Dogs are frequently exposed to grapes and raisins, especially in households with children. Unfortunately, what many dog owners don’t know is that both can be toxic to their pet.
Dogs might eat grapes off the vine, steal grapes or raisins in your home and even eat raisins covered in yogurt or chocolate when you are not looking. Owners often feed grapes or raisins to their pets as treats or training aids without realizing the harm both can cause.
Unfortunately, dogs that are sensitive to grapes and raisins can have reactions ranging from stomach or bowel upset all the way to acute kidney failure. At this time, dogs are the only species known to be sensitive to grapes and raisins.
Vomiting within a few hours of ingestion is one of the initial signs of grape or raisin toxicity. Other initial signs that can occur within the first few hours include diarrhea, weakness and excessive thirst. Signs of acute kidney failure often develop within one or several days after exposure, and can include loss of appetite, weakness, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or tremors.
Since it is unknown exactly why grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs, ALL cases of grape or raisin ingestion should be considered potentially serious. Diagnosis of grape toxicity is based on history of exposure, physical exam, type of symptoms, and evidence of acute kidney failure.
Your veterinarian or the veterinarian at the emergency center will determine the best method to treat your pet for potential or suspected grape or raisin toxicosis. The most common treatments involve inducing vomiting followed by administering activated charcoal to absorb the toxins. The veterinarian will also want to run blood tests initially and for a few days to monitor kidney function. In some cases, hospitalization and IV fluids may be recommended.
The prognosis for your pet is determined by a number of factors such as condition upon arrival, success of decontamination, clinical signs or if there is any worsening of your pet’s condition over time. If you think or know that your pet has ingested grapes or raisins please contact a veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline*.
*Pet Poison Helpline, is an animal poison control service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet – including birds! Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com.