Grape and raisin toxicity
All grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas — as well as foods that contain them such as mince pies, hot cross buns, and fruit cake — can be poisonous to dogs, and potentially poisonous to cats. It’s thought the dried versions of the fruits are more likely to cause severe symptoms. But it’s unclear exactly what causes the toxic effects.
What should I do if my dog has eaten grapes or raisins?
Just one grape, raisin, currant or sultana can be toxic. So if you think your dog has eaten the fruits, or anything containing them, you should telephone your vet immediately or, out of hours, find your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic here.
How much is poisonous and what effects will I see?
A very small number of grapes, raisins, sultanas or currants can cause severe problems in some dogs. Indeed our vets have witnessed emergency cases when just one has been eaten. However, on the other side of the coin, a handful may cause no symptoms.
Unfortunately, in terms of determining just how serious a poisoning case is, there’s no correlation between the amount of fruit eaten and the size of the dog. For this reason, it’s not advisable to feed any grapes or raisins to your pet.
Extra caution should be taken with foods that contain dried raisins and currants – for example, mince pies, Christmas cake and hot cross buns — as dried versions of the fruits have been associated with more severe cases.
Normally symptoms start showing between six and 24 hours after your dog has eaten grapes or raisins. But these may not take effect for several days. In the most serious cases, the fruits can also cause sudden kidney failure.
Signs to watch out for include:
- vomiting and diarrhoea (possibly with blood present)
- excess salivation
- poor appetite
- weakness/wobbly when walking
- blood in the urine
How will my vet treat grape or raisin toxicity?
There’s no direct antidote so the key to a successful outcome is early treatment. Your vet may administer a drug to make your dog sick or give them a treatment called activated charcoal which helps to clear away toxins left in the intestines. Typically, the vet will also check their kidney enzymes for any damage.
If it’s too late to make your dog sick, or tests indicate kidney damage, then more intensive treatment will be required. Your dog may require intravenous fluids (a drip) as well as medication to help with nausea and acute kidney damage. An ultrasound scan to look at the kidneys may also be required.
Prognosis for grape and raisin toxicity is generally good if treated early and there’s been no kidney damage. If there are signs of kidney failure it may be lifelong or, in the most severe cases, life-threatening.