Dogs are well-known to eat almost anything you give to them.
So, it’s no surprise that they will eat grapes if you feed them some.
But, this doesn’t mean that you should feed your dog grapes.
This is because grapes are categorised as highly poisonous to dogs and can cause a range of incredibly severe side effects (including death) even if your dog has eaten them in the past with seemingly no ill effects.
To avoid any upset to your dog’s health in the future, never feed them grapes- even, as I said, your dog has eaten them before.
This article will examine why you should avoid giving your dog grapes and some beneficial alternatives to your pooch instead!
How Toxic Are Grapes Or Raisins For Dogs?
According to the Merck Manual, the ingestion of grapes, raisins, and currants has been associated with renal (kidney) failure in dogs.
These are all part of the same Vitis genus.
Although their exact toxicity is still unknown, as few as 4 or 5 grapes could kill an 18 lb. dog according to their studies.
So far, vets have struggled to identify the toxins within grapes and raisins.
This means that they are still unsure as to what really causes grape poisoning and why it affects some dogs and not others.
Are Grapes Toxic To All Dogs?
Despite the above suggesting that grapes are technically poisonous to all dogs, some dogs can actually eat grapes without any immediate signs of illness or kidney failure.
This makes the phenomenon even more confusing for vets, as some dogs can eat as many grapes as they please without showing a single symptom!
But, you should never risk it.
Even if your dog has eaten grapes before and been perfectly fine, you should not feed your dog’s grapes now that you know they are potentially toxic.
You never know how they will react the next time you feed them grapes.
As their caregiver, it’s your job to make sure your dog doesn’t eat anything which could harm it.
How Do Grapes Poison A Dog’s Body?
Grapes can poison your dog’s body with a variety of outcomes.
Renal failure will usually begin within 72 hours of your dog eating a raisin or grape. Renal failure occurs when the kidneys stop working properly.
The kidneys are no longer able to remove the body’s waste from the blood and they also can’t keep body chemicals in balance anymore.
After the kidneys stop functioning, a dog’s blood pressure will rapidly increase.
This may eventually lead to a coma due to a large build-up of chemicals and substances that your dog’s kidneys can no longer process or expel.
After this, a dog can then die.
Dog’s that survive or seem fine after eating grapes are likely to be affected long-term by kidney trouble for the rest of their lives.
So, even if your dog is eating grapes now and seems okay, you could be making them more likely to develop health issues over time if you continue to feed them grapes.
What Are The Symptoms Of Grape Poisoning?
Along with kidney failure, grape poisoning has many uncomfortable symptoms for your pup.
This includes decreased appetite, weakness, and a tender abdomen.
Obvious symptoms include dehydration and either an increased amount of urine passing or no urination passing at all.
These may go unnoticed over time and may not be immediately obvious.
Even if your dog seems fine, they could be experiencing pain.
The above symptoms are evidently related to kidney failure and signify that your dog’s organs are not working as they normally would.
Vomiting and diarrhoea are another two common symptoms that could be attributed to other issues.
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How Quickly Do The Effects Of Poisoning Take To Kick In?
The effects of grape poisoning usually occur within the first 24 hours after ingestion. But, they can take up to 72 hours to show.
If you think that your dog is experiencing any of the symptoms of grape poisoning, it’s best to take them to the vets as quickly as possible.
Early medical intervention will give your dog the best chances of survival.
The first point of call may be to ring your vet and see what they suggest although they will probably advise bringing them into the clinic.
If your dog is lucky enough to be showing no signs of poisoning, then it will be best to monitor their behaviour over the next 24 hours.
This is usually the time frame within which symptoms start to show.
If there are no negative signs, then your dog has got off lucky.
But, you should take this as a warning to not feed your dog grapes in the future or keep them out of their reach if they ingested one accidentally.
How Will A Vet Treat Grape Poisoning?
Although your dog seems okay now, it’s important to know what would happen if they did experience grape poisoning.
