Grapes and raisins can cause severe kidney problems in some dogs, though we don’t know exactly why.
Not all dogs seem to be affected
However, for some dogs, it only takes a very small amount to cause problems
Dried forms of grapes - raisins, sultanas and currants - seem to be more toxic
Take extra care with foods like mince pies, fruit cake and hot cross buns, as dogs find them very tasty!
Recently the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center suggested that tartaric acid may be the part of grapes that cause them to be toxic to pets. More research is required and advice regarding grape or raisin ingestion in our beloved dogs remains the same!
What are the signs of grape and raisin poisoning?
In severe cases, symptoms can come on very quickly, but normally they take between 24 and 72 hours to start. They include:
Changes in drinking and weeing
Lack of appetite
Blood in wee, vomit or poo
Help! My dog ate raisins! What should I do?
We don’t yet know exactly what it is that makes grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas poisonous to dogs. We also can’t yet predict which dogs will become poorly, and which won’t.
The best thing to do is to contact a vet as soon as possible. Remove any left-over grapes/raisins from the area, but please don’t try to make your dog sick yourself. It can be helpful to take the packaging with you to show the vet.
How is grape and raisin poisoning treated?
If your dog has eaten them in the last 2 hours, your vet may make them vomit to get them out of their stomach before they are absorbed into the body. Your vet may also be given activated charcoal by mouth which to help soak up any toxin in the gut to prevent it being absorbed into the body.
If the grapes or raisins were eaten more than 2 hours ago it is too make them vomit because they will have passed on from the stomach into the intestines
If it’s too late to make them vomit, and your dog seems OK, you and your vet may decide to wait and see what happens. This will mean keeping a close eye on your dog for at least 24 hours and calling the vet if they develop any of the symptoms above.
You and your vet may decide to leave your dog at the vets for treatment, especially if they are already poorly. Your vet will put them on a drip (intravenous fluids). This supports the kidneys and treats dehydration. They will probably also take a blood sample to check to see if the kidneys are working OK, and possibly look at the kidneys with an ultrasound scanner.
Will dogs that eat grapes or raisins get better?
With prompt treatment, most dogs go on to make a good recovery, especially if their kidneys are OK. If treatment is delayed or if the poison has affected their kidneys, they may suffer from lifelong problems, or in the worst case lose their life. So this is why it is very important to contact your vet as soon as possible.