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Grapes in orchard

📷 Peter Schad from Unsplash

The essentials

  • Grapes, raisins, and sultanas are poisonous to canines The tartaric acid in these fruits causes dogs to suffer from a variety of symptoms or even kidney failure. 
  • Tartaric acid is the reason dogs get sick Grapes, raisins, and sultanas contain different levels of tartaric acid based on the type of grape and where it was grown. 
  • ALL grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs Homegrown, organic, non-organic, and every grape variety you can think of.
  • Just one or two grapes may cause kidney failure and even death — The biggest signs of grape toxicity include excessive thirst, diarrhea, and vomiting. In severe cases, kidney failure and even death may occur.

Grapes, raisins, and currants are very poisonous to dogs. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) , “Significant vomiting is common [in dogs], while diarrhea and polydipsia (excessive thirst) may also occur. Acute renal failure is a possible outcome.”

Also, foods containing grapes, raisins, and currants — raisin bran cereal, trail mix, granola mix, baked goods — are all potential sources of poison. However, grape jellies, grape juice, and wine aren’t a toxicity concern. But, these foods and drinks should still be kept away from your dog as they contain sugars or alcohol.

Can my dog eat any type of grape or raisin?

No! One grape or raisin can be fatal for a small dog. Onions, chocolate, and macadamia nuts also fall into this toxic category. Use common sense and don’t feed any of these human foods to your furry friend. 

How many raisins or grapes cause a problem?

One to two grapes in a small dog is a potentially significant exposure.

Signs of grape and raisin toxicity in dogs

The most common symptoms in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive thirst. Acute renal failure is a possible outcome. In severe cases, kidney failure will occur within one to three days of ingestion, which will cause high blood pressure and a decrease in urine output. Pet parents need to also look out for these signs in their pup:

  • Weakness, and severe fatigue
  • Inappetance
  • Stomach pain
  • Panting
  • Increased urination
  • Dehydration
  • Drooling

How long after eating grapes will a dog get sick? 

Your dog may vomit or have diarrhea within 6 to 12 hours after ingesting a grape or raisin. Some grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure within 24 to 72 hours of ingestion. 

Mystery finally solved by ASPCA vets

For ages, vets didn’t know why some dogs were ill from eating grapes and other canines didn’t get as sick. Veterinarians at the ASPCA Poison Control Center (APCC) solved the 20-year-old mystery of why grapes, raisins, and sultanas are poisonous to dogs.

They found that the tartaric acid in grapes causes these symptoms. These fruits contain different levels of tartaric acid based on the type, where it was grown, and ripeness. This helped explain why some dogs get very sick from eating these fruits and others don’t.

When to call a veterinarian

If you think or know that your dog ate a grape or a raisin, you should call a veterinarian immediately.  It’s better to let your dog’s vet know right away, even if you’re uncertain that they consumed the fruit. Once you speak to a veterinarian, you need to take your pup to the clinic as soon as possible!

Talk to your family about what’s safe

A small box of raisins is often given to children as a snack. So, it’s essential that you talk to your children about NOT feeding these to your dog as a treat. It’s also easy to drop grapes, and they roll right off of the table!

Also, teach your kids to read labels as all fruit treats are not dog treats! The packets of fruit treats you eat daily as a snack may contain xylitol and various ingredients that are toxic to your dog.

Five safe fruits for dogs

So, what fruits are safe as treats for dogs? These human foods are safe and healthy treats to share with your pup. Authors of “The Forever Dog” refer to these fruits as “longevity toppers.”

  • Cantaloupe. Did you know dogs may benefit from beta-carotene-rich cantaloupe?
  • Blueberries. Many pet owners give their dogs blueberries because they have a high amount of antioxidants.
  • Pineapple. The texture may be a tough sell for your dog, but the anti-inflammatory properties make bromelain-filled pineapple a great snack.
  • Apples. This fruit is rich in pectin, which is beneficial to your dog’s gut health.

Always contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center if you think there’s a possible poisoning — and this goes beyond raisin toxicity and grape toxicity. The Pet Poison Helpline is a good resource if your dog eats any people food, medications, chemicals, or plants.

If you want to know the toxic dose of a fruit or food, their website is the best way to get immediate information. But, you should always take your dog to the vet if you believe they ingested a raisin or grape, even if it was just one!

Frequently asked questions

Will one grape hurt a dog? 

Yes! One to two grapes in a small dog can lead to kidney failure and even death. 

What do I do if my dog eats grapes? 

If you think or know that your dog ate a grape or any amount of raisins, you should call a veterinarian immediately.

Will one raisin hurt a dog? 

Perhaps! We know that 0.7 ounces (oz) of raisins per 2.2 pounds (lbs) of dog is the lowest documented ingestion leading to kidney failure.