After bringing your dog to the vet, they would probably suggest a variety of treatments to help your dog feel better again.
Your dog may need intensive treatment depending on how far the toxicity has affected its body.
If you’re unsure whether they were poisoned by a grape or not, your vet will firstly run some tests to determine the cause.
Secondly, they may feed your dog activated charcoal as another option that will help to absorb the contents of its stomach including the grapes.
They will usually try to induce vomiting in your dog to get as much toxic content out of your dog’s system as possible.
Alternatively, they could give your dog diuresis treatment over 48 hours to flush the system.
If the kidneys are failing or look like they are about to, the vet will give your dog some medication that will help to stabilise the kidneys.
IV therapy may also be necessary. Your vet will monitor your dog’s health while doing this.
Sadly, euthanasia may be the only option if your dog is experiencing extreme pain and there is no chance of treatment working.
So, to avoid any of this hassle in the future, do not give your dog grapes again.
If My Dog Ate Grapes And Was Fine, Should He Continue To Eat Grapes?
As explained above, just because your dog has not had a negative reaction to grapes in the past does not mean that they won’t have one in the future.
There is also evidence that long-term ingestion of grapes can cause long standing kidney issues which will require vet check-ups and treatments.
Why take the risk?
Instead, you can feed your dog plenty of other tasty treats which are non-toxic.
This includes fruits like bananas, apples, and watermelon.
ASPCA-approved dog-safe vegetables also include carrots, broccoli, and spinach!
These all have amazing nutrients and vitamins within them and will taste amazing to your pup.
So, there’s really no excuse to be feeding your dog grapes when there are so many other healthy options out there.
Simply, a quick google search will tell you all you need to know about food safety.
What Other Fruits Are Poisonous To Dogs?
In contrast to the safe products listed previously, there are heaps of other foods that are poisonous for dogs.
Any number of these could cause your dog severe illness and in worst cases death.
Rhubarb is a common home-grown fruit that is toxic for dogs, causing damage to their nervous systems, kidneys, and digestive systems.
Symptoms of rhubarb ingestion in dogs include tremors, seizures, and heart issues.
Unripe tomatoes are another.
While ripe tomatoes are probably okay for your dog to eat, unripe tomatoes and the tomato plant itself can cause ill health.
Again, this can lead to nervous system damage, kidney issues, and digestive problems.
This is due to the toxin Solanine which occurs in the green parts of the plant. Symptoms include tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea.
So, if you have either of these growing in your garden, keep your dog well away or even better fence the plants off.
These are just two fruits on a long list that could harm your dog. You should always do your research before giving your dog a new food to try.
This will reduce the chances of them becoming ill or poisoned. All you need to do is a quick google search!
Can You Treat Grape Poisoning At Home?
After you have called your vet to get their advice, they may suggest that you induce vomiting for your dog.
But, you should avoid doing so if your dog is showing signs of distress or already having trouble breathing.
This may only make things worse.
The vet will only recommend you to induce vomiting in very limited cases, so, you should not do this unless the vet has advised you first.
The only safe and recommended way to do this is by administering a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
This should only be 0.5-1 ml of hydrogen peroxide per pound of your dog’s body weight.
Vets never recommend sticking your fingers down your dog’s throat, mustard, or salt to induce vomiting as these could all make your dog feel worse.
To recap, as we have discovered throughout this article, you should never feed your dog grapes, raisins, or currants.
This is because they will probably cause your dog a great deal of discomfort and pain which is easily avoided.
Although some dogs are lucky and can survive this toxicity, unfortunately, many don’t.
So, always take immediate action if you believe that your dog has eaten grapes or any other toxic foods.
Keep them out of your dog’s reach to ensure that they aren’t poisoned accidentally, and you should be cautious about feeding your dog any new foods without researching their toxicity first.
You should always aim to make your dog’s safety and comfort your priority as their owner.
You should never put your dog’s life in danger or purposely harm them.
Dogs are man’s best friend. So, they should be treated as such.