Last Updated May 31st, 2019
Grapes are a great snack for humans – they taste fantastic, and they’re also nutritious. But can dogs eat grapes? The answer to that question is a resounding, “no.” It cannot be stressed enough: you need to keep this type of fruit far, far away from your dog at all times.
So, why are grapes bad for dogs? There are quite a few reasons. Let’s take a look at just a few of them, and why they need to be off limits for your pet if you want to keep your beloved companion as healthy as possible.
Can Dogs Eat Grapes and Raisins: Why NOT
The main reason why the answer to the question “can dogs eat grapes?” is a definite “no” for one main reason. They’re toxic to dogs. The same thing goes for raisins. There are a lot of differences between dog breeds, but one of the things they all have in common is that grapes and raisins are extremely bad for their health.
But the exact reasons why grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs aren’t known. There are some indications that these fruits contain a toxic substance known as mycotoxin, which can lead to major health problems for pooches. Other researchers believe that grapes contain a substance known as salicylate, which acts almost like aspirin. This substance, they believe, can play a role in decreasing the flow of blood to a dog’s kidneys.
But scientists have not been able to reach an agreement on just why grapes and raisins are toxic.1
There is also no agreement on just how many grapes or raisins will cause health problems in a dog. Since there’s no easily identifiable “toxic dose,” experts suggest keeping grapes and raisins away from your pet completely. There is simply no way to predict which breeds of dogs are more sensitive to grapes, and no way of knowing whether eating just one or two grapes will lead to health problems.2
Can Dogs Eat Grapes and Suffer Major Health Problems? You Bet.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty in Animals (ASPCA), more than 3,700 pet owners called the organization’s poison control line in 2016 after their dogs ate grapes. Their pets were showing signs of serious health issues, and they didn’t know what to do.3
Here are just a few of the symptoms associated with grape ingestion:
- Abdominal pain
- Appetite loss
- Continued panting
- Discoloration of the gums
- Dry nose
- Excessive diarrhea
- Extreme thirst
- Trouble urinating
One of the biggest health problems that can affect dogs who eat grapes is kidney failure. As you can well imagine, this is a severe issue that, in some instances, can even be fatal.5 This is about the most important reason why the answer to the question of “can dogs eat grapes?” is “no.”
The most severe signs of kidney failure will typically not be noticeable until after major damage has already be done.
These signs include many of the same symptoms listed above – excessive thirst, pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, vomiting, and appetite loss. When grape poisoning occurs in a dog, the kidneys will begin to shut down, and the dog will not be able to urinate. High blood pressure could result, and the dog could even go into a coma.6
So, considering the potentially tragic outcome of kidney failure, there is simply no reason whatsoever to make grapes – or even raisins – available to your dog. It cannot be stated enough: Can dogs eat grapes? Not at all.
What to Do if an Accidental Ingestion Occurs
Even the most well-meaning pet owners can sometimes slip up and accidentally leave grapes, raisins, or other toxic foods in a place where their dogs can get to them. And make no mistake, if a dog sees an opening, they will definitely grab a mouthful of these harmful fruits. If it should happen to your dog, fast action can make all the difference.
If you have any reason to believe that your dog has ingested grapes, take your pet to the nearest emergency animal clinic. If that isn’t an option, get them to the vet’s office immediately. The faster the problem is addressed, the better the chances your companion will be OK. Don’t take any chances, or assume your pet will be fine since they only ate two or three grapes. It will be better to overreact than to do nothing.
There is no antidote for grape poisoning in dogs. Your vet will take the steps necessary to keep the toxins in the grapes from doing damage to your dog’s internal organs – especially the kidneys. Sometimes, vomiting is induced to reduce the chances of absorption. Intravenous fluids are sometimes administered to flush out toxins and to help the kidneys keep functioning as normally as possible.
Medications may also be used to keep your dog’s blood pressure at a safe level.
The outlook for your pup’s health will depend on many factors, such as the dog’s size, how many grapes were eaten, how quickly the issue was addressed, and the amount of any kidney damage that may have occurred.7
How Can I Keep This From Happening?
The best thing you can do to avoid this problem in the first place is to make 100 percent sure your dog can’t get into any grapes you might have in your home. But to be as safe as possible, make sure your pup can’t get a hold of any sort of food product that may contain grapes or raisins. This means breakfast cereal, trail mix, baked products, or anything else. That way, you can keep the question of “can dogs eat grapes?” from becoming “what do I need to do to save my dog’s life?”
What Other Foods are Toxic for Dogs?
There are a lot of foods that humans love that could actually be deadly for dogs. These are just a few of them:
How harmful can milk be? It actually seems like one of the most harmless drinks around. But milk can actually do a great deal of damage if your dog is lactose intolerant. Yes, lactose intolerance can affect dogs as well as humans. It occurs when the body doesn’t have the enzyme needed to break down a sugar in milk known as lactose.8
Humans love chocolate. But as a food for dogs, chocolate is anything but a sweet treat. It’s incredibly toxic for dogs, mainly due to a chemical called theobromine. A dog’s digestive system can’t break theobromine down. As a result, chocolate could be fatal if ingested in a high enough amount. But when it comes to a small dog, even a minimal amount of chocolate could cause problems.
Get to the vet as soon as you can if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate and is showing signs of a health problem, including vomiting, seizures, diarrhea, or excessive thirst.9
Onions and Garlic
Both onions and garlic can be dangerous for your dog. They can make it impossible for your dog’s red blood cells to transport oxygen. Symptoms that indicate your dog may have bitten into an onion include lethargy, weakness, coordination loss and vomiting. An affected dog’s urine may be either brown or red in color. Onions and garlic belong to the Allium family of plants. This family also includes leeks, scallions and chives, so keep your dog away from those as well.10
A lot of people like to make their own bread from scratch. If you’re one of them, take extra care to keep bread dough out of the reach of your dog. Dough that hasn’t been baked can lead to a potentially severe – possibly even fatal – condition known as gastric-dilation volvulus (GDV). This results in the stomach twisting or flipping, shutting off both the entrance and exit in the process.11
Can Dogs Eat Grapes: A Final Note
While the exact reasons why grapes are bad for dogs are unknown, hopefully by now you’re convinced that they are. If you love grapes, continue to enjoy them, of course. Just make sure you do everything you can to keep your dog from eating them. If an accident does happen, stay calm and get medical attention for your pet as fast as you can, to keep them healthy.
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