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Grape and Raisin Poisoning in Dogs




Your will need to provide your veterinarian with as much information as possible so that treatment can begin. If your dog has vomited or had a bout of diarrhea, and you are able to collect a sample of it, this will help your veterinarian to diagnose the severity of the condition and begin treatment that much more quickly.


Routine laboratory tests, including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. These tests may return results of increased blood calcium, which in severe cases can lead to hypercalcemia, and higher than normal levels of phosphorous and creatinine, both indicators of the kidney's functioning status. Some changes in the urine, like the presence of glucose and/or protein, may be seen.


Ultrasound can also be a useful diagnostic tool for determining the size of the kidney along with finding evidence of abnormal deposition of minerals in the kidneys.


Without explicit evidence of the ingestion (i.e., pieces of the food in the vomit or feces contents), diagnosis is often based on circumstantial evidence along with the usual symptoms that appear after ingestion of grapes and raisins. Often, a toxic substance does not appear on a blood test, as has been the case in previous grape/raisin toxicity cases. The medical research community is continuing work on the discovery of the offending substance.




A stomach wash/lavage and fluid therapy are among the first lines of treatment after vomiting has been successfully induced. Intravenous fluid therapy will be given  for at least the first 48 hours, and drugs for encouraging urine output will be administered. If urine is not being produced within a short time, your veterinarian may find it necessary to place your dog on dialysis to support the kidneys while they recover. During this time, your doctor will be monitoring your dog's blood chemicals on a daily basis. 


Once the kidney has failed to the point that urine cannot be produced by the body, the entire system soon follows and the affected animal dies. In some cases, even timely treatment will not be enough if the toxin has already been absorbed. Time is of the essence with this situation, but in all cases, prognosis is guarded.


How to Prevent This Condition


Keep raisins and grapes out of reach of your dog, as dogs will ingest almost anything. Make sure that all family members are aware of the toxic capability of this food, as well as other foods that have been found to be toxic to pets, such as chocolate, onions, garlic, etc. If you do discover that your dog has ingested raisin or grapes, acting immediately is the best prevention for avoiding a complicated situation.


Image via Shutterstock

Comments  6

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  • My dog loves grapes....
    11/25/2015 04:26pm

    ...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 05:36pm

    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 01:13pm

    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 04:57pm

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

  • My dog loves grapes too
    09/21/2016 09:09pm

    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 06:48pm

    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.