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Toxicity of Raisins and Grapes in Dogs

Grapes and raisins are unsafe for dogs.

Grapes and raisins can be extremely toxic to dogs that ingest even a tiny bit of one. It's not yet clear which substance in the fruit causes this toxicity, and not all dogs are affected by it. Unfortunately, it's impossible to know whether any particular individual dog will be poisoned by a grape or raisin, and because the results are life-threatening, they should be avoided entirely for all dogs.

What Does Grape and Raisin Toxicity Do in Dogs?

Some dogs that ingest grapes or raisins suffer from serious, sudden kidney failure as a result of severe kidney damage. This can happen to any dog regardless of breed, age, or sex, but it doesn't occur in all dogs.

Signs of Grape or Raisin Toxicity in Dogs

If a dog is suffering from grape toxicity, the signs he exhibits will be related to kidney failure and could include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Decreased or absent appetite
  • Abdominal pain that may display itself as a hunched-up posture or reluctance to lie down
  • Dramatic decrease or absence of urination
  • Foul odor to the breath
  • Sores in the mouth and drooling
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Signs may begin within hours of ingestion of grapes or raisins.

Diagnosis of Grape Toxicity in Dogs

Most of the time, grape toxicity is diagnosed because the owner suspects or knows the dog ate grapes or raisins and the dog has become ill.

Lab tests, including blood work and urinalysis, will point toward kidney failure.

Treatment of Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs

If the dog ingested the grapes or raisins quite recently—within an hour or two—the veterinarian might induce vomiting in an attempt to remove some of the fruit from the stomach before it can be further digested and absorbed. The doctor may then flush out the stomach and give the dog activated charcoal, which can further bind the grape material and help keep it from being absorbed into the dog's system.

Note: Vomiting can't be induced if the dog is unconscious or having trouble breathing.

Intravenous fluid therapy is begun to try and flush the toxins that the kidneys are not able to get rid of normally out of the system. The veterinarian may give the dog anti-vomiting medications and pain medicine.

If the dog is not producing urine, the prognosis for recovery is grave. A kidney transplant may be an option but is only available at specialized veterinary facilities, and the dog might already be so sick that he would be a poor candidate for surgery.

Prognosis for Dogs with Grape and Raisin Toxicity

Prognosis for full recovery of dogs suffering from grape and raisin toxicity is poor, especially once they begin vomiting excessively and not producing urine.

If you know your dog ate a raisin or grape, call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 immediately. If vomiting can be successfully induced and the fruit removed from the stomach before the body begins to absorb it, it's possible that kidney damage may be avoided.

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