Can Dogs Eat Grapes?
As adults, we’re constantly told to introduce different fruits and vegetables into our diet. Naturally, it can leave many pet owners wondering whether they should do the same for their furry friends. Our physiology, however, is distinctly different to theirs, meaning the foods we regularly include in our meals or consume as snacks without a second thought could easily cause them great harm.
With the many risks out there, responsible dog owners need to understand what foods their pups can and cannot eat.
In this article, we will take a closer look at grapes in particular, answering pertinent questions like, ‘Can dogs eat grapes?’, and shine a light on why grapes might be toxic for dogs.
Are Grapes Bad for Dogs?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes – grapes are incredibly bad for dogs.
Green grapes, red grapes, black grapes, seedless, and even raisins (dried grapes) all contain the same chemical compound that, although perfectly fine with humans, are highly toxic to dogs, with the potential to cause rapid and sudden kidney failure when consumed. Even a small amount of grapes can be dangerous and potentially fatal for your pup.
Grapes and raisins can be found in many forms and easily overlooked as a potential danger. As such, it’s crucial to take lengths to keep grapes and raisins out of reach of dogs and to be aware of any possible sources, such as trail mix, wines, grape juice, jams or baked goods, that may contain them.
Why Are Grapes Toxic to Dogs?
Despite the severity, the exact reason behind grape and raisin toxicity has never been fully understood, but there have been recent findings in the industry. There is speculation that a particular tartaric acid within the grapes might be causing these health issues.
It is also well known that dogs cannot digest a range of other elements within the grape, such as tannins, monosaccharides, or flavonoids, which can proceed to impair their kidney function. This leaves their organs unable to properly filter waste from the blood, causing a build-up of several damaging toxins and leading to a range of serious symptoms.
If left untreated, kidney damage can be irreversible and, in severe cases, lead to total kidney failure and even death.
The onset of symptoms of grape toxicity can happen within 72 hours, and the damage can be rapid. It’s important to remember that not all dogs will have the same reaction to grapes, and some may be more sensitive to the toxins than others, depending on factors like body weight and the amount consumed.
Symptoms of Grape and Raisin Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of grape poisoning in dogs can vary depending on the quantity consumed and the individual dog’s sensitivity to such a toxic substance. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Vomiting: This can occur within a few hours of eating grapes and may be accompanied by foam or blood.
- Diarrhoea: Again, this typically arises a few hours after consuming even just a few grapes and may be accompanied by blood or mucus.
- Abdominal pain: Dogs may appear uncomfortable or have difficulty standing or walking.
- Dehydration: Dogs may have a dry nose, gums, sunken eyes, and reduced skin elasticity.
- Appetite lethargy: Dogs may have little or no interest in food.
- Increased thirst: Dogs may drink more water than usual.
- Difficulties with urine production: Dogs may have decreased urination or may pass small amounts at a time.
- Inactivity: Dogs may appear tired or weak and have difficulty walking or standing.
There are also severe signs of kidney failure, such as:
- Blood in urine
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive thirst
- Trouble breathing
Symptoms may not appear until a few hours after consumption, so you must act fast if you suspect your dog has consumed grapes or raisins.
It’s also important to let your vet know if you saw your pup eat grapes or saw grapes in your dog’s vomit or stool, as the information will help your vet to make a proper diagnosis and provide the best treatment plan.
Can Dogs Eat Raisins?
No, dogs should not eat raisins. As mentioned above, raisins are dried grapes, which means they are even more concentrated with the toxic compound found in grapes. Even a small amount of raisins can harm dogs, cause severe kidney damage, and lead to death.
The same is true for all other products made from grapes, or with them as a key ingredient. For example, dogs should also avoid currants, raisin bread, and grape syrup.
There are numerous other ‘people foods’ your dog should avoid, including:
- Macadamia nuts
What to Do if Your Dog Eats Grapes
There is no safe number to consume – even just one grape – so if you suspect your dog ate grapes or raisins, or they are starting to exhibit symptoms, it is imperative you seek veterinary care immediately.
By receiving immediate treatment, the better their chances of recovery.
Your vet may induce vomiting and give your dog activated charcoal to absorb any remaining toxins. They will also likely administer fluids to flush the kidneys and provide supportive care such as medications to help with the symptoms and to prevent further kidney damage. Your vet may also perform blood and urine tests to check for any kidney damage signs and monitor the recovery process.
What Other Foods to Give Your Dog Instead of Grapes
Even though grapes are toxic for dogs, there is still a range of fruits, vegetables and berries that they can enjoy, while still maintaining proper nutrition.
Some good options include:
- Apples: Apples are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and can be given to your dog fresh, cooked or dried (make sure they are unsweetened and do not include any seeds).
- Bananas: Bananas provide potassium and vitamins and are safe for dogs to eat in moderation. Serve them fresh or frozen, but make sure to remove the peel first.
- Carrots: Carrots offer beta-carotene and are great treats when served raw or cooked up and chopped or mashed to make them easier to eat.
- Dog treats: You can also give your dog specially-formulated dog treats, such as those available from Hypro Premium. These treats are designed to be safe and healthy for dogs to consume and are a great alternative to grapes and raisins.