You may be wondering, “Can dogs eat grapes?”
Great question. A number of foods are toxic to pets. From chocolate to grapes, how much is safe to give to your pet?
Keep reading, and we’ll explain everything we know about grape toxicity in dogs.
Are Grapes Toxic to Dogs?
Yes, both grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs.1
The type of grape doesn’t matter. It can be green, red, commercially grown or from your backyard.
The source of the toxicity is unknown, but what is known is that dogs have become ill and died from ingesting grapes and raisins (dried grapes).
Can Dogs Eat Grapes? No. They Shouldn’t.
Consider the story of Rio. His human, Angela, found him sick one day. He had eaten grapes left out in the kitchen.
Angela rushed him to the veterinarian, where Rio had his system flushed and the staff worked on absorbing the toxin.
Rio was under 24-hour care for almost a week and still needed treatment at home. He had suffered kidney damage, but he survived. Not all dogs are this lucky.
And what is it about grapes that are toxic to dogs? Actually, experts still aren’t exactly sure.
Several substances have been examined to determine the toxin in grapes, such as herbicides and pesticides, but the exact component of a grape that causes the toxicity is still a mystery. (Grape seed extract is not listed as a threat.)
From Rio’s story, veterinary criticalist Dr. Nathan Lippo, DVM, DACVECC, says that any amount of grapes can be toxic to a dog.
“The toxin in the fruit is unknown, but we do know it’s in the flesh of the grape — not the seeds, not the skin…. It affects them pretty badly,” says Dr. Lippo.2
Toxicity from grapes and raisins can bring about kidney failure.
Treatment will depend on the amount of fruit ingested and how the dog’s body reacts to the toxin.
How Toxic Are Grapes for Dogs?
According to Small Animal Toxicology, there’s a way to get a rough estimate of the toxic amount of grapes or raisins for a dog:3
How Many Grapes Are Toxic to a Dog?
General rule of thumb for when dangerous doses may begin:
- 1 or 2 grapes for a 10-pound dog
- 3 or 4 grapes for a 20-pound or heavier dog
How Many Raisins Are Toxic to a Dog?
General rule of thumb for when dangerous doses may begin:
- 0.7 ounces for a 10-pound dog
- 1.4 ounces for a 20-pound dog
- 2.1 ounces for a 30-pound dog
- 2.8 ounces for a 40-pound or heavier dog
Raisins are more concentrated, so it takes fewer of them to cause problems.
But get this: The amount of grapes or raisins eaten may not have any bearing on how much harm is caused to your pet.
The report “Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs” (2007) discusses how a Border Collie ate a whole 16-ounce box of raisins and lived, yet a Labrador Retriever (a larger dog) died after eating a slightly larger box of raisins.4
As the Merck Veterinary Manual puts it, “A clear dose-response relationship has not been determined, but as few as 4–5 grapes were implicated in the death of an 18-lb (8.2-kg) dog.”
So here’s the take-home message: If you’re wondering, “Can dogs eat grapes?” please know that ANY amount of grapes or raisins should be considered toxic to dogs.
Symptoms of Grape Toxicity in a Dog
A variety of symptoms are possible with grape toxicity in a dog:
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Fluid cessation (will not drink water or urinate)
- Loss of appetite
- Breathing difficulty
- Kidney failure
Death is also a possibility, depending on the amount consumed. Yes, grapes can kill a dog.5
The body has to process and absorb the grapes, so death is not instantaneous — but time is important.
The sooner treatment begins, the higher chances of recovery you give to your dog.
Treatment of Grape Toxicity in a Dog
What happens when a dog eats grapes?
Grape or raisin ingestion should be considered an emergency.
Treatment should begin immediately:
- If the ingestion was within 2 hours, vomiting is usually induced by the veterinary staff and activated charcoal administered.
- Intravenous fluids may be given for 48 hours.
- Blood chemistry panels are checked for 72 hours.
- Other options may include urinalysis, kidney medications or an ultrasound to examine the kidney size and look for mineral deposits.
It’s important to see the vet even if the dog isn’t showing symptoms. The kidney damage can be delayed, but the sooner it is identified, the better for the dog.
Preventing Grape Toxicity in a Dog
Grape toxicity in pets was recognized years ago when a pattern was found in reports of sick dogs.
A common factor was the ingestion of grapes or raisins, and veterinary professionals and pet lovers alike have been trying to spread the word since its discovery.
So, avoid leaving grapes or raisins out on counters or in open pantries where your dog might be able to reach them.
The same goes for cats — yes, grapes and raisins are toxic to cats as well.6
- Campbell, Alexander, BSc. “Grapes, raisins and sultanas, and other foods toxic to dogs.” UK Vet Companion Animal. January 2007. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.2044-3862.2007.tb00121.x.
- Alexander, Terry. “Six Deadly Foods for Dogs.” NBC 12 News. Feb. 15, 2011. http://www.nbc12.com/story/14029753/six-deadly-foods-for-dogs/.
- Peterson, Michael E., DVM, and Patricia A. Talcott, MS, DVM, PhD, DABVT. Small Animal Toxicology. Elsevier Health Sciences. 2013.
- Savigny, Michelle, DVM, and Douglass K. Macintire, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC. “Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs.” Department of Clinical Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University. 2007.
- Eubig, Paul A. et al. “Acute Renal Failure in Dogs After the Ingestion of Grapes or Raisins: A Retrospective Evaluation of 43 Dogs (1992–2002).” J Vet Intern Med 19 (2005): 663–74. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2005.tb02744.x.
- Banfield Health Hospital. “Grapes and Raisins Can Be Toxic to Your Pets.” https://www.banfield.com/pet-healthcare/additional-resources/article-library/safety-tips/grapes-and-raisins-can-be-toxic-to-your-pets.