Grape and Raisin Poisoning in Dogs

5 min read




Most cases of grape and raisin poisoning are diagnosed because an owner knows or suspects that their dog has eaten the fruit. Sometimes partially-digested grapes and raisins can be seen in a dog’s vomit or fecal material. Routine laboratory tests, including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis, can diagnose most cases of acute kidney failure regardless of the cause. 




When treating a dog who has eaten grapes or raisins, a veterinarian will start by inducing vomiting (if the ingestion has occurred within the last two hours and the dog hasn’t already vomited) possibly followed by gastric lavage (washing out the stomach) and administration of activated charcoal to absorb any remaining toxin. After this, he or she will begin intravenous fluid therapy to flush the toxin out of the dog’s bloodstream and to encourage the kidneys to keep producing urine. If necessary, the veterinarian will give your dog medications to reduce vomiting and maintain kidney function. During this time, the doctor will be monitoring your dog's kidney function with regular rechecks of bloodwork. 


If a dog’s kidneys have failed to the point that they can no longer produce urine, the prognosis becomes grave. Hemodialysis may be necessary to support life until (and if) the kidneys can recover. Kidney transplant may be an option for some owners, but in most cases, euthanasia is the only practical option once a dog’s kidneys have totally shut down. 


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 capacity of this food, as well as other foods that have been found to be poisonous to pets, such as chocolate, onions, garlic, etc. If you do discover that your dog has ingested raisin or grapes, acting immediately gives your dog the best chance at survival.


* Acute renal failure in dogs after the ingestion of grapes or raisins: a retrospective evaluation of 43 dogs (1992-2002) Eubig PA, Brady MS, Gwaltney-Brant SM, Khan SA, Mazzaferro EM, Morrow CM. J Vet Intern Med. 2005 Sep-Oct;19(5):663-74.


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