- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Can dogs eat grapes? It turns out the answer is surprisingly scary. When it comes to human foods that dogs absolutely, positively cannot eat, you might not realize what falls near the top. Most of us know about chocolate, for instance—but not grapes. However, even one grape or raisin could have devastating consequences when it comes to the health and well-being of your dog. Read up to find out why dogs can’t eat grapes and what to do if your dog happens to eat one.
Can Dogs Eat Grapes?
In short, no. Grapes should never be dog treats, not even for a minute. Just one or two grapes—which may seem harmless enough—can lead to serious illness or even death in some dogs. The main consequence is sudden, acute kidney failure. Studies haven’t confirmed the exact reason for this, though pesticides, heavy metals, and fungi have been ruled out.
While the particular compound of a grape that leads to that scary reaction is still a mystery, one thing isn’t: the incredible danger of grapes for affected dogs. It’s thought that perhaps a genetic variant causes some dogs to be susceptible to grape and raisin toxicity, while others remain unaffected by it.
Ok, But Can Dogs Eat Raisins Instead?
Raisins are dried grapes, so they’re also dangerous, and pet owners should keep them away from dogs. Some say that because raisins are more concentrated than grapes, the toxic effect is potentially worse. The bottom line is still the same: no raisins for your dog. Raisin toxicity has the same features as grape toxicity for dogs, and raisin ingestion is of equal concern.
What Are the Symptoms of Grape Poisoning in Dogs?
Sometimes, it only takes a small amount for dogs to experience symptoms of grape toxicity. Large amounts are definitely a cause for greater concern, but even one grape could cause a problem. Because grape/raisin toxicity is poorly understood, the exact toxic dose, so to speak, isn’t known. The size, age, or overall health of your dog doesn’t change whether or not your dog will be affected. Some dogs suffer from vomiting and diarrhea as their bodies try to purge the poison, which results in lethargy and dehydration.
Signs of dehydration in dogs include:
- Heavy panting
- Trouble breathing
- Dry nose and mouth
- Light gums
Abdominal pain may also occur, though it can be hard to spot obvious symptoms of this in our four-legged friends. You may notice your dog refusing food or hiding, whining, or otherwise acting strangely, all of which warrant a call to the vet.
For our canine companions, the most serious complication of eating grapes is sudden renal failure, which leads to a lack of urine production and can even lead to death. Kidney damage can take a heavy toll on a dog’s health even when treated.
The ASPCA gives us the story of Leah, the dog who accidentally ate grapes and was diagnosed with renal failure the next day. Read it for details of her symptoms. Thankfully, her owner acted quickly!
Can Grapes Kill Dogs?
Without immediate treatment, yes. Sudden kidney failure is the most extreme consequence of eating grapes, which can cause death in only days.
How Do I Know If My Dog Ate Grapes?
It can be hard to know because symptoms of grape toxicity mimic other illnesses. If your dog eats grapes or raisins, contact your veterinarian immediately. And if you didn’t spot the illicit snacking, it goes without saying that if your dog is acting out of character, vomits, or has bad diarrhea, you should also call the vet. Dogs who have eaten grapes may not show immediate symptoms, so dog owners should consult their vet even if their dog appears to be okay.
The fewer grapes your dog eats and the earlier you seek treatment, the greater the chance of a favorable prognosis. Your vet may induce vomiting, so be sure to provide your dog plenty of fresh water to help with hydration afterward. Blood work is also likely, as well as the administration of intravenous fluids.
The bottom line? Feeding dogs grapes and raisins = an absolute no. Stick to dog food, healthy dog treats, and dog-safe produce. Because yes, fortunately, there are plenty of fruits and veggies that your dog CAN enjoy safely. This list is a great starting place.