Dogs should not, under any circumstances, eat grapes or any derivative of the fruit. It’s unclear what chemical in grapes is toxic to dogs but the damaging effects of ingesting the vined fruit has been well-documented. Because the exact toxin is unknown, fresh grapes (skin and flesh), raisins, grape juice, and currants should all be avoided.
What Are the Symptoms of Grape Poisoning?
Unfortunately, grape poisoning will present symptoms that are quite common in many ailments. Lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting are indicative of grape poisoning but they also are symptoms of viral infections, parasitic infections, or organ malfunctions. The only way you can know that your dog is suffering from grape poisoning is if you find telltale evidence that he ate the fruit.
If only a tiny amount was eaten relative to the size of the dog, he may not be affected at all. However, the effects of eating the fruit vary drastically on an individual basis. Therefore, you should always immediately take action as soon as you suspect grape poisoning.
What Should I Do iIf My Dog Ate Grapes?
Even if your dog ate only a small amount of the fruit you should try to induce vomiting immediately. This means sticking a finger gently down his throat. Dogs have sensitive gag reflexes so vomiting should occur without difficulty. If you’re too squeamish to attempt this maneuver, you will need to take your dog to the vet without delay.
After you’ve induced vomiting, take your dog to the vet for additional treatment or monitoring. Kidney failure has been documented in as little as 24 hours after grape ingestion so it is imperative that your vet check that the organs are functioning properly.
Is There an Antidote to Grape Poisoning?
Sadly, no antidote will reverse or neutralize the toxins. Your vet will only be able to alleviate the symptoms or prolong the absorption rate of the toxin. Some veterinarian methods include administering IV fluids to flush out the toxins dosing with charcoal to absorb the toxins still present in the stomach and hospitalization for up to a week. Grape poisoning can be fatal and it will require expensive treatment.
Because grape poisoning can be so damaging, your dog’s health may be adversely affected for the rest of his life – depending on how severe the episode was. Kidney damage can be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.
What Can I Do to Prevent Grape Poisoning?
Keep all human foods out of reach of dogs. Baby proof your cabinets and refrigerator if necessary. Many dogs will eat almost anything – and bigger dogs are powerful enough to get into cabinets and jump on counters. Keep the trash in a closet or cabinet where your dog cannot access it. If you throw away grapes and your dog gets into the trash, he will probably eat the discarded fruit along with other trashed items.
Inform your entire family of the dangers of feeding grapes to dogs. Write a list of toxic foods on a whiteboard and affix it to the refrigerator. Be sure to tell dog-sitters that grapes are toxic to dogs. Many people, even dog trainers, are still unaware how poisonous grapes are to canines.
By Gabrielle Allemeier
About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.