If your dog got into the trail mix or fruit salad, you might wonder if dogs can eat grapes. The answer is no. These little fruits (and their dried form, raisins) are highly toxic to dogs. Discover how many grapes your dog must eat to experience effects and what steps to take to ensure they recover well.
Grapes Are Not a Safe Treat for Your Dog
Grapes, raisins, and any grape-based products are harmful for dogs because they cause acute kidney damage. "Acute" damage means it comes on suddenly; this fruit can trigger a dog's kidneys to shut down in less than 72 hours. Without properly functioning kidneys, the body cannot effectively filter out toxins, which will make a dog very ill and result in death if left untreated.
This sparks the question; how many grapes can cause this level of kidney damage? The answer is not a straightforward one. Experts do not have an exact toxic dose for grapes because the level of poisoning depends on the individual pet. Some dogs appear to be more sensitive to this toxin, while others might need a larger volume to experience negative consequences. Evidence does not suggest that this is linked to breed or size, so this is truly on a dog-to-dog basis.
Breakthrough in Grape Toxicity Research
Grape toxicity has been a bit of an anomaly in the veterinary community. Although studies demonstrate that this fruit causes renal failure, the exact mechanism of action was never determined, until now. A team of veterinarians recently discovered that tartaric acid is likely the compound in grapes that is responsible for kidney damage. This breakthrough invites greater insight into how the community can protect dogs from the dangers of grapes and improve the treatment protocol for future cases.
The Single Grape Query
Many pet owners ask the inevitable question, "can just one grape hurt my dog?" The answer is yes. Unfortunately, many experts say that even a single grape or raisin can have dangerous consequences. Again, this depends on the individual dog. Some pets may not suffer any negative effects, whereas others might be more sensitive and experience severe kidney damage. Instead of waiting to find out how your dog will react, it's important to be proactive and seek immediate care.
What to Do if Your Dog Ate Grapes
If you know or suspect that your dog may have ingested grapes or raisins, regardless of the volume, it's critical to seek veterinary guidance. Depending on the time frame, there may be a different course of action.
Immediately Following Ingestion
If the fruit was ingested within the past four to six hours, your veterinary team will induce vomiting immediately to prevent further toxin absorption. In cases where you cannot reach a clinic, your veterinarian or pet poison professional may give you instructions on how to safely make your dog vomit at home. However, even after the grapes have been eliminated from their system, further treatment might be recommended to protect your dog's kidneys or combat any organ damage that may have already occurred in that short time.
Ingestion After 6+ Hours
If you don't discover that your dog has eaten grapes or raisins until several hours after ingestion, it's critical to get them to an emergency vet right away. By this time, the toxins have already caused damage to the kidneys, which may or may not be reversible. The sooner your dog gets care, the better their prognosis.
Aggressive intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, oral charcoal (designed to bind to the toxins and prevent further absorption), anti-nausea medications, and careful blood pressure and renal function monitoring are typically all part of the treatment plan. More severe cases might require additional support.
Monitor Your Dog for These Symptoms
Because this toxin rapidly attacks the kidneys, signs of grape toxicity occur quickly. These signs can be seen as early as six hours following ingestion, with the most severe symptoms appearing up to 72 hours later. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- No appetite
- Excessive thirst and urination
- Kidney failure
- Abdominal discomfort
- No urine production (signaling that the kidneys have stopped working)
Foods and Products to Avoid
Several products contain grapes or raisins. The best way to protect your dog is to keep these foods out of reach.
- All varieties of grapes (even seedless or skinless)
- All varieties of raisins
- Trail mix containing raisins
- Granola with raisins
- Baked goods containing raisins or currants
- Fruit salad with grapes
- Grape jelly
- Grape juice
Treat Alternatives to Grapes
There are several other choices from your fruit salad that you can offer your pup as an alternative to grapes. Always chop fruits into small, bite-sized pieces to prevent choking. Choose any of these dog-safe fruits as an occasional treat.
Can Dogs Eat Grapes?
No, dogs should never eat grapes. Although there is a chance a few grapes may not affect your dog, there's also a risk that a single grape could cause significant and permanent damage to their kidneys. Protect your pet by keeping grapes and raisins out of reach, and seek immediate veterinary attention if they ever eat grapes.