Schatzie has bachelor's degrees in animal science and English and a master's in education.
All Grape Varieties Are Toxic to Dogs
As the proud owner of two adorable Cockapoos, I fully understand how hard it is to say “no” to a pair of beady eyes set in a face of fluff. Unfortunately, there are some “people” foods that if shared could seriously sicken your pet, if not kill them. One potential danger is grapes (raisins and currants included).
According to the ASPCA, grapes of all varieties can cause serious harm to your dog. This includes grapes purchased from supermarkets and grapes eaten off of a backyard garden vine. Both red grapes and green grapes are suspect, as are grapes with seeds and without. Since raisins are dried grapes, they must be avoided as well; even the leftover pressings from a vineyard can prove lethal. Each and every one of these has been documented to result in kidney failure in dogs (McKnight 135).
Why Are Grapes, Raisins, and Currants Dangerous?
It is not known specifically how or why poisoning takes place, only that it does. Grapes resulting in kidney failure have been tested for contamination with chemicals, toxins, and metals, all with negative results (McKnight 135). According to VCAHospitals.com:
"Some researchers suspect that a mycotoxin (a toxic substance produced by a fungus or mold) may be the cause. Some suspect a salicylate (aspirin-like) drug may be naturally found in the grape, resulting in decreased blood flow to the kidneys."
Another hypothesis is that since grapeseed oil is deemed safe, toxins reside in the skin of grapes. However, these are all just hypotheses, and until proven otherwise, grapes both peeled and unpeeled must not be feed to dogs.
How Much Is Too Much?
Unfortunately, not a whole lot of grapes or raisins need to be eaten to cause harm. One documented case attributes the ingestion of a mere 0.32 to 0.65 ounces per kilogram of a dog’s weight to toxicity (Mazzaferro et al.). This is the lowest confirmed dosage proven problematic (McKnight 135).
For this reason, if a pet is suspected of having eaten grapes, he or she should be monitored closely. However, to identify problems, it is essential for owners to know what to look for.
Symptoms of Grape Toxicity in Dogs
Symptoms can present themselves within hours or as late as days after the ingestion of grapes or raisins. The first sign of poisoning is vomiting, which usually occurs within an hour or two. In the next three to four hours, dogs may also develop diarrhea, fatigue, and excessive thirst. Other warning signs include a lack of appetite or energy, stomach pain, and shaking.
How Are Dogs Treated?
Acting quickly is crucial to improve a pet’s chances of survival. A veterinarian should induce vomiting and provide dogs with activated charcoal within an hour or two at most (McKnight 136). Providing fluids to encourage urination over the first two days may prevent acute renal failure (McKnight 136). The more time that passes before a dog properly empties its system of toxins, the more serious the situation becomes.
Bloodwork examinations should be done for three days following grape ingestion. Renal enzymes need to be monitored to identify signs of organ failure. If renal failure is confirmed, medications or dialysis may still save a pet. In general, when kidneys maintain their basic functions and treatment is applied quickly, the odds of recovery are favorable (McKnight 136). However, if kidney problems develop to the extent that an animal can no longer process and eliminate toxins, odds are against recovery.
How Likely Are They to Recover?
In a study of forty-three dogs brought to the ASPCA for grape and raisin-induced health complications, only a little over half survived. Of the twenty-three survivors, only fifteen showed full recovery from symptoms (Mazzaferro et al.).
How to Prevent Toxicity
To prevent pets from harm, make sure to store grapes and raisins at levels above a pet's reach. If home gardens include grapevines, make them inaccessible. If eating a food not normally included in a dog's diet, check the ASPCA website just to make sure it's safe. You could save your pet's life.
- "Acute renal failure associated with raisin or grape ingestion in 4 dogs"
Description of a case series of 4 dogs with acute renal failure after ingestion of raisins or grapes (Mazzaferro et al.).
- "Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs"
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (Katrina McKnight, BS, CVT)
- Grape, Raisin, and Currant Poisoning in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospital
Recently, veterinarians discovered that grapes, raisins and currants (fruits from Vitis species) can cause kidney failure in dogs.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Josiah on December 31, 2019:
my German shepherd has eaten dozens of grapes over the 2 years of his life so far, and nothing bad has happened... maybe just a big dog so is immune? no idea but he has no reaction to them
Condy on October 16, 2019:
My 4 lb chihuahua ate 2 or 3 grapes. Shes had diarrhea and not sure aboutt throwing up. This was 2 to 3 dys ago. She shakes all the time( more than usuall) her appititte is not the best and shes extra clingy to me and has the worst breath. Plz tell me i didnt kill my baby
Josh on August 11, 2019:
I think my dog got a hold of some grapes on the table (6 at most). I don't think she ate them as they were on the ground kind of chewed and deflated.
Aside from that, the .32 oz case has got me a bit less worried. As .32 - .65 oz is 2-4 grapes and 1 kg is 2.2 lbs. My dog is 40 lbs, so she'd have to eat around 36 - 72 grapes according to that, which I know for a fact she did not do.
She pooped (1/2 solid, 1/2 diarrhea) and peed (was a bit yellow) after and is drinking plenty of water. I'll keep an eye on her, but I think she is going to be alright.
Nora on January 28, 2017:
My 12 week old golden is at the pet vet now after snagging 2 slices of raisin toast off the table 2 days ago. Im heartbroken b/c the prognosis is not good. I had no idea! Please tell someone RAISINS CAN KILL DOGS and possibly save a puppy life!
craftybegonia from Southwestern, United States on December 31, 2015:
I did not know this! Thank you so much for sharing. We don't feed grapes to our dogs, but it is good information to know.
Schatzie Speaks (author) on February 21, 2012:
I know, especially since the consequences of accidently feeding grapes are so serious! Yeah, chocolate is also a bad idea, the darker the more of a bad idea it is. One of my friend's dogs ate a bag of m&m's and had to have its stomach pumped. It almost died. Didn't help it was a tiny weiner dog and a big bag of m&m's!
Ben Zoltak from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on June 29, 2011:
Wow, who knew? You'd think more dog owners would talk about this, good job getting the information out. I heard similar things about chocolate.