Are grapes and raisins bad for dogs?
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 and potentially renal failure. But it’s unclear exactly what causes the toxic effects.
If you think your dog has eaten grapes, raisins, currants or sultanas, or anything containing them, you should telephone your vet immediately or, out of hours, find your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic here.
My dog ate one grape, will he be ok?
A very small number of grapes, raisins, sultanas or currants can cause severe problems in some dogs. 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. That’s also why we have not created a dog raisin toxicity calculator.
While all forms of grape are poisonous to dogs, extra caution should be taken with foods containing raisins, currants (dried fruit of dark grapes) and sultanas (dried fruit of white grapes) as these have been associated with more severe cases.
What to do if your dog eats grapes
After removing the source of the grapes, raisins, sultanas or currants, call your vet or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now as they will be in the best position to offer advice. It’s likely your vet will ask you to bring your dog into the clinic. If this is the case take a sample of whatever they’ve eaten or, if possible, the wrapper or box the food containing the fruits came in. Do not try to give your dog salt water or induce vomiting.
How will my vet treat grape or raisin toxicity?
There’s no direct antidote for grape or raisin toxicity 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.
How to prevent poisoning from grapes or raisins
The simplest advice is to be aware of any products containing grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants and to store foods containing these ingredients well out of reach of your dog. If you’re baking at home, particularly with young children, handle potentially toxic ingredients with care and do not leave children alone with your dogs in the kitchen. Our emergency vets have treated scores of dogs who have eaten entire packets of dried fruit straight from shopping bags, so be sure to put your shopping away as soon as you get home.
What's the prognosis for grape and raisin poisoning?
Dogs treated for grape and raisin toxicity generally have a very high chance of survival if treatment is prompt and early and there’s been no kidney damage. However, if treatment is delayed and there are signs of kidney failure your dog may suffer lifelong health issues or, in the most severe cases, lose their life.