Grapes are really bad for dogs. They are one of the most toxic foods that your dog can eat. If you’re reading this article after your dog has swallowed a grape call your vet immediately and get an emergency appointment. You can read the rest of the article later.
What happens if my dog eats a grape and I don’t go to the vet?
Grapes and other members of the currant family cause acute kidney failure in dogs. We don’t know exactly how this works yet, but we do know that it takes very few grapes to make a dog incredibly sick. Just four grapes can kill an 18-pound dog.
How soon do I have to get to the vet?
Ideally, you should get to the vet within an hour of your dog eating grapes. They can then be given a medication that will make them vomit the grapes back up. This is the quickest way to remove the grapes from their digestive system and stop their liver and kidneys from processing the toxins.
Your vet will also recommend that your dog stay in hospital on IV fluids to support their kidneys, keep them hydrated, and monitor them for any signs of kidney failure.
They will also recommend running blood tests (possibly more than once) over the next few days and weeks. The blood-work will show certain enzyme levels, which help your vet team assess how your dog’s kidneys are getting on.
My dog ate grapes while I was out of the house, what now?
Get to the vet straight away. They will still follow the steps above, and do what they can to support your dog’s kidneys.
Because we don’t know exactly how these toxins work, we don’t have medications to counteract or cure any illness it may cause.
How do I know if my dog has swallowed a grape?
Grapes cause acute-kidney failure, but there aren’t any specific grape-toxicity symptoms. If you haven’t seen your dog eat a grape but they display any of the following symptoms, as a general rule, head to the vet:
- Lethargy (unwillingness to move, appearing tired for no reason)
- Not willing to eat
- Drinking and peeing excessively
Are grapes bad for all dogs?
Some dogs can eat grapes and raisins without having any issues, but no scientific studies have been able to tell us why this is yet.
While your dog might be fine after eating a few grapes, it is not worth the risk waiting to find out if they are one of the lucky ones. Get to the vet.
How do I stop my dog from eating grapes?
Unfortunately, grapes are delicious, and some dogs develop a taste for them. I have encountered a repeat offender who would jump up onto counters to gobble down a punnet of grapes while his owners weren’t looking. Each time, he received treatment and was fine—but it was incredibly stressful for his humans.
We normally don’t keep grapes in the house in case the dogs decide to lose their minds and raid our cupboards when we’re gone. When we do buy them, we put them on the tallest shelf of our (very tall) fridge, out of reach and behind a sealed door. Even Gunther would struggle to reach them, and he’d have to pass up a shelf full of chicken and chorizo.
Be careful how you dispose of grapes. Make sure they’re in a closed bin and don’t leave them out on a compost heap. It’s best not to leave them out for birds or squirrels either, as if they fall off the feeder, they can be snaffled up by an opportunistic pup out for a sniff.
Gunther’s best friend, Cooper, had this kind of experience. He was out on a walk and, for some reason, there were grapes on the street. Before his owners could stop him, he’d helped himself. Fortunately, his owners were aware of how poisonous they are and got him straight to the vet, so he was absolutely fine.
Are raisins bad for dogs?
It’s not just grapes. Other members of the Viti family of currants are also poisonous. This includes raisins and Zante currants.
Look out for anything that contains these fruits, including trail mix and Christmas pudding.
What about wine?
Wine is also poisonous to dogs though it’s not the grapes—it’s because of the alcohol.