level.

    Sugar is bad for your kids too. Does that make you stop at "zero tolerance?" Do you freak out when you see your kids with a piece of candy or—God forbid—dessert?

    It would be nice if, instead of harping on the same relatively innocuous foodstuffs over and over again, we could get someone to report on the toxicity of sugar-free products. Everyone knows that Xylitol is toxic to dogs. But what about other sugar alcohols, such as Malitol?

  • 10/07/2016 10:48pm

    Do you really want scientists to figure out the specific lethal doses for each breed and for each substance? Oral toxicity is measured by Lethal Dose (LD) with LD50 being the common standard, meaning 50% of the test subjects die at that dose. To determine LD50 for these substances, they would have to feed it to test dogs in a lab until 50% of them died on a consistent basis, then repeat that process for each substance and each breed...thousands of dead dogs just to prove to the ignorant skeptics that these substances are harmful?

    Regarding grapes, you cannot assume your dog is tolerating them by watching his behavior, because the behavior will not change until his kidneys are actually shutting down. Every time you feed him grapes, his creatinine levels are spiking and you are damaging his kidneys. The damage is cumulative and eventually, all it takes is one stress event such as a virus or other toxic ingestion and that last little bit of clearance capacity will be nuked...then fatal renal failure follows. Never feed your dog grapes, ever.

  • 12/10/2016 05:19pm

    What an asinine comment. Advising people not to give grapes to their dogs is neither promoting hysteria nor doing a public disservice. What exactly do you THINK they should say? "Um folks, we know grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs, and we know it only takes a small amount can kill SOME dogs, but don't worry about feeding them to your dog because chances are low that something will happen."

    They DON'T KNOW why some dogs are affected and some aren't. They don't know if it has to do with genetics or if it only happens when a dog's immune system is compromised. If it's the latter, then you are indeed playing Russian Roulette with your dog's life, and in that regard, you are an irresponsible dog owner.

    It burns me up that you'd say they're doing a public disservice and promoting hysteria. They are without question doing a huge public SERVICE by informing people of the dangers and I'm sure this article has already saved the lives of some dogs.

  • Pug ate my Pannatone
    11/29/2016 08:58pm

    Pannatone is a holiday bread containing raisins. I cut a wedge for myself and in a moment it was gone. My vet said give salt to the pug every 10 minutes until she vomited, but after 30 minutes she hadn't vomited. I rush her to the vet where she was given hydrogen peroxide and still didn't vomit. A blood panel was done, and activated charcoal administered. It's been a day and she ate breakfast, had normal bathroom habits and is sleeping. I'm still worried that renal failure could set in. She goes back tomorrow for more blood work.

  • 12/10/2016 05:24pm

    How is your Pug doing now? That's pretty scary.

  • GSD ate a ton of grapes!
    12/22/2016 04:29am

    I had never heard of this. Chocolate is publicized as the be-all,end-all of doggy NO-NOs -- but I NEVER heard anyone say to avoid grapes & raisins. Guess I was big-time out of the loop! If they are so terrible for dogs, then I am severely disappointed that the "foods to avoid" wasn't among the first things the vet told us when we went in for initial vaccines!

    Anyway, my 6 month old GSD ate about a pound of grapes -- and the only reaction he had was to wag his tail in sheer delight ...that was about a year ago. HE NEVER HAD ANY ISSUES ...but we've made sure to keep them away from him ever since, just to be on the safe side.

  • Toxicity in grapes
    12/27/2016 01:59am

    My Beagle has been eating grapes for 12 years. I never knew that there could be a problem. Interesting that in this day and age they have not isolated the cause of toxicity. A little trivia....Not too log ago...I believe in the 1800's, tomatoes were considered toxic to humans in some parts of the world. Turned out to be the lead in the mugs and plates they were using that leached out from the acidity of the tomato. People were dying from lead poisoning.

    Also, my dog ate an entire Valentine box of chocolates once, about 11 years ago, and nothing happened to him except he was a little hyperactive for a few hours. I keep hearing how deadly chocolate is to dogs. Go figure.

  • And so..?
    01/16/2017 11:15am

    My puppy was munching on a grape, I didn't notice what it was at first until i took it away from her, she never actually ate any of it, just more or less broke it apart. She just kept picking it up and spitting it back out and licking it.. guess maybe she wanted the juice from it? She seems fine though as far as I can tell; although she eats anything and everything lying around if you're not careful enough, including the eggs my chickens lay which are also said to be bad for dogs. I will admit once she did throw up after eating a raw egg, but that egg was store bought, not from one of my own hens so.. In turn could it possibly be that whatever stores put in and on their foods are the real culprit here? Are they putting dangerous chemical mixes onto and into our foods that negatively affect our dogs in turn? Reading all these comments nobody else seems to have had an issue (not that i'll allow my dog to eat the grape she had anyways) but I tend to believe people hype things up for no reason.



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