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Can Dogs Eat Grapes? – The Health Consequences of Dogs Eating Grapes


Dog with grapes

Not very many dog owners know that grapes as well as raisins when consumed in large amount can have potentially dangerous effects on the life of the pet.

The red, green and black sweet grapes are jam packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. What makes these little gems more desirable is the fact they are low in calories. A weight watcher can enjoy bunch after bunch of grapes to reap the healthful benefits without worrying about gaining unwanted inches. These small harmless looking fruits however, can have dangerous effects on our four legged canine friends. Studies have been conducted on these fruits but until now it was not verified why dogs should not be allowed to eat grapes.

The Dangers of Your Dog Eating Grapes

It would always be hard to resist giving the beloved pooch treats. Pet owners are known to share whatever they eat with the pet. Why not? If this food is good for me it must be good for my doggie as well. Many people safe food however can be potentially dangerous to the health of the dog. Dogs are said to be 90% genetically similar to humans. The human foods that are dangerous to canines probably accounts for the 10% difference in genetics. Not very many dog owners are aware of the grapes and raisins toxicity to the four-legged friends. Grape toxicity was a fairly new discovery. In fact dog owners often use grapes and raisins as treats and rewards when training the dog.

Charlotte Means wrote in her article “The Wrath of Grapes” that according to ASPCA, around 1989 a disturbing trend began to emerge from the AnTox database used by its Animal Control Center. Nearly all the dogs reported to have eaten grapes or raisins developed acute renal (kidney) failure. These cases were noted across the USA, with the amount eaten varying widely, from over a pound of grapes to as little as a single serving of raisins.

The database showed that dogs who ate the grapes and raisins typically vomited within a few hours of ingestion. Most of the time, partially digested grapes and raisins would be seen in the vomit, fecal matter, or both. At this point, some dogs would stop eating and develop diarrhea. The dogs often became quite and lethargic, and showed signs of abdominal pain. These clinical signs lasted for several days-sometimes even weeks.

When medical care was sought, blood chemistry panels showed consistent patterns. hypercalcemia (elevated blood calcium levels) was frequently present, as well as elevated levels of blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and phosphorous (substance that reflect kidney function). These chemistries began to increase anywhere from 24 hours to several days after the dog ate the fruit. As the kidney damage developed, the dogs would produce little urine. When they could no longer produce urine, death occurred. In some cases, dogs that received timely veterinary care still has to be euthanized.

Dog as grape

How Eating Grapes Harms Your Dog

Although it is not known what component of the grapes or raisins causes renal failure in dogs, Catherine Sayler in her article “Kidney Failure and Sour Grapes” states that certain possibilities have been ruled out including presticides, some heavy metal such as zinc and lead and fungal contaminants. That dogs react in this fashion to both commercially grown grapes and those grown informally in their owners’ backyard indicates the likely culprit has nothing to do with the growing or cultivating process but is instead basic to grapes themselves.

In other words, all grapes are potentially dangerous to dogs- both grapes in the plump, “just picked” form and as their dried counterparts, raisins, and regardless of whether they came from the store of off of the neighbor’s vine. Don’t feed your dog grapes or raisins, and don’t leave these foodstuffs out where he or she could help himself to them. Our vet told us that consuming even 2 grapes can be fatal to a dog’s kidney.

In conclusion, keep your canine friend as far away from this poisonous friend that looks innocent on the outside but can be deadly for dogs.

So, what can I do if my dog DOES swallow some grapes?

So, your dog just scored himself a big box of raisins. What’s a pet owner to do?

The first line of defense, if the grapes or raisins were eaten recently, is to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal (it absorbs toxins in the GI tract). Vomiting is also the first sign that your dog is in trouble, so skip right to the activated charcoal if vomiting has already occurred. (In a pinch you can make your own activated charcoal by charring a piece of toast until it’s blackened and crumbles easily.) Then call your vet right away.

Can’t reach the vet?

Call ASPCA Poison Control: 888-426-4435

The vet will keep your dog on intravenous fluids for at least 48 hours and monitor blood chemistry daily. Normal blood work after 3 days usually means your dog is in the clear.

Keeping a watchful eye out, of course, is the best way to keep your pet out of trouble. Like children, dogs (and other pets) have a knack for getting into mischief when we’re not looking.

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  1. Seané Collard on

    umm I gave my dog raisons a while ago like maybe 15 – 20 and he aint even sick or dead. Hes just fat and happy

    • Grapes & raisins are deadly to dogs! Are you crazy? Just because the effects are not right away does not mean it isn’t dangerous! Avoid them at all costs. Wow.

  2. Hi erm.. This is the first time I’ve read this and I’m quite concerned. My dad fed my dog a grape or two when he came over a few months ago. Back them I didn’t think much of it but now I’m really worried for my dog. He has been fine lately, regular stool, no appetite loss or vomitting. What advice would you give me?

  3. Serious Error in “”Can Dogs Eat Grapes on 2nd page, last paragr, 2nd sentence. It states, “Hypocalcemia, (elevated blood calcium levels)….”.

    Hypo-anything in blood means LOW not elevated. HYPOcalcemia is LOW blood calcium levels. If you really mean elevated blood calcium, that is HYPERcalcemia.

    Strongly suggest this be fixed as a well-meaning person could carry this significant error to friends or family with dogs.

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