Symptoms and Signs of Toxicity and Kidney Failure After a Dog Eats Grapes

Updated on November 15, 2016
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Pilar has two bachelor's degrees in Science and English. She is working on her master's degree in elementary education.

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When to say "No"

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. It is important to be able to identify these foods, and know when you shouldn’t share your snack.

One potential danger is grapes.

According to the ASPCA, grapes of all varieties can cause serious harm. This includes grapes purchased from supermarkets and grapes eaten off 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 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). Therefore, it can be concluded that it is the grapes themselves, and not some foreign form of contamination, that is the source of problems.

One theory is that, since grapeseed oil is deemed safe, the toxins reside in the grapes’ skin. However, this is just a theory, 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 EM). This is the lowest confirmed dosage proven problematic (McKnight 135).

For this reason, if a pet is suspected of having eaten grapes, it should be monitored closely. However, to identify problems it is essential for owners to know what to look for.

The danger signs

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.


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.

Blood work examinations should be done for three days following grape ingestion. Renal enzymes need to be monitored to identify signs of organ failure. It this does occur, 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.

The odds of recovery

In a study of forty three dogs brought to the ASPCA for grape and raisin induced health complications, only a little over half survived (Mazzaferro EM). Of the twenty three survivors, only fifteen showed full recovery from symptoms (Mazzaferro EM).


To prevent pets from harm make sure to store grapes and raisins at levels above a pet's reach. If home gardens include grape vines, make them inaccessbile. 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.



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      Nora 13 months ago

      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 profile image

      craftybegonia 2 years ago from Southwestern, United States

      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 profile image

      Schatzie Speaks 6 years ago from US

      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 profile image

      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      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.