Can Dogs Eat Grapes?
Dogs love eating human foods, that’s a fact. If you’ve ever eaten food around your (or someone else’s) pooch then no doubt they’ll have kept their eyes on your snack, eager to get their paws on it. Or, chances are they might have even made the move and tried to take it from you. This adorable behavior is funny to watch as, even after being fed, many dogs will stand there open mothed, salivating and just waiting for the opportunity to have some non-doggy food.
While it really is amusing and worth watching, you should be careful at times as not all foods are dog friendly. One food which is notoriously bad for dogs are grapes or raisins (dried grapes) as they are toxic and can be fatal in some circumstances. Although the science behind this isn’t entirely understood, most dogs are highly sensitive to this food and should be kept away from them as much as possible. So, lets take a look at why scientists think grapes are toxic to dogs, how to care for a pooch who has eaten them and how to avoid them getting to unfriendly foods in the future.
Are Grapes Really Toxic to Dogs?
While we claim that grapes are toxic to dogs, there are some specific dogs which seem to be immune to the effects. However, scientists don’t know why some dogs are unaffected as the toxic substance in grapes and raisins is still unknown. There doesn’t appear to be any correlation between age, breed or gender so there is no way to tell which dogs will be affected and which ones won’t. As it so uncertain, this is why scientists and dog nutrition experts recommend that you keep your dog away from the food at all times.
While some dogs might be unaffected, it is too risky to find out as the symptoms of poisoning can be extremely unpleasant and can even be fatal at times.
What Symptoms Should You Look Out For?
You might be able to tell if your dog has eaten grapes if you see them (partially) undigested in their waste or vomit. This indicates they have eaten them over two hours ago and you should immediately call the vet. If you think your dog has eaten grapes but you aren’t sure, there are other symptoms to look out for. These include:
- Lethargy, tiredness, general weakened behavior
- Reduced passing of urine (known as oliguria) or a complete stop of urine passing (anuria)
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain or tenderness
As you can tell, the symptoms above are severe so you should immediately call your veterinarian to inform them and seek advice if you witness any of them.
How to Treat a Dog with Food Poisoning.
While the vet will usually need to see your dog immediately, they will give you advice on how to treat your dog in the meantime. If you have actually seen your dog eat grapes then you should also call the vet immediately. They will most like advise that you induce vomiting if your dog has not done so already as this is the quickest and most effective way of removing the toxin from your dog’s system. This should be done within the first few hours following the incident. Your vet will tell you how to induce vomiting as there are various ways to do this and some might be more effectively than others for your specific pup.
If you notice these symptoms after a few hours or more, you will most likely need to take your pooch to the vet immediately. The vet will then carry out some bloodwork, urinalysis and other tests to diagnose the extent of the damage. If a lot of the toxin has been consumed or more than a few hours have passed since the incident, then the symptoms may develop quicker and more severely. Following tests, the vet may have to wash out the dog’s stomach (a process called gastric lavage) then use activated charcoal to absorb any remaining toxins left in its stomach. After this process, the vet will monitor kidney functions to ensure they organ is functioning properly. If the kidneys do not work effectively even after this process and can’t be controlled through prescribed medication, then it likely that the symptoms have deteriorated significantly. In this instance, the kidneys essentially shut down and cannot function without medical intervention. If the dog doesn’t show signs of recovery, then a kidney transplant may be the only suitable solution. In some cases where this isn’t an option, they dog may have to be put down.
Grapes and raisins can be extremely toxic to some dogs as we have learned. While most cases of poisoning from grapes can be fixed promptly using medication, vomiting or gastric lavage, few cases may deteriorate beyond this level.
How to Avoid Food Poisoning in Dogs
The easiest and simplest way to avoid food poisoning in dogs is to remove dangerous foods from your dog’s reach. This could be achieved by storing these foods in cupboards, sealed tubs or on high shelves which your dog can’t reach. It’s also important to be aware of exactly what human foods dogs can’t eat. You can find lists of foods to avoid on the internet or you might even find a complete list at your local vet. It might be a good idea to hang this list in the kitchen or stick it on the refrigerator so you, family, friends or other visitors can see it clearly and know what foods not to keep out in public. You could even hang up another list with dog-friendly snacks so guests know how they can treat your dog safely.
Grapes and raisins can be extremely dangerous to your dog’s health which could result in fatal injury if it’s not noticed and dealt with promptly. While some dogs might be able to eat grapes with no problems, it is never worth risking your pup’s health just to find out. Instead, keep a list of dangerous foods, store these safely away from your curious canine and use alternative, dog-friendly treats to reward good behavior.