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