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Can Dogs Eat Grapes? The Truth About Feeding Grapes to Your Dog

No, dogs can’t eat grapes and shouldn’t be given any. That’s the short and sweet answer to any dog owner who may have heard about this and thought it was a myth. We'd also be careful about giving your dog grape juice. However, as we speak, there is a war on forums like Reddit, where some seem to believe this is a myth.

Read on if you want to learn more about why grapes being harmful to a dog isn’t a myth. We go into the science of why vets across the world agree that dogs shouldn’t be fed grapes and also answer the most frequently asked questions along the way.

So, let’s get started!

Why Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Grapes?

Grapes are highly toxic to most, if not all, breeds of dogs. This can spike a sudden and acute kidney failure. However, it should be noted that raisins, dried grapes without seeds, are also toxic or poisonous to dogs. One reason for this is the increased concentration of nutrients, a byproduct of the drying process.

Over the years, there has been lots of research done to suggest that grape and raisin toxicity is one of the leading causes of death in dogs that consume grapes. However, as we speak, there is no one clear answer. As always, science and doctors have a couple of theories to suggest what would happen if a dog ate grapes and what would happen in the body. 

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Molds and Fungus

A couple of studies ruled out the existence of molds and fungi as the leading cause of grape toxicity in dogs. Over the years, studies on grapes originating from various wineries, backyard gardens, grocery stores and farms have found no direct correlation between the sources of fruit and the existence of fungus or mold.

Grape Seeds

One reason for grape toxicity cited was its seed. However, research debunked this by showing that seedless grapes were just as toxic. So, seeds could be ruled out as a source of toxicity.

Allergies

There is substantial evidence showing that dogs are allergic to various plant-based or plant-based food in general. However, this allergic reaction isn't common. That’s why allergies aren’t a consistent theory, proving that they can cause death in dogs that consume grapes.

Pesticides

A study of various grapes from around the world that used various farming practices, including pesticides, ruled out their use. Regardless of whether pesticides were used or grown organically, the toxicity in grapes for dogs remained unchanged. 

Salicylate

In recent years, scientists have ruled out a compound called salicylate. This aspirin-type compound found in grapes was said to be toxic when a dog eats grapes. However, that has been ruled out.

Even though we may not know why dogs, in general, are physically reacting to consuming grapes, there is suspicion that it has something to do with the fruit’s meat or skin. However, until science can ascertain what’s making dogs sick, dog owners are strongly advised not to feed their pets grapes, regardless of their form.

Can You Feed A Dog One Grape?

Possibly, yes – but why risk it? All dogs are different, and there is no reason any dog owner would want to jeopardize their pet's health. However, various studies across multiple dog breeds over the years suggest that any amount of grapes ingested can be dangerous.

It is worth keeping in mind that body weight is a factor when considering how many grapes may endanger a pooch. For instance, a Yorkie or a Pomeranian would have a much lower tolerance to perhaps two grapes than a larger dog like a German Shepard or Labrador.

Larger dogs should be able to consume one grape or two without causing any problems. But it should be mentioned that even a single grape could trigger renal failure in generally smaller dogs. Also, larger dogs will react to a few grapes too.

We can’t put a minimum or maximum amount on the number of grapes you can feed a dog without endangering its health. That is because we aren’t entirely sure of the risk factor associated with grape poisoning. The best way to ensure that grapes never jeopardize your pet’s health is to keep them away from all currants, grapes and raisins. Yes! Dogs will eat them, so you should keep grapes out of their reach. 

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What To Do If Your Dog Has Eaten A Grape?

You will want to start by consulting your vet right away to minimize grape poisoning in dogs. Dogs that have consumed grapes will not start showing symptoms immediately. The dog may seem fine for a while, but they are, in fact, in trouble. Depending on the situation, the vet may recommend inducing vomiting in the dog. Alternatively, you will want to take your dog to an emergency facility, where they administer fluids and do blood work.

If you notice your pet is vomiting, appears out of character, and pooping all over the place, it will have to be taken to a vet immediately. Grape poisoning kicks in fast, so you need to move faster than it takes to kick in to save your pet. You are running against the clock on this one to prevent sudden kidney failure. 

Symptoms of Grape Poisoning

The exact symptoms your dog may exhibit may differ slightly. Plus, this list of symptoms is not meant to be taken as medical advice. That said, if you notice any of these after-mentioned symptoms, call your vet right away or, better yet, rush your dog off to the emergency ward.

Symptoms of grape poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Lethargy
  • Change in the way they urinate
  • Dehydration, which may include a dry nose, pale color gums, heavy panting
  • Kidney failure

You should also closely watch your pet for behavioral changes, which include refusing to eat. Some dogs may start whining, and others may hide, which is out of character. All this and more should signal to you that something is wrong and requires immediate attention.

How Soon Do Dogs Get Sick After Eating Grapes?

