Are grapes and raisins toxic to dogs?
It’s almost Easter and here in Australia that means hot cross buns, chocolate and an extra long weekend! Hot cross buns (the traditional fruit variety) contain sultanas and raisins, which are dried grapes. Grapes (their flesh and skin) are toxic to dogs.
So when you’re slathering your toasted hot cross bun with butter to enjoy with your morning coffee this weekend, please remember NOT to feed it to your dog.
Interestingly, the exact toxin is unknown and it’s not clear how many grapes or raisins might cause poisoning. According to Small Animal Toxicology, by Michael E. Peterson, DVM, MS, and Patricia A. Talcott, MS, DVM, PhD, DipABVT, as few as 3-4 grapes may cause poisoning in a 10kg dog. Sultanas and raisins can potentially be worse than fresh grapes since they are dried and the toxin can therefore become even more concentrated.
Grape ingestion causes acute renal (kidney) failure in dogs, and cats too. If not treated promptly and aggressively by a veterinarian, grape poisoning can be fatal. Generally, the best advice is to avoid giving any amount of grapes or raisins to any dog or cat at any time.
Most affected dogs develop symptoms within 6-12 hours of eating grapes or raisins. Signs can include:
- Lethargy (tiredness)
- Inappetance (loss of appetite)
- Abdominal pain
As mentioned previously, it takes between 6-12 hours for symptoms of poisoning to develop. Therefore, the sooner you seek veterinary assistance, the better the chances that your dog will survive.
If the ingestion was within two hours, vomiting is usually induced to help remove any remaining grapes from the stomach. Intravenous fluids are required to help rehydrate the dog, flush out the kidneys and maintain urine output. This is vital to help maintain or restore kidney function. The fluid therapy should be continued for at least 48 hours.
Blood and urine tests will also need to be carried out periodically to evaluated whether the kidneys have been damaged by the toxin (or how serious the damage is).
Below are some links to other websites that might be useful if you would like some more information on grape toxicity in pets:
So remember to avoid feeding any hot cross buns, fruit bread or fresh grapes to your pets – stick to dog treats instead 🙂