Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

Everything’s better when pets are around, which is why Americans are welcoming dogs and cats into their families like never before. But there are some foods you should never share with your four-legged family, no matter how much they beg at the dining room table.

Grapes, for example, are one seemingly healthful snack that can send your pup straight to the emergency room. Experts aren’t exactly sure why dogs can’t eat grapes, but grapes (and therefore raisins) are nevertheless poisonous for dogs. Even eating a single grape could cause your pup to experience vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy — even kidney failure and death. Cats can eat grapes without experiencing such extreme side effects, but veterinarians doubt grapes are good for them, either.

Photo: Flickr/kedoink kedondeng

Responsible pet owners much remember that humans can eat grapes but dogs can’t — and act accordingly. This means keeping the fruit bowl safely out of Fido’s reach, and being prepared to take immediate action in case your pup still manages to sneak a bite. We may not fully understand why dogs cannot eat grapes and raisins, but it’s our responsibility to keep them safe from this little-known household danger.

Can a single grape kill a dog?

Photo: Flickr/Danny Molyneux

Grapes may be small, but the tiny fruit is so toxic for dogs that eating just one or two grapes could put your pet in serious danger. Of course, it’s hard to say exactly how many grapes will hurt a dog, because scientists don’t really understand what makes grapes (and therefore raisins) so deadly. The risk also varies depending on your pup’s size, age, health, and the number grapes s/he’s eaten.

Canines shouldn’t be noshing on raisins or grapes regardless, but ingesting a single grape won’t harm a Great Dane like it will a tiny Chihuahua. If you discover your dog has eaten a grape, immediately call a veterinarian who knows his or her medical history to discuss the best course of action. How many grapes can dogs eat? Let’s not try to find out.

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What happens if my dog eats a grape?

Photo: Flickr/Virginia State Parks

Pet owners must educate themselves on what can happen if dogs eat grapes so they know what warning signs to look out for. Many dogs have died from eating grapes because their owners weren’t aware the following symptoms required urgent medical care. Dogs often experience vomiting or diarrhea within 24 to 48 hours of eating grapes, but how soon a dog will get sick after eating grapes also depends on your pup’s size, age, and general health.

Other symptoms include decreased appetite, sudden weakness and lethargy, abdominal pain, dehydration, excessive thirst, and increased or decreased urine production. Some dogs don’t display any unusual behaviors before finding themselves suddenly gripped by acute kidney failure. Given these dangers, some people are inclined to stock their fridge with fruits that don’t carry such deadly side effects. For example, dogs can eat blueberries but not grapes, which makes this vitamin-packed fruit a healthy alternative for pet owners seeking snacks the whole family can enjoy.

How many dogs have died from eating grapes?

Photo: ASPCA

The ASPCA shared the story of Leah, a Pekingese/Pomeranian-mix who ate 10 grapes when her owner, Wendy, wasn’t looking. The next day, the 5-month-old puppy was experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, and unusual lethargy, which led her owner to type “grapes and dogs” into Google. After learning that grapes were poisonous for dogs, Wendy rushed Leah to the animal hospital, where blood work confirmed that the puppy was indeed suffering from acute renal failure.

“She was exhibiting signs of blood poisoning due to her elevated kidney values,” said Dr. Whitehead, the attending veterinarian. Medics rushed to administer IV fluids and gastro protectants to flush out the toxins, which helped save the pup’s life. Vets also attributed the dog’s recovery to her owner’s quick actions, which gave veterinarians the opportunity to administer life-saving medical care.

The good news is that many cases can be resolved with swift medical attention. In 2016, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center fielded 3,722 calls regarding grapes and raisins, but only a single dog died – because his owner waited three days to seek treatment. “The problem with grapes and raisins is that we don’t know which animals are going to develop kidney failure, and if we wait, the animal may not make it,” said Dr. Tina Wismer, the agency’s medical director. “With most of our calls, the exposure has just occurred, and the pet is quickly decontaminated and treated.”

Which Dogs Can Eat Grapes?

Photo: Flickr/apasciuto

Grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs regardless of their size, age, gender, or breed (although bigger dogs will have a higher tolerance to grapes, as we mentioned above). People often find it difficult to believe such a healthy human snack could pose deadly risks for dogs, but there aren’t any dogs who can safely eat grapes, even if some dogs possess a higher tolerance and/or don’t display symptoms right away.

What kind of grapes can dogs eat?

Grapes of all colors and sizes are toxic for dogs, and it doesn’t matter if they’re peeled or seedless varieties. Raisins might be even more dangerous by offering up the fruit’s flesh in a compact, dehydrated form.

Why can some dogs eat grapes?

Some dogs do seem able to eat grapes without becoming outwardly ill, but just because they’re not actively vomiting doesn’t meant they’re immune to the fruit’s toxic effects. Although some dogs can eat a few grapes without experiencing serious health complications, others may just not display symptoms before suddenly collapsing with acute kidney failure. Tragically, these pet owners might not even realize their dog has eaten grapes until it’s too late.

Learn more about which foods are unsafe for your dog (as well some substitutions they’ll absolutely love).

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