Can Dogs Eat Grapes? Fact Checked By Our Vet
If dogs need a healthy diet, and fruits are healthy… then they can technically eat any fruit, right? Well, that’s not always the case. If you’re wondering ‘Can dogs eat grapes?’ - then keep reading.
Related: What Fruit Can Dogs Eat?
We gathered all the info straight from the latest veterinarian research and the answers might surprise you!
Can Dogs Eat Grapes?
The short answer is no, not at all. In fact, grapes and raisins are highly toxic for dogs. But if you’re wondering ‘Can a dog die from eating grapes?’, then the answer isn’t so simple.
The lethal dose of grapes for dogs varies greatly case by case with the lowest document dose of grape toxicity being just 0.32 oz/kg with the exact mechanism of toxicology being one of the great veterinary mysteries of the last two decades . However, researchers at ASPCA recently suspect the toxic substance of grapes to be tartaric acid, based on the similar symptoms of the substance in other foods . Tartaric acid levels can differ in grapes depending on the type, where it was grown and how ripe it is. This could also be the explanation as to why some dogs can eat a grape or two with no ill effects, whereas only one grape can cause acute renal failure in another dog.
We say it's best to stay safe, and keep grapes, raisin, sultanas and all its derivatives far away from your pooch.
PRO TIP: Keep an eye out if your children eat grapes or raisins around your dog. It’s very common for kids to share their treats or let some of them fall on the floor. Prevent this by only offering grapes when sitting at a table, and keeping your dog away from any falling debris.
What You Need To Know About Grape Toxicity In Dogs
Now that you know dogs can’t eat grapes, we’ll go over the specific physiology at play and how grape toxicity works.
Peeled or seedless grapes/raisin have the same risk
As just mentioned, the discovery of the suspected toxic substance in grapes is fairly recent, and research further into this theory is ongoing. However, in clinical trials, all types of grapes and raisins cause adverse reactions. These include peeled, seedless and seeded, organic, store-bought and even grape pressings . To keep it safe, just avoid grapes in all forms.
Even a couple of grapes can be fatal
The number of grapes your dog can tolerate will vary based on their age and size. In general, smaller and younger pups are at a greater risk. In those cases, even a single grape can cause intoxication. If you’re not sure how many raisins or grapes your dog ate, or know there were more than three, take them to the vet as soon as possible. If your dog ate only one, and they are large, they’ll usually only have an upset stomach.
Why Can’t Dogs Eat Grapes?
Simply put, grapes and raisins cause both gastrointestinal and renal toxicity. This means your dog could enter kidney failure if left unattended after eating grapes .
This fruit can cause acute kidney failure, but research is still being conducted into which component causes intoxication. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have to do with pesticides used on the crops, heavy metals absorbed from the soil or fungal infections.
Symptoms Of Grape Poisoning In Dogs
- Within the first 2 hours of ingestion: Dogs show gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting.
- After 5-6 hours: your pup will show diarrhoea and lethargy. Less frequent signs are oedema (inflammation), salivation, excessive urination and excessive thirst.
- Within 24 hours or several days, your dog might show acute renal failure signs. These include lack of appetite, changes in mood or depression, abdominal pain, and tremors. Your dog might also stop urinating altogether. Keep in mind kidney failure in dogs can be fatal, so rush to the vet if your pup shows any of these symptoms.
Will my dog get better after eating grapes?
Prognosis after eating grapes will depend on the ingested amount, your dog’s age and size. It will also depend on whether or not they received veterinarian treatment after ingestion.
If you managed to catch your dog quickly after eating grapes and got them to the doctor, they should be fine. The vet will make them throw up and run some analysis to make sure their kidneys are doing fine. However, dogs that already have kidney failure symptoms, or older dogs, have a reserved prognosis. This means the outcome will depend on the specific condition of your dog’s kidneys and a bit of luck .
In general though, most dogs that eat grapes will be fine after a trip to the vet.
What To Do If My Dog Ate Grapes
The very first thing you need to do is get the grapes out of your dog’s mouth. If you can, force your dog to vomit as soon as you realise they ate raisins or grapes.
The sooner you make your dog throw up, the better it will be for their health. If you catch the grapes early, your pup’s body wouldn’t be able to absorb as many toxins.
If you notice your dog ate grapes 30 minutes or more after the fact, take them to the vet. Even if they aren’t showing immediate signs, your vet will be able to assess their health, provoke vomit and monitor the state of their kidneys.
PRO TIP: If your dog ate grapes or raisins, treatment is critical. Contact your veterinarian ASAP.
PRO TIP: There are no specific grape/raisin poisoning tests. Diagnosis of grape or raisin toxicity is based on your dog’s history of exposure, or when you saw them eat the grapes.
PRO TIP: If your dog stops urinating completely, it’s a sign of acute kidney failure that is life threatening.
Dogs cannot eat grapes in any form. Wine, raisins, green or red, your pup should never have the chance to taste them! As an owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your dog away from any dangerous food. Prevention is the key to avoid accidental poisoning and will keep your dog healthy and safe for many years.
The best option is teaching your dog to release on cue. This is a very useful command that makes it easy to avoid intoxication. To teach your dog to ‘drop it’ or ‘release it’, do it while playing fetch. Once they come back with their ball, take it out of their mouth while repeating your cue (‘release’ or ‘drop’). Then praise them and offer a tasty treat. Your dog will associate dropping the thing with something even better coming their way. Repeat the release cue with other items, including things your dog wants like a special toy.
Eventually, your dog will get it and, you’ll be less likely to visit the vet for intoxication!
Want to learn more about what types of food dogs can and can't eat? Check out our below guides:
- McKnight, K. February 2005. "Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs". Veterinary Technician, Toxicology Brief. https://www.aspcapro.org/sites/default/files/q.pdf
- Wegenast, C. et al. (2022). "Acute kidney injury in dogs following ingestion of cream of tartar and tamarinds and the connection to tartaric acid as the proposed toxic principle in grapes and raisins". Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, 32(6); 812-816. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/vec.13234
- Eubig, P. A., et al. (2005). "Acute renal failure in dogs after the ingestion of grapes or raisins: a retrospective evaluation of 43 dogs (1992–2002)". Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 19(5), 663-674. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2005.tb02744.x
- Campbell, A. (2007). "Grapes, raisins and sultanas, and other foods toxic to dogs". UK Vet Companion Animal, 12(1), 77-79. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-3862.2007.tb00121.x
- Reich, C. F., et al (2020). "Retrospective evaluation of the clinical course and outcome following grape or raisin ingestion in dogs (2005–2014): 139 cases". Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, 30(1), 60-65. https://doi.org/10.1111/vec.12905