Multiple foods can cause health issues in dogs, and as a responsible pet owner, you should get informed about them as soon as you get your puppy.
Your vet can tell you which foods to avoid and how they can negatively affect your dog but research is paramount for keeping your pet safe, happy and healthy.
In today’s article, we’re looking at why you should never feed grapes to your dog, what clinical signs they can show after this happens and what you should do if they do eat grapes and their health doesn’t take a turn for the worse.
Can A Dog Be OK After Eating Grapes?
Grapes and any other fruits in the family are toxic to dogs, so the likelihood of your dog showing negative symptoms immediately after having one or two is very high.
However, as is the case with humans, you can’t predict how your dog’s body will react upon eating grapes.
Some dogs experience mild digestive distress, and they’re fine after 24 hours, but you can’t take that chance since you don’t know if that will be the case for your pet.
Get in touch with your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your dog has had grapes.
Your vet may instruct you to induce vomiting at home with a solution of hydrogen peroxide, depending on the number of grapes consumed and the time elapsed since the incident.
Do not try to stick a pencil into your dog’s mouth or use any other unconventional methods, as they are ineffective and dangerous.
How Many Grapes Is Considered Toxic For My Dog?
Every dog has a different threshold for grape toxicity due to factors such as:
- Existing health issues
- Sensitivity to grapes
However, the main determinant factor for most dogs will be their body weight in relation to the amount of grapes eaten.
The effect of 5 grapes on a 3 month old puppy is different as compared to a fully grown Great Dane.
As a benchmark, 0.7oz per kg (2.2 lbs) for grapes and 0.1oz per kg (2.2 lbs) for raisins needs to be consumed by the dog to be dangerous.
Dangers Of Grapes for Dogs
Grapes attack a dog’s kidneys, which means that pets will experience severe kidney damage and possibly death.
Most of the scientific studies performed until now have shown how dangerous grapes are but the exact reason why they are so dangerous to dogs remains somewhat unknown.
It is assumed that grapes, raisins and other similar fruits carry mycotoxins on their surface.
According to the ASPCA, dogs are very sensitive to the tartaric acid in grapes and a dose of 20 to 150 grams can cause acute nephro-toxicosis.
Symptoms Of Grape Toxicity In Dogs
The most common signs of grape poisoning in this species are the following:
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
- Loss of appetite
- Trembling, possible seizures
- Increased urination and drinking
The first three symptoms are the ones that show up early on.
Some dogs vomit blood and experience hemorrhagic diarrhea, too, which leads to losing precious fluids.
As kidney failure progresses, the rest of the symptoms will also affect the dog.
It takes about three days after the ingestion of grapes for a pet’s kidneys to completely shut down, making them incapable of peeing.
How Can Grape Poisoning In Dogs Be Diagnosed And Treated?
Diagnosing grape poisoning can be challenging if you don’t know that your dog has had this fruit.
If you know for a fact that they ingested some, there’s no need for the vet to waste time performing multiple tests and wait until they initiate treatment.
Some tests, such as a serum biochemistry profile, a urinalysis, or a complete blood count, are necessary and will be done on the spot.
These might be necessary to understand the damage your dog’s kidneys sustained.
As for the treatment itself, there are several ways of going about things.
Inducing vomiting is one of them to try and get rid of as much of the grapes in your dog’s stomach as possible.
The vet might give your dog activated charcoal to try and absorb the toxins in the grapes and have them eliminated from your pet’s system without being filtered by the kidneys.
Hospitalization is often necessary as most dogs become dehydrated and might not be interested in drinking water (especially if the vomiting barely subsides thanks to medication).
During the 24 to 48 hours your dog will spend in the hospital, vets and vet technicians will assess your pet’s kidney function to see if it improves.
You may have to take your dog to the vet again after 2-3 days just to monitor the kidney function.
As you can imagine, all of this can cost quite a bit.
Calling the Poison Control Helpline may cost you between $65 to $100, while taking your dog to the vet for treatment of grape poisoning could range from $2,000 to $5,000.
Getting pet insurance as early in your dog’s life as possible is a great idea and can help you with some of these costs.
What Other Foods Are Toxic to Dogs?
Grapes, raisins, and currants are all notoriously toxic to dogs.
But the worst thing is that most of these fruits can be found as ingredients in human foods and snacks.
Even if you don’t know, you could give your dog grapes just by rewarding them with a human-grade treat.
Some examples of foods that can contain grapes, raisins, and currants are the following:
- Mince pies
- Fruit panettone
- Christmas cakes
- German Christmas Stollen
- Some types of buns
- Cinnamon raisin bagels
- Oatmeal raisin cookies
What Fruits Are Safe For Dogs?
Unlike other types of pets, dogs can eat fruits and veggies, sometimes to their heart’s content.
Fruits are pretty high in sugar, so they should be used judiciously as treats for dogs that are overweight, obese or diabetic.
While grapes are not good to give to dogs, maybe try some of these fruits:
- Watermelon and cantaloupe
- Apples (core and seeds removed)
Just to be on the safe side of things, always give your pet organic fruit varieties.
This prevents them from exposure to potential pesticides which may be used in conventional farming.
How To Prevent Grape Poisoning in Dogs?
- Instruct your guests or family not to give your dog table scraps
- Store grapes and all related products where your dog cannot reach them
- Properly store leftover grapes in an airtight container
- Don’t give grapes to children in the presence of your dog
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Muscadine Grapes?
All grape varieties are toxic to dogs. Even if you remove the skin and the seeds, they might still cause some type of health complication, so there is no point in you taking this risk.
Can Dogs Eat Frozen Grapes?
Whether they are frozen or fresh, grapes can be just as dangerous. Frozen fruit can make a nice snack for dogs in the summertime. You can freeze some cranberries or raspberries in an ice cube container for a refreshing moment every now and then.
Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs, Katrina McKnight, BS, CVT, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Illinois, 2005 https://www.aspcapro.org/sites/default/files/q.pdf
Acute Renal Failure Associated with Raisin or Grape Ingestion in 4 Dogs, E.M. Mazzafero MS, DVM, PhD, et al, 2004 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1534-6935.2004.00114.x
Household Food Items Toxic to Dogs and Cats, Cristina Cortinovis and Francesca Caloni, 2016 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2016.00026/full
Toxicosis With Grapes or Raisins Causing Acute Kidney Injury and Neurological Signs in Dogs, Ariane Schweighauser et al, 2020 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32893916/