The symptoms may take a couple of hours to appear, contrary to popular belief. It can often take 2-3 hours. However, when the symptoms surface, it is usually late unless pet owners are already at the vet's office. That’s why if you know or suspect your dog has ingested raisins or grapes, even a single one, visit your vet immediately. 

You should visit your vet even if the dog has ingested grapes but isn’t showing symptoms because the symptoms will surface at some point. Treatment in time can, quite frankly, save their life, but being late can have the opposite effect. Plus, treatment in time will help you avoid long-term health damage.

How Much Can Harm Your Dog?

Trust us when we tell you that any amount can be toxic, even at low amounts like 03. Ounces of grapes can be harmful. However, larger dogs may need to consume more before they start seeing symptoms. But some larger dogs wouldn’t be able to tolerate even half a grape.

It is fair to say that sometimes you are unaware of how much your pooch may have consumed, and like any toxic substance, the toxicity of all grapes varies. However, in instances like these, it is best to err on the side of caution and induce vomiting. Then, you should take your dog to the nearest vet.

All dogs need immediate care, mainly because there is no workable antidote for grape poisoning that we know of as of publishing this article. Usually, veterinarians also induce vomiting, so your dog throws up the grape(s) they consumed. Sometimes vets will suggest feeding your dog activated charcoal, which helps to minimize the number of toxins the dog’s body absorbs through the intestines. However, only do this if the vet advises it because how much-activated charcoal needs to be given will vary depending on the size of the dog.

Treatment Methods

Any vet's first order of business would be to prevent kidney problems. If early signs of kidney problems are detected, the vet will work to restore it to normal function. They may first try to help the dog vomit, maybe give it activated charcoal to absorb the toxins so that the intestines don’t absorb much of it. Then the dog may be given fluid therapy to help keep the kidneys healthy.

Depending on the dog and the vet’s prognosis, they (the vet) may suggest immediate home treatment, including giving it a solution of hydrogen peroxide. Usually, it is one teaspoon for every 5 pounds of weight. This helps to induce vomiting. However, this isn’t medical advice, and thus make sure to only use these based on your vet's advice. You can also call the pet poison helpline for assistance. 

  • If it is less than two hours since the dog has ingested green grapes, the vet will attempt to induce vomiting. After the stomach has been emptied, they will give the dog activated charcoal, which binds with the toxins and thus prevents absorption by the body, which helps to prevent, if not limit, kidney failure. 
  • Doctors will then order blood work and urinalysis to determine if the kidney is functioning normally or has been damaged.
  • If your pet shows signs of acute renal failure, the doctor will immediately start fluid therapy.

If the kidney is damaged, the prognosis can be dangerous. However, it isn’t entirely unheard of for dogs to recover after having ingested grapes. But that’s provided they receive immediate medical attention.

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My Dog Seems Fine After Eating Grapes

As dog owners, we can tell you that it is a scary thought, but dogs will be dogs, and sometimes, when you forget a few grapes on the table or drop one, your dog may eat it. However, he or she may appear perfectly fine, thus not requiring medical treatment. That said, by not taking your dog to a vet, you are risking their health.

Sure, a single grape or two may not necessarily trigger a life-or-death race, but it depends on the dog and its size. Some dogs are more sensitive to grape toxins than others (something we established earlier in this article). However, if you don’t take your dog to a vet, you will never know if the grapes have caused any harm to their health. Plus, it may already be late when a dog starts showing symptoms like pale gums. 

If there is kidney damage, which is preventing your dog from passing urine or producing it, there is a chance it could die. That’s because the kidneys are unable to repair themselves. This is why we can’t stress the importance of rushing them off to a vet, even if you only suspect they might have eaten grapes.

What Foods Are Bad for Dogs?

Apart from grapes, a few other human foods are toxic to dogs. These will include:

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cocoa
  • Any item with xylitol as part of the ingredients

If you are going to feed your dog anything like dog treats, check the ingredients on the foot label. You want to make sure it is 100% safe for your dog. Even if you have accidentally fed your dog a small amount of food that could be toxic, it can become a big problem. This means you should consult a vet right away.

What Fruits Are Dangerous For Dogs?        

In addition to grapes, a few other fruits are safe for humans but not dogs. The good news is that these aren’t as bad as grapes. The fruits include:

  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
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Some dogs may have developed sensitivity to the foods listed above, so they shouldn’t be given more than a limited amount. And if you see that the limited amount is having an adverse effect on their health, stop giving it to them. Also, because most, if not all, fruits have sugar, don’t give your dog way too much at the same time.

If the foods you are feeding your dog have seeds, you will want to remove them. This is important, especially for apples, since the seeds are highly poisonous. Instead, apple pieces without the pits would be a better option. Also, dehydrated apples are fine too.

Final Word  

Taking the right steps to help prevent damage to your dog’s health ensures that it will live a long and healthy life. However, accidents happen, and if your dog has accidentally eaten grapes or raisins, call your vet right away to treat your dog. Time is of the essence; in this case, you are racing against the clock to save your pet’s life.

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