Grapes are a go-to snack that we can enjoy all year. But as a pet owner, you should be aware of the dangers of this fruit before bringing it into your home. That's because grapes are considered toxic for dogs.
There is ongoing research on the effects of grapes on a dog’s body. So far, grapes in any form are considered toxic for our dogs. But there isn’t any well-established conclusion that can state why grapes are so toxic for a dog.
In this article, we’ll try to explain more about grape poisoning in dogs.
Why Can't Dogs Eat Grapes?
It hasn't been determined what substance in grapes makes them toxic for our dogs. The researchers are also not sure why some dogs have an adverse reaction after eating as little as one grape.
However, in some cases, grapes can cause gastrointestinal upset followed by acute renal failure (ARF).
That's why every kind of grape, including the seedless and seeded varieties, are considered toxic for dogs. Even products made from grapes like raisins and currants are considered toxic as they might cause acute renal failure.
The exact physiological processes that lead to acute renal failure following ingestion have not been determined by any research. But many theories suspect metabolic disruption, a nephrotoxic mycotoxin, and an idiosyncratic reaction.
It’s also worth noting that so far, dogs are the only species that have shown this kind of toxic reaction to grapes.
How Many Grapes Can Lead to ARF in Dogs?
There have been cases where even a single grape has resulted in grape poisoning. Since it's unknown how grapes are affecting our dogs, it’s also not determined how many grapes can lead to ARF.
It’s also hard to understand the scale of risk when it comes to grape poisoning. Some medium or large dogs may be OK after eating one or two grapes or they may experience unfavorable symptoms.
To be safe, all kinds of grape ingestion are considered toxic. It's also recommended to seek immediate medical care for your dog if they ingest even a single grape.
Signs of Grape Poisoning in Dogs
In most cases, vomiting is the first sign of grape toxicity or poisoning. It usually occurs within the first 2 hours of ingestion. Then it’s followed by diarrhea, lethargy, and excessive thirst within 5 to 6 hours.
Other common signs of grape poisoning and acute renal failure include:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of urine production
There can also be some behavioral changes, like refusing food, hiding, and whining after eating grapes.
These symptoms may appear within 24 hours of ingestion or may take several days to appear. Whatever the case may be, you should take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible after they have consumed grapes. Waiting for them to fall sick or show signs of poisoning might make the situation worse.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Grapes?
There is no way of knowing how your dog will react after eating grapes. They might have an adverse reaction after eating as little as one grape. To avoid an unforeseen situation, it's recommended that you treat the situation as an emergency and contact your nearest veterinarian.
If you cannot urgently reach a veterinarian, you can also contact the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their poison control experts will be able to guide you on how to handle the situation based on your dog’s condition.
How Will a Vet Treat Grape Poisoning?
The treatment for grape poisoning depends on the dog’s symptoms and the time of the poisoning.
If your dog ate a grape in the last two hours, it's most likely that the first thing your vet will do is try to make them throw up to expel the grape from their gastrointestinal tract.
Your vet might also administer activated charcoal as it helps reduce the absorption of toxins in the dog’s stomach.
In many cases, this would be enough to treat the dog.
But if the condition continues to degrade, your dog might need further treatment and hospitalization. Your veterinarian might run blood tests and administer IV fluids to increase urine production and support kidney function. It’ll also help flush the toxin out of the body.
A potentially life-threatening situation can arise if a dog’s kidneys stop producing urine altogether.
How to Ensure Your Dog Doesn’t Eat Grapes
It may not be possible or realistic to remove all grapes, raisins, or currants from your home but you should ensure that they are out of reach from your dog. You should also be careful about products that might contain grapes, including trail mix, cereals, raisin bread, and other baked food items.
If your dog is able to get into your trash can, you should also avoid throwing away grapes or raisins in the garbage.
Lastly, while taking your dog for a walk, be cautious as they might eat some wild grapes growing alongside the roads.
If, in any case, they accidentally ingest grapes, contact a veterinarian immediately.
Grapes should be considered toxic and poisonous fruit for our canine companions. This includes grape products like raisins, currants, grape juice, trail mix, cereals, and raisin bread. As a pet parent, you should be extremely careful when you bring these products into your home. Make sure you store them in a way that’s inaccessible to your dog.
But if, in any case, your dog accidentally ingests a grape, contact your veterinarian immediately or contact the Animal Poison Control Center.
Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about grapes and grape poisoning in dogs:
1. Can a dog eat grapes?
You should avoid feeding grapes to your dogs. Although it’s unknown how your dog might react after eating grapes, in some cases grapes can cause acute renal failure (ARF). To avoid any unfortunate situation, try to keep your dogs away from grapes.
2. What should I do if a dog accidentally eats grapes?
If your dog accidentally eats grapes, you should contact the veterinarian immediately. If you cannot reach them, you can contact the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Their poison control experts can guide you on how to handle the situation based on your dog’s condition.
3. Is it dangerous if a dog eats a single grape?
Yes, some dogs can have an adverse reaction after eating as little as one grape. It hasn't been determined how grapes affect our dogs and what will be the scale of risk. For example, some medium or large dogs may be OK after eating one or two grapes or they may experience unfavorable symptoms.
To avoid any unforeseen situation, it’s suggested to seek immediate medical care even if your dog has eaten a single grape.
4. What should I do if my dog ate grapes but seems fine?
In some cases, dogs remain OK even after eating grapes. But it’s not ideal to wait for them to develop symptoms of grape poisoning. If you suspect that your dog has eaten grapes, you should contact a veterinarian even if they seem fine.