Dan Schaefer by Dan Schaefer April 09, 2021 5 min read

Let's get right to it: Candogs eat grapes? No. Regardless of your dog's breed,body weight or age, you should never feed them grapes or grape products, includingseedless grapes,grape juice or dried grapes like raisins,currants andsultanas.Eating grapes is extremelybad for dogs and can result inacute renal failure.  

Mostpet owners who ask, "Candogs eat grapes?," have one of two motivations: Either you believe your dog justate grapes and you want to know how to react, or you're looking for healthy human food to share with your pet. 

If you caught your dogeating grapes, stop reading. Contact your veterinarian and theASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Helpline (888-426-4435) immediately.  

Whether you want to be prepared for a future grape incident or you want to know what to feed your dog instead, keep reading to learn about the signs of grapetoxicity and healthy alternatives to this dangerous fruit.

CanDogs Eat Grapes? Here's Why the Answer Is No. 

Can dogs eat grapes: Man keeping grapes away from dogs

Veterinary medicine hasn't come up with a reason why grapes causeill effects in dogs, but we do know this: Dogs can have atoxic reaction to grapes regardless of whether the grapes are peeled,seedless, or organic. So, dogs appear to react to the fruit itself, and grape toxicity doesn't seem to be brought on bypesticides used to treat the fruit. (Even homegrown grapes should be off the table.) 

Grapes produce what's known as idiosyncratic toxicity, meaning some dogs will have a serious and sometimes life-threatening reaction to eating the fruit while other dogs will be perfectly fine. So while the answer to "Can dogs eat grapes?" is a resounding no, the answer to "Can your dog eat grapes?" is: Finding out isn’t worth the risk.

Veterinarians aren't sure of how many grapes a dog needs to eat before experiencing an adverse reaction. Even though some dogs have consumedlarge amounts of grapes with no resulting issues at all, other dogs have become ill from eating a small number of grapes. 

The amount of grapes that causes atoxic reaction appears to be different for different dogs, and veterinarians and veterinary researchers haven't found a correlation between the size of the dog and how many grapes it takes to make them sick. So, your Yorkie may eat a couple of grapes and feel fine, while your mastiff may eat a few grapes and have a severe reaction. 

Therefore, the safest amount of grapes to feed your dog is none at all. 

Unexpected Sources of Grapes

Are grapes bad for dogs?

If wedog owners want to avoid giving grapes to our dogs, we need to know where this fruit may hide. Raisins are mixed into many products, andgrape juice is often used as a natural sweetener. So before you share any human food with your dog, check the label carefully. 

Here are some unexpected sources of grapes and raisins: 

  • Cinnamon raisin bagels 
  • Raisin bread
  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Other baked goods with raisins
  • Raisin bran
  • Granola
  • Other cereals 
  • Trail mix
  • Dried fruit mixes 
  • Energy bars 
  • Juices 
  • Juice blends 
  • Jam 
  • Jelly

We now know we shouldn't feed our dogs these foods, but we must also be extremely careful about preventing other access to them.

Growing grapes you grow outside gives your dog the chance to try some out of curiosity. House guests may not be aware of thetoxicity of grapes when sharing food with your dog. Open bowls of grapes or raisins can be hazardous for counter-surfing pups. The bottom line: Always proceed with an abundance of caution when you have grapes in the house. Store grapes in the fridge, and if you're eating grapes or raisins, don't leave your food unsupervised for even a minute. 

What Will Happen If Your Dog Accidentally Eats Grapes?

Grape/raisin toxicity can cause severe dehydration and damagekidney function. It can also lead to suddenkidney failure, which may happen up to 72 hours after your dog eats grapes. If you notice any of these symptoms, your dog may be suffering from grape orraisin toxicity, and you should call your vet immediately: 

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or sensitivity when you touch your dog’s abdomen
  • Increased thirst (and therefore increasedurine production
  • Decreasedurination or nourination 
  • Panting 
  • Pacing 
  • Dry nose or mouth 
  • Pale gums 
  • Trouble breathing

Depending on the dog, symptoms can occur within hours ofingestion.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Grapes?

Veterinarian looking at a dog

Grape consumption will not always result ingrape poisoning, but this is not a wait-and-see scenario. If you don't act immediately, you're taking a gamble with your dog's life. 

Catchinggrape poisoning early is key to preventingkidney damage. So, put your dog in the car and drive to your vet. If your vet isn't open, head to a 24-hour emergency clinic. Call your vet or the clinic when you're on your way to let them know that your dogate grapes. That way, they'll be prepared to admit you as soon as you arrive. 

If you don't have a 24-hour emergency clinic in your area, call theASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Helpline at 888-426-4435. They may advise you to induce vomiting, but you should only do this under medical advice. Some dogs should not be made to vomit, especially if they are unresponsive or havingtrouble breathing

What to Expect at the Vet

If you're sure your dogate grapes and you've caught it early, your vet will most likely induce vomiting. If you only suspect that your dogate grapes, yourDVM may runblood work to determine if toxins from grapes are circulating in the bloodstream. Your vet may also run aurinalysis to check your dog'skidney function

If your dog is experiencingacute kidney failure, your dog may need dialysis. Your veterinarian may also give your dogintravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and support the kidneys. 

Even if your dog isn't showing signs ofkidney failure, your vet may want to put them onfluid therapy and keep them for overnight observation. 

Healthy Human Food to Feed Your Dog Instead of Grapes

Feeding dog blueberries

Like people, dogs benefit from a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, andantioxidants. You can support your dog's health by feeding them minimally processed whole foods like fruits and vegetables — just not grapes. Here are some healthy fruits to feed your dog instead: 

  • Strawberries 
  • Blueberries 
  • Blackberries 
  • Raspberries 
  • Apples
  • Bananas 
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Dragon fruit 
  • Kiwi
  • Watermelon 
  • Cantaloupe 
  • Honeydew 

Whenever you feed fruit to your dog, give them the flesh but not the seeds. In some fruits, like apples and mango, the flesh is safe and healthy for dogs, but the seeds contain toxic chemicals. As far as the skin goes, if you would peel a fruit before eating it yourself, you should also peel it for your dog. So, in apples, for example, the skin is safe for your dog to eat, but in mangoes, it's not.  

You should also be careful about the amount of fruit you give your dog. Too much fiber can upset your dog's stomach, so it's best to start by giving them only a couple of bites of fruit at a time. Whenever you introduce a new food to your dog's diet, support their digestion with a pet probiotic.

And if you're looking for more ways to add healthy, whole-food-based nutrition to your dog's diet, consider adding dog supplements. Look for formulas with real, recognizable ingredients, like this healthy blend of organic pumpkin and apples

Whole Foods the Healthy Way 

Not all human food is safe for dogs. Grapes can lead to atoxic reaction that requires immediate veterinary care, so it's essential to keep grapes and any products that contain grapes or raisins away from your dog.

But, there are lots of safe, healthy ways to add more whole foods to your dog's diet. Feed your dog small amounts of pet-friendly fruits like strawberries andwatermelon, and look for all-natural supplements made with real ingredients. 

What's your favorite human food to share with your dog? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

 
Dan Schaefer
Dan Schaefer


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