NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be okay for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.
Humans eat grapes all the time with no problem, but are they safe for dogs?
You may be surprised to find out that grapes can be toxic to dogs—both puppies and adult dogs. This includes raisins as well. And yes, this does include all colors of grapes and raisins—purple, red, green, and white.
Why Are Grapes Bad for Dogs?
Not only can grapes and raisins be a choking hazard, but they do contain a substance that can be poisonous to some dogs. Grapes and raisins have the potential to cause kidney failure and death in dogs that are affected by grapes.
We don’t actually know what the toxic compound is that makes grapes a possible danger for dogs. The toxicity appears to be in the flesh—or the meat—of the grape. This means that peeled grapes are just as toxic as those with skin on them. Raisins are technically more toxic than grapes because the fruit is more concentrated in the dried version.
It’s important to note that not all dogs that eat grapes will be affected. Each dog may react differently to the toxin. Typically, the smaller the dog, the smaller the amount of toxic food that is needed to cause harm.
It may be that some dogs are sensitive to the toxin while others are not, or it may be that some grapes have the toxin and some do not. Since there are so many uncertainties, there’s no way to tell if your dog will be affected, and to what degree.
The bottom line is that you should avoid any potential threats to your dog’s well-being by not feeding them grapes at all. If you also have cats in the house, keep in mind that grapes and raisins are toxic to cats too.
Can Dogs Eat Grape Jelly?
No, dogs cannot eat grape jelly or jam, as it will still contain the toxins found in grapes. In addition, jelly contains too much sugar for dogs and may also contain xylitol, which is toxic for dogs.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Grapes?
Even if your dog has only eaten one grape or raisin, immediately contact your veterinarian or the pet poison helpline at 855-764-7661. Typically, they will advise you to take your dog to the vet right away to be examined and treated in person.
You may have seen advice online about inducing vomiting at home or using activated charcoal to help. And although these things can help, do not try to do these things at home before speaking with your veterinarian. They may recommend against it, and you’ll probably need to bring your dog into the vet’s office immediately anyway.
If you’re not certain whether your dog ate any grapes, it’s still important to contact your veterinarian and watch for signs of grape toxicity within the first 24-48 hours.
Signs of Grape Toxicity in Dogs
If you notice any of these symptoms of grape toxicity, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Increased urination: This happens during the initial stages of kidney failure.
Drinking a lot: This also happens during the initial stages of kidney failure.
Decreased urination or not urinating: This is a sign that their kidneys are shutting down.
Lethargy, weakness, or unusual quietness
Dehydration: You can check this by gently pulling up the skin at the back of your dog’s neck. If it doesn’t spring back into place right away, your dog is dehydrated.
How Vets Treat Grape Toxicity in Dogs
Your veterinarian may try to induce vomiting. After that, they may also use activated charcoal to help absorb the rest of the toxins and bind any remaining grapes or raisins in your dog’s stomach.
To treat kidney failure, vets will typically try to support kidney function and flush out the toxins by using IV fluid therapy. They will also use medication to treat your dog’s symptoms, like anti-nausea medications and gastric protectants to prevent or treat stomach ulcers.
Your dog will probably need to be hospitalized for at least 48 hours, so the vet can properly treat them and monitor their kidneys through bloodwork.
If your dog was only mildly or moderately affected, they may end up with reduced kidney function, but could still recover with the appropriate medical care.
Featured image: iStock.com/Irantzu_Arbaizagoitia
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